Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield will square off Sunday when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs play host to the Cleveland Browns in the AFC divisional playoffs.
This isn’t the first meeting between the two quarterbacks. In November 2018, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 37-21 victory over the Browns. Their most memorable matchup, however, came two years earlier in a Big 12 Conference shootout between Texas Tech and Oklahoma. In one of the wildest games in college football history, Mayfield led the Sooners to a 66-59 victory.
Sam Farmer, The Times’ NFL writer, recently wrote about the memorable 2016 game, reexamining the records, almost superhuman feats and sideline tortilla tossing that became part of the sports world’s introduction to two next-gen NFL stars in the making.
1. Biblical offense
Each team rolled up exactly 854 yards of offense. Mayfield’s dizzying 545 yards passing seemed modest compared with the jaw-dropping, FBS-record 734 yards racked up by Mahomes. The teams’ combined 1,708 yards was also an FBS record.
“We had to score every single drive in the second half to win that game,” recalled Mayfield, who began his college career as a Texas Tech walk-on before transferring to Oklahoma. “It was an unbelievable game and unbelievable atmosphere. Just the back and forth is something that I will not forget.”
2. 88 passes?
At one point, Mahomes said he lost track of how many passes he had thrown in the game. Who could blame him? He completed 52 of 88 passes with five touchdowns and an interception in the loss.
“I didn’t know I had thrown that many times,” Mahomes said in 2018, before his first NFL matchup against Mayfield. “I remember one of my buddies who was my roommate my freshman year of college, he came up to me the last drive and was like, `You have 77 pass attempts right now.’ I was like, ‘Man, that’s a lot of passes.’”
3. Hoarse throats
CBS play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and analyst Tony Romo better come prepared for Sunday’s game. The 2016 game nearly rendered the announcer’s booth speechless, their voices reduced to near-whispers from the strain of calling so many big plays.
“We literally would suck on lozenges during the game — not because we had any issues when the game started, but we knew we were going to have issues by the time the game ended,” said Brian Jensen, radio play-by-play announcer for Texas Tech games.
4. Sooner be forgotten
Despite winning one of the craziest games in college football history, the football-serious Sooners faithful weren’t particularly pleased with what they witnessed — actually, it seems most of them hated what they saw: OU’s defense getting shredded.
After believing he saw one of the greatest games in Sooners history, Oklahoma play-by-play radio announcer Toby Rowland recalled how most fans didn’t share his view.
“When I got in the car after the game and turned on the radio and looked at social media, I realized that the fan base hated it,” Rowland said. “The fan base was disgusted by it. And to this day they are embarrassed about that game. Even though Oklahoma won it, the way their defense played that night, you are not supposed to talk about that game.”
5. Tortilla attack?
Mahomes’ younger brother, Jackson, was ejected from the game for throwing a tortilla at Mayfield. Their mother, Randi, says it was all in good fun.
“His brother wasn’t throwing it to be mean,” she told the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, who was Fox’s sideline reporter during the game. “He was doing it to be funny. I’ve always said he’s my class clown. Baker picked it up and took a bite out of it. Then Patrick’s brother got thrown out of the game.”
Be sure to read Farmer’s story on the Mahomes vs. Mayfield college classic:
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