The Sooners rolled up 676 yards of offense in their first game under new head coach Lincoln Riley. The 33-year-old was promoted from offensive coordinator after Bob Stoops abruptly stepped down in June.
"I'm really proud of how our kids responded," Riley said. "It was a complete effort. Offensively, we moved the ball well the majority of the day." Mark Andrews had career highs of seven catches and 134 yards, all in the first half, for the Sooners. Jeff Badet, a transfer from Kentucky, added 91 yards on four catches as the Sooners warmed up for a showdown next weekend at No. 2 Ohio State.
Walter Dawn Jr. ran for 56 yards and UTEP's only touchdown. The Miners were held to 167 total yards. "I was really proud of the way they settled down," Riley said of Oklahoma's defense. "The coaches did a good job of settling them down. They really settled in and played well defensively. Controlled the line of scrimmage and made competitive plays."
Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston last season and started with a 1-2 record. This was the kind of start Riley envisioned. "Fun to see this team get off to a great start, which has been not a rallying cry, but really a point of emphasis for this group," he said. "We really take it personal the way we've played early in the year the last few years."
The Miners were simply overmatched. They had moments early, like when they tied the game at 7 on Dawn's touchdown in the first quarter to answer Oklahoma's quick score at the start of the game. The Miners gained 78 yards on that drive, but just 17 the rest of the first half and 89 the rest of the game.
The Sooners lost running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine and receiver Dede Westbrook to the NFL, but it appears plenty of talent remains. Oklahoma rolled to 419 yards of offense in the first half.
UTEP: Hosts Rice on Sept. 9.
OKLAHOMA: Travels to No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 9. The Buckeyes started off slow before rolling past Indiana 49-21 on Thursday. Ohio State beat Oklahoma 45-24 in Norman last season.
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