Sunday, December 3, 2017
Baker Mayfield and No. 2 Oklahoma never fretted the potential consequences of having to play in the revived Big 12 championship game.
The Sooners just went out and proved how deserving they are of that playoff berth coming their way by dominating TCU again, 41-17 on Saturday in the second top-10 matchup in four weeks between the Big 12’s top two teams.
“I’m really proud of our group for not listening to the entire narrative across the country that we shouldn’t be playing this championship game and all that mess,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “We knew there was going to be a championship game and that was just going to be part of our journey if we wanted to get to this place.”
Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy front-runner, threw four touchdown passes as Oklahoma (12-1, CFP No. 3) won its record 11th Big 12 title.
“The reason I came back was to play for a national title,” Mayfield said. “The most exciting thing about today is we control our destiny. ... That’s all out in front of us.”
The Sooners are a lock Sunday to be in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons. They are the only Big 12 team to make the four-team playoff format that started in 2014.
Mayfield was so confident in the Sooners winning their third straight Big 12 title that in postgame he wore a shirt he had from back-to-back championships that already been updated, showing the three in a row he has won since transferring from Texas Tech.
“I had it updated before Bedlam,” Mayfield said, referring to game against rival Oklahoma State a month ago.
The Sooners probably would have made the playoff even if the Big 12 hadn’t played its first championship game since 2010. But a loss would have likely knocked OU out of contention.
Oklahoma jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead, including Caleb Kelly’s 18-yard fumble return for a touchdown after running back Kyle Hicks’ turnover on the first offensive play by TCU (10-3, No. 11).
Kenny Hill threw two TD passes to get the Horned Frogs within 24-17 at halftime, but Oklahoma was in total control after scoring twice on its first three offensive plays after the break.
“Big plays, we gave up a couple. ... Two plays basically in the second half,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “The worst thing that could happen in the third quarter happened.”