'I wouldn't have done it': OU's Lincoln Riley says Baylor's late field goal breaks 'code of sportsmanship'

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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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Baylor head coach Dave Aranda and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley shakes hands after an NCAA football in Waco, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.
Baylor head coach Dave Aranda and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley shakes hands after an NCAA football in Waco, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

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."

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Backing up Brkic

Gabe Brkic was due for an off day.

The redshirt junior kicker has been elite for OU all season. Brkic entered Saturday's contest with 17 made field goals on 20 attempts, and five of those makes came from at least 50 yards out.

But the Chardon, Ohio, native had an uncharacteristically poor performance against Baylor. After going wide-right on a 51-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, Brkic went wide-right once again on a 40-yard try in the second quarter.

Brkic finished the day 0-for-2 on field-goal attempts. Saturday's game marked the first time in his four-year OU career that he missed multiple field-goal tries in a game.

Despite the rough outing, Brkic's teammates still expressed confidence in the veteran kicker after the game.

"We’re not losing any confidence in Gabe because we know the things Gabe can do," Turner-Yell said. "I hate to say it, but he was just having a bad day today. Things didn’t go his way. I’m pretty sure he’ll work on those things this upcoming week and fix it going to the Iowa State game."

Brkic is hoping to win his first Lou Groza Award, which is given to college football's top placekicker each season. He was named a semifinalist for the award on Nov. 6, marking the third season in a row that he reached that feat.

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Baylor fans show their displeasure with OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
Baylor fans show their displeasure with OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

Keep hunting

Brian Asamoah got the start on Saturday due to the absence of senior DaShaun White, and he made the most of it.

Asamoah racked up a career-high 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, and the highlight of his performance came in the third quarter.

Baylor's R.J. Sneed hauled in a 9-yard pass, turned and saw a white blur hurling toward him. The clashing of pads echoed throughout the stadium as Asamoah delivered the hit, and the ball popped out of Sneed's hands in the process.

Nik Bonitto then recovered the loose pigskin to give OU possession.

It's unclear what caused White to be scratched from the lineup on Saturday, but Asamoah showed why he entered this season as a breakout candidate.

The redshirt junior linebacker even earned a comparison to former OU star Kenneth "K9" Murray, who now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers.

"Brian played phenomenally," redshirt senior defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas said. "Brian was all over the place. After every drive, I kept telling him 'Keep hunting.' It's impressive to see.

"He kind of looked like K9-esque. It looked like when Kenneth Murray used to fly from left to right, sideline to sideline."

More: Transfers have stepped up for OU football in a variety of ways. Here's how they've ranked in 2021.

Injury updates

Caleb Kelly suffered a season-ending right leg injury during a punt in the third quarter. The redshirt senior linebacker needed help getting off the field, and he later took to Twitter to provide an update on his status.

"Well, looks I've played my last game in the Crimson & Cream," Kelly's tweet read. "I love you Sooner Nation! I gave everything I had and went out on the field. You all turned a California kid into an Oklahoma man.

"We've made a lot of memories that I'll cherish forever! #BoomerSooner. CK out."

Woodi Washington saw game action on Saturday after missing the Sooners' last seven contests. The redshirt sophomore finished the day with two tackles.

OU also got a boost on offense with the return of senior wide receiver Michael Woods, who had missed the team's last two outings. Woods recorded team-highs of four catches and 53 receiving yards against the Bears.

Senior linebacker DaShaun White, freshman outside linebacker Clayton Smith, redshirt freshman safety Bryson Washington and freshman offensive lineman Savion Byrd did not suit up for OU.

Justin Martinez can be reached at jmartinez@oklahoman.com or @JTheSportsDude on Twitter. Make sure to subscribe to The Oklahoman to stay up to date with all local sports.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU vs. Baylor: Lincoln Riley says last-second field goal breaks code