NORMAN — It wasn’t just the high humidity causing Oklahoma fans to seat-squirm in the first half Saturday.
From the very outset, OU’s defense was completely befuddled by Tulane’s option attack. The Green Wave traveled 65 yards in eight plays — six rushes and two passes — for a touchdown on their initial possession. The six rushes produced 58 yards, a gaudy 9.6 average.
Possession No. 2 was more of the same – 75 yards in nine plays, including seven rushes for 42 yards (6.0 average).
Possession No. 3 appeared to be headed for yet another touchdown. Starting at its 25 late in the first quarter, and with the score knotted at 14, Tulane methodically marched to OU’s 27 in 12 plays, only two of which were passes.
Oklahoma’s frustration index changed abruptly on Tulane’s 13th play as Parnell Motley’s 77-yard interception return for a touchdown gave OU the lead for good at 21-14.
Despite that adversity, Tulane continued to gash OU’s rushing defense, racking up three first downs on five straight rushes and an OU offsides penalty.
That proved to be Tulane’s last hurrah as the Green Wave was forced to punt, and OU proceeded to move 95 yards to paydirt for a 28-14 halftime advantage.
OU then outscored Tulane 28-0 in the second half for a 56-14 victory.
One week prior, Tulane totaled just 262 yards total offense in a 23-21 loss to Navy, which knows a thing or two about the option. Saturday, Tulane accumulated 224 yards, including 184 on the ground, in the first half alone.
After averaging 4.9 yards per carry in the first 30 minutes, Tulane was stonewalled in the second half — 57 yards on 25 attempts for a meager 2.2 average.
The Green Wave, in eight second-half possessions, managed 67 total yards.
Oklahoma rolled up 631 yards with an average gain of 10.2 yards.
•CeeDee Lamb’s 82-yard scoring reception and Marquise Brown’s 87-yard TD catch marked the first time Oklahoma has produced two passing touchdowns of 80-plus yards in the same game.
•Austin Seibert’s ability to boot kickoffs deep into the end zone could certainly pay dividends in more competitive matchups. Seibert, a 5-9, 210 junior, recorded eight touchbacks in nine attempts against Tulane. The sole kickoff return went for just 16 yards.
•Through three games, OU has outscored foes 42-3 in the fourth quarter.
•Oklahoma’s big-play passing attack has been well documented. OU has completed a nation-leading 19 aerials of 20 yards or longer.
• Tulane is 0-36-1 all-time against teams ranked in the top five.
• The Sooners, during their nation-best 13-game winning streak, have outscored opponents by 291 points (22.3 average).
• Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OU’s senior defensive end/linebacker, posted nine tackles, including a sack for a 7-yard loss. Okoronkwo leads the Big 12 with 3.5 sacks.
• OU launches Big 12 play Saturday with a 5:30 p.m. game at Baylor (0-3). The contest will be televised by FS1. Other conference matchups are West Virginia at Kansas (ESPNU) at 11 a.m. and TCU at Oklahoma State (ESPN) at 2:30 p.m. Texas Tech will conclude the non-conference portion of its schedule with an 11 a.m. kickoff at Houston, which already owns a win this year over a Power-5 Conference team (Arizona). Iowa State and Texas are idle Saturday.
•The Big 12 went 4-6 against Power-5 teams in non-conference action.