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Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes came alive and the defense died. That was the takeaway from Oklahoma’s 66-59 win over Texas Tech in 2016 that served as the unofficial official coming-out-party for the two Big 12 quarterbacks.
Mayfield was making his first trip to Lubbock after transferring from Texas Tech after his walk-on freshman season. There were bad feelings between him and Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury with how things ended. Things never end well in a break-up. Kingsbury had Mahomes under center, who coincidently enough was Mayfield’s host when he took his recruiting visit to Lubbock.
Everyone anticipated a shootout between the two teams but no one could have anticipated the gaudy numbers and records that fell, or what it would propel both of them to in their futures.
Mayfield was 27-of-37 for 545 yards and an Oklahoma-record seven touchdowns.
Mahomes was 52-of-88 for an FBS-record 734 passing yards and five touchdowns through the air. Mahomes also set an FBS record with 819 yards of total offense. He was the leading rusher with 85 rushing yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns.
“He does stuff that you can’t even think of being possible,” Mayfield said.
Together, Mayfield and Mahomes threw for 1,279 combined passing yards, a record for the most in a college football game.
That’s nearly three-quarters (72.6 percent) of a mile.
Even in a conference where defense is optional, throwing for that many yards is tough to do even on junior varsity difficulty level in the old NCAA Football video games.
It’s incomprehensible to think what Mahomes would have done if he wasn’t playing with a sprained throwing shoulder and fractured left wrist. He might have thrown for 900 yards. 2,700 feet!
“That night, those two did it as good as you could ever do it in college,” said Kingsbury. “I’ve never seen two guys do it better on the same field.”
Each team finished with the same 854 total yards. The difference was Mahomes didn’t have the supporting cast Mayfield had.
Joe Mixon ran for 263 yards and two touchdowns and had four receptions for 114 yards and three receiving touchdowns. He was running free in the open field like Texas Tech was playing with nine guys on defense. It was unfair.
Dede Westbrook had nine receptions for 202 yards and two touchdowns. This game helped propel him to being a Heisman Trophy finalist, along with Mayfield that year. Oklahoma became the first team to have a 500-yard passer, 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver. Mixon, who had a ridiculous touchdown run called back on a penalty, would have topped 300 yards if not for that. However, he became the first Sooner to have 200 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game.
“It was a game where there were a lot of talented people on the field, one of those Big 12 shootouts,” Mahomes said. “I wish we would have won, but it was just awesome to be a part of it.”
Mahomes didn’t have the help Mayfield had, but it didn’t stop him from breaking the FBS record for passing yards.
Keke Coutee led Texas Tech with 10 receptions, 172 yards and had one touchdown.
Jonathan Giles had 10 catches for 164 yards and a pair of scores.
Texas Tech almost made history with three receivers going over 100 yards with Cameron Batson finishing with nine catches for 99 yards and a score.
Imagine having a college fantasy football lineup that day with any of these players in your lineup. The box score numbers look ridiculous.
This was a video game played in real life.
“I’ve seen a lot of good offensive performances over the years, and the way those two quarterbacks played that night, they’d score on anybody,” then-Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “The people there that saw it, they ought to consider themselves lucky. Because chances are, they’ll never see anything like it again.”
It was an instant classic for the quarterbacks and an instant nightmare for the defenders and defensive coordinators tasked with stopping these all-time quarterbacks and record-breaking offenses.
It’s probably still haunting members from each defense.
But while it was the night defense died, it was the night Mayfield and Mahomes showed they could be the faces of the next generation of quarterbacks.
“I definitely felt we were watching two guys that would be playing on Sunday,” said then-Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. “Absolutely.”
Stoops was downright prophetic.
Mayfield ended up winning the Heisman Trophy the following year when he led Oklahoma to the Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff. He was later the No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Mahomes went to the Kansas City Chiefs who traded up to the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to get their quarterback of the future. Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith his rookie year, only starting the regular-season finale, before throwing 50 touchdowns and winning the NFL MVP in 2018.
Mahomes and Mayfield for the first time as NFL adversaries in 2018 when the 7-1 Chiefs beat the 2-5-1 Browns 37-21 on Nov. 4, 2018.
Mahomes threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns, outdueling Mayfield who had 297 yards and two touchdowns.
One year later, Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP after leading the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years.
It might be another 50 years before we see a college football game like the one we saw when Mayfield and Mahomes put their names in the record books and the rest of the football world was sure to remember their names.
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