The seventh ranked Oklahoma opened the Lincoln Riley era against the UTEP Miners on Saturday, and the Sooners, looking to bring the Big 12 title back to Norman for the third straight year, looked every bit of a playoff contender Saturday.
Okolahoma scorched the Miners 56-7 behind a balanced attack led by Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield. Mayfield nearly played a perfect game going 19-20 for 329 yards with three touchdowns.
We knew Mayfield is an elite QB, tough. The questions for this team is who is around Mayfield. The Sooners came into this game looking for skill position to step up and show they can fill the void left by Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon and Dede Westbrook. Some of that was answered in week one. Eight different Sooners scored Saturday displaying their underrated offensive depth.
Veteran Mark Andrews impressed as usual with seven receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. Kentucky transfer Jeff Badet also showed his explosiveness with 91 receiving yards. Freshman sensation, CeeDee Lamb, got his feet wet scoring his first collegiate touchdown, and Sooner fans have to be pleased with way Abdul Adams and Marcelias Sutton ran the ball. Kyler Murray even got some meaningful snaps going 10-11 for 149 yards and a touchdown. If Mayfield were to go down, Murray looks primed and ready to run the offense.
On the other side of the ball, led by Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Steven Parker, the Sooner’s defense finally flexed its muscles. They held the Miner’s offense to just seven points. The Miners won’t test the defense like a bunch of other teams will this season, but what we have seen so far is solid.
These kind of games don’t answer a lot of questions as much as they can cause new ones should a team not play well. The good news is that the Sooners did what they were supposed to do. The jury is still out on whether or not the Sooners can replace key production from a year ago, the OU faithful have to like what they’ve seen so far.
Oklahoma does not seem to have skipped a beat in the transition from Bob Stoops to Lincoln Riley. However, the honeymoon is now over. The Oklahoma Sooners will now travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the second ranked Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday. Last year the Buckeyes embarrassed the Sooners 45-21 in Norman.
|3rd Down Eff||4-12||4-7|
|4th Down Eff||0-0||0-2|
|Yards Per Pass||3.5||13.8|
|Yards Per Rush||3.5||4.7|
|UTEP – R. Metz||10/18||56||3.1||0||0||18.6|
|OU – B. Mayfield||19/20||329||16.5||3||0||97.9|
|UTEP – W. Dawn Jr||7||56||8.0||1||29|
|OU – A. Adams||7||53||7.6||0||16|
|UTEP – E. Sinegal||3||20||6.7||0||8|
|OU – M. Andrews||7||134||19.1||1||45|
Emptying The Notebook
Bad news here
Head Coach Lincoln Riley says that sophomore CB Jordan Parker is out for the season with a knee injury suffered against UTEP.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) September 4, 2017
Of note, running back Abdul Adams got the start over Rodney Anderson. It was a bit of a surprise as it was commonly thought that Anderson had passed Adams on the depth chart before the season.
You have to like the way the Sooners came out focused. It would have been easy to overlook UTEP with the trip to Ohio State up next, but coach Riley had this team focused on the job at hand.
ESPN’s College GameDay is headed to Columbus
Get ready, Columbus.
We're coming your way for Oklahoma-Ohio State! pic.twitter.com/5CWb0V9JJG
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 3, 2017