NORMAN — The biggest takeaway from Saturday night’s Oklahoma-South Dakota game wasn’t the $575,000 check paid to the visitors after the Sooners’ 70-14 victory at Memorial Stadium.
The opponent’s prestige may not be high, but playing an FCS school in a lopsided game allowed plenty of OU players to get their uniforms dirty on a steamy evening.
“This game will pay dividends down the line,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “You get a chance to play so many guys. You get a chance to see where they’re at. You get a feel for how they can help you. It helps them learn and grow to get that first one out of the way.”
The No. 4 Sooners (2-0) had 10 touchdowns scored by 10 different players on an evening where it overwhelmed its opponent. OU scored 70 points for the first time since 2007, a 79-10 win over North Texas.
While quarterback Jalen Hurts managed the offense effectively for the second consecutive week and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was making highlight-reel catches, it was defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles who stole the show for an OU defense starved for this type of performance.
Radley-Hiles had two takeaways including a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter. It was similar to an interception that he barely missed for a pick-6 at TCU last season.
“This time, I was in a great position, my coaches put me in a great position to be right there for that play,” Radley-Hiles said. “My d-line forced that play, to make sure the quarterback got the ball out. And the rest was my natural instincts to finish the play.”
The sophomore nickelback also recovered a fumble in the second quarter to stop a South Dakota drive.
Counting Jaden Davis’ fourth-quarter interception, the Sooners had three takeaways after being void in the season-opening win over Houston.
For Alex Grinch, the turnovers were huge. After each takeaway, the entire defense lifted their fists to the air, a symbol instituted by the new defensive coordinator.
“My frustration a week ago, I didn’t hide it. That’s something that has to continue to play the type of defense that we want to play around here,” Grinch said. “You kind of rip the band-aid off type of deal. You get one and you see how it stalls the drive and how it impacts in terms of getting the ball back to the offense.
“What you hope is that it becomes infectious. It’s something that we’ve seen in practice.”
Hurts kept his name in the Heisman Trophy talk by completing 14-of-18 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 47 rushing yards, including an impressive 36-yard gain.
Just like last week, Hurts wasn’t satisfied. The quarterback continues to look for perfection while balancing happiness with a victory.
“Coach Riley had a great message,” Hurts said. “We are going to watch this film and it’s not going to be as good as we thought. But the moment you stop enjoying a win is the moment that you have to stop.
“We are going to enjoy it. We have the 24-hour rule. Then we have a lot of things we can learn from and we are going to try to turn that notch this week.”
Lamb drew plenty of oohs and aahs with dazzling catches against an outmatched South Dakota secondary. The junior had six catches for 144 yards including a 48-yard reception in the first quarter. He finished with four grabs of 20-yards plus. His game set the tone for an OU offense that witnessed 13 different players make a catch.
Lamb was just as excited for the first-year wide receivers who made big plays. Jadon Haselwood, Trejan Bridges and Theo Wease all had touchdown receptions.
“I was happy. I was like a proud father out there. I was jumping and screaming all across the sidelines and (it's) just great to have those guys,” Lamb said. “They did a great job today. Obviously they all touched the end zone when they needed to.”
Quarterbacks Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler got some second-half work. Modecai was 6-of-8 for 114 yards, while Rattler was 4-of-4 for 50 yards. Mordecai threw two touchdown passes, while Rattler added another.
The OU offense ended with 733 yards of offense (423 passing, 310 rushing). Rhamondre Stevenson ended with a game-high 104 yards on six carries and had a 75-yard touchdown run.
Oklahoma hits the road next week with a game at winless UCLA. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Saturday.