NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns, and the No. 15 Sooners defeated No. 23 West Virginia 44-24 Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both schools.
What the win means for Oklahoma: The Sooners continued to look like a Big 12 title contender, scoring 44 points on a West Virginia defense that came into the game leading the nation in scoring defense. Mayfield was sensational again, but the Oklahoma defense was the story. The Sooners forced five turnovers and sacked West Virginia QB Skyler Howard seven times. The Oklahoma defense had a rough first half two weeks ago against Tulsa. Otherwise this season, the Sooners have been dominant on that side of the ball.
What the loss means for West Virginia: The Mountaineers had a chance to insert themselves into the Big 12 title conversation. But mistakes and miscues ultimately doomed them, including five turnovers from Howard that allowed Oklahoma to pull away in the fourth quarter. West Virginia's immediate road doesn't get any easier, either. After going back home to play No. 20 Oklahoma State next weekend, the Mountaineers face back-to-back road trips to No. 5 Baylor and No. 4 TCU.
Play of the game: Down 10 points with just under 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Howard attempted to scramble out of the pocket. He didn't get far. Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker barreled around the edge, drilled Howard in the back and popped the ball loose. Fellow linebacker Jordan Evans scooped up the ball and raced 41 yards for the touchdown to put the Sooners up 41-24, effectively putting the game away.
Stat of the game: Combined, Oklahoma and West Virginia were flagged 23 times for 245 yards. This was the same officiating crew that worked Texas' game against Oklahoma State last week, in which the Longhorns were penalized 16 times.