FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma took advantage of their fresh start in Big 12 play, even with a far-from-perfect effort.
Mayfield made up for two lost fumbles with four touchdowns, running for two and throwing two long ones to Dede Westbrook, and the Sooners held on to win their conference opener, 52-46 at 21st-ranked TCU on Saturday.
“To come into a road environment like that and battle back, and kind of take over the game, just completely take momentum, it’s good to see,” Mayfield said. “The biggest thing is not stalling out in the second half.”
After giving up 21 points in the first quarter for the first time in 20 years, the Sooners (2-2) went ahead to stay with 28 consecutive points in the second quarter.
“This team has fight and character, and we need to again do some fundamental things better,” coach Bob Stoops said. “But I believe as we go through, we’ll keep getting better from it.”
Westbrook was wide open on a flea flicker for a 67-yarder that put Oklahoma up 28-21, and Mayfield then hit in him stride again for a 40-yard score.
“That’s Baker for you,” said Westbrook, smiling.
The Sooners outscored TCU 42-3 over the second and third quarters to build a 25-point lead before the Frogs (3-2, 1-1) scored on three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter — including TD passes of 64 and 74 yards from Kenny Hill to Taj Williams.
“Well, I like the way we fought back. What I wasn’t happy with was we did it when they let down,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Offensively after 21 points, we didn’t play for two quarters.”
Mayfield was facing TCU for the first time since saying before the Orange Bowl last year that TCU was the team that disappointed him the most in recruiting, and claiming the Horned Frogs “kind of drug it out” without offering a scholarship while he turned down other offers.
Patterson and Mayfield both insisted this week all that was in the past, with Mayfield even saying things were blown out of proportion. But when they were the same field, the Oklahoma junior quarterback was 23-of-30 passing for 274 yards, and ran 12 times for 55 yards.
When asked what the game meant to him personally, Mayfield responded that it was huge to start conference play with a win.
“Everybody was saying our season was over, but to start the conference off 1-0 against one of the better teams in the conference, especially on the road, it’s going to be a confidence booster for us,” he said. “Personally, just moving forward, it’s great to see the offense have some success and realize our full potential.”
Oklahoma: While the Sooners’ chances of a return to the College Football Playoff most likely ended after those two September losses (to No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Houston), they’re off to a good start in pursuit of a 10th Big 12 title. Oklahoma hasn’t lost consecutive regular-season games since 1999, in Stoops’ first season.
TCU: Those defensive woes for the Frogs clearly aren’t settled. While not allowing a touchdown against SMU a week ago, Patterson’s squad allowed more than 40 points for the third time this season.
The Sooners had a 49-24 lead after Samaje Perine’s second TD run, a 1-yarder late in the third quarter. Perine, who finished with 98 yards on 17 carries yards, had an 8-yard TD in the second quarter when he reached the ball over the goal line while on top of TCU linebacker Sammy Douglas and 340-pound left tackle Orlando Brown. Joe Mixon had 16 carries for 105 yards, and also caught five passes for 70 yards.
Kenny Hill completed 26 of 44 passes for 449 yards and five touchdowns for TCU, including scoring strikes of 64 and 74 yards to Taj Williams in the fourth quarter, the later ending a stretch of 22 consecutive points for the Frogs that got them to 49-46. Williams finished with five catches for 210 yards.
Oklahoma: The Sooners have already been ranked as a two-loss team, so there’s a good chance they get back in the poll this week after the impressive comeback. They were second in others receiving votes a week ago, having fallen out after an open date.
TCU: Already in and out of the Top 25 in the first month of the season, the Frogs could fall out again after climbing back in last week.
Oklahoma: Coach Bob Stoops’ team will be about 40 miles east in Dallas next Saturday for the annual Red River rivalry game against Texas at the State Fair of Texas.
TCU: The Horned Frogs head to Kansas next weekend, the first of consecutive road games before an open date. Their next home game is Oct. 29.