OU: Needs playmakers like Motley, Stoops says
shucking memories of a big win isn't easy to do.
“Sure, you're concerned about a letdown. You're concerned about how they approach the week,” Riley said. “I thought, for the most part, our mentality was good. We weren't at our best early in the week and I thought we started to respond a little bit as the week went on and we started to challenge them as coaches.
“So I think we're growing but I think we've got to understand what you've got to put together completely to play complete games.”
The No. 2 Sooners (3-0) scored 49 consecutive points after trailing 14-7 late in the first quarter.
While the final score is what the nation will notice, OU coaches will have plenty of film to dissect.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield agreed with his head coach — a slow beginning during practice week can cause sluggish game days.
“Not every game is going to be Saturday night, 7 o'clock with the whole team watching and playing the No. 2 team in the country,” OU quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “There obviously was a different feel last week than there was tonight. That's up to the leaders to get those guys to focus in and treat it just like any other game. I feel like I failed at that part this week. We were focused starting Thursday, but we were a little sloppy throughout the week before that.”
Tulane (1-2) threw the first punch. The American Athletic Conference team used an option game that was similar to death by paper cuts for the Oklahoma defense early. The Green Wave kept chipping away on long drives with a 5-yard run here, a 4-yard run there.
Two touchdown drives in its first two offensive series silenced OU's home crowd.
The defense settled after the first two possessions. Tulane managed 140 yards of offense in its first two drives and only managed 151 yards in the final dozen drives.
“We were getting disoriented and guys out of gaps,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “They were giving us a lot of different formations and looks. We just didn't have guys in the right spots. Nothing out of the ordinary that they don't do … it was a lot of things that we repped, but they gave us a lot of different looks and kept us off-balance.”
Tulane (1-2) was on another time-consuming, run-dominated drive when it decided to test the Sooners' secondary with a rare pass.
Parnell Motley stepped in front of intended receiver Jacob Robertson and raced 77 yards for a touchdown.
The Green Wave (who had 62 runs against 12 pass attempts) would not recover from the turnover and didn't put any more points on the board.
“They're a team that can score so many points and are so potent. With their receivers and running backs and, of course, their potential Heisman Trophywinning quarterback, we didn't respond very well,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said.
Motley's emergence at cornerback has been a good sign for the Sooners, who struggled early last season at the position. The sophomore has two interceptions in as many games, with both coming at critical situations.
“Some guys have to make plays, and Parnell is a playmaker,” Stoops said. “We desperately need playmakers, especially out on the edge. That gives us encouraging hope as we move forward.”
The Sooners (2-1) trailed 14-7 with 4:04 left in the first quarter before the onslaught began.
The early offensive hero was true freshman CeeDee Lamb, who caught four passes for 131 yards and two TDs. He was off to a record-setting performance but was ejected from the game after being called for a targeting penalty in the second quarter.
Lamb's penalty negated a 44yard touchdown run on a reverse by Jeff Badet. Lamb had a key block coming against traffic to free the wide receiver on the scoring play.
Riley chose not to discuss the play afterward, and said he will ask the Big 12 for a rule interpretation of the play.
Wide receiver Marquise Brown starred for OU. Brown ended with a game-high six catches for 155 yards including an 87-yard TD reception from Kyler Murray in the fourth quarter.
Mayfield received three quarters of work. The senior ended 17-of-27 passing for 331 yards.
Mayfield's four passing touchdowns brought his season total to 10, and he now has 133 consecutive passes thrown without an interception dating back to last season.
Lamb's second touchdown reception — a 22-yard grab from Mayfield tied the game at 14 with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Motley's interception made it 21-14, and Abdul Adams had a 20-yard scoring reception to give OU a 28-14 lead at intermission.
Marcelias Sutton, who had a career-high 63 rushing yards, scored on a 9-yard run in the third quarter. Jordan Smallwood (11-yard pass from Mayfield) and Trey Sermon (11-yard run) joined Brown with fourthquarter scores.