NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — With such efficiency in his head coaching debut, there’s no telling what’s in store for Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma Sooners.
Baker Mayfield missed just one pass and threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns in one half of work to help No. 7 Oklahoma roll past UTEP 56-7 on Saturday.
Mayfield completed 19 of 20 overall. He connected on 16 straight to start the game and didn’t miss until just under four minutes remained in the second quarter.
“I need to complete it,” Mayfield said. “We’ve got a long way to go. We had guys open today. Not just that one incompletion — that first ball to Mark Andrews that he had to jump up to get, that should be an easy touchdown. So, room for improvement.”
The Sooners made the 33-year-old Riley look like a seasoned veteran. He was promoted from offensive coordinator after Bob Stoops abruptly stepped down in June. The Sooners didn’t miss a beat, piling up 676 yards.
“I’m really proud of how our kids responded,” Riley said. “It was a complete effort. Offensively, we moved the ball well the majority of the day.”
Andrews had career highs of seven catches and 134 yards, all in the first half. Jeff Badet, a transfer from Kentucky, added 91 yards on four catches as the Sooners warmed up for a showdown next weekend at No. 2 Ohio State.
Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston last season and started with a 1-2 record. On Saturday, the Sooners delivered the kind of start Riley envisioned.
“Fun to see this team get off to a great start, which has been not a rallying cry, but really a point of emphasis for this group,” he said. “We really take it personal the way we’ve played early in the year the last few years.”
Walter Dawn Jr. ran for 56 yards and UTEP’s only touchdown. The Miners gained 78 yards on their scoring drive, but just 17 the rest of the first half and 89 the rest of the game.
“They’ve got an outstanding team,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said of Oklahoma. “We weren’t physically matching up with them and they wore us down, especially defensively. We had one nice drive offensively, and couldn’t get it going after that.”
The Miners had moments early, like when they tied the game at 7 on Dawn’s touchdown in the first quarter to answer Oklahoma’s quick score at the start of the game. UTEP gained four first downs on its opening drive and seven the rest of the game
“I didn’t think the kids quit competing, I think we were outmatched,” Kugler said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to acknowledge that and move on. We can’t spend one second dwelling on this game. The first one is in the books and not in our favor, but there’s a long season ahead of us.”
The Sooners lost running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine and receiver Dede Westbrook to the NFL, but it appears plenty of talent remains. Oklahoma rolled to 419 yards of offense in the first half.
“We’ve been working hard,” Mayfield said. “I think throughout the summer, we’ve developed a lot of chemistry. We emphasize that a lot.”
The Sooners were heavy favorites, so they won’t gain much from this one. Still, they were solid throughout and scored the game’s final 49 points.
OKLAHOMA’S RUNNING BACKS
After a preseason battle that failed to create separation, Abdul Adams got the start and ran for 53 yards on seven carries and caught one pass for 34 yards. Marcelias Sutton ran nine times for 52 yards and caught two passes for 29 yards, Trey Sermon had seven carries for 51 yards and Rodney Anderson had four rushes for 14 yards. It doesn’t appear that the pecking order is any clearer now.
Mayfield’s riskiest pass came in the second quarter, when he launched the ball high and deep down the middle. Badet went up high to battle a defender for the ball, then caught the bobble for a 51-yard gain.
UTEP: Hosts Rice on Sept. 9.
OKLAHOMA: Travels to No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 9. The Buckeyes started off slow before rolling past Indiana 49-21 on Thursday. Ohio State beat Oklahoma 45-24 in Norman last season.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .