Oklahoma trailed Auburn, 7-0, midway through the first quarter of the 2017 Sugar Bowl. At his own 19-yard line, Baker Mayfield took the 2nd-and-8 snap in the shotgun and — after a play-action fake to running back Semaje Perine — was immediately greeted by Tigers' defensive end Carl Lawson, a 6-foot-2, 253-pound First-Team All-American.
No worries. As Lawson swiped Mayfield's left shoulder with his giant 10.5-inch hands, the Sooners' quarterback calmly slipped past him and hit receiver Nick Basquine for a first down.
The secret? Baby oil. No, not really, but it seemed like it to an Auburn defense who helplessly chased Mayfield all game.
"Man, I guess he put on some baby oil before the game or something because we couldn't grab him," Auburn cornerback Josh Holsey said. "Him extending those plays on third down was crucial. We can't let an offense like that keep continuing to get third downs. When you get a chance to get him, you got to get him, so it was tough letting him keep scrambling, running around."
For the second-straight season, Baker Mayfield was the best under-pressure passer in the nation last year, ranking first with a 119.2 quarterback rating, according to Pro Football Focus. He also threw 10 touchdowns while under pressure, most of any Big 12 quarterback.
"We got to go ahead and get him down, because that kind of hurts," Auburn safety Tray Matthews said. "It was just his day. Like I said, who gets out of that many tackles the whole game? Especially with Carl running at you."
Matthews was right. No one is supposed to get out of that many tackles in a game, especially with one of the nation's most disruptive players repeatedly harassing you. But Matthews is also wrong. It wasn't Mayfield's day; it was Mayfield's year. And unless the Sooners' 2017 opponents have a solution to baby oil, 2017 will be his year — again.