When Jeff Badet came to Norman to visit the Sooners earlier this year, he was looking to transfer to the right place.
He asked Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield why he didn’t declare to the NFL and Mayfield’s response was to win a national championship.
Badet, a Kentucky graduate transfer, knew Oklahoma was the place to be for his final season, and now the 6-foot wide receiver is lending a helping hand.
A 54-yard touchdown reception by Badet sparked the Sooners, who started with a 20-0 lead on Saturday. The defense handled the rest down the stretch as No. 12 Oklahoma held on to defeat the Texas Longhorns 29-24 at the Cotton Bowl.
This was a nice bounce-back performance, especially from their younger players. Oklahoma had dropped from No. 3 last week following a rare home loss 38-31 to Iowa State.
“The atmosphere was electric,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “We had a pretty good lead and we’re going to get a lot better at pushing those leads, but I love our guys’ fight and I think we took steps forward as a team. Any time you can come out of here with a win – I’m proud of everyone in our program for getting it today.”
Oklahoma blew its lead when Texas went up 24-23 with eight minutes to go. Texas freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger took the lead with an 8-yard touchdown run.
Mayfield, playing in his final game against Texas, hit Mark Andrews for a 59-yard touchdown with 6:53 left.
“There’s no atmosphere like this in all of college football, nothing to compare it to,” he said. “It’s going to be hard for me, but that’s why I’m just trying to enjoy every single moment I have with this team.”
For Badet, it was his second touchdown with Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 in the Big 12). He finished with 59 yards receiving – up to 312 yards on the season.
But it’s not only Badet that is proving his worth for Riley and the Sooners this year.
“This is what this game is all about, all hands on deck,” Riley said. “You need every single person and we had that today.”
Freshman running back Trey Sermon has played in all six games with 81 carries, 469 yards and three touchdowns. He had 96 yards rushing on Saturday and added a 42-yard completion.
Sermon was a four-star prospect out of Marietta, Ga. – the 80th ranked player in the nation and ninth-best running back.
“We have high expectations for each other so just us being out there, we don’t feel like freshmen,” Sermon said. “We believe in ourselves that we can get the job done.”
Sophomore and freshman receivers Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb appear to be Mayfield’s favorite targets. They combined for seven catches and 147 yards against the Longhorns (3-3, 2-1).
Lamb came out of Richmond Foster High School where he was tabbed as the 72th best prospect in the country, and 16th among receivers. He caught 98 passes for 2,032 yards (fourth most in state history) in his career and 33 touchdowns (tied for second most).
“Guys kind of going down and young guys stepping up and playing in this atmosphere so we had a lot of guys grow up today,” Riley said. “Trey Sermon ran really hard. Defensively, Tre Brown [another freshman] made some huge plays.”
“We got some young guys stepping up and that’s really pleasing me,” added defensive coordinator Mike Stoops about his defensive unit.
Although he’s not a new face, redshirt sophomore running back Rodney Anderson – who went to Katy High School – finished with 48 yards and one touchdown, and had a career-long run of 21 yards.
Anderson was a four-star prospect and ranked the 11th best player in the state. He rushed for 2,485 yards and 36 touchdowns during his senior year of high school.
“Rodney probably played his best game today as a Sooner,” Riley said.
“He showed up and is getting better and better. He’s a good football player and the more he plays, the more confidence he’s going to get and he’s going to do well for us.”
OKL—Badet 54 pass from Mayfield (Seibert kick), 12:13
OKL—FG Seibert 25, 3:49
OKL—R.Anderson 15 run (Seibert kick), 13:11
OKL—FG Seibert 28, 4:32
TEX—Porter 16 pass from Ehlinger (Rowland kick), 3:14
TEX—FG Rowland 34, :00
OKL—FG Seibert 36, 9:10
TEX—Warren 1 run (Rowland kick), 4:27
TEX—Ehlinger 8 run (Rowland kick), 8:01
OKL—Andrews 59 pass from Mayfield (pass failed), 6:53
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Oklahoma, Sermon 20-96, R.Anderson 10-48, Mayfield 7-27, Flowers 2-3. Texas, Ehlinger 22-106, L.Humphrey 0-16, Porter 3-7, Carter 5-6, Locke 0-4, Warren 6-4, Buechele 3-3, Kerstetter 0-0, C.Johnson 0-(minus 7).
PASSING—Oklahoma, Sermon 1-1-0-42, Mayfield 17-27-1-302. Texas, Buechele 2-2-0-11, Ehlinger 19-39-0-278, (Team) 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING—Oklahoma, Andrews 4-104, M.Brown 4-73, Lamb 3-74, Badet 2-59, J.Mead 2-16, Sermon 2-11, Flowers 1-7. Texas, Warren 4-55, Hemphill-Mapps 4-42, L.Humphrey 3-48, Porter 2-31, Brewer 2-27, C.Johnson 2-26, Heard 2-10, De.Duvernay 1-42, Joe 1-8.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.