If Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had to be described in one word, “polarizing” might be the first that comes to mind. Some believe his antics are signs of a Johnny Manziel 2.0, while others believe those actions exude confidence and leadership. There also are questions as to whether the 6-foot-1 senior will be successful in the NFL.
What’s one thing the experts agree on? That Mayfield was the most-deserving candidate for the Heisman Trophy in 2017. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson and Stanford RB Bryce Love both had excellent seasons, but neither reached the heights that Mayfield did.
The former walk-on powered the Sooners to a 12-1 record, a Big 12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Mayfield led the nation in completion percentage (71 percent) and QB rating (203.8), and also finished with 4,340 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.
Before the postseason gets rolling, here’s a look back at the top five moments that helped Mayfield establish himself as the best player in the country this year.
5. The Leadership
Week 6: Iowa State 38, Oklahoma 31
Following a crushing home loss to Cyclones, Mayfield showed maturity and accountability in the post-game press conference. Oklahoma’s season looked to be in jeopardy after this game, but Mayfield’s leadership helped the Sooners refocus and win their final eight contests.
4. The Bounce-Back Performance
Week 7: Oklahoma 29, Texas 24
Mayfield kept his word and got Oklahoma back on track with a thrilling win in the Red River Showdown. He found a wide-open Mark Andrews for the go-ahead score with 6:53 remaining in the game.
3. The Bedlam Game
Week 10: Oklahoma 62, Oklahoma State 52
Statistically speaking, this was Mayfield best performance. The Austin native finished with 598 passing yards and five touchdowns – including an 84-yard score to Marquise Brown in the second quarter.
2. The Conference Title
Week 14: Oklahoma 41, TCU 17 (Big 12 Championship)
Just when the Horned Frogs thought they had a chance, Mayfield threw long touchdown passes to Brown and Mykel Jones to help the Sooners pull away in third quarter. The win locked up a playoff spot for Oklahoma.
1. The Flag Plant
Week 2: Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 16
Mayfield tends to shine brightest in hostile environments. At the Horseshoe, he threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns, and capped the night by planting a Sooner flag inside the Ohio State logo at midfield.