Sooners Dazzle in Riley's Head Coaching Debut
NORMAN -- Oklahoma ushered in the Lincoln Riley era with a commanding 56-7 victory over UTEP on Saturday at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. OU racked up 676 total yards of offense and saw eight different Sooners score a touchdown.
Making his 27th straight start, quarterback Baker Mayfield opened the season by completing his first 16 passes – the most consecutive completions to start a game in program history. Only playing in the first half, Mayfield finished the opener 19-for-20 through the air for 329 yards and three TDs (282.7 efficiency rating). His passing yardage pushed Mayfield past Jason White (7,922) into third place on OU's career passing yards list (7,994).
“I'm really proud of how our kids responded,” Riley said. “It was a complete effort. Offensively, we moved the ball well the majority of the day.”
Mark Andrews had career highs of seven catches and 134 yards, all in the first half, for the Sooners. Jeff Badet, a transfer from Kentucky, added 91 yards on four catches as the Sooners warmed up for a showdown next weekend at No. 2 Ohio State.
Walter Dawn Jr. ran for 56 yards and UTEP's only touchdown. The Miners were held to 167 total yards.
“I was really proud of the way they settled down,” Riley said of Oklahoma's defense. “The coaches did a good job of settling them down. They really settled in and played well defensively. Controlled the line of scrimmage and made competitive plays.”
Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston last season and started with a 1-2 record. This was the kind of start Riley envisioned.
“Fun to see this team get off to a great start, which has been not a rallying cry, but really a point of emphasis for this group,” he said. “We really take it personal the way we've played early in the year the last few years.”
Oklahoma travels to No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 9. The Buckeyes started off slow before rolling past Indiana 49-21 on Thursday. Ohio State beat Oklahoma 45-24 in Norman last season.