By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
WACO, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had a bit more respect for Baylor after the game. He also had another victory.
After being caught on video before the game with some smack talk directed at winless Baylor , Mayfield threw three touchdowns and the third-ranked Sooners overcame the feisty Bears 49-41 Saturday night to stretch the nation’s longest winning streak to 14 games.
“You don’t realize that some teams and guys, when they get their backs up against the wall, that’s when they play their best,” Mayfield said. “I’d compare it to how we went into Ohio State week. Everybody was picking them, and nobody really cared about us. It’s the same feeling. You’ve got to expect that, and we’ve got to be more consistent.”
Asked if he respected the Bears afterward, Mayfield responded, “Absolutely.”
Mayfield’s last TD pass was the go-ahead score, and came on the next snap after the quarterback’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 283 yards, including TDs on his first two drives, as the Sooners piled up 634 total yards.
Abdul Adams had a 99-yard touchdown for the Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), his school-record run coming after a botched kickoff return.
Baylor (0-4, 0-1) led 31-28 after Connor Martin’s 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter but Oklahoma answered.
“You’ve got to have perseverance. You cannot expect that every one will be a blowout,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said. “You’ve got to hang in there and keep swinging. Our guys do that.”
Adams, who finished with 11 carries for 164 yards, picked up 33 yards on three consecutive runs before the penalty was announced against Mayfield. It wasn’t clear what the quarterback did, and he didn’t really say afterward, but on the next play he found Jeff Badet for a 48-yard touchdown.
Trey Sermon ran 12 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns, the freshman getting all of that in the fourth quarter.
“It was the flow of the game,” Riley said. “We felt like it was time to turn him loose.”
Sermon’s first carries came after the Bears’ first three-and-out to start the fourth quarter. He scored on a 34-yard run when he was hit near the 20 and kept his balance. He had a 60-yard run on the next Sooners possession before his 9-yard TD made it 49-31.
Denzel Mims’ third TD catch, an acrobatic grab in the back of the end zone, got Baylor within 49-41 with 1:41 left. The Bears then recovered an onside kick but Zach Smith was sacked and fumbled after two incompletions. Smith threw for 463 yards with four TDs.
“As I told our team, I’m proud of our team, but it doesn’t mean I’m not angry about the game,” new Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “We didn’t play above our capabilities. We have not played to our capabilities yet.”
Mims, who had 11 catches for 192 yards, had another acrobatic catch in the fourth quarter. That one was reviewed on replay like the touchdown. On his 25-yard grab along the sideline, he and the defender tipped the ball before Mims pulled it in.
Oklahoma certainly won’t move up after No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson both had convincing victories. The question becomes will the Sooners slip again after needing a second-half comeback as a more than four-touchdown favorite. They dropped a spot last week after a 56-14 win over Tulane.
Oklahoma: The Sooners may have struggled, but they again found a way to win — now 371 days since their last loss, and 714 days since they last lost a conference game. Their 17 consecutive Big 12 wins matches the longest in school history. They have also won 13 consecutive true road games, the nation’s longest active streak.
Baylor: While this game turned into a disappointing loss, the growth by the Bears in four games under Rhule is evident. There are still mistakes, such as having 12 men on the field or having to use timeouts at inopportune times. But hanging in with the Big 12’s powerhouse team, and even leading after halftime, is a boost after earlier home losses to two teams that had never before beaten a Power Five opponent.
“It feels good, but then it also feels kind of sad,” Mims said. “It feels good that we got a whole lot better and we came to compete and we stuck in with OU. But it still feels sad that we lost.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners have an open date next weekend before their Big 12 home opener Oct. 7 against Iowa State.
Baylor: The Bears, 0-4 for the first time since 1999, play at Kansas State next Saturday.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
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