Baylor beats Oklahoma to shake up College Football playoff race

November 14, 2021
Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) is brought down  by Baylor cornerback Raleigh Texada (3) during the first half at McLane Stadium.
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And then there was one.

No. 4 Oklahoma saw its College Football Playoff hopes all but eliminated as the previously unbeaten Sooners were upset by No. 18 Baylor 27-14.

The win by the Bears leaves No. 1 Georgia as the lone Power Five school without a loss and could potentially open the door for No. 3 Cincinnati to become the first ever Group of Five team to reach the playoff.

Oklahoma’s loss was the culmination of several close wins that cast doubt on its ability to navigate the Big 12 with the toughest games on the schedule in the final three weeks.

Things had improved with the switch to freshman Caleb Williams at quarterback, though his one previous road start was a shaky effort against one-win Kansas that wasn’t decided until the final minutes.

A week off before the trip to Waco gave OU time to prepare, but the effort was again frustrating for a team that had harbored playoff hopes.

Baylor dominated on both lines of scrimmage. Williams again struggled away from home with two interceptions and several imperfect throws that stalled drives. The Sooners ranked fifth in the country in scoring at nearly 43 points per game, but managed just seven until Williams was pulled late in the third quarter.

By that point, Baylor led 10-7 and it was up to Spencer Rattler to lead a comeback. He didn’t fare much better and went without a first down on his initial series.

Bears running back Abram Smith then ran 75 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter to set up a touchdown run by quarterback Gerry Bohanon to make the lead 10. He scored on another run with four minutes left to secure the win.

Williams eventually returned for OU and led a late-fourth-quarter scoring drive, but by then it was too little too late for the Sooners.

Much of the credit for the victory should go to the Baylor defense. Before the late cosmetic touchdown by Oklahoma, the Sooners managed just 185 yards. The late touchdown helped OU avoid finishing with fewer than 13 points for the first time in Lincoln Riley’s five-year tenure.

Williams, who was seen as a Heisman candidate before the game even though he had made just three starts, finished 10-of-19 for 146 yards and two interceptions.

He was outplayed by Bohanon. The unheralded Bears quarterback ran for 107 yards and two scores and threw for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Oklahoma’s defeat also leaves the Big 12 race wide open. The Sooners and Oklahoma State now have one conference loss apiece and will play on the final weekend of the regular season. 

Baylor and Iowa State each have two losses. The Cyclones face Oklahoma next week, setting up the possibility all four contenders could finish with two losses.

The first half was rough for both teams as neither team could sustain success.

Baylor was stopped on fourth-and-goal and missed a field goal on its first two drives. 

Oklahoma kicker Gabe Brkic, who had only missed three kicks all season, was wide right on two attempts. 

The teams went to the locker room tied at 7-7 with Williams running for a score to give the Sooners the lead in the second quarter and Bohanon countering with a touchdown pass to Tyquan Thornton on the ensuing drive.

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