COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME NOTES: OKLAHOMA VS. MISSOURI STATE
SOONERS NOTES (OKLAHOMA SPORTS INFORMATION)
OPENING KICK: No. 5/6 Oklahoma begins its 126th season of varsity football, and fourth under head coach Lincoln Riley, when it hosts Missouri State on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis by FOX Sports Oklahoma with Chad McKee, former OU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chuck Long and C.T. Steckel announcing. Oklahoma is 96-23-6 all-time in season openers and 78-15-4 in home openers at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1923. OU has won 14 straight home openers (last such loss was a 17-10 defeat vs. TCU in 2005). OU head coach Lincoln Riley turned 37 on Sept. 5. He is the fifth-youngest FBS head coach. OU is the only program to win at least three straight Big 12 titles, and has done so twice (2006-08 and 2015-19). Its current streak of five straight outright league championships is the longest among Power Five programs since Alabama won five in a row from 1971 to ’75 (Clemson is also riding a five-game outright streak [ACC]). The last time the Sooners won at least six consecutive conference championships was 1972-80 under head coaches Chuck Fairbanks (1972) and Barry Switzer. The last current Power Five program to win six straight outright conference titles is Oklahoma (12 in a row from 1948 to ’59). This marks the 21st straight season the Sooners have been ranked in the preseason AP poll. They have been ranked seventh or better in 16 of the last 20 preseason polls. OU has also ended each of the last five seasons ranked in the AP top seven (first time since 2000-04 under head coach Bob Stoops). Oklahoma is the only FBS program to rack up 17 seasons of double-digit wins since 2000. OU also leads all FBS programs with its 40 all-time 10-plus-win seasons, and with its 26 campaigns of at least 11 victories. u OU is coming off a third straight 12-2 season in which it won its fifth consecutive Big 12 championship and made its third College Football Playoff appearance in a row (fourth in five years). The Sooners, who finished No. 6 and No. 7 in the final coaches’ and AP polls, respectively, produced consensus All-America wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and Heisman Trophy runner-up Jalen Hurts (quarterback). FCS and Missouri Valley Football Conference member Missouri State went 1-10 last season before hiring former Louisville, Arkansas, Western Kentucky and Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino in January. Petrino owns a 119-56 (.680) collegiate head coaching record.
Oklahoma has won more Big 12 championships over the last 21 years (13) than it has lost home games. OU is 119-10 (.922) at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium since the start of the 1999 season, with all 129 of those games sellouts. It is the best home winning percentage among Power Five schools over the last 21 seasons (Ohio State is next at .892). OU has outscored its opponents by an average of 43-17 in those games. No school has won more than two Big 12 titles since the Sooners won their first in 2000. Lincoln Riley owns the OU records for wins by a head coach in a debut season (12; previous record was 10 by Barry Switzer and Chuck Fairbanks), first two seasons (24; previous record was 21 by Switzer) and first three seasons (36; previous record was 32 by Switzer). Switzer holds the record for wins in the first four seasons of an OU career with 41 (1973-76). OU redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler is scheduled to make his first collegiate start Saturday. The consensus No. 1 national quarterback in the class of 2019, Rattler appeared in three games last season, completing 7 of 11 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown without an interception. He also ran three times for 23 yards. The 2018 Elite 11 MVP was the No. 9 overall national recruit by 247Sports, No. 13 by Rivals and No. 29 by ESPN. He threw for an Arizona state record 11,083 yards in his career (116 passing touchdowns) while running for over 1,000 yards (14 TDs). Rattler will be OU’s fourth starting QB in four seasons (two of the other three won the Heisman Trophy and the other was Heisman runner-up). Oklahoma has ranked in the top seven nationally in total offense each of Riley’s five years calling plays and in the top three each of the last four seasons (7th in 2015 [530.2 ypg]; 2nd in 2016 [554.8]; 1st in 2017 [579.6]; 1st in 2018 [570.3]; and 3rd in 2019 [537.6]). On paper, posting similar numbers in 2020 might appear difficult, as the Sooners return just 12.9% of their total offense from last season, 6.9% of their passing yards, 20.4% of their rushing yards and 43.7% of their receiving yards. OU is 9-3 against programs currently in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), but has played only five such games since the start of the 1952 season. In those five contests, the Sooners beat Indiana State 49-0 in 1999 (Bob Stoops’ first game as OU head coach), Chattanooga 57-2 in 2008, Idaho State 64-0 in 2009, Florida A&M 69-13 in 2012 and South Dakota 70-14 last year. That’s a combined total of 309-29. OU is 3-2 against Drake (games played between 1920 and ’26) and 1-1 versus William & Mary (games played in 1942 and ’51).
MISSOURI STATE (SPORTS INFORMATION)
♦ Saturday’s game marks the Missouri State debut of head coach Bobby Petrino who enters the 2020 campaign with a career record of 119-56 (.680) with previous head coaching stints at Louisville (2003-06, 2014-18), Arkansas (2008-2011) and Western Kentucky (2013). ♦ This is not only the first-ever meeting between Missouri State and Oklahoma in football, it is also coach Petrino’s first game against the Sooners. In his career, Petrino is 4-3 vs. current Big XII members as a head coach — 2-0 vs. Kansas State, 1-1 vs. TCU, 1-1 vs. West Virginia, and 0-1 vs. Texas. ♦ The Bears have 9 players on their 2020 roster from the state of Oklahoma, including 3 returning lettermen — Daniel Allen (OL, Miami), Greg McCalister (S, Oklahoma City), and Damoriea Vick (WR, Oklahoma City). The roster also features 4 true freshmen and a pair of redshirt freshmen from the Sooner State. True freshman Grant Goodson (OL) is from Norman and attended Norman High School. ♦ Jordan Murray (Jr., Lee’s Summit, Mo.) enters the 2020 season with a reception in 21 consecutive games, tied for the seventh-longest streak in program history. In 2018, Murray broke the Bears freshman receiving record with 33 catches for 378 yards while earning FCS Freshman All-America honors. Murray caught 24 passes for 280 yards last season with a team-high 5 touchdown catches. ♦ This is the 31st straight year Missouri State (NCAA Division I FCS) has played at least one NCAA Division I FBS program in football. The Bears have played multiple FBS games in six seasons (1990, 1992, 1998, 2011, 2012 and 2015) and have played 14 FBS games against teams from Oklahoma (0-8 at Oklahoma State and 0-6 at Tulsa). MSU is 1-36 all-time vs. FBS foes with its lone win coming Sept. 1, 1990 at UNLV. ♦ Lorenzo Thomas (Sr., Jasper, Texas) begins the season ranked 20th on Missouri State’s career receiving yards list (1,031). Thomas has 85 receptions in 32 games and needs 43 yards to reach Brad St. Louis (1996-99) at the No. 19 spot on the lifetime receiving yardage list. St. Louis played 10 seasons with the NFL’s Bengals. ♦ Projected MSU starting quarterback Jaden Johnson (RFr., Memphis, Tenn.) would become the Bears’ first freshman QB starter since Kierra Harris made his debut at Arkansas on Sept. 3, 2011. ♦ Missouri State head coach Bobby Petrino and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley have mentored three of the last four Heisman Trophy winners — Lamar Jackson (2016), Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). ♦ Missouri State is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference which has produced eight of the last nine national champions at the NCAA Division I FCS level. The MVFC has five teams ranked in the FCS preseason Top 25 — including four of the top nine — with two additional teams receiving votes. ♦ The Bears have been one of the least-penalized teams in the FCS the last four years in a row. Last season, Missouri State was flagged 59 times for 496 yards (11 games), which ranked 19th and 17th, respectively among all FCS programs. In terms of number of times penalized per game, MSU previously ranked 18th nationally in 2018 (4.91), 7th in 2017 (3.45), and 7th in 2016 (4.36). ♦ Tyler Lovelace (Sr., Lee’s Summit, Mo.) ranked 3rd nationally in 2019 with 3 fumble recoveries. The standout linebacker now has 5 fumble recoveries in his MSU career, which puts him two away from breaking into the Bears’ top 10 in career recoveries. ♦ The Missouri State offensive line includes four returning starters — Daniel Allen (Sr., Miami, Okla.), Derek Kohler (Jr., Platte City, Mo.), Andrew Colvin (Sr., Gainesville, Fla.) and Arin Reynolds (Sr., Newport, Ky.) — while eight different returning lettermen on the O-line have starting experience. In fact, MSU’s returning offensive trenchmen have combined for 46 career starts, including 11 by Allen and 10 by Kohler. ♦ At No. 5 in the AP Preseason Top 25, Oklahoma represents the highest-ranked team MSU has ever played. The Bears have played five Top 25 FBS foes over the years, including previous high No. 12 Oregon (9/17/11).