Sooner Football: Five Takeaways From Oklahoma’s Victory Over Baylor

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Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) runs off the field as Sooners wide receiver Jarvis Baxter (1) and fullback Dimitri Flowers (36) celebrate during the second half against the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. The Sooners defeat the Bears 44-34. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley Is Pushing the Right Buttons

During the past couple of years, OU’s offense was often discombobulated and disorganized during games. From inconsistent execution to predictable play calling and lack of offensive continuity (especially those endless, drive-killing pauses as offensive personnel waited for plays) it seemed clear that the Sooner offense couldn’t get out of its own way. Last season’s disappointing 8-5 record led Bob Stoops to make significant changes to his coaching staff.

Nine games into the 2015 campaign it appears those coaching changes have worked, especially on the offensive side of the ball. While it took some time to work out the kinks, Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid offense is hitting its stride at just the right time. A case in point is Samaje Perine: During the first half of the season, Perine average 71 rushing yards per game. After the Texas game, Perine is averaging 121 yards per game.

And offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is also doing an excellent job of getting Joe Mixon involved. While the talented five-star recruit’s numbers aren’t particularly dazzling (53 rushing yards and 33 receiving yards per game), he has rushed for five TDs and caught four more. Mixon is a threat to score every time he touches the ball, and Riley is taking full advantage.

In fact, the improvement in Oklahoma’s running game is stark: Through the Texas game, the Sooners averaged 144 rushing yards per game. After Texas, Oklahoma is averaging a torrid 284 yards per game. It is clear that Lincoln Riley is successfully integrating Oklahoma’s talented running back corps into the Air Raid and developing a potent attack that can not only overwhelm opponents through the air but also control the clock with the running game. That will be critical moving forward if the Sooners hope to make noise in the Big 12 and beyond.


Next: Resiliency Is the Sooners’ Calling Card