Hurts, No. 10 Oklahoma rally to beat No. 12 Baylor 34-31
WACO, TX – Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was shouting at himself coming off the field after his third turnover, a fumble when running toward the end zone.
When it was all over, Hurts and coach Lincoln Riley were sharing a joyous embrace and the No. 10 Sooners’ playoff hopes were still alive.
Gabe Brkic kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:45 left after Hurts threw four touchdown passes for the Sooners, who overcame a 25-point deficit and the quarterback’s miscues in a 34-31 win over No. 12 Baylor on Saturday night that ended the Bears’ bid for an undefeated season.
“I put us in a horrible situation and we found a way to come back,” Hurts said. “We overcame adversity, and you’re remembered for what you do in November. So it’s a big-time win today.”
The Sooners (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 10 CFP) made the big comeback without standout receiver CeeDee Lamb. The national leader with 13 touchdown catches didn’t play because of what Riley called only a “medical decision.”
Hurts still completed 30-of-42 passes for 297 yards with three of his TDs to freshmen — two to Austin Stogner and the game-tying 2-yarder to Brayden Willis with 5:25 left. The quarterback also ran for 114 yards.
Baylor (9-1, 6-1, No. 13 CFP) had its 11-game winning streak snapped and joined No. 7 Minnesota with their first losses Saturday. The only remaining undefeated FBS teams are No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson.
“We told our guys it’s going to have to bother us, hurt us,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “But hopefully we’ll come back next week rejuvenated, learn from it with a chance to play these guys again sometime down the road.”
Oklahoma and Baylor could meet again in three weeks in the Big 12 championship game. The league’s top two teams play Dec. 7 in Arlington, Texas.
Oklahoma erased a three-touchdown halftime deficit and tied the game at 31-all on Hurts’ 2-yard TD pass to Willis. The Bears had run only seven plays for 35 yards in the second half until that point, and their only first down had been on a play when JaMycal Hasty fumbled, before punting again.
“We were so amped to play this game, maybe too much honestly in the beginning,” Riley said.
The Bears had one more chance after the go-ahead field goal. They got to the Sooners 40 before linebacker Nik Bonitto’s interception with 29 seconds left.
Charlie Brewer, who finished 18-of-29 passing for 194 yards, threw two touchdown passes to Denzel Mims and ran for two more in the first half when the Bears jumped out to a 28-3 lead.
Hurts was running toward the end zone to get the Sooners within a touchdown in the third quarter when he fumbled — big defensive end James Lynch reached out and knocked the ball loose, then recovered it in the end zone.
That was after the Sooners had opened the second half with Stogner’s second TD catch, a 3-yarder that made it 31-17. Hurts bounced back from his fumble on the next drive, hitting Wease for a 19-yard touchdown.
Riley said he didn’t have to say a lot to his players at halftime.
“We all felt like we had a chance,” Riley said. “Not one person on this sideline didn’t believe it. ... You’ve still got to go make it happen.”
Grayland Arnold returned an interception 71 yards to set up Brewer’s 9-yard TD to Mims that made it 28-3 with 11 minutes left in the first half. Brewer had a 4-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter that set up when Blake Lynch tripped up Hurts, who fumbled when he reached down to try to stay on his feet.
After Brkic kicked a 39-yard field goal on Oklahoma’s opening drive, Brewer had a 2-yard TD run and then lofted a perfectly thrown 30-yard touchdown pass that Mims caught crossing the goal line.
“Give our kids credit, they made so many phenomenal plays,” Riley said. “It would have been easy to pack up the tent tonight.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners keep winning games in November when it counts, and still have a chance to get in the playoff for the fourth time in five seasons. They have won 19 in a row in November since a loss to Baylor in 2014.
Baylor: The Bears can still win a Big 12 title, but they pretty much have no chance to get in the playoff even if they win out. They were already ranked behind a pair of two-loss SEC teams in the College Football Playoff rankings before losing a game. ... Baylor’s defense had allowed only 19 points a game, but couldn’t get off the field in the second half against the Sooners, who finished 14 below their scoring average
Oklahoma will be home for the last time this season when the Sooners host TCU next Saturday.
Baylor plays its home finale next Saturday, when No. 22 Texas travels about 100 miles north on Interstate 35 to play the Bears.
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