NORMAN – In 2014, then-No. 10 Baylor rolled into Norman and blistered then-No. 16 Oklahoma 48-14 as the Bears’ passing attack amassed almost 400 yards.
Former quarterback Bryce Petty (now with the New York Jets) connected with former Bear Corey Coleman who had 15 catches and 224 yards receiving. With that victory, Baylor had won three of the last four from the Sooners.
Baylor coach Art Briles is gone and so are Petty and Coleman. Bob Stoops has retired and Lincoln Riley, who was not even on the staff for that game, is now head coach. That 2014 script seems to be reversed for the Saturday OU-Baylor game in Waco.
No. 3 Oklahoma is 3-0 and Baylor is 0-3 under new head coach Matt Rhule.
Baylor lost to Duke 20-34 Saturday and the offense had only 57 years on 27 rushing attempts. The Bears, with their typically weak nonconference schedule, opened with a loss to Liberty and then fell to UTSA. This is their worst start to a season since going 0-4 in 1999. Their best player is receiver Chris Platt, who has 11 catches for 308 yards this season.
Oklahoma has defeated then-No. 2 Ohio State, UTEP and last Saturday, the Sooners raced past Tulane 56-14 in Norman.
In that game, quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 331 yards and four touchdowns. The Sooners are ranked No. 3 behind Alabama and Clemson in major polls.
Freshman receiver CeeDee Lamb caught four passes for 131 yards and two scores before he was ejected on a controversial call of targeting when he made a block in the second quarter. Riley said he had thought the call would have been overturned and that he would communicate with the Big 12 officials this week to get a clarification.
Wideout Marquise Brown pulled in six catches for 155 yards and an 87-yard touchdown.
Tulane favors the run in an option offense similar to the wishbone, scored on their first two drives Saturday and was tied with OU at 14-14 in the early going.
“The option attack is tough,” Riley said. “You card up everything you see, but they do it 365 days a year. Our scout team does it four days a year. It’s hard. I think just the speed of it initially on the first series and when you don’t stop it the first time sometimes you try to start doing things on your own and that’s when you really, really get in trouble and there was some of that certainly on the second drive.
“Our coaches just did a good job keeping their poise. We knew we had a good plan against it if we just settled in and just did our job and once we got that interception returned, that got our confidence going and we played more aggressively after that.”
“We were running inside zone quite a bit and had some nice seams,” said Tulane coach Willie Fritz. “The few times that they would squeeze it we would do pretty well with running the quarterback and running the ball as well. It looked good early but they made some adjustments and started bringing more people. In the second half, corner blitzes and just having a few more people that we couldn’t account for at the point of attack.”
Tulane running back Dontrell Hilliard got 104 yards against OU – mostly in the first half – and passed the 2,000 yard mark in career rushing.
“The atmosphere was crazy, you couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere – they sold the whole stadium out,” Hilliard said about playing at OU. “That’s what we’re here for and we’re here to play ball.”
Oklahoma’s improved defense limited Tulane to just 54 passing yards, the fewest allowed by OU since 2015 (45 at Kansas State).
“(We) just weren’t very alert early and not very sharp. That’s what happens, especially against a team like that,” said OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. “I thought they played well in the first half and executed what they wanted to do. Their play was good and that’s a tough offense to defend.”
Oklahoma has won 13 games in a row – the longest winning streak in the nation. Fans are calling it a “Baker’s dozen” because of the outstanding play by Mayfield.
Mayfield said the Sooners had to adjust to playing Tulane after a big win over Ohio State.
“Not every game is going to be Saturday night at 7 o’clock with the whole country watching and playing the No. 2 team in the country,” Mayfield said. “So obviously last week was a little different feel than (Saturday). But that’s up to the leaders to get our guys to focus in on the next game. We were focused starting Thursday but we were a little too sloppy during the week before that. We have to realize we have to take it one game at a time.
“Ohio State was not the highlight of our year, we haven’t played a conference game yet. We have to focus in and take it one week at a time and play with that chip on our shoulder like we have been throughout this year.”
Mayfield’s 82-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb in the first quarter and the 87-yard passing touchdown from backup quarterback Kyler Murray to Brown in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma had multiple pass plays of 80 or more yards in the same game for the first time in program history.
Mayfield has 8,711 passing yards in his OU career to move ahead of Sam Bradford (8,403) for second in Oklahoma history.
Against Tulane, Mayfield passed for 331 yards on 17-of-27 passing with four TDs and no interceptions. He has eight games in his OU career with at least four TD passes and has thrown a touchdown pass in 29 straight games, extending his own school record.
Tulane was the 29th straight start for Mayfield, tying Bradford for the fourth longest streak in OU history. His 29th career start at OU ties Mayfield with Thomas Lott for ninth in OU history.
“They’re a team that can score so many points and are so potent,” Fritz said. “With their receivers and running backs and, of course, their potential Heisman trophy winning quarterback. We didn’t respond very well. We were down 28-14 at half and got the ball the first series and just never could get in step offensively again the rest of the half.”
Riley is the fifth head coach in Oklahoma history to start his career 3-0, joining V.L. Parrington (1897-98), Jam Mackenzie (1966), Howard Schellenberger (1995) and Bob Stoops (1999).
OU running back Abdul Adams rushed eight times for a career-high 93 yards and two receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Trey Sermon had his first career start, rushing for 23 yards on six attempts, including his first career rushing touchdown.
Tight end Mark Andrews, who has been battling a knee injury, had four receptions for 76 yards. Andrews now has 1,040 yards in his career to become the 34th Sooner and fifth OU tight end to reach 1,000 career receiving yards.
OU cornerback Parnell Motley, who had a key interception against Ohio State, got a pick against Tulane and returned it 77 yards for a score.
“He’s just a hungry kid,” Riley said of Motley. “He just loves to play, loves to compete. He was like that last year as a freshman even though he wasn’t really ready to be playing like this right now.
“He was always confident and always energetic and hungry and when you get a talented guy who stays with it even through some ups and downs that he had last year – you just see a different guy. His body is more developed, mentally he was ready and I just think you see a guy with a lot of confidence right now.”
Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo had nine tackles and a sack while freshman linebacker Kenneth Murray had eight tackles.
Neville Gallimore had nine tackles and Kahlil Haughteon had eight.
OU kicker Austin Seibert continues to be almost perfect this season. He scored eight points against Tulane and now has 252 in his career to tie Adrian Peterson for 16th in Oklahoma history.
His eight extra points made passed Tim Duncan for seventh in OU history with 162 points.