After captaining a landmark upset over then-No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 9, Mayfield once again established his presence in the college football world by planting a flag embroidered with the interlocking “OU” logo at the center of Ohio Stadium. The former walk-on played his first college football game in August 2013 for Texas Tech, throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns. Nothing has changed since.
Mayfield’s incredible accuracy and down-the-field vision have bolstered him into the conversation as the conference’s best quarterback for years. In 2015 and 2016, Mayfield was recognized for his gunslinging abilities with top-four finishes in Heisman Trophy voting. This season, the senior’s numbers are off the charts. Playing with a passionate vibe, Mayfield has thrown for an average of 327 yards per game this season, topping it off with 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Tight end, #81
With running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon heading to NFL landscapes along with wide receiver Dede Westbrook, it seemed as if the Oklahoma Sooners ran out of offensive weapons entering 2017. But returning to the crimson and cream was junior tight end Mark Andrews. Andrews has been a focal point of the Sooners’ offense all season long and currently leads the team in both receptions and receiving yards.
Andrews has caught two touchdown passes this season and experienced a career game in a Week 1 win over the UTEP Miners, catching seven balls for 134 yards. The two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection (Associated Press) stands at 6-feet-5-inches tall, creating key mismatches for defenders in the size and strength departments. While teams are drifting away from the utilization of the tight end, head coach Lincoln Riley uses the position to his strength up in Norman, Oklahoma.
Thomas has become accustomed to suiting up for the Sooners now. Saturday will be the senior’s 34th start and 43rd collegiate game. With plenty of time to make noise on the field, Thomas has thrown himself into program history, ranking ninth all-time with 27 pass deflections. The two-time All-Big 12 selection has seven career interceptions, but zero in the Red River Rivalry.
The veteran corner must continue to step up at his position and lead the Oklahoma secondary, especially after the season-ending injury of fellow cornerback Jordan Parker in the season opener.
Strong safety, #10
Parker possesses the necessary skill set to play at the next level. The senior strong safety is especially proficient in his hitting ability. For two consecutive seasons, the Tulsa native has posted at least 40 tackles, including several hits in opposing backfields.
Parker also recorded two interceptions for the Sooners’ defense last season, finishing second on the team. He has previously been featured on an All-Big 12 team and is continuing the success in the 2017 season. Parker has displayed consistency, attaining the three-tackle mark in each of his five games this season. Saturday will be his fourth career game in Dallas against the Longhorns.