Posted on October 7, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield would have been drafted last year had he decided to leave school early. NFL teams and their fans love a guy that can throw the deep ball as well as he does. But he said he wanted to come back to the Sooners for his final year. He said he wanted to win a national championship.
Well, so much for that.
The Sooners could maybe afford to lose to Oklahoma State during their regular season match-up (since the Cowboys are highly regarded) and still make the playoffs. But they couldn’t afford to lose to a team they were favored to beat by 30.5 points.
But they did just that Saturday afternoon when they lost to Iowa State for the first time in nearly two decades.
The 38-31 loss at the hands of the Cyclones was the biggest upset loss the Sooners have suffered in 40 years.
“I think it’s a sense of complacency,” Mayfield said (ESPN). “We’ve been talking about it. It’s not like it’s not been apparent. We’ve let teams come back in games and give them hope. When you do that to a team that has their backs against the wall — we know exactly how it feels — it’s something that you can’t do.”
The problem wasn’t so much the offense for the Sooners. Mayfield completed 24 of 33 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. The running game contributed 190 yards (including 57 from Mayfield) and two touchdowns. But for the second week in a row, the secondary was annihilated.
Baylor’s Zach Smith threw for 463 yards and four touchdowns last weekend against the Sooners defense. With starting quarterback Jacob Park taking leave from Iowa State this week for undisclosed personal medical reasons, the Cyclones were forced to go with Kyle Kempt.
Before Saturday’s game against Oklahoma, Kempt had thrown two passes during his career. Sounds like someone the Sooners defense should have been able to eat for lunch. But instead, he ate them for lunch by completing 18 of 24 passes for three touchdowns.
“We came in telling our whole team you have to believe for four quarters,” Iowa State quarterback/linebacker Joel Lanning said after the game (ESPN). “Believe you can beat a top-five team in the country. That’s what we did today.”
The Cyclones certainly needed all four quarters to secure the win. A pair of touchdown passes by Mayfield inside the first ten minutes of the game made it look like this one could get ugly early. But the defense began to stiffen up, and the offense started finding some gaps as the game went on. When halftime rolled around, they had closed the gap to 24-13.
But then Mayfield and the Sooners offense went silent in the second half. Iowa State scored 17-unanswered points. When Trever Ryen hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Kempt early in the fourth quarter, the possibility became real.
Iowa State had a shot to beat a top three opponent for the first time in school history.
Mayfield and the Sooners were not going to lay down, of course. A one-yard run by Dimitri Flowers tied the game up at 31-31 with roughly half the fourth quarter left. But then Kempt did it again. Nine plays and five minutes of valuable clock time later found Kempt connecting with Allen Lazard on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Oklahoma got one last chance, but the Iowa State defense was too much.
To have a shot at making the playoffs now, the Sooners will likely need to run the table. They’ll have a tough one next week when they face the Texas Longhorns. Iowa State will try to keep the good times rolling when Kansas comes to town.