WACO, Texas -- A Sooners spoiler along the banks of the Brazos River changed the outlook in the Big 12 Conference -- and the national playoff race.
With Baker Mayfield and Sterling Shepard hooking up often, No. 12 Oklahoma beat Baylor (No. 6 CFP, No. 4 AP) 44-34 on Saturday night to end the Bears' FBS-best 20-game home winning streak -- and likely their playoff chances.
These Sooners (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) have won five in a row since a loss to Texas, and now control their destiny in the Big 12. And coach Bob Stoops thinks they could be a playoff contender if they keep winning.
"Go into their backyard on a night like tonight and play this way, you know, we're one of those teams that has a chance," Stoops said. "Again, you come into an undefeated team ranked that high, waiting on you, and win by 10. It's got to be a positive."
Shepard had 14 catches for 177 yards and two of the three touchdowns thrown by Mayfield, who finished 24 of 34 and also ran for a score.
Baylor (8-1, 5-1), the first team left out of the initial four-team playoff last season, was sixth in the latest College Football Playoffs as an undefeated team with the toughest part of its schedule left.
"Life isn't over, our season isn't over," said nickel back Travon Blanchard, who had an interception but also had a crucial penalty early in Oklahoma's final touchdown drive.
Asked if his team was mentally prepared to move forward, Baylor coach Art Briles responded, "We're going to see."
The two-time defending Big 12 champion Bears will certainly drop in the playoff rankings before playing at undefeated Oklahoma State (No. 8 CFP, No. 5 AP) next Saturday. The Sooners will be in Stillwater the following week for their regular-season finale.
Shepard's tiebreaking 7-yard TD catch with 9:52 left in the third quarter put the Sooners ahead to stay, and they became the first opposing team to win in the 11 home games Baylor has played since moving last season into its campus stadium on the banks of the Brazos River.
Less than a minute later, after Baylor went three-and-out, Samaje Perine had a 55-yard touchdown run to make it 34-20. Perine finished with 166 yards and two touchdowns.
"We played confident," Mayfield said. "We'll look back on the film. We should have had a lot more points. The interception that turned into a touchdown, that's just a momentum killer. We could have put the dagger in them right then."
That pick was before halftime, when Blanchard jumped a route for an interception that led the second of Devin Chafin's three touchdown runs.
Still, the Bears trailed at halftime for the first time this season after Mayfield made a nice play fake, and rolled around the left side unscathed for a 2-yard TD run on the ensuing drive to make it 20-13 with 28 seconds left in the half.
If the Sooners win next week at home against TCU and then in Bedlam against the Cowboys, they would clinch their ninth Big 12 title. It would be Oklahoma's first since sharing a title with Kansas State in 2012, and end its longest league championship drought in coach Bob Stoops' 17 seasons.
The Bears were trying to be the first team to beat Stoops three times in a row, and the last two were by lopsided margins. Baylor needs help to join Oklahoma as the only teams to win three consecutive Big 12 titles -- and even more help to get back in the playoff hunt.
Jarrett Stidham, the true freshman making his second start and first at home since Seth Russell's season-ending neck surgery, threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had his first two interceptions.
Oklahoma was up only 37-34 and apparently facing third-and-15 from this 17 after Mayfield threw an incompletion while under pressure. But Blanchard was penalized from a horse-collar grab while pursing the quarterback, giving the Sooners an automatic first down.
"That's massive because we had momentum," Briles said. "We're getting the ball hopefully around midfield there with a chance to go down and take the lead."
Instead, Mayfield ran for 17 yards on the next play, and ended the drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Dimitri Flowers.
Shock Linwood had 103 yards on 21 carries for Baylor, while Devin Chafin ran for three touchdowns. FBS receiving leader Corey Coleman was held to three catches for 51 yards and no scores after seven consecutive games with multiple touchdowns.
Baylor hadn't lost at home since 49-21 to TCU on Oct. 13, 2012. The Bears had won their first 10 games at their new stadium by an average margin or 32 points, with 57 points and 666 total yards a game.
The Bears, held to 416 yards by Oklahoma, had also won their last eight home games against Top 25 games. They beat the Sooners twice in that span after losing their first 20 games against the Sooners.
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