Game Primer: OU vs. Tulane

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
2 Oklahoma
OklahomaTulane
Tulane
 September 16 / 5 p.m. CT / Memorial Stadium / Norman

OPENING KICK

• Coming off one of the biggest non-conference road victories in school history, No. 2/3 Oklahoma returns home to host Tulane. It marks the first meeting between the Sooners and Green Wave.

• OU's No. 2 AP ranking is its highest since the 2011 season when it spent four weeks at No. 1 and one week at No. 2.

• This marks the 61st time since the start of the 2000 season that OU has been ranked in the top two of the AP poll. Only Alabama (96 times) and Ohio State (63) have more top-two rankings during that period.

• Lincoln Riley is the 11th head coach in OU history (out of 22) to start his career 2-0. A win Saturday against Tulane would make him the fifth coach to start 3-0, joining V.L. Parrington (1897-98), Jim Mackenzie (1966), Howard Schnellenberger (1995) and Bob Stoops (1999).

• OU is 65-16 (.802) all-time as the AP's No. 2 team, including 30-5 in home games. OU has won 15 straight home contests as the No. 2 team.

FOR THE FANS

• Two hours before each home game, head coach Lincoln Riley and the Sooners will disembark the team buses immediately west of the intersection of Lindsey St. and Jenkins Ave. for the "Walk of Champions." A pep rally, conducted by OU Spirit, will be held 15 minutes prior to the team's arrival. This week's pep rally will be at 2:45 p.m. with the team arriving at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to cheer on the team upon arrival and watch as Coach Riley and the squad walk the final yards west along Lindsey St. to their new locker room.

• Sooner Fan Fest will be held in the Rhyne Hall parking lot directly east of McCasland Field House. It opens at 1 p.m. off Jenkins Ave. and concludes at 4:30 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to meet Boomer and Sooner and have their photos taken with the Sooner Schooner, the mascots and members of the OU spirit squads at the OU Marketing trailer. The Dollar General Big 12 Championship Tailgate Tour will be on hand, and fans can get autographs from Sooner All-Americans Rufus Alexander and Antonio Perkins, as well as see the Big 12 Championship trophy. Other activities at Fan Fest include a live band, a jumbotron showing games from around the country and interactive booths. Food will be available from the following food trucks: Midway Deli, The Meating Place, Let's Go Greek, Phill Me Up Cheesesteaks, That Pie Truck, Kona Ice and Dippin' Dots. And the Sooner Radio Network (flagship 107.7 The Franchise) will be broadcasting live from Fan Fest with Toby Rowland, Merv Johnson, Chris Plank, Ted Lehman and Rufus Alexander.

FIVE KEY STORYLINES

• The last time Oklahoma lost was Sept. 17, 2016 — 52 weeks ago. The Sooners have won 12 games since then, good for the nation's longest current streak, and OU's longest since winning 12 straight in 2004 (started 12-0 before losing in Orange Bowl). The last time it had a longer streak was in 2002 and 2003 when it rattled off 14 straight wins.

• After finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2015 and third in 2016, quarterback Baker Mayfield is off to his best career start in 2017. In three halves (he did not play after halftime against UTEP), Mayfield is 46-for-55 (83.6 percent) through the air with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He is averaging 357.5 passing yards per game and 238.3 per half. Mayfield owns a 228.8 pass efficiency rating through two games after last year setting the FBS single-season record with a 196.4 mark.

• Oklahoma has boasted one of the best big-play passing attacks early in 2017. The Sooners have already completed a nation-leading 15 passes of 20-plus yards. In addition, OU's 36 pass plays of 10 or more yards are tied for third in the country and rank second among Power 5 schools. On the other side of the ball, OU is tied for first nationally (among teams that have played at least two games) by allowing only one pass play of 20 or more yards.

• Outside of Gomer Jones, whose Sooners entered his debut season of 1964 ranked No. 2 in the AP poll, no head coach in OU history has reached a top-three AP national ranking faster than Lincoln Riley (two games). The next fastest were Barry Switzer (first year was 1973; four games), Chuck Fairbanks (first year was 1967; nine games) and Bob Stoops (first year was 1999; 18 games).

• The Sooners have six Louisiana natives on their roster, the fourth highest representation of any state (trailing Texas, Oklahoma and California). They are sophomore offensive lineman Cody Ford (Pineville), sophomore defensive tackle Arthur McGinnis (New Orleans), sophomore wide receiver Mykel Jones (Patterson), sophomore safety Chanse Sylvie (Shreveport), freshman offensive lineman Adrian Ealy (Gonzales) and freshman defensive tackle Troy James (Baton Rouge).

NOTING OU'S 12-GAME WINNING STREAK

• Since losing 45-24 to No. 3 Ohio State on Sept. 17 last season, Oklahoma has rattled off 12 straight victories, good for the nation's longest streak and the 10th longest in OU history. Six of those 12 wins have come against ranked teams.

• The Sooners have outscored their last 12 opponents by 249 points (an average of 20.8) and have outgained them by an average of 167.7 yards.

• Dating back to Oct. 1, 2016, (OU's first win of the streak), the Sooners rank first nationally in completion percentage (74.3), passing TDs (41), TD percentage (11.6 percent of passes), efficiency rating (206.8; next highest is 181.6), yards from scrimmage (6,942) and yards from scrimmage per game (578.5; next most is 558.2 and next highest Power 5 total is 537.4).

SCOUTING TULANE

• Tulane returns to non-conference action this weekend following a 23-21 road setback against Navy in its American Athletic Conference opener. The Green Wave posted a 43-14 season-opening home victory over Grambling.

• Tulane is averaging 371.5 yards of offense through two games, with 243.5 of that total coming on the ground. Senior running back Dontrell Hilliard leads a deep backfield with 104 rushing yards on 27 attempts (3.9 yards per carry; 52.0 per game). Five players have double-digit carries on the year.

• With its 191 rush yards against Navy, Tulane has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in 17 consecutive games.

• In his Green Wave debut, junior quarterback Jonathan Banks was tabbed the Louisiana Sports Writers Association's Offensive Player of the Week following the team's win against Grambling. Banks accounted for four touchdowns and totaled 185 yards passing and 69 yards rushing. An injury against Navy forced him out of the game in the second quarter in favor of sophomore Johnathan Brantley.

• Tulane leads the AAC in total defense, surrendering just 275 yards per game. Its veteran secondary has limited opponent's passing attack to 140 yards per contest. The Green Wave also leads the league with seven sacks.

• Tulane is under the direction of second-year head coach Willie Fritz, who guided the team to a 4-8 record last season. He served 13 years as head coach at Central Missouri, four years at Sam Houston State and two seasons at Georgia Southern. He owns a 159-78 career record.

DEFENSE OFF TO STRONG START

• Oklahoma's defense is off to a stellar start in 2017 after encountering some rough patches last year. Through two games, OU is allowing 11.5 points and 258.5 yards per contest to rank 17th and 18th out of 129 teams nationally. Last season, the Sooners surrendered 28.8 points and 432.0 yards per game on the season.

• Senior defensive end/linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo leads the Big 12 with 2.5 sacks and ranks third with 4.5 tackles for loss. He has 15.5 career sacks to rank second at OU among linebackers.

• A year after allowing 269.4 passing yards per outing on the season, OU has limited UTEP and Ohio State to an average of 138.5 per game.


SOONERS DOMINANT AT HOME

• Oklahoma has won more Big 12 championships over the last 18 years (10) than it has lost home games. OU is 102-9 (.919) at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium since the start of the 1999 season, with all 111 of those games sellouts. It is the best home winning percentage among Power Five schools over the last 18 seasons (Ohio State is next at .875). OU has outscored its opponents by an average of 42-16 in those games.

• OU owns a 42-3 (.932) home non-conference record since the start of the 1999 season. The three home non-conference losses came to TCU in 2005 (17-10), Notre Dame in 2012 (30-13) and Ohio State last season (45-24).

EXTRA POINTS

• Baker Mayfield completed his first 16 pass attempts against UTEP (school record to start a game) and his final 14 pass attempts at Ohio State.

• Oklahoma's game at Ohio State marked the third time an OU team ranked fifth in the AP poll faced the No. 2 team. The Sooners have won all three games and have outscored their opponents by a combined 123-41 margin (beat Nebraska 27-7 in 1985 [OU went on to win the national championship], Texas Tech 65-21 in 2008 [OU went on to play in the BCS Championship Game] and Ohio State 31-16).

• Mayfield was 11-for-12 passing for 213 yards and three TDs in the second quarter against UTEP. The 213 yards rank as the second most by a Sooner in any quarter (Joey Halzle threw for 230 yards in the fourth quarter against Texas Tech in 2007).

• The Sooners have posted a 24-4 (.857) record since since Lincoln Riley's and Mayfield's OU debut (17-1 in Big 12 play), with Mayfield the starter in all 28 contests.

• Redshirt sophomore receiver Lee Morris has recorded his lone two career catches this season, and both have resulted in touchdowns (a 43-yarder vs. UTEP and an 18-yarder at Ohio State). Morris is a walk-on.

• OU has had at least four players selected in each of the last 10 NFL Drafts. LSU (also 10) is the only other school that can make that claim.

RELATED