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Mayfield’s Bedlam finale far more than what stats say

STILLWATER  Nobody was going to be surprised by a shootout in Bedlam 2017, with two of the top five offenses in the country facing off.

But it was Oklahoma State's passing game that was supposed to be uncoverable, while Oklahoma would try to rely on precision passing by Baker Mayfield and an emerging running game.

Mayfield was expected to play well, but even the most passionate Oklahoma fan had to be in awe of what No. 6 did Saturday in a 62-52 Bedlam win in Stillwater.

Not only did he take aim at the school record for passing yards in a game from an early stage in the game, he likely put his name at the top of the Heisman Trophy race.

But beyond any of that, Mayfield delivered a performance that nobody in attendance, regardless of allegiance, will forget any time soon, if ever. And he helped solidify his place as perhaps the best quarterback to ever wear the crimson and cream.

In this age of spread offenses, advanced statistics and social media hype, it's easy to put a lot of emphasis on numbers. Who had the best numbers? What records did you set?

But let's step away from that for a moment.

This game was less about Mayfield's gaudy passing stats. When you play for more than four hours, run 164 combined plays and six scoring drives last less than a minute, you're going to put up ridiculous numbers. 

But when discussions arise about Mayfield's legacy at Oklahoma, the first thing people will talk about likely won't be his stats. It might not even be his off-the-charts winning percentage, even though he still has not lost a true road game as a Sooner.

When people remember Baker Mayfield's career at Oklahoma, they will recall the personality and the leadership. He is captain, steering his team's ship into eye of the storm. And more often than not, the ship comes out unscathed.

Now, his hair, charisma and attitude might be more akin to that of a professional wrestler than a captain. 

But don't get it twisted. Moments like this  matchups of top teams, rivalry games and hostile atmospheres where opposing students hold up pictures of his mugshot from his January public intoxication arrest  they do not faze him. 

They fuel him.

"He's been through enough of these, he doesn't blink," Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said. "He doesn't flinch. He's made for atmospheres like this. This is his favorite thing in the world, to play in these types of games, and I think it shows."

Even if Mayfield had not set the single-game record for passing yards, his performance would have gone down as one of the more remarkable I have seen in person. He constantly rose to the occasion, making the throws and making the plays when his team needed them most.

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