Game Notes: Sooners Aim For Revenge Against Buckeyes

Friday, September 8th 2017, 5:07 pm
By: News 9

No. 5/6 Oklahoma plays its first road game under rookie head coach Lincoln Riley when it takes on No. 2/2 Ohio State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. The game will be televised nationally by ABC with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor announcing.

• Riley turned 34 on Tuesday, Sept. 5. He is the youngest FBS head coach.

• ESPN College GameDay will air from Columbus on Saturday, marking the 31st time the show will have been on hand for a game involving Oklahoma. Only Ohio State (40 times), Alabama (39), Florida (37) and Florida State (33) have been featured more often than OU. The Sooners are 21-9 in such games, including 10-2 in true road game matchups (last was a 58-23 win at Oklahoma State in 2015).

• OU has three Ohioans on its roster: senior linebacker Emmanuel Beal (Columbus; Everest HS), redshirt junior offensive lineman Alex Dalton (Troy; Troy HS), and walk-on freshman long snapper Kasey Kelleher (Peninsula; Woodridge HS). Beal was OU's second-leading tackler last year while Dalton was lost for the 2017 season due to a summer injury. Kelleher has yet to play. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops (Youngstown) and inside linebackers coach Tim Kish (Westerville) also hail from Ohio.

• The Sooners are looking to register their 12th consecutive true road win, which would tie as the third longest streak in school history.

• OU is coming off a 56-7 home win over UTEP in which the Sooners racked up 676 yards of offense while holding the Miners to 176 (lowest opponent total in 22 games). OU's quarterbacks combined to go 32-for-36 for 496 yards and four touchdowns, posting a school-record 241.3 pass efficiency rating (minimum of 30 attempts). Mayfield played only the first half, going 19-for-20 for 329 yards and three TDs.

• Ohio State opened its season with a 49-21 road win over Indiana last Thursday. IU led 21-20 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter before the Buckeyes scored 28 unanswered points. Senior QB J.T. Barrett was 20-for-35 for 304 yards and three TDs, while running back J.K. Dobbins set a school record for a freshman in a season opener with 181 rushing yards (6.2 average).

• The last time Oklahoma lost was 51 weeks ago — to Ohio State. The Sooners have won 11 games since then, good for the nation's longest current streak, and OU's longest since winning 11 straight over the 2010 and '11 seasons. The last time it won 12 consecutive games was in 2004 (started 12-0 before losing in Orange Bowl).

• Saturday's contest will mark Oklahoma's second game at Ohio State. Forty years ago (Sept. 24, 1977), No. 3 OU knocked off No. 4 OSU in Columbus, 29-28, as Uwe von Schamann booted a 41-yard field goal with three seconds remaining. The game-winner is known to Sooners fans as "The Kick." OU was coached by Barry Switzer and the Buckeyes were coached by Woody Hayes.

• The Sooners have won 11 consecutive true road games (the fourth longest streak in school history) and are outscoring opponents 559-289 (51-26 average) in those contests. OU is averaging 570.8 yards per game during the streak while allowing 410.0 an outing. In the running game, OU is outgaining opponents 3,171 yards to 1,403 (288.3-127.5 average). QB Baker Mayfield is 9-0 as a Sooner in true road games. In those contests, he’s completed 191-of-272 passes (70.2 percent) for 2,618 yards with 32 touchdowns against just five interceptions (6.4 ratio) for an efficiency rating of 186.2. Additionally, he’s run 82 times for 309 yards (3.8 avg.) and seven scores.

• Since the start of the 2009 season, the Sooners are 14-2 against teams they lost to the previous season. The only occasions of losses they sustained to an opponent in consecutive seasons came to Baylor in 2013 and 2014, and Clemson in 2014 and 2015.

• Saturday's game will feature the top two programs in the Associated Press' all-time top 25 that was revealed in August 2016. Ohio State was slotted No. 1 and Oklahoma No. 2. According to the AP, its formula for determining its all-time ranking counted poll appearances (one point) to mark consistency, No. 1 rankings (one point) to acknowledge elite programs, and gave a bonus for AP championships (10 points). Ohio State, which has five national titles, accumulated 1,112 points while Oklahoma, which has won seven national championships, racked up 1,055 points. Joining the Sooners and Buckeyes in the top 10 were Notre Dame (1,042 points), Alabama (933), Southern California (974), Nebraska (901), Michigan (894), Texas (822), Florida State (714) and Florida (674).

Since the start of the 2000 season, Oklahoma is 15-9 (.625) in AP top-10 matchups. OU's record in regular season top-10 matchups in that span is 11-4 (.733).

• The last time the Sooners played an AP top-2 opponent on the road was in 2000 (No. 8 OU beat No. 2 Kansas State 41-31). They went 13-0 that year and earned their seventh national championship.

• Saturday's game will mark just Oklahoma's eighth AP top-10 matchup on the road since the start of the 2000 campaign. The Sooners are 5-2 in those contests and have won the last two (2016 at West Virginia and 2015 at Oklahoma State) and four of the last five.

• This week's game will mark just OU's third regular season AP top-10 matchup against a non-conference opponent since 2000 (No. 1 Oklahoma won 23-13 at No. 5 Florida State in 2011; No. 5 Notre Dame won 30-13 at No. 8 OU in 2012).

• Head coach Urban Meyer is in his sixth year at Ohio State. He is 62-6 at OSU, having won at least 11 games in each of his five seasons there and posting a 34-2 home record. Meyer led the Buckeyes to a national championship in 2014. The title was the third of his career (won with Florida in 2006 and 2008 [beat Oklahoma]). |

• OSU returned 15 starters from its 2016 team that went 11-2 and finished the year as a College Football Playoff semifinalist. The Buckeyes returned eight starters on offense and seven on defense.

• In his collegiate debut in a 49-21 road win over Indiana on Thursday, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins ran for 181 yards on 29 carries. Dobbins became the second true freshman OSU running back to start in his collegiate debut, and his 181 yards set a first-game freshman school rushing record and ranked as the sixth most nationally in week one.

• Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett was 20-of-35 passing for 304 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana. He also ran for 61 yards on 13 attempts and a touchdown. Barrett set his 24th school record against the Hoosiers with 365 total offensive yards, which gave him a school-best 9,211 yards. In 37 career games, Barrett has thrown for 72 touchdowns (against 21 interceptions) and run for 32.

• Defensively, Ohio State surrendered just 17 yards on the ground against the Hoosiers, tallied five sacks and forced three turnovers it turned into 17 points. Three Buckeyes defensive backs were picked in the first round of April's NFL Draft.

• Indiana outgained OSU 286-216 in the first half and led 14-13, before the Buckeyes outgained the Hoosiers 380-151 and outscored them 36-7 after halftime. 

• The Sooners are 1-2 all-time against Ohio State, winning 29-28 in Columbus in 1977, and losing 24-14 in Norman in 1983 and 45-24 in Norman last year. Both programs were ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll in all three games (OU's average rank has been 6.3 and OSU's has been 4.3).

• The first meeting resulted in one of the most iconic endings in OU history, as Uwe von Schamann kicked a 41-yard field goal with less than 10 seconds to play to give the No. 3 Sooners a 29-28 win over the No. 4 Buckeyes. Oklahoma raced out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead after Elvis Peacock ran in a Thomas Lott fumble for a touchdown and Billy Sims scored from 14 yards out. The lead grew to 20-0 early in the second quarter, but Ohio State scored four consecutive touchdowns to lead 28-20 with under seven minutes to play in the third quarter. Oklahoma lost Lott and Sims to injuries in the contest but managed to cut the deficit to 28-26 with less than two minutes to play on a touchdown run by Peacock. The two-point conversion try was no good, so OU attempted an onside kick, which Mike Babb successfully recovered. OU gained 27 yards over the next four plays, setting up von Schamann’s dramatic kick.

• In the rematch six years later, Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak connected with tight end John Frank for two touchdowns for an early lead and the sixth-ranked Buckeyes posted a 24-14 upset over the second-ranked Sooners. OU played most of the game without star running back Marcus Dupree, who was sidelined with a bruised knee with nine minutes left in the first half. Dupree gained just 30 yards and had fumble that OSU converted into a touchdown. It was the only turnover of the game for the Sooners. Spencer Tillman gained 83 yards on 13 carries for Oklahoma, 37 of them on a touchdown run.

• A Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium record crowd of 87,979 saw the 14th-ranked Sooners fall to No. 3 Ohio State last season, 45-24. Trailing late in the first quarter, the Sooners cut the deficit to 14-7 when sophomore Joe Mixon went 97 yards for a kickoff return touchdown, but OU never get any closer. Mixon had 225 all-purpose yards with 132 on kickoff returns, 78 rushing and 15 receiving. Baker Mayfield threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, one to A.D. Miller and one to Mark Andrews, but he also threw a pair of interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Jerome Baker. Noah Brown caught four touchdown passes for the Buckeyes, while Mike Weber ran for 123 yards.

• Oklahoma has a legitimate claim as the nation's most productive offense since the start of the 2015 season, which was Lincoln Riley's first year as OU's offensive coordinator and quarterback Baker Mayfield's first campaign playing for the Sooners. Riley called plays as the program's offensive coordinator and continues to as head coach.

• The Sooners have posted a 23-4 (.852) record since Riley's and Mayfield's OU debut (17-1 in Big 12 play), with Mayfield the starter in all 27 contests.

• Since the start of the 2015 season, OU ranks first nationally in passing efficiency rating (182.4; next closest is 175.4), second in completion percentage (.693), third in scoring offense (44.2; second in Power 5), third in total offense (547.4), eighth in passing offense (319.9; sixth in Power 5) and 18th in rushing offense (227.6; ninth in Power 5).

• In 27 games since the start of the 2015 season, OU has registered at least 500 yards of total offense 19 times, including in nine of the last 11 outings. The Sooners have topped the 600-yard mark on nine occasions over the last 27 contests.

• Four of OU's top six single-game total offense yardage figures since 2000, and five of the top eight, have come over the last 25 games (1 – 854 at Texas Tech in 2016; 2 – 773 vs. Tulsa in 2015; 4 – 710 at Kansas in 2015; 6 – 684 vs. Iowa State in 2015; 8 – 676 vs. UTEP on Saturday).

• Ohio State is attempting to become the first program to sweep a non-conference home-and-home series against Oklahoma since 1997-98 (California beat OU in those two seasons by a combined five points). Since then, the Sooners have also played series against Air Force (2-0), Alabama (2-0), Florida State (2-0), Miami (1-1), Notre Dame (1-1), Oregon (1-1), Tennessee (2-0), UCLA (1-1) and Washington (2-0).

• Saturday will mark the third time an OU team ranked fifth in the AP poll will face the No. 2 team. The Sooners outscored the first two such opponents by a combined 92-28 margin (beat Nebraska 27-7 in 1985 [OU went on to win the national championship] and Texas Tech 65-21 in 2008 [OU went on to play in the BCS Championship Game]).

• With his 329-yard first-half passing effort against UTEP on Saturday, Baker Mayfield now owns three of OU's five best all-time marks for passing yards in a half (2. 332 at Kansas in 2015; 3. 329 vs. UTEP; 5. 316 vs. Tulsa in 2015).

• Since 1996, only five FBS QBs have recorded a higher completion percentage (min. 20 attempts) than Mayfield's 95.0 mark (19-for-20) Saturday against UTEP.

• 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).

• Fourteen Sooners caught at least one pass last Saturday, the same number who registered at least one catch all of last season.

• Of all active FBS players with at least 12 career TD receptions, Mark Andrews has the best TD-to-catch ratio at 26.3 percent (15 TDs on 57 catches). The next closest players are Clemson’s Deon Cain (15 TDs on 74 catches; 20.3%), LSU’s Jonathan Giles (16-84; 19.1%), Miami Ohio’s Ryan Smith (12-64; 18.8%) and Old Dominion’s Jonathan Duhart (18-100; 18.0%). Twenty-five percent of Andrews' career catches (14 of 57) have come in season-opening games.

• OU quarterback Kyler Murray was rated in August by MaxPreps as the best high school signal-caller of the last decade. A redshirt sophomore who transferred from Texas A&M following the 2015 season, he was a consensus five-star recruit at Allen (Texas) High School and earned national-player-of-the-year honors from Gatorade, MaxPreps, Parade and USA Today following his senior year in 2014. Murray rolled up 14,500 rushing and receiving yards, as well as 186 touchdowns in his three seasons.

• The Sooners are 60-45-3 against teams currently in the Big Ten. Most of those games occurred against Nebraska when Oklahoma and the Huskers were intraleague foes (OU is 45-38-3 against NU). The Sooners' last regular season true road game against a team in the Big Ten at the time of competition was against Minnesota in the 1985 season opener. OU won 13-7 and went on to win the national title.

• Oklahoma is 21-5-1 (.796) as the No. 5 team in the AP poll and 6-3 as the No. 5 team in true road games.

• 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.