Sep 12, 2015 11:24 PM
Mayfield rallies No. 19 Sooners past No. 23 Vols 31-24 in OT
The Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Oklahoma continued its recent run of success against the Southeastern Conference with a dramatic overtime victory that Sooners coach Bob Stoops won't soon forget.
Baker Mayfield threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard in double overtime and No. 19 Oklahoma rallied from a 17-point deficit in a 31-24 victory Saturday over No. 23 Tennessee.
Stoops compared the victory to a 35-31 triumph over Texas A&M during the Sooners' 2000 national championship season.
"It's one of the more special wins, maybe my favorite of all of them," Stoops said. "A little Sooner magic came back out. It reminded me of maybe like we're back at A&M back in 2000, where we made some plays to win the game that you feel pretty fortunate and blessed to make."
Zack Sanchez clinched Oklahoma's victory by picking off a Joshua Dobbs pass in Tennessee's second overtime possession, and yet again, the Volunteers had a reason to be frustrated by Top 25 foes.
Oklahoma (2-0) beat a Southeastern Conference team for the third straight year after capping the 2013 season with a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama and knocking off Tennessee last season. The Sooners also won their sixth straight nonconference road game, a stretch that also includes wins at Florida State in 2011 and at Notre Dame in 2013.
This may have been the most dramatic of them all.
Tennessee (1-1) went ahead 17-0 in the first 18 minutes of the game and still led 17-3 until Mayfield engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. The Sooners silenced what had been a raucous sellout Neyland Stadium crowd of 102,455 - the largest gathering ever to see an Oklahoma game.
After going 8 of 25 for 84 yards with two interceptions in the first three quarters, Mayfield was 11 of 14 for 103 yards with three touchdown passes plus a touchdown run in the fourth quarter and overtime. Mayfield insisted he never got frustrated.
"I knew how close we were," Mayfield said. "That's the thing, you can't get negative about it. And it turned out well for us."
As sweet as the win was for Oklahoma, it was equally bitter for Tennessee. The Volunteers have lost 28 of their last 29 games against ranked teams and are 2-34 versus the Top 25 since 2008.
"They gave their all, and we came up a little bit short," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said.
Oklahoma forced overtime on Mayfield's 5-yard touchdown pass to Shepard in the right corner of the end zone with 40 seconds left. Tennessee went back ahead 24-17 on Jalen Hurd's 8-yard touchdown run in its first overtime possession, but Oklahoma answered with Mayfield's 1-yard keeper on fourth-and-goal.
Hurd finished with 106 yards and became the first Oklahoma opponent to rush for at least 100 yards since Alabama's Derrick Henry in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.
It still wasn't quite enough.
"We had a job to do, and we just didn't get it done late in the game," said Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who had 21 tackles.
The Vols did get it done most of the way.
A defense that had allowed 433 yards passing last week in a 59-30 victory over Bowling Green held Oklahoma's offense in check for the first three quarters. Todd Kelly Jr. picked off two Mayfield passes. Trevor Daniel's punting was allowing Tennessee to dominate the field position.
Oklahoma's offense finally woke up just in time to hand Tennessee more heartbreak.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org
This story has been corrected to reflect that Mayfield was 11 of 14, not 9 of 14.