LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley was dissecting his team’s latest easy victory, this time a 45-20 blowout of Kansas, when he was interrupted by the sound of a toilet flushing in the nearby visiting locker room.
“That’s what they thought of my play-calling,” Riley said with a sardonic grin.
It wasn’t that bad, coach.
Heisman Trophy hopeful Jalen Hurts threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns while running for two more. Rhamondre Stevenson added 109 yards rushing and a score on just five carries. And the sixth-ranked Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) still ripped off seven straight scores to put the game away early.
Not to mention allow them to cruise to their 22nd straight true road win, the second-longest streak since at least World War II in major college football. Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners won 25 from 1953-58.
“Every team in the country circles our team and the offense and we like that,” said Riley, whose Sooners had 545 yards. “What’s exciting is you see glimpses of what it can be, and it’s on us to turn those glimpses into longer stretches of dominant play.”
It might take some better play in next weekend’s Red River Showdown with No. 11 Texas.
“I know that’s always a hot topic on the outside,” Riley said, “but that wasn’t mentioned before the game, not one time. Maybe we didn’t handle the early start, whatever it was. But we can do better.”
Carter Stanley threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns for Kansas (2-4, 0-2), including a pair to Stephon Robinson, while sophomore running back Pooka Williams followed his breakthrough 252-yard rushing performance against the Sooners a year ago with 137 on Saturday.
“Our football team, I talked to them coming off the field. There’s no hang-dog,” Kansas coach Les Miles said. “They want to do what we set out to do. They’re going get there. And it’s going to be — they are going to take the strides they need to have the success they want to have.”
The rout most people anticipated didn’t happen right from the start.
In fact, the Jayhawks outplayed the Sooners throughout most of the first quarter.
They had forced a punt but were pinned at their goal line midway through the quarter when Stanley marched them 98 yards. And when the senior quarterback lofted a pass to Daylon Charlot for a 22-yard TD, the home fans that stuck out a 30-minute lightning delay cheered the 7-0 lead.
“There’s still improvement,” Miles said afterward. “You can see it.”
Hurts and the Sooners eventually got on track, though.
They answered the touchdown with one of their own when Trey Sermon plunged in from 2 yards out. Hurts added a TD run of his own, then found CeeDee Lamb just before halftime to give Oklahoma a 21-7 lead.
Hurts kept adding to his impressive stat line after the break.
He ran for 36 yards, completed both of his passes and scored a TD to cap an 84-yard drive, then ran for 53 yards before hitting Sermons with a 15-yard touchdown pass.
Stevenson ripped off a 61-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to punctuate the win.
Still, it wasn’t a perfect performance by the Sooners.
They had a long punt return TD brought back by a penalty, and Hurts threw his first interception of the season in the fourth quarter. And while the Oklahoma defense held the Jayhawks in check outside of their long touchdown drive, new coordinator Alex Grinch’s bunch failed to produce a turnover.
It was still plenty good enough to remain unbeaten as the Sooners set their sights on Dallas.
“Early on we left them off the hook in some situational deals,” Grinch said, “and our inability to finish changes your outlook in the postgame news conference.”
“It took us a little while to get on track, then we had a really nice surge there end of the first half, even despite a couple of really, really dumb calls by me that set us back.” — Riley.
Oklahoma could be forgiven for getting off to a slow start. Lightning delayed kickoff, and periods of heavy rain hurt an already sparse crowd that contributed to a sleepy atmosphere.
Kansas was battered so soundly by TCU last week that fans were bracing for the worst, but coach Les Miles at least kept his team in the game into the second half. That constitutes progress in Lawrence.
Oklahoma heads to the State Fair of Texas to face the Longhorns next Saturday.
Kansas gets next week off before its own shot at the Longhorns.