COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Mayfield, Oklahoma hold on against surprising Baylor squad

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WACO — Oklahoma defended its place atop the Big 12 pecking order with a 49-41 victory over Baylor at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday afternoon, thanks to an overpowering rushing duo of Abdul Adams and Trey Sermon. The pair played the biggest role in a 346-yard rushing effort.

After an underwhelming start to the season, little was expected from head coach Matt Rhule’s Baylor squad coming into Saturday evening's Big 12 opener. An inauspicious 0-3 start, including losses to and FCS-to-FBS transition team from Liberty University and then to UTSA, ended up contributing to what ended up bing a pesky trap game for the third-ranked Sooners in new head coach Lincoln Riley's first conference game at the helm.

Coming in a 28-point favorite, the Sooners started fast, with Lake Travis alum and former state champion Baker Mayfield tossing two touchdown passes in just over seven minutes to push his team out to a 14-0 advantage early. Sophomore quarterback Zach Smith, who made his second-straight start for Baylor over Anu Solomon, countered with a touchdown pass to Denzel Mims from 19 yards out.

Not long after, Abdul Adams juked Baylor defenders and broke free for a 99-yard touchdown run — the longest play from scrimmage in the storied history of Oklahoma Sooners football.

Baylor countered again, and would go on to score 24 of the game’s next 31 points, shifting momentum to the home team and even taking a 31-28 lead late in the third quarter.

It was then that Oklahoma’s rushing game began to take its toll on the Baylor defense, with Sermon scoring two touchdowns on the ground in the fourth quarter.

Mayfield, who is on the watchlist for the Heisman Trophy, was 13-for-19 passing for 283 yards and three touchdowns.

With their in-state rival Oklahoma State taking a loss to TCU on Saturday, the Sooners will continue to be the team to beat in the Big 12 for at least a few more weeks.

Baylor, with a confident stride after exceeding expectations in a loss that dropped the Bears to an 0-4 start, travel to Kansas State on Sept. 30.

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