Saving the game
Tre Brown made the biggest play of his Oklahoma career in Saturday’s 30-23 overtime victory over Baylor in the Big 12 Championship game.
The Sooners seemingly had Baylor in good control when they backed the Bears up to their own 5-yard line with six minutes left while holding a 23-20 lead.
Baylor’s third-string quarterback Jacob Zeno then hit Chris Platt for a deep shot down the left sideline. The wide receiver was chased down by Brown after a 78-yard gain.
Baylor’s next snap came from the OU 18, but the Bears had to settle for a game-tying field goal instead of taking the lead with touchdown.
“It’s a bad play defensively. But it’s everything we talk about as a defense. Find a way. Find a way,” OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said. “If that referee doesn’t throw two hands in the air, then we’ve got a shot — to get a takeaway, to hold them to three.”
Safety Pat Fields has played a lot of football with Brown, his former Union High School teammate. This play is among the best he’s seen.
“That’s a way bigger play than a lot of people are going to give him credit for,” Fields said. “He’s probably not ever going to get credit because it was an explosive play for the offense. That was huge for us.”
What was the message on the sideline after the Sooners took a 30-23 lead in overtime?
“Time to end the game, that’s all. That’s all anybody was saying,” OU rush end Nik Bonitto said. “Heard somebody in the back of my ear say, ‘Game over.’
“Just seeing how much confidence they have in us this year, it’s really amazing. Everybody, man, what a great game. Proud of the way we fought.”
Gabe Brkic set a school record by making 17 consecutive field goals. He reached that number after connecting on three field goals (a 44-yarder and two 24-yarders) on Saturday.
The redshirt freshman already owns program records for field goals made at the start of a career. He hasn’t missed this season.
Brkic took over for recently dismissed kicker Calum Sutherland in week four. Brkic admitted he was disappointed about not winning the job, but trusted that he would get an opportunity at some point in his career.
Riley has expressed confidence in his kicker, which isn’t lost on Brkic.
“It says a lot to me. Lincoln, he’s one of my biggest idols right now,” Brkic said. “I mean I couldn’t do it without (snapper) Kasey (Kelleher) and (holder) Connor (McGinnis) obviously. The trust I have in them is awesome.”
Brendan Radley-Hiles and Adrian Ealy left Saturday’s game with undisclosed injuries, while Kennedy Brooks was lost in the overtime period. Riley didn’t provide an update on the players following the game.
Jalen Redmond returned after missing last season. Teammate Nik Bonitto said the defense knew all week that he would play in the contest.
“He’s been kind of not taking as many reps as he usually does, but we’ve been knowing all week,” Bonitto said. “Just been really careful with him all week.”