NORMAN – The Oklahoma Sooners kicked off their 2020 campaign in blowout fashion Saturday night at home against the Missouri State Bears out of the FCS.
It wasn’t the typical bells and whistles of an Oklahoma gameday, there was no pregame band performance, no walk of champions, and the attendance came in at just over 22,000 fans (although that did still count as a sellout to extend the streak).
However, that did not stop Oklahoma from coming out guns blazing once the game kicked off.
“Ultimately, when we kicked off tonight it most certainly felt like a football game,” Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch said.
Here is a recap of the action from Oklahoma’s 48-0 shutout win over Missouri State to open the new season:
As mentioned, Oklahoma came out red hot to start the night.
After a quick Missouri State three-and-out to start the game, the Spencer Rattler era begun.
The Sooners zipped down the field behind three Rattler passes to get into the redzone, where Seth McGowan (9 Carries, 61 Yards, 1 Touchdown) punched it in from the 1-yard line for his first career touchdown to get OU on the board quickly.
That is how the next several possessions would go as well – the Bears going three-and-out with the Sooners taking it down the field for points.
The next three possessions for Oklahoma would all end in long touchdown passes from the redshirt freshman Rattler.
First it was a 58-yarder to fellow freshman Marvin Mims (3 Catches, 80 Yards, 1 Touchdown) to make it 14-0 just over five minutes into the game.
Just three minutes later, Rattler would connect on a 53-yard touchdown to expected #1 target Charleston Rambo (4 Catches, 80 yards, 2 Touchdowns) to push it up to 21-0.
Rattler would then make it three straight drives with a TD toss on a dump off pass to the speedy McGowan, who then housed it from 37 yards out.
With TJ Pleger out tonight, a lot was asked of the young running back – and he stepped up in a big way.
“The moment wasn’t too big,” Lincoln Riley said on McGowan. “When you don’t have hesitation at a young age, it’s a great quality.”
“Exactly what we expected from him, you know, dude’s a monster,” OU Quarterback Spencer Rattler said.
Add a Stephen Johnson field goal and Oklahoma had a staggering 31-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
After another Johnson field goal early in the second quarter, Rattler would connect on his fourth touchdown pass of the night with his second to Charleston Rambo – this one from 15 yards out.
OU would take a 41-0 lead into the locker room.
Rattler’s day would then be done after the two quarters, finishing up at 14/17 with 290 yards and four touchdowns.
“He did some good things, made a few mistakes,” Riley said. “All in all a positive start but a long ways to go.”
The second half was largely uneventful, with Tanner Mordecai taking over the helm at the quarterback position in relief of Rattler.
He did some good things, but the offense was undeniably out of rhythm without Rattler with the lone second-half touchdown coming on a short field after a Delarrin Turner-Yell interception.
As well as the Oklahoma defense played tonight, everyone knows Alex Grinch’s calling card is getting those takeaways, so he was very glad to see them pick up that one late – even going as far as to say it would have been a “major black eye” on the evening if they never got one.
The touchdown came on a Mordecai toss to freshman receiver Finn Corwin to make it 48-0 Sooners, and that would go on to be the final score.
Thoughts and Reaction
Spencer Rattler was fantastic tonight.
Yes, several of his guys were quite open and Oklahoma outclasses Missouri State in just about every way – but the calmness and accuracy from the freshman was quite good.
He only threw three incompletions on the night, and two of those were flat drops by the intended target.
Not that there was any concern on Rattler playing well in this game, but it was still really nice to see him perform like that if you’re Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma.
Seth McGowan was also a revelation tonight, there is no way he won’t get some more run throughout the season even when the returns of TJ Pledger and Rhamondre Stevenson eventually come.
It’s just one game against Missouri State, but McGowan looks to be a big time player in the making.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners did what they really should have done against this Bears offense.
They got pressure, and just didn’t really allow them anywhere to go.
The Bears ended up with just 135 yards of total offense tonight, which is the first time OU has held an opponent under 200 total yards in three years (2017 against Kansas).
It’s hard to get too excited about it considering the opponent, but you can’t do any better on the scoreboard than allowing zero, so they’ll have some confidence to build on going into conference play.
Bottom line, if Oklahoma had kept their foot on the gas tonight they could have easily won this game by 70+ points.
Missouri State is obviously nowhere in the same stratosphere as OU, and this game was really just exactly what it was billed as – a glorified scrimmage used as a tune-up game before Big 12 play.
The Sooners did what they were supposed to do.
Now they get to take a week off to analyze what they liked and didn’t like about this game, and make their tweaks before Kansas State comes to Norman on September 26th.
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