Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez (15) intercepts a pass intended for Tennessee wide receiver Marquez North (8) during the second overtime Saturday night at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. (Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
KNOXVILLE — Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield couldn’t have played much worse in the first three quarters. He couldn’t have been any better the rest of the way.
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.
Zack Sanchez clinched Oklahoma’s victory by picking off a Joshua Dobbs pass in Tennessee’s second overtime possession, and yet again, the Vols’ had another reason to be frustrated by Top 25 foes.
Oklahoma (2-0) had forced overtime on Mayfield’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Shepard with 40 seconds left.
Tennessee 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. After going 8-for-25 for 84 yards with two interceptions in the first three quarters, Mayfield was 9-for-14 for 103 yards with three touchdown passes plus a touchdown run in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Vols (1-1) have lost 28 of their last 29 games against ranked teams and are 2-34 against the Top 25 since 2008. Oklahoma beat a Southeastern Conference team for the third straight year and won its sixth straight non-conference road game, a stretch that also includes wins at Florida State in 2011 and Notre Dame in 2013.
Yet it was Tennessee that looked more poised for much of the night, delighting a raucous sellout Neyland Stadium crowd of 102,455 — the largest group ever to watch an Oklahoma game.
Tennessee scored on three of its first five series to grab a 17-0 lead. Jalen Hurd was rushing for big chunks of yardage on Oklahoma’s vaunted run defense. Trevor Daniel’s punting was allowing Tennessee to dominate the field position.
And even when Tennessee’s offense petered out after that opening onslaught, it appeared its defense would carry the Vols to victory. Todd Kelly Jr. picked off two Mayfield passes, and his first interception resulted in an Aaron Medley 19-yard field goal that opened the scoring. Jalen Reeves-Maybin made 21 tackles to hold Oklahoma’s offense in check most of the night.
Oklahoma’s offense finally woke up just in time to hand Tennessee one more devastating loss to a Top 25 team.comments powered by Disqus