The Oklahoma Sooners coaching staff could not have picked a more perfect week to show its players highlights of the New England Patriots' epic comeback from trailing 28-3 to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
The No. 8 ranked Sooners actually found themselves trailing 28-3 in the second quarter of Saturday night's road game against undefeated and No. 13 ranked Baylor Bears.
What's more, a second-half fumble played a role in the comeback, which is exactly what happened to the Patriots when linebacker Dont'a Hightower caused Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to fumble, leading to a New England touchdown on the ensuing drive.
The similarities, amazingly, don't end there. Oklahoma completed the comeback with a 34-31 victory. The Patriots scored the same number of points in their overtime win versus the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley gave this reaction to the Norman Transcript's Tyler Palmateer:
“We watched a few clips,” said cornerback Parnell Motley, whose forced fumble was part of the rally. “[We watched] Virginia (basketball), the struggles they went through, when they lost to a 16-seed (in 2018) and when they almost did (in 2019), but they redeemed themselves. Another (clip) they watched was the Patriots and the Falcons (Super Bowl) and it was just the same scenario. It's crazy how ironic it is. They were up 28-3. We watched how the Patriots faced adversity and how things went. It was a great win, my team responded."
The Sooners absolutely had to win this game to keep their slim College Football Playoff hopes alive. Oklahoma is 9-1, but the Big 12 schedule doesn't offer it many more good opportunities to establish a playoff-worthy résumé. The Sooners entered last weekend ranked No. 10 in the latest CFP rankings, so unless a bunch of teams ahead of them lose, don't expect to see Oklahoma back in the playoff this season.
However, the memories of this historic comeback Saturday night at Baylor will stick with these Oklahoma players for a long time, and the experience certainly will help those who wind up playing on Sundays in the near future.
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