It was a banner year for Oklahoma in 2015 as the Sooners returned to national prominence by winning the Big 12 championship and becoming the first Big 12 team in the college football playoff.
There were so many good moments, but which ones were the best? That’s what we’re here to decide. This entire week Sooners Illustrated is counting them down. Four plays each day of the week until we reach the final four Friday.
Without further ado, OU’s top 20 plays of 2015.
No. 20: Austin saves the day (OU 63, Texas Tech 27)
The final drive of the first half was pivotal for both teams. OU led 28-17 with the Red Raiders knocking on the door.
With a first-and-10 at the OU 20, Mahomes tried to make a big-time splash. Problem was backup cornerback Dakota Austin was ready for it.
Austin did a great of job of playing the receiver and the ball to earn his first interception of the season. Austin caught it deep in the end zone. He admitted he wanted to try to return it, but it was the much wiser choice to take a knee and go to halftime.
No. 19: Neal finds the end zone (OU 44, West Virginia 24)
For as good as senior receiver Durron Neal has been this season, he hasn’t been any able to celebrate any touchdowns.
That all changed with less than a minute left in the third quarter. After WVU narrowed the margin to 27-24, OU needed just three plays to go 95 yards and get things rolling once again.
On first-and-10 from the WVU 29, Neal was able to get free down the sideline. Quarterback Baker Mayfield put the ball exactly where it needed to be, and the senior cruised 71 yards into the end zone.
No. 18: Mixon arrives (OU 41, Akron 3)
The first half was rough for OU’s running backs. Akron keyed on stopping the rushing attack, while OU couldn’t get them involved in the passing game.
One play into the second half, and the story was changed. Mayfield found redshirt freshman running back Joe Mixon for a 76-yard touchdown on a beautifully designed play.
“It’s a play-action, roll-out. Samaje starts the tone with the backer, getting the block off the edge,” Mayfield said. “Really, our route’s backside. We’re supposed to take the guys out. They did a great job and Joe got the ball. He was wide open, but it wouldn’t have finished without Dede Westbrook. He made a huge block down-field and he was 70 yards down-field so that’s huge to see those guys playing for each other.”
Mayfield brings up a great point because even though Mixon was wide open on the wheel route, it was all because of Perine’s block to allow the play to happen and Westbrook’s blocking down field to make it smooth sailing into the end zone.
No. 17: Brother-to-brother (OU 62, Kansas 7)
OU was already up 55-7 midway through the fourth quarter when the Brothers Knight, Trevor Knight and Connor Knight, were able to make a little history.
The Sooners faced a third-and-nine at the KU 17 yard line. Bob Stoops said after the game it was a called run, but Trevor checked to a pass.
He found his twin on the sideline in the end zone, and Connor made a terrific grab for his first career touchdown in a truly special moment for the whole Knight family there in attendance.