Somewhere among the stats and the numbers that should be measured in hectares, not yards, lies the genesis of the Baker Mayfield Heisman run.
Yes, the Oklahoma quarterback. Yes, this year. No, it's not ridiculous to think about, and yes, it all began Saturday.
Dare to dream. It could happen. Quite realistically.
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Mayfield threw for 487 yards Saturday against Tulsa. He ran for another 85, accounted for six touchdowns and became Oklahoma's record holder for most total yards in a game with 572 in the 52-38 victory that was all offense, short on defense and 100-percent highlight material for Mayfield.
"You win different ways every week," coach Bob Stoops said. "I'm proud our guys were able to win in general. I thought Baker Myafield was sensational, just made some amazing plays."
In general, the Sooners moved to 3-0, but specifically the way the Sooners are going to continue to win is with its offense and with Mayfield. A very cursory examination of the schedules shows there are many wins to be had, and this offense, this fast break in shoulder pads and eye black will win big. Oklahoma's offense is revamped, it's got a new offensive coordinator and it's going to be more visible than a Peyton Manning commercial.
Mayfield has already had a Heisman moment with a comeback win, on the road, at Tennessee, but now he's got a Heisman resume building that will put him in downtown New York City in December.
Here's why, and it goes beyond raw numbers which includes 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions through three weeks.
Great against pro-style teams, this Oklahoma defense has come undone in recent memory against fast-paced, spread-it-out, up-tempo offenses. The defense was great against Tennessee for most of three quarters last week. But Baylor comes to mind as do a number of other Big 12 schools, including OU's next opponent, West Virginia. Tulsa went for 603 yards against Oklahoma Saturday, didn't turn the ball over and quarterback Dane Wilson was sacked just once.
"This Tulsa system is foolproof," OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "I love what they do. That's a good offensive football team. Baylor and Tulsa are mirror images. They're identical."
Which loosely translates to OU needing more offense. If the Sooners can't stop Tulsa, there are going to be issues. A season ago, the Sooner defense looked similar to what we saw Saturday, a combination of poor play and poor decision making. Meanwhile, this offense is strikingly different. Perhaps head coach Bob Stoops knew today's football more offense is a priority over good defense. He changed offensive coordinators in the off-season and with it came a change in offense schemes as well as a new quarterback.
And perhaps a change in philosophy, too?
"You watch, our offense is going to bail us out sooner rather than later," Mike Stoops said he told his defense.
See even Mike Stoops knows what it's going to take for the Sooners to win. And that's exactly what is going to lead Mayfield to the forefront of the Heisman discussion.
Oklahoma is off next week then gets West Virginia at home before playing a weak Texas team, at Kansas State and then Texas Tech, Kansas and Iowa State. Win those, all of which the Sooners will be significant favorites and they'll head into Novemeber, unbeaten and in the top 10. Top 10 teams get attention and they play at night in front of lots of eyes, viewers and voters. The opportunities for massive amounts of success will be there.
All Mayfield will need then is a victory over a TCU or Baylor, even OSU to become burned into the collective cerebral cortex of college fans and Heisman voters.
"There are still a lot of things he can do better," offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said of Mayfield. "The stats don't' always tell the whole story. There will be times where we play better and we don't have numbers like this."
Maybe so, but more often than the Sooners will huddle, the numbers will be there, too.
Mayfield was 32-of-38 passing with four touchdowns. His ability to improvise, be elusive and shake tacklers is what got him the job at Oklahoma and is what will get him the numbers and stats, too.
"When it comes down to the game, I'm just being myself out there," Mayfield said. "Every game is different and every win is different. We knew we could score every time we touched the ball. We scored enough points."
And scoring enough points is the formula.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK
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