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For Ohio State and its fans, it was worth the 90-minute weather delay at the start of the game as J.T. Barrett threw four touchdowns passes to Noah Brown, three of them in an electrifying first half, as the No. 3 Buckeyes went on the road to beat No. 14 Oklahoma 45-24 on Saturday night.
Barrett was 14 or 20 for 152 yards; Brown had 72 of them on five catches. Curtis Samuel rushed for 123 yards on 18 carries and Mike Weber added 98 on 11 totes and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Jerome Baker had a pick six for an early two-TD lead for OSU to stun the record crowd of 87,979 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Field.
Oklahoma (102) quarterback Curtis Mayfield was 17 for 32 for 226 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
OSU had 443 total yards to 404 for Oklahoma.
The Sooners took the opening kickoff and marched to the OSU 11 but a run and two incomplete passes led to a missed 27-yard field goal try by Austin Seibert that hit the right upright.
The Buckeyes (3-0) got the initial score with 7:28 left in the first quarter to cap a four-play, 45 yard-drive after a short Seibert punt. Coming out of an OSU timeout and facing a fourth-and-1 at the Oklahoma 36, Samuel burst outside and raced down the left side for a 7-0.
Oklahoma faced a similar fourth-down situation on its next possession but the results were disastrous for the Sooners. They were at the OSU 33, needing 3 yards. Mayfield dropped back but unblocked junior defensive end Jalyn Holmes tipped his pass and Baker made the interception and went 68 yards at the 4:34 mark for the Buckeyes’ fourth pick-six of the season.
But the Sooners’ Joe Mixon, navigating through three critical blocks on the ensuing kick return, needed only 14 seconds to go 97 yards to make it 14-7. Television replays showed Mixon dropped the ball about a yard before he reached the end zone but neither the officials on the field nor in the replay booth caught the transgression. If they had, the TD would have been nullified.
Undeterred, Buckeyes used five minutes to go 89 yards. Barrett ran on three of the 11 plays and Weber had a 35-yard run to set up Barrett’s 4-yard floater to Brown in the left corner of the end zone 40 seconds into the second quarter for a 21-7 advantage.
OSU junior cornerback Gareon Conley was injured on the Sooners’ next series as they got down to the Buckeyes’ 3 before settling for a 26-yard field goal by Seibert. The key play for the OSU defense was a 13-yard sack of Mayfield by Holmes and Malik Hooker that pushed the ball back to the 13.
The Ohio State defense then came through again. This time freshman Nick Bosa pressured Mayfield into a wild throw that Marshon Lattimore intercepted, his third in two games, at the OSU 42 and he returned it 21 yards to the Oklahoma 37.
Barrett wasted no time in making OU pay, hitting Brown down the left side for a 37-yard score on the first play with 6:02 left in the second to make it 28-10.
Oklahoma went 72 yards and finally scored the first touchdown on the OSU defense this season when Mayfield connected with A.D. Miller across the middle. The 35-yard score pulled the Sooners to within 28-17 with 4:12 to go.
But Barrett to Brown was not finished in the half. After converting a fourth-and-1 from the OU 26, the quarterback two plays later from the 21 later lofted the ball to the left corner, again, and Brown made the catch of the young season.
He went airborne and, as he was falling backward, pinned the ball to the back of cornerback Michiah Quick with his left hand then wrapped his right hand around the Sooners player to complete the hug – all while Brown brought the ball down in bounds.
That play gave OSU a 35-17 lead with 6 seconds remaining.
Barrett opened the third quarter hitting Brown for an 8-yarder at the 10:39 mark. Brown tied Dane Sanzenbacher, Terry Glenn and Bob Grimes for the school mark with his fourth TD reception. Brown entered the game with five career catches in 13 games.
Trailing 42-17 and on the verge of an embarrassing blowout at home, the Sooners defense stiffened and Mayfield passed 5 yards to Mark Andrews to cut the deficit to 18 with 4:06 left in the third.
Oklahoma reached the OSU 49 early in the final quarter but Mayfield was sacked for a 12-yard loss on fourth down. Ohio State then drove to the 9 before senior Tyler Durbin kicked a 31-yard field goal with 10:33 to play for the final score.