Payback: Celebrations like Sooners' Mayfield often bring it
By LUKE MEREDITH
Sep. 14, 2017
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield set off a firestorm when he grabbed a Sooners flag and planted it at midfield after he and his team knocked off then-No. 2 Ohio State 31-16 on the road last weekend.
If recent history is a guide, Mayfield and the Sooners might want to avoid the Buckeyes in the near future.
Teams that disrespect their opponents often don't have to wait long before getting their comeuppance.
Retribution for perceived slights has been a part of the game for decades. Though Mayfield later apologized for his actions, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has a history of getting even.
"I don't think there's any question that it's a motivator for the other team. That's what coaches do," said Mack Brown, the former Texas coach and current ESPN analyst. "As a coach, I've always said let's make sure it's about how we play, not what we said before or what we did after."
Here are some of memorable paybacks in recent years, including an unforgettable move by Meyer when he was at Florida:
FLORIDA-GEORGIA (CROSS THE) LINE
In the late 2000s, the Florida-Georgia rivalry was as heated as any in the country. Roughly 70 players stormed the end zone after Georgia's first touchdown in 2007, and the fired-up Bulldogs went on to win 42-30. Meyer didn't forget, though. Florida pummeled Georgia 49-10 a year later, and Meyer called two timeouts in the final minute to extend the Bulldogs' misery. Clemson might want to remember that: At its home opener this season, its band spelled out "31-0" — the score the Tigers beat Meyer's Buckeyes by in last year's playoffs.
Michigan State blew a 21-point lead 12 years ago in South Bend before rallying to beat Notre Dame, 44-41. The victory spoiled the home debut of coach Charlie Weis and gave the Spartans five straight wins at Notre Dame Stadium, so few could blame them for celebrating at the Irish's 50-yard line. Notre Dame avenged the loss a year later, outscoring Michigan State 19-0 in East Lansing in the fourth quarter for a 40-37 victory.
"It was basically, 'Hey fellas, what's it gonna be? Are we just going to be a bunch of also-rans or are we going to come out here and give it a chance to win the game?'" Weis said.
CANES? NOT SO ABLE
Louisville wasn't the consistent national power that it is these days when Miami visited back in 2006. The 17th-ranked Hurricanes decided it would be a good idea to stomp on the Cardinal logo at midfield before kickoff. Louisville throttled Miami 31-7 — starting a downslide that culminated with coach Larry Coker's firing at the end of the season.
"Our players are embarrassed. Our coaches are embarrassed. We thoroughly got whipped," Coker said.
DON'T HEDGE YOUR BETS
After Georgia Tech beat Georgia in Athens three years ago, some off the Yellow Jackets celebrated by picking off some of the famed hedges in Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs returned the favor in Atlanta in 2015, prompting some of Georgia's players to plant their flag at midfield.
"They're our little brothers for a reason. They got a little bit out of line last year, and we had to get them back in place," Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins said.
DON'T MESS WITH SABAN
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had fun tweaking rival Alabama during a six-year Iron Bowl winning streak. That included flashing five fingers toward fans after a 22-15 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2006 that ended coach Mike Shula's tenure at Alabama. Shula's dismissal led to Nick Saban's hiring, and Saban handed the Tigers a 36-0 defeat in 2008 to help end Tuberville's reign. Alabama has won seven of the last nine meetings with Auburn.
AP Sports Writer John Zenor contributed to this report from Birmingham, Alabama.