Oklahoma’s 2017 football season is officially underway, and it’s started much better than last season. OU had almost no trouble putting UTEP away in Saturday’s 56-7 route. It only took two minutes and 16 seconds for OU to get on the board and never look back.
Baker Mayfield was almost perfect in his season debut, as he went 19/20 for 329 yards and three touchdowns. He was able to do anything he wanted as he carved through UTEP’s defense like a hot knife through butter. His favorite target on Saturday was tight end Mark Andrews, who hauled in seven cathes for 134 yards and a touchdown. True freshman CeeDee scored his first collegiate touchdown late in the second quarter and finished with three catches for 21 yards.
Mayfield was relieved of his duties at halftime by Kyler Murray. Riley obviously wanted to ensure Mayfield was 100% healthy for OU’s week 2 matchup against Ohio State in Columbus next weekend, but the early pull also gave Murray a chance to shine in his first game since 2015.
Murray went 10/11 for 149 yard and a touchdown in relief of Mayfield. OU’s running-game also looked strong with Abdul Adams, Marcelias Sutton, Trey Sermon and Rodney Anderson combining for 27 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
The Sooners’ defense recovered from a lackluster opening drive to pitch a shutout the the rest of the way. OU held UTEP to 167 total yards of offense. The win was not without without sacrifice as sophomore cornerback Jordan Parker left with a leg injury in the first quarter. He was spotted on the sideline on crutches wearing a knee brace later in the game. The extent of Parker’s injury is currently unknown.
There did not to be any sort of drop off following the transition from Bob Stoops to Linclin Riley. When asked about his team’s mentality headed into the game, Riley said, “It’s like Bob said before, that Knute Rockne died a long time ago. He said that about pregame speeches, they’re overrated. They’re either ready to play or they’re not, and I was very confident that our guys were ready to play.”
Two high-profile recruits were in attendance Saturday. 2018 three-star wide reciever Brian Asamoah and 2019 four star reciever Trejan Bridges were in Norman to witness the Sooners’ throttling of the Miners. 247’s crystal ball currently has OU has heavy favorites to land both recruits, and Bridges retweeted a tweet from 2019 OU quarterback commit Spencer Rattler lobbying Bridges to join him in Norman.
Riley has to feel good about the way his team performed headed into next week’s marquee matchup against Ohio State. The Sooners were embarassed by the Buckeyes 45-24 in Norman last year. Mayfield and company will no doubt have revenge on the brain as they roll into Columbus next Saturday.