Not only did Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield beat Ohio State in Columbus and avenge last year’s embarrassing Buckeyes blowout, he also powered his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation.
Mayfield is on a roll, and so are the Sooners.
The confident quarterback, a Heisman finalist last season, carved up the No. 2 Buckeyes in a national TV game Saturday night by repeatedly scrambling away from a robust pass rush and firing precision passes to receivers often wide open in the secondary. He completed 27 of 35 throws for 386 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-16 win. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s offense could never get out of second gear.
The game really wasn’t as close as the score, as Oklahoma fumbled the ball away on consecutive possessions in the first quarter and was locked in a 3-3 tie with the Buckeyes at the half. The Sooners took the lead for good near the end of the third quarter, and Mayfield poured it on in the fourth.
‘‘We should have won by a lot more,’’ Mayfield said.
His performance came a week after the 22-year-old set a school record by starting the opener against UTEP with 16 straight completions. He was 19 for 20 for 329 yards and three TDs before taking a seat for the entire second half of the 56-7 home win. He hasn’t lost a game since last September’s stumble against Ohio State.
‘‘Baker deserves a ton of credit,’’ said first-year Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, who didn’t have to wait long for a signature win. ‘‘I mean he’s a great player, he played extremely, extremely well tonight against a defense as good as theirs.’’
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was disgusted with his team’s performance but recognized Mayfield’s effort.
‘‘He’s a good player, really good player,’’ Meyer said. ‘‘And I told him afterward. Got a lot of respect. I love his competitiveness and energy. We had him wrapped up, I want to say, eight times and he came out of that thing.’’
As the Sooners celebrated late Saturday, Mayfield grabbed an Oklahoma flag and raced around the field before stopping and emphatically planting it in the middle of the block ‘‘O'’ logo at midfield as the Ohio State band stood and watched.
It was payback time for the Sooners, who had to watch Buckeyes players embrace and sing their alma mater on the field after the 45-24 loss at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium a year ago.
‘‘It was embarrassing for them to sing their fight song on our field, and they probably feel the same way right now,’’ Mayfield said. ‘‘We've had that mood in the locker room that nobody believes in us.’’
ALABAMA STILL NO. 1
Three of the top six teams from last week’s AP Top 25 poll defeated ranked teams, creating an early shakeup.
With the big win, Oklahoma moved up three spots to No. 2, behind Alabama. The Buckeyes slipped from No. 2 to eighth. The Buckeyes did extend their streak of 41 polls ranked in the top 10, which dates to Nov. 9, 2014.
Clemson held its spot at No. 3 after beating Auburn, 14-6, and Southern California moved up two places to sixth following a 42-24 victory against Stanford. Penn State is No. 5.
The Crimson Tide received 59 first-place votes. Oklahoma has two and Clemson one.
IRISH COMING TO BC
As Saturday night turned into Sunday morning following Georgia’s 20-19 road victory over Notre Dame, Fighting Irish offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey took the blame.
‘‘It’s awful, absolutely awful . . . it came down to execution at the end and I blew it,’’ said McGlinchey, a 6-foot-8¼, 315-pound left tackle who turned down the NFL to try to help Notre Dame rebound from a 4-8 season.
McGlinchey held himself responsible for missing the block that led to Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy’s sack of quarterback Brandon Wimbush, a play that resulted in a lost fumble and ended Notre Dame’s chance of rallying past the No. 13 Bulldogs.
It was the first regular-season meeting between the programs
The loss dropped the Irish (1-1) out of the Top 25 rankings, the only team to do so this week. Notre Dame travels to Chestnut Hill on Saturday for a game against Boston College (1-1). The game, originally scheduled for noon, has been moved to 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
Coach Brian Kelly, who was brusque in ending his postgame conference, insisting things won’t ‘‘snowball’’ as they did in 2016 when Notre Dame lost seven of its eight games by 8 points or fewer, was in a better mood Sunday and didn’t fault McGlinchey.
‘‘I've never felt like there’s one play that determines a game,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘It was just a one-on-one scenario. That’s a guy [Bellamy] that’s going to be playing in the NFL.’’
After rushing for 422 yards and five touchdowns on 44 carries against Temple in the opener, Notre Dame had 55 yards on 37 carries and one touchdown. That score was a 1-yard run by Wimbush, who managed 1 net yard rushing on 16 attempts but completed 20 of 40 passes for 210 yards.
‘‘It’s a combination of everybody doing their job,’’ Kelly said, ‘‘and, again, we've got to get better at it. We've got to coach it better, and we've got to play better, and we will next week.’’
Defensively, new coordinator Mike Elko’s 4-2-5 scheme allowed Georgia 185 yards (73 on 13 carries by senior Sony Michel) but surrendered runs of 30 (senior Nick Chubb) and 40 yards (freshman D'Andre Swift). Notre Dame limited true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who was making his first start, to 141 yards on 16-of-29 passing with two sacks and an interception.
Rodrigo Blankenship, a walk-on who received a scholarship earlier in the week, kicked a 30-yard field goal with 3:39 remaining to give the Bulldogs (2-0) a 1-point lead.
PLAY OF THE DAY: THIRD AND 93
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen took a long look at a sheet of statistics that included three blocked extra points, one blocked punt, and an 87-yard fumble, and came to the same conclusion as thousands of other college football fans.
‘‘It was a strange game at times, wasn’t it?’’ Mullen said.
It undeniably was. But it was also an enjoyable one for Mississippi State (2-0), which fought through some of those offbeat plays to easily beat host Louisiana Tech, 57-21, on Saturday night.
Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more in some of the game’s more conventional moments.
Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons was one who handled a few of the spectacular moments. He scored two touchdowns, one after blocking a punt and recovering the ball in the end zone, and another after recovering a fumble and running 90 yards for the touchdown.
The strangest play of the night happened early in the fourth quarter when Mississippi State already had a 57-14 lead. Louisiana Tech was driving down the field and had a second goal from the 6 when a bad snap set off a wild scrum for the football.
Multiple Mississippi State players tried to pick up the football, but instead kicked it farther down field. Louisiana Tech’s Cee Jay Powell finally fell on the ball at the Bulldogs’ 6. The final tally: An 87-yard loss that left Louisiana Tech facing a third and 93 at their own 7.
Not surprisingly, the Bulldogs couldn’t convert.
Jamal Morrow caught a 22-yard pass and dove across the goal line in the third overtime to lift No. 20 Washington State (2-0) to a 47-44 victory over visiting Boise State, completing a 21-point comeback.
Boise State quarterback Montell Cozart came off the bench to spark his team for the second game in a row, but the Broncos (1-1) could not hold a big lead late.
‘‘You don’t stop until the clock says zero,’’ Washington State coach Mike Leach said. ‘‘It was a fantastic team win.’’
Leach, however, was critical of his offense for playing poorly in the first half and failing to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
‘‘That was one of the most constipated offenses on Earth,’’ he said.
The Cougars trailed, 31-10, early in the fourth but did not give up.
Both starting quarterbacks left the game. Cozart replaced Brett Rypien, and WSU’s Tyler Hilinski replaced an injured Luke Falk.
After Hilinski was intercepted by Durrant Miles at midfield, Cozart threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson on the second play and Boise State led 24-10 early in the fourth.
Curtis Weaver recovered Falk’s fumble and ran 55 yards for a touchdown and a 31-10 BSU lead. Falk was injured on the play and did not return.