No. 2 Oklahoma turns attention to Tulane after big win
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield emphatically planted an OU flag in the middle of the field at Ohio Stadium after the Sooners knocked off then-No. 2 Ohio State.
There was no pretending it was business as usual after Oklahoma’s 31-16 victory last Saturday. It was the second road win over a top-two team in school history, and it came in 34-year-old coach Lincoln Riley’s second game as head coach.
The Sooners say they have come down off that high and have things in perspective heading into Saturday’s home game against Tulane.
“It’s not going to be the highlight of the season — it’s not,” Mayfield said. “Yeah, that was a big moment for us. It was huge. It will have big implications at the end of the year. Right now, we have to realize that we have to win all the games before that. We have to take care of business.”
The win pushed the Sooners to No. 2 in the Top 25 . Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas says isn’t good enough.
“We’re not going to stop until we’re number one,” Thomas said. “That’s just what we take pride in. There’s only one Oklahoma, and we as the University of Oklahoma want to be the best in all levels and in all aspects of the game. We’re still number two. That’s not what we want. We said we want to take this all away and end up on top.”
Tulane is coming off a 23-21 loss to Navy. Tulane coach Willie Fritz knows what they Green Wave will be up against on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” Fritz said. “Great program for a long time, probably one of the better teams they’ve had in quite some time. That’s quite a feat to go up to Ohio State and come away with a convincing win.”
Here are some things to watch as Oklahoma tries to stay focused:
TULANE’S QB SITUATION
Quarterback Jonathan Banks was injured against Navy, and Fritz said he’s not sure if he will play. He did not make it clear what type of injury Banks sustained. In the opener against Grambling, Banks completed 10 of 15 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 16 times for 69 yards and a score. Johnathan Brantley, who stepped in last week, will start if Banks can’t go.
OU RUNNING BACKS
Oklahoma is still trying to figure out its running back situation. Freshman Trey Sermon has been the most productive so far. Abdul Adams is the most experienced, but he fumbled against Ohio State. Junior college transfer Marcelias Sutton leads the team with 5.8 yards per carry. Sophomore Rodney Anderson has been injury prone throughout his career and hasn’t found his stride yet. The Sooners haven’t found their stride, either. They are averaging just 142 yards rushing per game and 3.8 yards per carry. They’ll try to get it going against a Tulane squad that held Navy’s triple-option offense to 194 yards rushing.
Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews suffered a left knee injury against Ohio State and sat for most of the game. Riley said Monday that he expects Andrews to play. The two-time All-Big 12 selection had career highs of seven catches and 134 yards in the opener against UTEP.
Mayfield completed his final 14 passes against Ohio State. He completed his first 16 against UTEP. Mayfield set the NCAA single-season record for passing efficiency last season, and his numbers are even better this season.
“He’s a great player,” Fritz said. “He’s got great feet and vision and runs the ball well, gets down when he needs to. Makes great decisions, gets the ball out of his hands in a hurry.”
Tulane running back Dontrell Hilliard needs 39 yards rushing to reach 2,000 for his career. He would be just the 12th back in school history to reach that mark. He had 16 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown last week against Navy.
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