KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee couldn't stop its recent history of frustration against Top 25 foes. And the latest setback may have been the most heartbreaking of all.
Baker Mayfield threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard in double overtime and No. 19 Oklahoma rallied from a 17-point deficit in a 31-24 victory Saturday over No. 23 Tennessee. Zack Sanchez clinched Oklahoma's victory by picking off a Joshua Dobbs pass.
The Volunteers (1-1) have lost 28 of their last 29 games against ranked teams and are 2-34 versus the Top 25 since 2008.
"They gave their all, and we came up a little bit short," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said.
Tennessee went ahead 17-0 in the first 18 minutes of the game and still led 17-3 until Mayfield engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. After going 8 of 25 for 84 yards with two interceptions in the first three quarters, Mayfield was 11 of 14 for 103 yards with three touchdown passes plus a touchdown run in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"We had a job to do, and we just didn't get it done late in the game," said Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who had 21 tackles.
The improbable nature of Oklahoma's victory had Sooners coach Bob Stoops comparing it to a 35-31 triumph over Texas A&M during the 2000 national championship season.
"It's one of the more special wins, maybe my favorite of all of them," Stoops said. "A little Sooner magic came back out. It reminded me of maybe like we're back at A&M back in 2000, where we made some plays to win the game that you feel pretty fortunate and blessed to make."
Oklahoma (2-0) beat a Southeastern Conference team for the third straight year after capping the 2013 season with a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama and knocking off Tennessee last season.
The Sooners silenced what had been a raucous sellout Neyland Stadium crowd of 102,455 - the largest gathering ever to see an Oklahoma game.
"Their crowd was outstanding," Stoops said. "It couldn't have been a better, more fun place to play. I feel fortunate we were able to make the plays we did down the stretch to win the game."
Oklahoma forced overtime on Mayfield's 5-yard touchdown pass to Shepard in the right corner of the end zone with 40 seconds left. Tennessee went back ahead 24-17 on Jalen Hurd's 8-yard touchdown run in its first overtime possession, but Oklahoma answered with Mayfield's 1-yard keeper on fourth-and-goal.
Hurd finished with 106 yards and became the first Oklahoma opponent to rush for at least 100 yards since Alabama's Derrick Henry in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. A Tennessee defense that had allowed 433 yards passing last week in a 59-30 victory over Bowling Green held Oklahoma's offense in check for the first three quarters.
It still wasn't quite enough.
"You roll your sleeves up, come back at it tomorrow and you work," Jones said. "You let this drive you, you let this fuel you. I told them don't ever lose this feeling. When there's a day you don't feel like coming to practice or you don't feel like working hard, think about how you feel right now."