The Lincoln Riley era is off to a great start at Oklahoma, and Baker Mayfield’s supreme accuracy in the early going has only fueled the talk of a potential Heisman Trophy campaign. The third-ranked Sooners attempt to avoid a letdown at home following a convincing win at Ohio State last weekend when they wrap up their non-conference slate against Tulane on Saturday.
After going 19-of-20 for 329 yards and three touchdowns in a season-opening win over UTEP, Mayfield went 27-of-35 for 386 yards and three more scores against the Buckeyes as Oklahoma pulled away in the second half for a 31-16 victory, extending their winning streak to 12 games by avenging their last loss. “We never got down, even with the ebbs and flows of the game. We just stayed with it. We competed at a high, high level. I was proud of them, but we expected to win this game,” Riley told the school’s website. The senior quarterback also made headlines for what he did following the game, planting a flag bearing the school’s logo in the middle of Ohio State’s home field as he celebrated with his teammates after the game. The Green Wave kicked off the season with a 43-14 rout of Grambling for their first season-opening win in four years, but their bid to begin 2-0 for the first time since 2002 fell short in a 23-21 setback at Navy last weekend.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, No TV. LINE: Oklahoma -34.
ABOUT TULANE (1-1): Quarterback Jonathan Banks, who accounted for four touchdowns in the opener, did not return after taking a hard hit in the second quarter against Navy and is questionable for this weekend’s contest. In his absence, sophomore backup Johnathan Brantley proved his ability to lead Willie Fritz’s zone-read offense with a team-high 73 rushing yards and a score. After averaging 5.6 yards per carry and leading the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, senior running back Dontrell Hilliard is off to a bit of a slow start with only 104 yards on 27 attempts through two games.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (2-0): Mayfield went 16-of-17 for 228 yards and threw for all three of his TDs in the second half against the Buckeyes - a feat made more all the more impressive considering the absence of his favorite target, junior tight end Mark Andrews, who injured his left knee before halftime and did not return. Riley told the school’s website that he believes Andrews, who led the Sooners with seven catches and 134 receiving yards in the opener, will be able to play versus the Green Wave. Freshman Trey Sermon came off the bench against Ohio State and totaled 95 yards on 20 touches after no player accounted for more than 11 touches against UTEP.
1. Mayfield, who has been named Big 12 Player of the Week after each of the first two games, is the first player in conference history to sweep the award in the first two weeks of the season without sharing the honor.
2. The Green Wave have rushed for at least 100 yards in 17 consecutive contests.
3. The Sooners’ defense either forced a turnover or held Ohio State to zero or negative yards on 23 of 69 offensive plays last weekend.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 56, Tulane 10