Oklahoma completed the nonconference season unscathed following Saturday’s 48-14 victory over UCLA.
The No. 5 Sooners (3-0) put together another strong first quarter against the Bruins to capture their 21st consecutive true road victory, which ties Alabama for second all-time in the post-World War II era. Former OU coach Bud Wilkinson's teams between 1953-58 hold the all-time mark at 25.
There were a number of impressive performances, including an attacking defense that registered four sacks against UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and held the Bruins to 311 yards. Oklahoma also hasn't allowed first-quarter points for three straight games, which hasn't happened since the first three games of the 2014 season.
OU gets a week off before opening Big 12 play against visiting Texas Tech on Sept. 28.
Here’s what we learned about Saturday’s 34-point victory over the Bruins.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said he’s excited about his defense’s strong pursuit of Thompson-Robinson, an athletic quarterback who was sacked four times for 54 yards.
“For the guys up front, (four sacks) becomes the standard,” Grinch said after the game. “The expectation level is not just being disruptive, because we have been in the past. But it’s to get them on the ground four times."
The Sooners were also able to get interceptions from Tre Brown and Ryan Jones, bringing the program’s takeaway total to five over the past two games.
“It definitely feels good,” Ronnie Perkins said. “We want to go into every game and get at least two turnovers. We want to be the No. 1 team in the country when it comes to turnovers. Turnovers win ball game. That’s what Coach Grinch always says.”
Another quick start
Oklahoma’s defense hasn’t allowed an opponent to score in the first quarter of the opening three games.
Meanwhile, the Sooners’ offense continues to improve with its first-quarter production. At the end of 15 minutes on Saturday, Oklahoma held a 17-0 lead over UCLA. It led 7-0 over Houston and 14-0 against South Dakota in previous games.
OU coach Lincoln Riley discussed how his team is taking advantage of quick starts.
“We’ve played good team football early in games. We’ve got stops defensively. We’ve done what we need to do on special teams. We’ve been able to move the ball offensively. We are playing good team football and it’s showed up,” Riley said.
Outscoring opponents 38-0 is nice, but the coach craves even more.
“We were able to sustain it a little bit longer tonight – still not anywhere where we need to be,” Riley said. “But there were steps. It’s baby steps. But it’s steps in the right direction. We just have to keep taking those and be mature enough as a team to handle that.
“We do some good things, but we are still far away from where we think we can be.”
Crimson and cream takeover
The announced Rose Bowl crowd was announced at 52,578. An informal poll of Oklahoma beat writers in the press box guessed there were more OU fans than UCLA fans in attendance.
Sooner Nation turned out strong. It was not lost on Riley and the players.
“It was a very pro-OU crowd, which is something to say when you are that far away from home,” Riley said. “Another example of how we’re different and our fan base, kudos to them. I can’t tell you how much our staff and our players appreciated that. It was fun.”
Hurts said the OU turnout was similar to have Alabama fans took over a road game at Vanderbilt.
“It was nice. It kind of reminded me as my sophomore year playing Vanderbilt in Nashville and we had a lot of those fans out there,” Hurts said. “Kind of similar, but this is the West Coast. It was nice. It was a great thing to see.”
Jalen Hurts: The quarterback threw for 289 yards and ran for 150 more to end with 439 yards of total offense. His weekly output is becoming the rule rather than the exception.
Charleston Rambo: The wide receiver set career marks with five receptions and 116 receiving yards. He also has a team-high four touchdown catches this season.
Jaden Davis: The true freshman at cornerback continues to gain the confidence of Grinch. He had a game-high six tackles.
Jalen Redmond: The redshirt freshman ended with three tackles, including two tackles for a loss and a sack which resulted in a 15-yard loss.
Jalen Hurts, on if the heat impacted him: “I couldn’t tell. I felt as cool as a fan.”
Ronnie Perkins, on playing in the Rose Bowl: ” I’ve never been to California … It’s amazing what football can do for you, in general. I was definitely happy to get a big win in this historic stadium and hope to be back here in the future.”
By the numbers
80.3: Jalen Hurts’ completion percentage through three games, including a 15-of-20 effort against UCLA on Saturday.
9: Different receivers that caught 16 combined passes from Hurts and Tanner Mordecai.
2: Field goals made by Calum Sutherland (22 and 32 yards), which were the first makes of his career.
5: Penalties called on Oklahoma, which is a season low after three games.
Oklahoma is off this weekend. The Sooners will host Texas Tech on Sept. 28. The game time is yet to be determined.