‘You can rattle anyone’: UT ready for meeting with OU QB Baker Mayfield

AUSTIN - Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield can feel a bit like the bogeyman to opposing defenses. Sure, he's more boisterous and

AUSTIN – Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield can feel a bit like the bogeyman to opposing defenses. Sure, he's more boisterous and puffed-up than the traditional bogey, but he's earned the right to, say, plant a Sooners flag at midfield on a whim.

Over OU's last seven games the Heisman candidate has averaged 317 yards through the air and completed 72.9 percent of his passes. That stretch includes a 35-19 Sugar Bowl smackdown of Auburn and a 386-yard, three-touchdown performance in second-ranked Ohio State's house. He hasn't thrown an interception since November 19, 2016.

Merely mentioning his name is enough to ruffle a coach.

"That quarterback," Texas' Tom Herman said. "He is a fun player to watch. Will make you pull your hair out as an opposing coach and we know it firsthand having played him last year."

Houston, under Herman's guidance, managed to score a monumental upset over the third-ranked Sooners last September. The Cougars did so even as Mayfield completed 24 of 33 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns.

Talented as he is, OU's quarterback is neither infallible nor totally unflappable. And after flopping spectacularly against Iowa State, the same can be said of the team he leads.

Texas (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) will still be positioned as the underdog when it arrives at Cotton Bowl Stadium this Saturday. Even OU's (4-1, 1-1) loss to the Cyclones won't change that. But the Longhorns won't run out of the tunnel feeling any sense of trepidation or self-doubt.

Loss to Maryland aside, UT has demonstrated a tremendous will to win over its last four contests. The defense especially has played, to use a Herman locution, with its "hair on fire."

"You can rattle anyone you play against," linebacker Malik Jefferson said. "If you go out there, play your heart out and do what you can do – anybody can be shook."

Jefferson played a pivotal role in UT's 24-17 win over OU two seasons ago, sacking Mayfield twice en route to Big 12 defensive player of the week honors. Of course, in 2016 the Sooners put up 45 points and 672 yards of total offense.

Mayfield's ability to completely turn the tide of a game has not been lost on Jefferson or any of his teammates.

"He's a great quarterback," Jefferson said. "If you let him out, he can create plays. He creates a lot of plays downfield. His receivers do a good job of making sure they see he's open and creating space between the defenders. So it's very important to get to him as fast as possible."

Better to get him before he gets you.

nmoyle@express-news.net
Twitter: @NRmoyle

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Article ‘You can rattle anyone’: UT ready for meeting with OU QB Baker Mayfield compiled by www.chron.com