Mayfield apologizes for antics after No. 4 Oklahoma’s win
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and standout quarterback Baker Mayfield began postgame comments they made to the media Saturday with apologies after a 41-3 romp over Kansas in Memorial Stadium.
Not because the No. 3 Sooners struggled, though Mayfield passed for a season-low 257 yards and Oklahoma’s eight-game streak of 500-yard offensive outputs was halted.
Instead, Mayfield was contrite for his behavior and Riley endorsed that sentiment after the Heisman Trophy hopeful grabbed his crotch on the sideline and yelled while attempting to convey a message to the Jayhawks, a move that was caught by TV cameras.
“I am a competitive player, but what I did was disrespectful and I apologize,” Mayfield said. “It’s not the example I want to set, it’s not the legacy I want to leave at OU. I really do apologize and think about the kids who are watching. It’s not something I want to do. To the parents out there, I’m sorry.”
Mayfield seemed rattled to an extent by a pregame flap in which he extended his arm to shake hands during the coin toss, but the Kansas captains refused the offer.
The first half then was spotty for the Sooners, who led 7-3 midway through the second quarter before converting an interception linebacker Emmanuel Beal snagged the red zone.
The Sooners, who clinched a berth in the Big 12 championship game by climbing to 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the conference, converted the turnover into a 3-yard touchdown burst by Jordan Smallwood three plays later for a 14-3 margin.
“As soon as he threw the ball, I expected him to catch it, but he tipped it in the air and I thought, ‘This is not happening,’” Beal said. “When I look back on it tomorrow, I’ll think I could have scored. ... It was pretty good. I took an interception to turn the momentum around for us.”
Before that 11-yard scoring drive, the Sooners had gone three-and-out on three straight possessions.
Interestingly, the three captains who represented Kansas at the coin toss were all defenders, including end Dorance Armstrong, who began jawing with Mayfield.
“It wasn’t an attack on him personally at all,” Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen said. “I respect him. He’s obviously a great player. It was more for us personally to kind of put our foot down and kind of get a little bit fired up before the game and let them know that we’re here and we’re not going to just back down because you’re Oklahoma and you’re the No. 3-ranked team.”
Nonetheless, the loss was the 10th in a row for Kansas (1-10, 0-8), which needs a victory in its season finale at Oklahoma State to avoid a second winless Big 12 season in three years under coach David Beaty.
Mayfield was also a victim of a late hit by Jayhawks cornerback Hasan Defense on another Oklahoma touchdown drive late in the second quarter.
“It was a bonehead play by me, something I shouldn’t have done,” Defense said.
Hard feelings, however, eventually progressed into Mayfield’s sideline gesture in the third quarter.
Earlier in the season, Mayfield jammed the Oklahoma school flag at midfield after a victory at Ohio State.
“It was a chippy game and it was chippy from the second that their guys didn’t want to shake our hands at the coin toss,” Riley said, “but despite all that there was no excuse for it. Baker’s a competitive guy. Let his emotions get the best of him. ... We can’t have that. We can’t do that.”
Mayfield, who completed 20 of 30 passes and did not have any interceptions, had been limited to fewer than 300 yards just two other times this season. The Sooners’ Rodney Anderson added 77 yards on 16 carries to lead all rushers.
Although the Jayhawks confused the Sooners at times with different defensive looks, they could not get untracked offensively. Kansas generated just 155 yards, the fewest allowed by Oklahoma since a 2015 win at Kansas State.
Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley supplied 123 through the air, going 19 of 34 with the one costly pick by Beal.
The road win was the 16th in a row for the Sooners, the nation’s longest streak.
NOTES: Oklahoma fans appeared to outnumber Kansas fans in attendance. None of the three previous Big 12 games at Kansas drew 24,000 in attendance to Memorial Stadium, which lists 50,071 as capacity. ... The Sooners extended their win streak in the series to 13. All of those wins were by at least 15 points. ... Lincoln Riley tied the wins record for a first-year Oklahoma coach, joining Barry Switzer (1973) and Chuck Fairbanks (1967) with 10 victories. ... Earlier in the week, first-year Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod reiterated his support for athletic director Sheahon Zenger and coach David Beaty, making it probable the Jayhawks will be under the same leadership next season.