Texas Tech Transfer Shines In OU Spring Game
An ineligible player stole the show at Oklahoma's spring game.
Baker Mayfield, who transferred from Texas Tech in January and can't play until next year, completed all nine of his passes for 125 yards and two scores to help the White team defeat the Red 28-13 on Saturday.
Mayfield finished his first drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Taylor McNamara. On his first possession of the second half, he completed a pretty 28-yard pass to Connor Knight between defenders before finishing the drive with a 28-yard touchdown on a beautiful back-shoulder throw to Jordan Smallwood.
"Disappointing for him that rules don't allow him to play," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "But in the end, he's been a great teammate to these guys. The players all love him."
Oklahoma fans have been fired up since the win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The spring game drew 43,500, a total the school said was a record for the 16-year Stoops era.
Sophomore Trevor Knight, the Sugar Bowl MVP, completed just 5 of 14 passes for 53 yards and threw an interception.
"At the end of the day, the disadvantage against the offense is the defense is so familiar with you," Stoops said. "They know by formation what routes. It makes it harder, but we're very pleased with what Trevor has done overall."
Linebacker Frank Shannon, the team's top returning tackler, did not play for personal reasons.
Stoops said defensive end Geneo Grissom will miss six weeks after spraining his left MCL, but is expected back for June workouts. Fullback Dimitri Flowers hyperextended his left knee and is expected to be fine.
The game wasn't all it could have been. More than 10 players sat out due to nagging injuries, none of which are expected to be long-term issues.
Here are five observations from Saturday's game:
BACKUP QUARTERBACK UNCLEAR: The Sooners need to sort out their backup situation since Knight is the clear starter and Blake Bell, who spent some of last season as the starting quarterback, has moved to tight end. Freshman Cody Thomas, who splits time with the baseball team, and Justice Hansen, an early enrollee, are battling for the job. Thomas completed 5 of 9 passes for 52 yards and a score, and Hansen completed 4 of 8 passes for 58 yards and two interceptions.
NEW TARGETS: The Sooners lost top receiver Jalen Saunders from last year's team, and top returnees Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and Durron Neal (knee, ankle) sat out, opening the door for unproven talent to shine. McNamara caught the first two touchdown passes of the game and finished with three catches for 16 yards. Smallwood, who has been praised throughout the spring, caught the long touchdown from Mayfield and finished with three catches for 60 yards. Austin Bennett caught four passes for 62 yards.
WHO WILL TOTE THE ROCK? The Sooners lost most of their rushing production from last year. Keith Ford and Alex Ross were first in line for a chance to establish themselves before highly touted recruits Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine join the team in the fall, but neither stood out. Ford had nine carries for 29 yards and Ross had three catches for six yards. Daniel Brooks led the way with 67 yards on eight carries and David Smith had nine rushes for 30 yards and a score.
PLENTY OF LEG: Michael Hunnicutt made a 52-yard field goal in the first quarter, then a 47-yarder in the second against a strong wind. The senior, who was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist last season, has a career long of 53 and hasn't hit one longer than 47 yards in a game since his freshman year.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: The defense was solid throughout. In the first quarter, linebacker Jordan Evans hit receiver K.J. Young hard as the ball arrived, and defensive tackle Jordan Wade intercepted the pop-up. Linebacker Eric Striker sacked Knight on the first two plays of the second half, though he only had to touch him because quarterbacks couldn't be tackled. Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo returned an interception 39 yards in the fourth quarter before getting tackled inside the 5-yard line. Linebacker Ruben Hunter led the way with nine tackles.