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As August closes in, AllSooners previews every game on the 2023 schedule.

Oklahoma’s 12-game regular season schedule features six home games, five road games and the annual neutral-site Red River Showdown.

After opening the season with Arkansas State, the Sooners host SMU.

Replacing Sonny Dykes at SMU was never going to be a small task.

In response, the Mustangs turned to Rhett Lashlee, who served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at SMU from 2018-2019.

Lashlee’s first year at the helm was a mixed bag marked by a high-flying offense and a suspect defense.

Former Oklahoma quarterback Tanner Mordecai led the charge, throwing for 3,524 yards and 33 touchdowns to pace the country’s seventh-best passing attack.

With Mordecai on the move this offseason, his 2022 understudy Preston Stone is positioned to take over as signal caller.

In limited action last year, Stone completed 58.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 388 yards, two scores and one interception.

Oklahoma's 2023 Schedule:

Sept. 2: vs. Arkansas State

Sept. 9: vs. SMU

Sept. 16: at Tulsa

Sept. 23: at Cincinnati 

Sept. 30: vs. Iowa State

Oct. 7: vs. Texas (Dallas)

Oct. 14: OPEN

Oct. 21: vs. UCF

Oct. 28: at Kansas

Nov. 4: at Oklahoma State

Nov. 11: vs. West Virginia

Nov. 18: at BYU

Nov. 24: vs. TCU

Stone will be without SMU’s top receiver from last year, as Rashee Rice was selected in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs after catching 96 balls for 1,355 yards and 10 scores last year.

But SMU’s wide receiver room is far from barren.

FB - Preston Stone

SMU quarterback Preston Stone is in position to replace Tanner Mordecai for the Mustangs in 2023. 

Jordan Kerley and Kelvontay Dixon, who caught the second and third most passes last year for the Mustangs, both return and Lashlee added former Oklahoma commitment Jordan Hudson from TCU out of the transfer portal.

Kerley, Dixon and Hudson will provide an early test to OU’s retooled secondary, who will put new faces to the test in transfer safety Reggie Pearson and freshmen Peyton Bowen on the back end. Cornerbacks coach Jay Valai will also be breaking in a new starter opposite Sooner veteran Woodi Washington after C.J. Coldon graduated.

SMU’s running back room is full of talent as well to test Oklahoma’s new-look defensive front.

Tyler Lavine will be back after leading the Mustangs with 642 rushing yards last year, but SMU’s running back room also boasts former Oklahoma running back target Camar Wheaton as well as Miami transfer Jaylan Knighton and Texas A&M transfer LJ Johnson.

Get to Know SMU

Sept. 9, 5 p.m. Norman

  • Series: OU leads 5-1-1
  • Last meeting: 1995 (OU won 24-10)
  • Head coach: Rhett Lashlee, 2nd year (7-6, 5-3 AAC), 2nd overall (7-6)
  • 2022 record: 7-6 (5-3 AAC)
  • 2022 offense: 14th overall (65th rushing, 7th passing, 12th scoring)
  • 2022 defense: 89th overall (120th rushing, 73rd passing, 119th scoring)

The other side of the ball paints a bleaker picture for SMU, however.

Defensive coordinator Scott Symons’ unit struggled in his first year at SMU, as the Mustangs finished No. 89 overall in total defense last year.

Stopping the run was especially difficult, as SMU allowed 203.6 yards per game.

Oklahoma running back duo Jovantae Barnes and Gavin Sawchuk will have an early opportunity to pack a punch and gash the Mustangs in the second game of the year.

If the Sooner defense isn’t improved in Year 2 under Brent Venables, Dillon Gabriel could have to lead OU through an early-season shootout at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.