Niko Small thought it had been an accident.
But Small shouldn’t have given the polarizing Baker Mayfield the benefit of the doubt that day.
“We were running down the back of the end zone, they [the Sooners] were doing their warmup drills and doing a little regular throwing and stuff and, as soon as I turn around and look and see … Boom!,” Small said. “I thought it was an accident. Like I didn’t think nothing of it. I was like, ‘OK, accident.’ So I kept running and then I look and Baker is over there clapping like, ‘Yeah,’ looking at me. I was like, ‘OK, I guess that was for me.’”
The shot to the helmet didn’t prevent Small from playing in the game, but he sustained a concussion during it when he tackled OU running back Rodney Anderson. That proved to be a season-ending blow for Small, who missed the final two games.
But Small doesn’t think Mayfield’s “inadvertent” throw had any lingering effect with him being concussed later in the game. Still, it’s a moment that Small and TCU likely won’t forget when it comes to Oklahoma and the quarterback who went on to win the Heisman Trophy and become the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick.