No. 15 Oklahoma thriving with Riley's Air Raid
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma is just scratching the surface of what new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's Air Raid offense can do, and the Sooners already are breaking school records and topping national leaderboards.
Baker Mayfield, in just his third start as Oklahoma's quarterback, set a school record with 572 yards of total offense in Saturday's 52-38 win over Tulsa. He ranks first nationally in total touchdowns with 14, and is second in total offense, with 1,201 yards.
The 15th-ranked Sooners (3-0) rank sixth nationally in passing offense and 14th in total offense heading into their bye week.
''The offense has shown signs, and I like the direction it's going,'' coach Bob Stoops said Monday. ''I've got confidence in it and I feel good about it, but we've got to keep getting better with it.''
The Sooners rolled up 773 yards against Tulsa, the most for an Oklahoma team since 1988. Oklahoma might have put up more points, but the Sooners lost two fumbles inside the Tulsa 25-yard line - one by Samaje Perine and one by Joe Mixon.
''It was positive the other day but he turnovers can't happen,'' Stoops said. ''I know it's easy for the media and the fans to overlook until they really hurt you.''
Riley's teams were known throwing the ball a lot while he was the offensive coordinator at East Carolina. With Perine, an all-Big 12 running back last year, and Mixon, a highly touted freshman, Riley said he would have no problem running the football.
Three games in, there has still been plenty of air in the Air Raid as the young offensive line has tried to settle in. Mayfield took advantage of a Tulsa team that was largely concerned with stopping the run and shredded it for 487 yards passing and four touchdowns.
''The passing game was a lot better in this game than it was before, and we have to keep getting better,'' Stoops said. ''Hopefully, there's only so many ways you can deploy to stop the run. If they're going to be heavy on it, you have to be able to throw the football. We did the other day.''
The Sooners churned out 286 yards on the ground against Tulsa. Perine ran for 152 yards and a score and Mayfield ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
Mayfield's ability to attack by running with the ball gives defenses another headache to deal with.
''It adds a lot,'' Stoops said. ''He has the ability to escape. There were a couple of times the other day when we had nice route combinations, but they (Tulsa) squeezed them and did a good job covering. But the way it all happened, they were all wide, and the middle of the field opened up, and he (Mayfield) took off. He's quicker than his 40 time. He just has a knack for it.''
Even with the crazy numbers, there have been enough stretches of ineptitude to temper Stoops' enthusiasm.
''You go back two weeks ago (against Tennessee), and offensively, we didn't do a thing until the fourth quarter,'' Stoops said. ''We've got to get that better.''
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