West Virginia no match for No. 3 Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield
NORMAN, Okla. — Baker Mayfield began the week with tears and an apology.
He ended it as he so often has — by celebrating a victory.
The Oklahoma quarterback passed for 281 yards and three touchdowns after being punished for directing a lewd gesture toward the Kansas bench last week, and the third-ranked Sooners routed West Virginia, 59-31, on Saturday to maintain their momentum heading into the Big 12 championship game.
Mayfield was stripped of his captaincy and starting job for Saturday's contest, his final home game as a Sooner. He received the loudest cheers when the seniors were announced, then more loud cheers when he entered the game to start Oklahoma's second drive.
“The first steps on the field made that all go away,” Mayfield said. “They (the fans) are always going to have my back. It's OK for me to grow and learn and move on. If I'm progressing and becoming a better man in their eyes that's something I'm proud of. I'm going to learn from my mistakes and move forward.”
The Sooners scored touchdowns on all five possessions Mayfield played in before halftime, and on all six drives he completed in the game. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was pleased with the way Mayfield handled the week's events.
Mayfield completed 14 of 17 passes in a nearly flawless performance that likely kept him at the front of the Heisman Trophy race.
“(No.) 6 is the best player in college football,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He has a lot of really good people around him.”
Rodney Anderson ran for 118 yards and four touchdowns for the Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12, No. 4 CFP). They will play TCU for the Big 12 title next Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
Oklahoma gained 646 yards in its straight win. It was the most points the Sooners have scored against the Mountaineers.
“This is going to be short and sweet,” West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “Defensively, we sucked up front, we sucked at linebacker, we sucked at DB. Dana should probably fire me after that.”
West Virginia's Chris Chugunov passed for 137 yards in his first start. He stepped in for Will Grier, who injured a finger the previous week against Texas. Kennedy McKoy ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns for the Mountaineers (7-5, 5-4).
It was a chippy contest in the first half, and it reached its peak when Oklahoma right guard Dru Samia was ejected after an altercation in the second quarter. It didn't stop the Sooners — just two plays later, Anderson scored his third touchdown of the game from 17 yards out to give the Sooners a 28-10 lead. Mayfield ran over to the sideline, jumping up and down, waving his arms up and exhorting the crowd.
Kyler Murray, a transfer from Texas A&M, started in Mayfield's place and took off for a 66-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. Anderson scored on the next play to put the Sooners up 7-0.
Mayfield took over and completed 11 of 12 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
The Sooners scored on every first-half possession and led 45-10 at the break.
Mayfield sat for good with about three minutes left in the third quarter, and the Sooners up 52-24.