The legend of Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes’ 2016 epic

This weekend, Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield will meet as soon as once more, this time within the AFC divisional playoffs.

Mahomes, the reigning MVP of the defending Tremendous Bowl champs, has the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs positioned to repeat. Mayfield simply quarterbacked the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff victory in 26 years.

However earlier than the 2 gunslingers turned the faces of their franchises, Mayfield and Mahomes staged one in every of wildest shootouts in faculty soccer historical past as Massive 12 rivals.

To those that had been there in Lubbock that October evening in 2016 to observe Oklahoma outscore Texas Tech 66-59, the record-breaking numbers stay nearly unfathomable to ponder.

The 2 groups mixed for an FBS-record 1,708 yards of offense, whereas Mahomes and Mayfield mixed for 1,279 passing yards, additionally most ever in a school soccer sport.

Mahomes himself set FBS data with 819 yards of whole offense and 734 passing yards, whereas trying 88 passing makes an attempt — regardless of taking part in by means of a separated throwing shoulder and fractured left wrist. Mayfield countered with an OU file seven touchdowns.

“We needed to rating each single drive within the second half to win that sport,” Mayfield stated this week. “It was an unbelievable sport and unbelievable environment. Simply the backwards and forwards is one thing that I cannot overlook.”

To this present day, Mayfield and Mahomes stay pleasant. Actually, not lengthy earlier than transferring from Texas Tech to OU, Mayfield truly hosted Mahomes throughout his official go to to Lubbock.

“It is cool to get to play towards him in such an enormous sport, within the playoffs,” Mahomes stated this week. “Identified him for a very long time, since I used to be a senior in highschool and to have the ability to play on this stage goes to be particular.”

As the 2 quarterbacks put together for Sunday’s showdown, ESPN recounted their exceptional shootout from 4 years in the past by means of the folks there to witness it:

*An earlier model of this story ran Nov. 1, 2018


Mayfield’s return to Lubbock

Lincoln Riley: Our children had been actually fired up for the sport, not simply Baker. It was a enjoyable environment, a hostile crowd. All of the historical past of Baker, all of the historical past with our workers, I imply our gamers talked about that by means of the week. So we had been motivated.

Jessica Coody, Sooner Sports activities TV: Strolling to the stadium, all of the fraternity homes had these indicators, all these unfavourable feedback towards Baker. I used to be pondering, do you folks perceive whenever you make him mad, he performs higher? Then whenever you get in there, it is all these “Traitor” T-shirts.

Chris Plank, OU radio sideline reporter: I will always remember the pregame vitality. You had a bunch of followers who simply so badly wished to provide it to any person. They had been able to let him have it.

Chris Degree, Tech sideline reporter: He was public enemy No. 1. Baker had performed as much as that, embraced the heel position. There have been indicators all over the place. As a lot as you had been going to go cheer for Tech, you had been going to cheer towards Mayfield. The scholars had been chanting, “F— you, Baker.”

Mayfield: That was my “Welcome again to Lubbock” second.

Toby Rowland, OU play-by-play voice: There was a variety of venom. There was a variety of pleasure on Baker’s half. He knew how he was going to be greeted and he beloved strolling into the lion’s den.

Stoops: The one discuss I ever had with Baker main as much as the sport was simply do not attempt to make this private or do not make an excessive amount of of this. You are too good of a participant.

Riley: He needs the group to chant at him. He feeds off of that. He fed off it in the suitable means, stayed centered, stayed locked in.

Mayfield (in 2016): That is precisely how I believed it was going to be and I loved it.

Keke Coutee, Tech receiver: I knew the sport was going to be a barn burner, as a result of Baker had so much to show leaving Tech. Then Pat was such a competitor. Man’s a baller.

Stoops (this week): After watching Mahomes on tape. I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, this man could make any throw from any angle.’

Mayfield (this week): The bodily attributes that Pat has — he has all the pieces you might presumably need. His arm energy is unbelievable, however simply the completely different arm angles and issues he is ready to do — I do know folks speak about his no-look passes and all of that – however to have the ability to change his arm angle, you’ll be able to see why he was such an unbelievable athlete in baseball and basketball, as properly. He is simply in a position to do issues that a variety of quarterbacks cannot do.

Drew Krueger, Tech coach: Pat injured the shoulder towards Kansas [three weeks before]. It was a big shoulder separation. These are very painful for any kind of motion, to not point out throwing the soccer. He performed towards Kansas State, after which on the final play, he fell on it once more. So it was actual sore and we had been all sort of not sure what to anticipate.

Kingsbury: He had been restricted in apply. They needed to numb his shoulder earlier than the sport, after which he broke his [non-throwing] wrist within the first half. No one knew it. He simply saved taking part in and ended up having to get surgical procedure after the season, earlier than the mix and bowl prep.

Krueger: He simply requested us to tape it up.

Brian Jensen, Tech play-by-play voice: [Level] saved telling us you might see it in his face, the ache he was in. He was combating by means of all of it.

Degree: Only a whole warrior.

Obo Okoronkwo, OU linebacker: Patrick had the juice the entire sport. He did not get drained. Like, he by no means appeared drained the entire sport.

Kingsbury: He was so locked into the zone, and so they had the identical factor happening.

Each offenses had been loaded past simply the quarterbacks. Together with Mayfield, OU wideout Dede Westbrook was a Heisman finalist that season, and left deal with Orlando Brown Jr. and tight finish Mark Andrews would develop into unanimous All-People the next 12 months. Joe Mixon is now the beginning working again for the Cincinnati Bengals, and on the Tech facet, Keke Coutee would go on to develop into a beginning receiver for the Houston Texans.

Mahomes: That they had a ton of expertise. We had a ton of expertise.

Rick Trice, Tech statistician: We’re used to having a variety of offensive numbers right here, however we weren’t ready for the best way that sport would play out.

Kingsbury: I believe there was anticipation there might be some fireworks. … Take a look at a few of gamers you had in that sport. You have a look at Baker and Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook lighting it up. Plus the large tight finish [Andrews] that is at Baltimore. After which we had Pat and Keke Coutee on our facet going up and down the sector, spectacular gamers. After which two quarterbacks, Baker clearly with the historical past right here. He was on a mission, after which Pat was on a mission of not letting him get one right here.

Riley: Most of our stuff was on schedule. Mahomes was slightly completely different. … making so many unconventional performs, so many performs off script, popping out of rushes, huge scrambles, throwing going sideways. He simply made some unbelievable performs. And that saved them in it. You knew you had been watching one thing fairly particular with the best way these two guys had been taking part in.

Stoops: I vividly keep in mind us a few occasions having our palms on Patrick, actually feeling that hey, we lastly acquired a sack. An opportunity to show it for us. And he would pull out of it in some way, escape the sack and battle his means out of it.

Okoronkwo: We had him in our palms a minimum of 10 occasions and he simply saved slipping out of there, like he was greased up or one thing. There have been a variety of occasions I used to be pursuing him the place I believed I used to be going to get him and I did not. We could not cease him.

Teddy Lehman, OU coloration analyst: Mahomes’ efficiency was perhaps extra spectacular than Baker’s in a way, as a result of he was scrambling for his life. And I hadn’t seen one other participant we have performed that was throwing guys open. He would scramble and simply throw it to a spot and his receivers would make changes to return again to the ball.


Mahomes proves unstoppable

Along with the quarterbacks, a number of gamers on this sport would put up monster numbers. The Crimson Raiders would practically have three completely different receivers go over 100 yards in Coutee (172), Jonathan Giles (167) and Cameron Batson (99). The Sooners, in the meantime, would develop into the primary crew in FBS historical past to boast a 500-yard passer, a 200-yard receiver (Westbrook) and a 200-yard rusher (Mixon), who would develop into the primary participant in OU historical past to complete with 200 yards dashing and 100 receiving in the identical sport.

Riley: Joe Mixon had a landing run referred to as again for a holding penalty. It nonetheless, to this present day, is perhaps one of the best run I’ve ever seen in faculty soccer. He simply sort of wiggled his means, reversed area, ended up breaking a number of tackles. He caught a ball one-handed up the suitable sideline for a landing. He was fabulous that evening, among the finest particular person working again performances I’ve ever seen.

Jensen: The man that basically killed us was Mixon. Granted, Mayfield threw properly, he had seven landing passes, however Mixon can be vast open, break a deal with and be gone.

Degree: We nonetheless speak about this sport fairly a bit. For OU, it was the Joe Mixon/Dede Westbrook present.

Jah’Shawn Johnson, Tech security: These ability guys they’d had been great. Baker did a terrific job shopping for time and placing it on the cash all evening.

4 minutes in, it appeared as if OU was on its strategy to a rout. Giles fumbled the ball away on Tech’s first possession, and Mayfield hit Westbrook for the Sooners’ second landing. Then Mahomes confronted third-and-long from deep in his personal territory.

Riley: Baker most likely wished to win that sport as a lot or greater than any we ever performed right here. I knew he was actually, actually locked in. He threw two early landing passes that I believe sort of settled him in.

Mayfield (in 2016): I allow them to know in a short time we weren’t going to flinch.

Jensen: Pat had a third-and-10 from his personal 16. And right here comes Pat with a move to Cameron Batson [for 31 yards]. Simply abruptly you might see it in his demeanor, the crew’s demeanor — “OK, right here we go.”

Degree: Kliff determined to say screw it, we’re simply not going to run the ball.

Riley: It was irritating as a result of we acquired to quite a few third downs and couldn’t get them off the sector, and Mahomes was such an enormous motive why.

Jensen: Each time Pat would put a drive collectively, they’d get a intestine punch a few performs later from Oklahoma. Oklahoma scored so quick on their drives, they weren’t actually even drives. After which Pat must put collectively one thing to return again. It was simply ridiculous that he saved arising with one other play.

Riley: We hit so many huge performs offensively that our play numbers weren’t simply extremely excessive.

Kingsbury: We had the lead and so they hit a protracted move proper earlier than halftime to take it again. I knew it was going to take 60 factors to win this factor.

Johnson: It was very irritating. All we wanted was one cease, the best way our offense was rolling. However they weren’t going to be stopped.

Orlando Brown Jr.: I do not imply to speak dangerous about Tech, however they did not have a variety of expertise defensively. Our mentality was rating as a lot as we are able to.


A traditional unfolds

Each offenses had been scorching within the first half. Within the second, they had been fully unstoppable. After Tech punted to open the third quarter, the 2 groups scored touchdowns on each drive the remainder of the sport for a complete of 10.

Mayfield (that evening): I instructed among the guys at halftime, “In case you’re scared and you do not wish to rating each drive, then keep in right here.”

Riley: I actually assume folks could not actually imagine what they had been seeing.

Trice: Within the third quarter, I began actually preserving monitor of the full offense for each groups and taking a look at it continuously and really updating the media relations division as a result of I felt we had been most likely creeping up on NCAA data.

Kingsbury: I’ve by no means seen something prefer it. Pat was phenomenal, and [Mayfield was] on the opposite facet. I do not know if the ball touched the bottom for them your entire evening.

Johnson: These guys had been going at it, making performs left and proper. It wasn’t nice for the defenses.

Andrews: Our fullback Dimitri Flowers ran an out route and turned it up. Baker began scrambling round and located him behind the tip zone [for a 34-yard touchdown late in the third quarter]. It was such an unbelievable catch. A kind of issues that you do not see fairly often.

Lehman: A crowd will get right into a sport every time the protection is making an attempt to get an enormous cease. However there have been mainly by no means any. So there have been by no means these moments the place the group acquired actually loud. It was the weirdest factor.

Creighton DeKalb, OU band (drums): The “Boomer Sooner” rely truly wasn’t abnormally excessive. We play Boomer between performs to encourage the crew. However the offense scored so quick, we actually solely acquired to play it after touchdowns.

Lehman: There was a variety of standing round ready for kickoffs to occur.

Degree: It was like pingpong. I do not know if Oklahoma was ever in peril of dropping that sport. However Pat saved slinging it. He wouldn’t go away.

Trice: You knew within the second half that if both crew made a hiccup, had a turnover, needed to punt, no matter, it was going to value them the sport.

Andrews: Biggest sport I’ve ever been part of. Two nice, prolific offenses going after it. Everyone knew that we had been going to attain. The entire time the sensation was the final crew with the ball was going to win.


The data begin falling

Turned out, that may be the case. However not earlier than an array of spectacular fourth-quarter performs — a few of which the Crimson Raiders needed to devise from scratch.

Kingsbury: You simply run out of performs. Whenever you’re calling that many performs — and that many move performs — you are drawing stuff up within the dust and making an attempt to get folks open on the finish of it.

Mahomes: With Coach King, we all the time had performs left within the tank.

Kingsbury: I simply keep in mind asking Pat on the sideline, “Hey, would this work as a result of I haven’t got a lot left on the sheet? So what do you assume?” And he often had good solutions. We would give you one thing, and it doesn’t matter what we referred to as that evening, he was gonna make it work.

Stoops: Coach Riley got here as much as me at a sure level — I wish to say early within the fourth quarter — and requested me did I need him to burn the clock. I stated, “Pay attention man, we have to rating. We’re not making sufficient performs [on defense], and [Mahomes] is scorching and we acquired Baker.” They weren’t stopping us, so I stated, “Look, you simply do what you bought to do to attain and don’t fret concerning the clock.”

Kingsbury: Pat threw a move falling off his again foot. The ball most likely went 60 yards to Keke with a rusher barreling down proper in his face. I did not assume he’d ever get it there, and he hit him in stride. One of many extra spectacular throws I’ve ever seen.

Mayfield: He does stuff you could’t even consider being potential.

Jensen: “Are you able to imagine he simply did that?” I should have stated {that a} thousand occasions in his profession, however throughout this sport specifically.

Coutee: It went fast, however at that time I believed we had been truly going to win.

Stoops (this week): I used to be simply glad we had Baker with us, that he might hold answering.

Jensen: My voice was horrible. It was raspy and weak and I used to be consuming all the pieces I might get my palms on within the sales space. Water and Weight-reduction plan Cokes. I caught in ice, doing all the pieces I might just do to maintain it going.

Mahomes: I believe baseball had me ready from being a pitcher. I did not know I had thrown that many occasions. I keep in mind one in every of my buddies [receiver Hunter Rittimann] got here as much as me earlier than the final drive and was like, “You’ve got 77 move makes an attempt proper now,” and I used to be like, “Man, that is a variety of passes.”

Chad Harberson, Tech push-up man, tasked with doing one to match the Crimson Raiders’ rating after every landing or area objective: It was insane. We had been useless there on the finish. These guys holding up the pushup board, they had been exhausted. We had been dreading that subsequent set we’d’ve needed to do if Tech had tied it up on the finish. However it might’ve been properly price it.

After chopping OU’s result in 66-59 with 1:38 to go on a 3-yard landing move to Batson, Mahomes would not contact the ball once more.

Riley: The final play of the sport, apart from once we kneeled it, we had a third-and-short, needed to get a primary down. We had been up seven, needed to get a primary down or we might give them the ball again and positively did not wish to do this.

Andrews: It was full exhaustion. There have been so many performs, so many catches, so many all the pieces.

Riley: You are simply kinda like, “Wow, that was a marathon.”

Trice: The craziest factor concerning the sport is that each groups had precisely the identical variety of yards [854]. I do not even understand how that occurs.

Kingsbury: I used to be truly strolling to the locker room and SportsCenter was already taking part in it. I noticed the yardage and the numbers and I am like, “Wow.” To have each these guys play the best way they did. … We’ll by no means see it once more, I do not assume.

Riley: For therefore a few years [as a Tech assistant under Mike Leach], I walked up the opposite tunnel after the sport. The primary time being on that facet of it was sort of an eerie feeling. I used to be simply lastly taking all of it in, what actually simply occurred, having the ability to be part of these two offenses and their historic performances.


The legend of Mayfield and Mahomes begins

Masking the sport that evening at Jones Stadium for ESPN, I used to be within the guests tunnel afterward. Mayfield stopped by to casually rehash the sport, asking what data Mahomes had damaged. Like most everybody else, he too had been blown away with Mahomes’ efficiency.

Jensen: It was the sport that basically stamped in our thoughts how nice Mahomes was and was gonna be. There have been so many occasions he might have faltered in that sport and he by no means did. I will always remember how spectacular he was in that sport.

Coutee: What he was in a position to do this evening was exceptional.

Krueger: He’s most likely the hardest athlete I’ve gotten an opportunity to work with that intently. I believe we had been simply amazed at what he was doing in any case his accidents, as a result of he actually rose his degree of play after a few dangerous weeks coping with the shoulder. He was unstoppable.

Kingsbury: He was going to attempt to will that sport it doesn’t matter what. I want we might’ve received the sport for him as a result of he deserved that.

Mahomes: It was a sport the place there have been a variety of proficient folks on the sector, a kind of Massive 12 shootouts. I want we’d have received, however it was simply superior to be part of it.

Riley: I’ve all the time had a variety of confidence in Baker and his capability. I all the time thought he would have an opportunity to be a wonderful professional. I left that evening feeling the identical means about Mahomes.

Plank: Everybody that left that stadium that evening, even when they had been essentially the most die-hard haters of Baker Mayfield, could not assist however come away impressed with what they witnessed.

Johnson: That is why Baker went No. 1. He protects the ball very properly and will get the ball to his playmakers. That is why Pat went prime 10 as properly. He extends performs along with his ft and might make any throw.

Mayfield: Expertise-wise, I believed he ought to’ve been [a No. 1 pick, too, in 2016]. I really like Myles [Garrett, Mayfield’s Cleveland teammate, a defensive end out of Texas A&M who was actually the No. 1 pick that year]. Coming from the Texas Tech system, there are all the time your skeptics about folks doubting the truth that all he did was sit again there and throw the ball. He threw it 88 occasions in our sport, however when it comes all the way down to it, throwing the ball is throwing the ball, and he’s actually good at it.


The aftermath: Exhaustion, appreciation

Instantly afterward, a part of the main target nationally was on the defenses, as an alternative of the unbelievable offenses. However as Mahomes and Mayfield have gone on to NFL stardom, the 2016 OU-Tech sport has come to be appreciated for what it actually was — a quarterbacking traditional.

Rowland: After I was calling it, I used to be pondering in my head, “We’re seeing essentially the most superb faculty soccer sport of all time. These two groups are simply buying and selling haymakers.” Then as quickly as you get on social media, the outcry of anger that individuals who watched it, they did not really feel that means. They had been mad as a result of the protection was so poor.

Lehman: I’ve by no means seen a locker room the place it actually appeared like half of the fellows received the Tremendous Bowl and half of the fellows, like, misplaced to Rutgers.

Okoronkwo: It felt like we misplaced. Yeah, we received the sport, however we gave up [854] yards. It was quiet, we did not say nothing on the bus journey house. We had been ashamed. Everyone was laughing at us. I checked out my Twitter, and I simply deleted the app off there as a result of all our followers had been disgusted with us.

Riley: It would not have mattered that evening actually what protection was on the market. I believe lots of people that noticed the numbers and the rating after the sport and did not watch it missed out. It was a terrific faculty soccer sport.

Kingsbury: It was simply the proper storm for that kind of offensive output. I keep in mind afterward pondering that I used to be actually lucky to have the ability to work with each these guys at one level as a result of it was the very best degree of quarterback play I’ve ever seen in faculty going at one another. A surreal expertise for me.

Mayfield: Bizarre issues occur in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday nights.

Okoronkwo (this week): The very best and second-best quarterback efficiency I’ve ever seen in particular person, and each of them had been in that sport.

Stoops: I undoubtedly felt we had been watching two guys that may be taking part in on Sunday.

Kingsbury: That evening, these two did it nearly as good as you might ever do it in faculty.

Riley: I’ve seen a variety of good offensive performances through the years, and the best way these two quarterbacks performed that evening, they’d rating on anyone. The folks there that noticed it, they ought to think about themselves fortunate. As a result of likelihood is, they’re going to by no means see something prefer it once more.

ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry, Jamison Hensley, Sarah Barshop and Adam Teicher contributed to this report.

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