WACO, Texas — Baylor’s season isn’t over. The Bears can still win the Big 12 Championship for a third straight year. But the College Football Playoff? Well, the No. 6 Bears’ case took a significant hit in their 44-34 loss to the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners Saturday night at McLane Stadium.
In a game played primarily in driving rain, the Sooners (9-1, 6-1 in Big 12) played more like the Bears (8-1, 5-1) usually do on offense. Baylor was outgained for the first time this season, 511-416, and committed more turnovers (3) than turnovers forced (1). But penalties, especially defensive penalties that extended OU drives, were killers for the Bears. And no penalty hurt more than linebacker Travon Blanchard’s horse-collar penalty in the fourth quarter.
Baylor had just scored to cut the Sooners’ lead to three points. The Baylor defense had stopped OU running back Joe Mixon for a loss of five yards on first down. Then, on second down the Bears flushed Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield out of the pocket. Mayfield couldn’t escape and he barely got the football away as Blanchard brought him down. But Blanchard ended up grabbing the collar of Mayfield’s jersey, a personal foul and 15-yard penalty.
“I pretty much just tried to grab cloth and bring him down,” Blanchard said. “It was bad hand placement.”