Oklahoma looked helpless last September as playoff-bound Ohio State embarrassed the Sooners on their home field, 45-24.
A year later, the Sooners returned the favor in the second half and looked like a playoff-caliber team in the process, rolling over Ohio State, 31-16.
If not for early miscues, it could have been even worse. The No. 5 Sooners outgained No. 2 Ohio State 222-97 yards in the first half but went to the locker room at halftime tied at three, thanks to a missed field goal and two fumbles. The Sooners fell behind 10-3 in the third quarter but took control from there.
Each of Oklahoma's first six drives reached Ohio State territory, but the Sooners couldn't capitalize. That changed in the second half, and the Buckeyes' punchless offense, which inexplicably drifted away from handing the ball to freshman running back J.K. Dobbins, couldn't keep up.
Since Lincoln Riley's arrival as offensive coordinator, Oklahoma is 24-0 when scoring at least 30 points. In Riley's first road game as head coach, he dropped Urban Meyer to 34-3 in Columbus.
And Baker Mayfield? He talks a big game about hate fueling him and backs it up. Saturday's win made him 10-0 in true road games at Oklahoma. He finished 27-35 for 386 yards and three scores. He also completed his final 14 passes and did it without his most reliable target, Mark Andrews, who left in the second quarter with a knee injury and didn't return.
"He's the best quarterback in America and he played like it tonight and led our team," Lincoln Riley told ESPN after the game.
That vintage Mayfield touchdown pass seen above showcased his elusiveness and was his third of the half. It gave the Sooners a double-digit lead and earned some fist pumps from his old coach and Riley's old boss in a box upstairs.
Bob Stoops is loving it. pic.twitter.com/ufUItrEnGN- ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 10, 2017
Riley avenged Stoops' loss from a year ago, and continued a trend: Road teams are 4-0 in all four meetings between two of college football's bluest bloods.
The offensive woes that plagued Ohio State in the first three quarters of its Week 1 win over Indiana re-appeared. The running game was non-existent and Barrett struggled to find receivers downfield when they couldn't separate themselves from Oklahoma's cornerbacks. They were the same kind of struggles that brought Ohio State's season to an end with a 31-0 disappointment against Clemson in the playoff semifinal last season.
J.T. Barrett opinions are hot right now, but I don't think one receiver has gotten open more than 3 yards downfield this entire game.- Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) September 10, 2017
The Buckeyes' only touchdown of the half came after a 56-yard return to open the second half, and Oklahoma's Parnell Motley baited Barrett into an interception on the first play of OSU's first drive of the fourth quarter, setting up another Sooners touchdown that put them ahead, 31-13.
Barrett finished 19-35 for 183 yards and an interception.
Entering tonight, J.T. Barrett had a career completion pct of just 44.8% on throws 10+ yds downfield vs Power 5 opponents. Not great.- CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) September 10, 2017
Mayfield, a senior, won't be coming back to Columbus in his career, and he wouldn't be welcome if he did. After the win, he grabbed an OU flag, ran by the Oklahoma section of the stadium and planted it at midfield.
Baker Mayfield at midfield after the win… WOW pic.twitter.com/VBanaG5yTJ- Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) September 10, 2017
Ohio State entered the night as the chief competition to top-ranked Alabama. But when it was over, the Sooners looked the part of the nation's No. 2 team and if Mayfield keeps doing what he's done his entire career, he's a shoe-in for a third consecutive year of serious Heisman consideration.
Oklahoma stumbled to a 1-2 start last season before ripping off 10 consecutive wins. That streak is now an FBS-best 12 games and 2017 has already taken on a very different feel for the Sooners.
This could be their time.