WACO, Texas — Third-ranked Oklahoma played mistake-ridden, flat football for more than 40 minutes versus Baylor, but the Sooners bounced back in time to preserve a victory.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeff Badet and running back Trey Sermon broke loose for a long touchdown run to propel Oklahoma past the Bears 49-41 on Saturday night at McLane Stadium.
Baylor overcame an early 14-point deficit and took the lead over Oklahoma late in the third quarter.
But Mayfield’s 48-yard touchdown pass to Badet took the lead back for Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
On the Sooners’ next offensive series, Sermon sliced through the Baylor defense for a 34-yard touchdown run that put Oklahoma ahead 42-31 with 10:31 left.
The Sooners piled up 342 rushing yards. Oklahoma running back Abdul Adams ran for 164 and a touchdown and Sermon added 157 and two scores.
Mayfield was caught on camera taunting the Baylor players before the game saying, “You forgot who daddy is. I’m gonna have to spank you today.” He didn’t have to eat his words after passing for 283 yards and three touchdowns, though he was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play before he threw the go-ahead touchdown pass.
Baylor (0-4, 0-1), which has lost five straight at home, scored the first 14 points of the second half.
Bears quarterback Zach Smith hit wide receiver Chris Platt for a 72-yard touchdown pass in the first minute of the third quarter. Smith followed by connecting with Tony Nicholson on a two-point pass that cut Oklahoma’s lead to three points.
Connor Martin then booted field goals of 41 and 46 yards, the latter giving Baylor its first lead 31-28 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
Smith finished with 463 passing yards and four TDs, but Oklahoma held Baylor to 60 rushing yards on 35 carries.
Oklahoma staked an early 14-0 lead as Mayfield passed to wide-open teammates.
Mayfield found tight end Mark Andrews all alone behind the secondary for a 24-yard touchdown pass for the game’s initial score.
Next up, Oklahoma fullback Dimitri Flowers ran unguarded in the middle of the field, hauling in a Mayfield pass for a 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown on which Flowers easily pushed away a Bears defender near the goal line.
Baylor responded to the 14-point deficit with a big play on special teams that slowed the Sooners’ onslaught.
Bears punt returner Nicholson found a seam and raced down the home sideline before he was tackled at the Oklahoma 34. A late hit on Sooners cornerback Parnell Motley set up Baylor at the 19, and Smith quickly cashed in with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Denzel Mims on the first play of the drive.
The Bears appeared to build on the momentum when Oklahoma kick returner Badet fumbled the ensuing kickoff and had to fall on the ball at the Sooners’ 1.
But Oklahoma immediately turned the flub into a highlight as running back Abdul Adams burst through a hole and went the distance for a 99-yard touchdown run.
Still, Baylor stayed close through halftime.
Smith tossed a 71-yard touchdown pass to Mims midway through the second quarter, slicing the Sooners’ lead to 28-17.
Oklahoma didn’t score in the final 10 minutes of the first half and led by 11 at the break.
NOTES: Oklahoma entered the game with the longest active winning streak in FBS at 13 games and a 12-game winning streak in road contests. ... Baylor won its first 10 home games in McLane Stadium, which opened at the start of the 2014 season. However, Oklahoma was the first opponent to defeat the Bears in their new stadium when the Sooners claimed a 44-34 victory in Waco in 2015. ... Oklahoma has won five straight home openers while snapping Baylor’s winning streak in such games at four.