The Heisman? Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield won’t be walking on without it

It was a gut punch, a shocker and a cause for extreme concern in Sooner Nation. How could Oklahoma, 4-0 and ranked in the top 10, fall to rival Texas, a 1-4 train wreck?

This was 2015, a season after the Sooners had gone off the rails and finished with five losses. Then-coach Bob Stoops worked hard to convince his staff and his players that nothing of the sort was going to happen again, yet even Stoops, he’d later admit, was worried. But a walk-on quarterback named Baker Mayfield made believers of everyone. He put the Sooners on his back the rest of the way — seven straight victories, a Big 12 title and a trip to college football’s playoff.

Mayfield was only getting started. Here he is, back in the playoff after leading his team to a third consecutive Big 12 championship. How dominant has the 22-year-old senior been in 2017? Enough so that Saturday’s Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York might as well be a lazy stroll in Central Park.

With an efficiency rating in the 200s and a completion percentage in the 70s, Mayfield is taking his passing stat line where none has been taken before. Yards: 4,340. Touchdowns: 41. Interceptions: five. He was 27-for-35 for 386 yards and three touchdowns in the September upset victory at Ohio State. He annihilated Oklahoma State on the road in November with 598 yards and five touchdowns. He led nine touchdown drives — with no turnovers — in two wins over TCU, the Sooners’ chief conference threat.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart, whose team will face OU on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif., likened Mayfield to Brett Favre for his fearlessness and big-play style. TCU coach Gary Patterson said the 6-1, 220-pound Mayfield “could probably be a linebacker, because he plays quarterback like a defensive guy. He’s going to challenge you and do the things he needs to do.”

Occasionally, Mayfield has done a thing or two that didn’t need to be done. He was arrested last February in Arkansas and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He offended many associated with Ohio State by driving an Oklahoma flag into the turf at midfield at game’s end. He taunted players at hapless Baylor, calling the Sooners their “daddies.” And he F-bombed all of Kansas, it seemed, punctuating his disdain for the Jayhawks with an absurdly conspicuous crotch grab.

Dominant? Yes. Great? Indeed? But good? Not always.

Mayfield doesn’t give a rip. At Texas Tech, he became the first true freshman walk-on quarterback to start a season opener at an FBS school. After falling out with coaches there, Mayfield just kind of showed up one day at Oklahoma, before long had walked on to that team and, after sitting out a season under transfer rules, somehow managed to steal the starting job from two-year starter Trevor Knight.

Now he’s still running Lincoln Riley’s “Air Raid” offense — Riley having ascended from Mayfield’s offensive coordinator to his head coach — and doing it better than ever.

“The reason …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun-Times – Sports


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