Oklahoma worked out a few kinks against an overmatched South Dakota squad.
Jalen Hurts passed for 259 yards and three touchdowns in just over two quarters and fourth-ranked Oklahoma rolled past the Coyotes 70-14 on Saturday night. It was the Sooners' highest points total since scoring 79 in a victory over North Texas in 2007.
CeeDee Lamb had six catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, and Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 104 yards and a score for Oklahoma (2-0), which gained 733 yards against the Coyotes (0-2).
The Sooners wanted to work on the connection between Hurts and Lamb after a few misfires in the opener against Houston. They connected for gains of 48, 32 and 27 yards against South Dakota, plus a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
"We've always been on the same page, but for it to show out in a game is a big confidence boost," Lamb said. "He did a great job distributing the ball all over. I can't wait to keep it going all year."
The Sooners had 423 yards passing and 310 yards rushing. It was too much for the Coyotes, an FCS program that lost to Montana the previous week.
"They're just so multiple," South Dakota coach Bob Nielson said. "You've got a tremendously deep group of really good wide receivers, you've got a couple of NFL-caliber running backs and a really talented quarterback who can make big plays with his feet and throw it. Put that together with a good offensive line, and I'm not sure there's going to be a lot of teams that do a good job defending them throughout the course of the year."
Austin Simmons passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns for South Dakota, but he threw two interceptions. Kody Case had six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The Sooners led 28-0 at halftime. Oklahoma's defense got into the act early in the third quarter when Brendan Radley-Hiles scored on a 30-yard interception return. Radley-Hiles also had a fumble recovery.
Oklahoma forced three turnovers after failing to force any in its season-opening victory over Houston. It was a step forward in the Sooners' second game under defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
"We're progressing on the scheme, but the most important thing to me is the mentality," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. "Do we play with the edge and the aggression, the physicality and the fundamentals that a great defense should play with? And I see us doing that more and more right now. It's certainly not there, but we are doing it more and more."
Spencer Sanders believed that it was his fault that Oklahoma State was unable to move the ball on its first two possessions Saturday night, and put it on himself to turn the Cowboys' potent offense around.
On the third play of Oklahoma State's third drive, he threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Tylan Wallace, igniting a dominant passing game that piled up 413 yards and scored five touchdowns, to roll past McNeese, 56-14.
Sanders, a redshirt freshman, completed 12 of 18 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in his home debut until he exited the game early in the third quarter. Then backup Dru Brown, who narrowly lost the off-season battle to become the starter, stepped in and completed 7 of 10 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
"I feel like we started off a little slow and I feel like that I need to get our guys going and make sure we're going from the snap, and just go from there," Sanders said. "But all in all, other than that, we did great as a team. We executed and we came together after those first two drives and we did well. I'm proud of us. I know we can do a lot better."
Wallace recorded five receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns, including scores of 69 and 75 yards where he caught short passes, then outraced defenders the length of the field into the end zone.
After gaining 352 yards rushing in their season-opening 52-36 victory at Oregon State last week, including a nation-leading 221 from running back Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (2-0) managed 167 in this one. Sanders topped them with 51 yards rushing on 11 carries, while Hubbard gained 44 yards and a touchdown on eight rushes.
"Offense can't determine run and pass, defense determines run and pass," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said of the disparity. "Offense only determines tempo, so based on how they were playing, there were more opportunities to throw the ball than there were rushing opportunities, based on the way the safeties played."
For McNeese (1-1), Cody Orgeron threw an interception on the game's second play that was returned for a touchdown by OSU's A.J. Green, but bounced back to have a pretty good day. He was 11-of-22 passing for 151 yards and one touchdown, while also leading all players in rushing with 89 yards on 16 carries.
"He's a resilient kid, he's got moxy about him," McNeese coach Sterlin Gilbert said of Orgeron, the son of LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. "With every play and every snap, he's gaining experience and continuing to get better."