WACO, Texas — The game was essentially over.
A handful of seconds stood between Baylor and a shocking upset over Oklahoma on Saturday at McLane Stadium. The Bears held a 24-14 lead with 43 seconds left when they took a quarterback knee at the Sooners’ 13-yard line.
Baylor’s fans voiced their excitement as the final seconds trickled down, but the Bears called a timeout with three seconds remaining.
That meant little to the fans, who prematurely stormed the field. The stadium’s announcer pleaded with the group to return to its seats to little avail.
Meanwhile, OU’s players retreated to the tunnel amid the chaotic scene.
“Well, it became a safety issue,” OU head coach Lincoln Riley said. “I care about the safety of my players… I’m pulling them off… How the officials don’t enforce a 15-yard penalty when you’ve probably got 5,000 people on the field is unbelievable to me.”
Officials urged OU to return to the sideline, which had been overrun by Baylor fans at this point after they’d been corralled by security.
It took around 10 minutes for the Sooners to comply. OU’s staff eventually summoned 11 players from the tunnel, which was just enough for the final play of the game.
No more. No less.
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The Sooners lined up for what figured to be another quarterback kneel, but Baylor had something else in mind. The Bears instead lined up for a 32-yard field goal attempt, and Riley stood on the field as Hankins kicked the ball through the uprights to seal the 27-14 victory.
Thousands of Baylor fans engulfed the turf in a matter of seconds, and Riley met Bears head coach Dave Aranda at midfield for a brief handshake before shuffling past the crowd and entering the tunnel.
“There’s a code of sportsmanship that I believe in,” Riley said of the late field goal. “I wouldn’t have done it. But that’s his decision. That’s his football team.”
In all fairness, the Sooners haven’t always followed the code of sportsmanship either.
OU burned some bridges when it shocked the Big 12 by setting itself up to join the SEC along with Texas, but Aranda claimed he attempted the late field goal for a different reason.
Baylor is right in the middle of a heated race for the Big 12 title, and Aranda opted to kick the field goal for point differential in case of a three-way tie.
“(Riley) was upset, and I can understand why,” Aranda said. “I consider Lincoln a friend, so I’m sure we’ll talk here pretty quick.”
In actuality, the extra three points won’t help Baylor’s cause in the Big 12 title race.
Point differential is used to break a three-way tie in which the tied teams’ results against the rest of the conference teams are exactly the same.
That scenario does not exist this season, making the late field goal useless.
“To see (Baylor) kick a field goal at the end of the game was kind of crazy to me,” senior safety Delarrin Turner-Yell said. “Why are you kicking a field goal? It’s third down with three seconds left. Why don’t you just kneel the ball and get off the field? Maybe that’s something they have with their program.”