No. 5 Oklahoma exacts revenge from No. 2 Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Oklahoma was humbled by Ohio State on its home field a year ago and had to wait nearly 365 days before doing the same to the Buckeyes.
The fifth-ranked Sooners got their payback in full, scoring four second-half touchdowns to break away from a 3-3 halftime tie and stun the second-ranked Buckeyes 31-16 before 109,088 on Saturday night in an early college football showdown at Ohio Stadium.
Afterward, the Sooners celebrated their conquest, dancing on the Block O at midfield with quarterback Baker Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag in the middle of it.
“Wins like that on the road are the most special,” said 34-year-old Lincoln Riley after his second game as Oklahoma coach since taking over for Bob Stoops. “I love competing in venues like this. To be able to come in here and win is very special.”
Mayfield, the ultimate competitor, was the catalyst. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns as Oklahoma (2-0) finished with 490 total yards and extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 12 games.
“We’ve been really focused this week,” Mayfield said. “Our preparation was great. It’s about putting it all on the line and doing your job. No matter what happens, with a big gamme like this, it’s going to be back and forth.”
The Sooners’ last loss was that 45-24 humbling in Norman last season. So the win was extra sweet.
“Bake deserves a ton of credit,” Riley said. “He played extremely well out there. But he’s not doing it with a bunch of Rudys.”
Jordan Smallwood’s 3-yard touchdown run with 9:26 left expanded Oklahoma’s lead to 31-13 and sent Ohio State fans streaming to the exits.
“It was awful, and we got beat by a good team and a quarterback that was dymanic,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “I thought our defense hung in there against, like I said, a very good player.
“Offense was bad. So we’re going to do what we do that’s go back to work as hard as we possibly can, starting somewhat tonight and tomorrow and figure this thing out.”
J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State offense struggled against Oklahoma’s defense. Barrett was 19-of-35 passing for 183 yards and one interception, sacked three times and held without an offensive touchdown.
“But I’m going to make it perfectly clear, there’s not a bull’s eye on J.T. Barrett,” said Meyer, who lost for only the seventh time in his seventh season at Ohio State. “It’s part of the system and a group that has to get better.”
Ohio State (1-1) looked like it might seize control to start the second half after Parris Campbell’s 56-yard kickoff return. The Buckeyes drove 44 yards to a 6-yard touchdown run by freshman running back J.K. Dobbins to open a 10-3 lead 2:23 into the third quarter.
But Oklahoma responded quickly, tying the score less than two minutes later when Mayfield found Dimitri Flowers running free in the middle of the field and he outraced Ohio State defenders to the end zone to complete a 36-yard touchdown pass.
Ohio State went back in front with 8:10 left in the third quarter after a 24-yard field goal by Sean Nuernberger set up by runs of 16 and 13 yards by Dobbins and a 31-yard reception by Austin Mack that was ruled a completion after review.
Oklahoma hit Ohio State with a quick counterpunch to take its first lead. Mayfield connected with Mykel Jones for a 42-yard pass and then threw a 18-yard touchdown strike to Lee Morris with 2:17 left in the third quarter to make it 17-13.
The go-ahead drive covered 92 yards in four plays and took only 1:40.
“That was big to come back and get the lead quickly,” Riley said.
The Sooners came up with a key stop to start the fourth quarter, forcing an Ohio State incompletion on fourth down from the Oklahoma 36-yard line to regain possession. From there, Mayfield led a seven-play drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Trey Sermon to extend the lead to 24-14.
Oklahoma had moved the ball with more efficiency than Ohio State in the first half and had a 222-92 total yardage advantage, but two lost fumbles and a missed field goal attempt as well as Ohio State’s defense kept Oklahoma off the scoreboard until 25 seconds before halftime, when Austin Seibert drilled a 35-yard field goal to tie the score at 3.
Ohio State’s only points in the opening half came on a 24-yard field goal by Nuernberger with 11:11 remaining in the second quarter.
“We felt like we were close offensively and we were playing so well defensively,” Riley said. “The guys were just playing passionate. At halftime the guys really believed. We felt like we were really on the verge of busting it open.”
Dobbins, Ohio State’s freshman running back, started the game for the second straight week but was limited to 72 yards on 13 carries after running for 181 yards in the Buckeyes’ opening win last week at Indiana. Ohio State finished with 350 total yards.
“That’s the story tonight — how well our defense played,” Riley said. “I thought out defense was outstanding.”
NOTES: Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. S Will Johnson also was injured in the first half and did not play after halftime. ... The road team has won the last four meetings. ... Oklahoma’s last previous visit to Ohio Stadium came in 1977, when a last-second field goal gave the Sooners a 29-28 victory. ... Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops attended and sat at the press level. He visited with Sooners players on the field before the game. ... Oklahoma last beat a non-conference opponent ranked No. 1 or 2 on the road in 1963, a 17-12 victory over No. 1 USC.