Another game, another OU record as another Mayfield historic day paved the way for the Sooners in a tougher than expected 52-38 victory against Tulsa on Saturday afternoon at Owen Field.
This was the game where OU’s offense was supposed to get on track. With Mayfield leading the charge, the Sooners did just that. Mayfield set the single-game total yardage record for the Sooners with 572 yards and six touchdowns.
No matter what you highlight, it was an incredible day for Mayfield. He was 32-of-48 passing for 487 yards and four touchdowns and also added 85 yards on the ground and two more scores on a day where the Sooners needed almost every last yard against the Golden Hurricane (2-1).
“It’s pretty humbling, especially with the tradition here,” Mayfield said. “It’s pretty special to me.”
Mayfield preached throughout camp his job is to simply get it into the hands of the playmakers. For the first time this season, OU fans got to see those playmakers do what they do best.
The last year has seen OU’s passing offense rely on wide receiver Sterling Shepard to make one big play after another. The senior did again Saturday, but he had a lot of help as four Sooners had at least five receptions, including the first career touchdowns for Mark Andrews and Jarvis Baxter.
The numbers are impressive enough but go to another level when you examine how he was able to produce them. Time and time again, protection broke down, Mayfield would scramble and keep his eyes up field and make one jaw-dropping play after another.
It’s something OU fans haven’t seen at quarterback for a while, but it is nothing new for those who are with him every single day in practice.
“He was lighting it up,” Shepard said. “He does a great job of extending plays. You kind of have to run with him. He’ll find you down the field. He’s always looking to pass first.”
But if it wasn’t there through the air, Mayfield was able to make it happen with his legs as well, getting the six-touchdown performance started with a 39-yard score where he went virtually untouched on his way to the end zone.
His teammates have seen this from Mayfield since transferring from Texas Tech and walking on before the start of the 2014 season. But Jarvis Baxter wasn’t one of them, only joining the team when camp started last month.
Now he understands.
“I didn’t know anything about him, just his dancing,” Baxter said. “It’s a lot of fun to play with him. It’s amazing because not all quarterbacks can do that and not everybody gets an opportunity to play with a quarterback who is special like that.”
Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said what has impressed him the most is Mayfield’s decision making. Never was that more apparent than on the second touchdown to Andrews.
Mayfield extended the play again, but instead of trying to run for yards, stepped back and fired a strike to Andrews near the goal line. Andrews turned it up field for a 17-yard score to give OU some breathing room at 45-31 late in the third quarter.
“We were working the scramble drill,” Andrews said. “Did what we’re taught to do, and it worked out. He’s incredible, always eluding tacklers. Whenever the play is in trouble, he is always going to find a way to scratch something up.”
The Sooners (3-0) averaged a whopping 9.1 yards per play, racking up 773 yards on 85 plays. Still, Mayfield lamented about the missed opportunities, including two turnovers inside the Tulsa 30 yard line.
Things are not perfect in Norman on either side of the ball, but with Mayfield leading the charge, hope is back in Norman as conference play begins in two weeks.