Patrick Mahomes entered Texas Tech's Oct. 22, 2016 game against Oklahoma with a sprained throwing shoulder, according to ESPN. That made what he did next all the more remarkable.
Mahomes finished that Saturday game with 88 pass attempts. He threw for 734 yards through the air, tying an FBS record. He even ran for another 85 yards and two scores, meaning he set the FBS record for total offense by an individual in a game. And, oh yeah, Texas Tech lost.
On the other sideline was Baker Mayfield, a year away from winning the Heisman Trophy but already a high-end quarterback talent. He threw for a relatively ho-hum 545 yards and an Oklahoma record seven touchdown passes by comparison. The Sooners won, 66-59.
Ahead of their first playoff meeting in the NFL, a 2021 divisional-round game between the Chiefs and Browns, this is a look back at one of the most incredible offensive showcases in college football history. When ESPN asked the coaches from that day, Lincoln Riley and Kliff Kingsbury, to describe it, they both used one word: "Epic."
These days, the word "epic" is mostly used as an adjective, but this Mahomes and Mayfield showdown could just as easily be described as an epic, a story passed down about legendary or heroic characters. Mahomes and Mayfield were certainly legendary that day.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Baker Mayfield college game box score
The story of Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes' epic college game in 2016
This matchup marked Mayfield's first game-action return to Lubbock, Texas since he'd transferred away from Texas Tech. He'd actually hosted Mahomes on Mahomes' recruiting visit, so there was an extra level of familiarity between these foes.
Oklahoma had a loaded offense around Mayfield that included Bengals running back Joe Mixon, Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook and Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. He also had standout left tackle Orlando Brown protecting him. Mahomes' top receiver was also bound for the NFL in the form of current Texans wideout Keke Coutee, along with current Titans receiver Cameron Batson.
The Sooners quickly grabbed a 13-0 lead. Mayfield threw a 56-yard touchdown to Mixon, then following a fumble, he connected with Westbrook for a 49-yard score. Less than four minutes had passed, but Texas Tech scored the next 10 points and wouldn't go away.
By halftime, it was 30-24 Oklahoma, but the offenses became even more unstoppable in the second half. The Red Raiders punted on the first drive of the second half, but then every drive for the rest of the game, 10 in total, concluded in touchdowns. Turned out that third-quarter Texas Tech punt was costly, because they'd lose by one score.
"You just run out of plays," Kingsbury told ESPN in 2018. "When you're calling that many plays — and that many pass plays — you're drawing stuff up in the dirt and trying to get people open at the end of it."
There were too many yards, too many scores, too many NFL-ready skills on display for one or two to stand the test of time. Rather, it's the final statsheet, the Mahomes and Mayfield records, that really stand out. Mahomes had a decent month in one game, some might say. Mayfield had one of the most efficient performances in college football history.
It may have been easy at the time to dismiss the 66-59 scoreline as a classic, no-defense Big 12 contest. In retrospect, though, it's obvious just how much talent was on the field that night. The defenses never stood a chance.
"I've seen a lot of good offensive performances over the years," Riley told ESPN in 2018, "and the way those two quarterbacks played that night, they'd score on anybody. The people there that saw it, they ought to consider themselves lucky. Because chances are, they'll never see anything like it again."
.@bakermayfield and @PatrickMahomes rewrote the NCAA record books when Oklahoma and Texas Tech met on Oct 22, 2016.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 12, 2021
Mayfield would throw for 545 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 734 yards and 5 touchdowns in the Sooners’ 66-59 win.pic.twitter.com/SJ3e1Sf6qm
The craziest stats from Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield
Mahomes' stats from this crazy game are already on this page multiple times, but they're worth repeating: 52-of-88 passing for 734 yards and five touchdowns, with another 85 yards and two scores on the ground. His 819 total yards of offense is an FBS record for a single game.
In college, Mahomes put up huge numbers, but this was an outlier even for him. Sure, he broke 500 passing yards on four other occasions, but he never was above 600 besides this game with 734. And he'd never attempted nearly this many passes, with the second-most in his college career being 62 attempts.
In his pro career, the most Mahomes has thrown for in a game is 478. Combined with his following outing in 2018 of 295 yards, he had a two-game stretch there with 773 yards, only slightly more than he had on that single night in Lubbock in 2016.
If not for what Mahomes and Mayfield did, Mixon may have been the headliner of the matchup. He finished with 31 carries for 263 yards and two touchdowns while adding four catches for 114 yards and another three touchdowns. That made Mixon the first player in OU history to rush for at least 200 yards and receive at least 100 yards in the same game.
Within all the statistical craziness, Mixon's 263 rushing yards rank as his college career-high by more than 100 yards. Somehow, all the passing didn't stop Mixon from tearing Texas Tech apart on the ground, too.
Dede and Keke
All the huge numbers almost make Dede Westbrook and Keke Coutee's receiving days feel boring. But they're still worth singling out.
For Oklahoma, Westbrook had nine catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. It was the second-best receiving game of his college career after he had 232 receiving yards against Texas two weeks earlier.
Coutee caught 10 passes for 172 yards and a score from Mahomes. It was one of seven college games in which Coutee surpassed 150 receiving yards. He was joined near the century mark by Jonathan Giles (10 catches, 167 yards, two TDs) and Cameron Batson (nine catches, 99 yards, one TD).
854 is the magic number
Of all the near-impossible to believe aspects of this game, this one takes the cake: Both Oklahoma and Texas Tech finished with exactly 854 yards of total offense.
The odds of two teams in one football game equaling each other in total yards in general aren't very high. Now consider the odds of meeting up at the outlandish 854 yards apiece. Texas Tech was almost entirely the Mahomes show, with his 819 total yards accounting for 95.9 percent of the Red Raiders' yardage.