Oklahoma’s “Big Game” is the annual showdown between the Sooners and their in-state rival Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater. This year, No. 16 ranked Tulane came in with a 14-game winning streak and a 7-0 record in bowl games, and given the fact that it is unranked and unproven in the Big 12, the Green Wave came to Norman with many people in Norman predicting a loss.
Trailing by one on the final play on the road, No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield completed a long pass to receiver Dede Westbrook for a touchdown with 1 second remaining to lead the Sooners to a 36-34 victory over unranked Tulane Green Wave on Saturday.
NORMAN, OKLAHOMA – No. 2 Oklahoma won a road game on its home field, 40-35, against an unranked Tulane squad on Saturday that came close to pulling off one of the greatest shocks in school history.
Because of Hurricane Ida, both schools’ openers were moved from New Orleans, and Oklahoma’s athletic staff and supporters went all out to make their visitors feel welcome. Sooners supporters applauded when Tulane’s players ran onto the field before the game, with the Green Wave painted on the 25-yard lines.
The Sooners then came dangerously close to allowing the Green Wave to win their first game against a Top 10 opponent since 1973.
“That was one of the most physically demanding teams I’ve ever played against,” Rattler remarked. “They came out and performed fantastically, much better than we did. They were more eager to win than we were. You could tell it was true. We need to be cleaner, sharper, and more effective.”
The Sooners let up a pair of late touchdowns after leading 40-22 early in the fourth quarter. With just under two minutes remaining, Tulane faced fourth-and-13 just short of midfield when quarterback Michael Pratt ran for just 12 yards and the Green Wave turned the ball over on downs. The Sooners were able to run out the time.
At halftime, Oklahoma was up 37-14.
“‘I think obviously our guys felt like the game was gone in the second half,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “It’s certainly my responsibility to ensure that our mindset is correct. It wasn’t, in my opinion. I believe we were playing well at the time and had drifted apart a little. Then you could see we weren’t the same squad when we came out.”
Gabe Brkic of Oklahoma tied an FBS record with three 50-yard field goals, while Marvin Mims had five receptions for 117 yards.
Rattler, a first-team AP All-American heading into the season, completed 30 of 39 passes, rushed for a touchdown, and passed for another, but he also threw two interceptions.
For the Green Wave, Pratt threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored on the ground.
Tulane coach Willie Fritz remarked, “I’m very pleased of the effort.” “Clearly, we didn’t come down here to play close quarters.” However, we had a chance to win the game. I believe we would have had a lot greater chance to accomplish so if we had performed better in the first half. We’ll be able to view the video and build on it, however.”
Pratt’s 6-yard touchdown throw to Cameron Carroll gave Tulane the lead early. Jaetavian Toles’ 15-yard touchdown run put the Green Wave up 14-7 in the first quarter.
Oklahoma then went on to score the next 30 points. In the second quarter, Brkic hit three field goals. His second was a 51-yarder, and he finished the half with a 56-yarder, his longest of the season. Since 1977, it was the longest field goal by an Oklahoma kicker.
Pratt scored on a 4-yard keeper, and the Green Wave added the extra point to make the score 37-22.
Pratt’s 5-yard touchdown throw to Carroll reduced the lead to 40-28 for Tulane. On the 2-point attempt, Pratt tripped and collapsed in the backfield.
Tulane had a chance late when Brkic missed a 31-yard field goal. With 2:18 left, Pratt’s 5-yard touchdown throw to Will Wallace made it 40-35, and Tulane recovered the onside kick but failed to score.
Fritz praised his players’ concentration, noting that many of them were dealing with family and friends back home.
“Our men have done an outstanding job,” Fritz remarked. “They’ve actually done it. I’ve got some excellent young guys on my hands. I don’t have many issues with our men. That is, after all, what I am most proud of. They’re capable of dealing with a scenario like this.”
This article was written with the help of the Associated Press.
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