Auburn coach Gus Malzahn didn’t need to watch very much of Bedlam to know Oklahoma has a “big-time offense”
The Sooners put up 38 points against its in-state rival Oklahoma State. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was 13 of 19 for 288 yards for three touchdowns while the backfield combo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon combined for 300-plus yards on the ground.
The 629 total yards of was another in a long line of impressive offensive performances during the team’s ongoing nine-game win streak.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge there’s no doubt about that,” Malzahn said during a conference call Sunday night.
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Oklahoma has the third ranked scoring offense in the country averaging 44.7 points per game this season. It’s also third in total offense averaging 557.3 yards per game.
Mayfield and his top target Dede Westbrook have generated much of the national attention.
Oklahoma’s quarterback is a finalist for the Maxwell Award (collegiate player of the year) and Davey O’Brien Award (quarterback of the year). Mayfield averaged 305.8 yards per game this season with a 38 touchdown passes.
The junior is on pace to set a NCAA single-season record with a 197.8 pass efficiency rating.
Westbrook, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top receiver), is integral part of Mayfield’s success. The receiver is fourth in the country averaging 122.1 yards per game (1,465 yards) and has a school record 16 receiving touchdowns this season
The 6-foot-0, 175-pound receiver is at his most dangerous down field. He leads the nation in receptions of 20-plus yards (26), 50-plus yards (7), 60-plus yards (6) and 70-plus yards (3).
Malzahn acknowledged Oklahoma’s talented passing game, but that isn’t the only aspect of the Sooner’s offense to catch his attention.
“The thing that stands out to me about Oklahoma is they're one of the better offenses in college football and they run the football so well,” Malzahn said. “I know that Baker Mayfield gets a lot of credit, which he's well deserving, throws it well when plays break down, but they run the ball so well so it will be a challenge for our defense.”
Oklahoma would have a pair of 1,000 rushers if an ankle injury hadn’t sidelined Perine for three weeks. Perine is also closing in on Billy Sims’ school record of 4,118 career rushing yards.
Mixon is also on a record-setting path closing in on DeMarco Murray’s single season mark of 2,171 all-purpose yards in a season. The sophomore is 20 yards shy of the record with 1,183 rushing yards, 449 receiving yards and 494 kick return yards.
It all makes for a daunting challenge, but one Malzahn believes his defense is ready for.
“We have played consistently good defense all year,” Malzahn said. “That was one of our goals coming into the season. We felt like we had a chance to play good defense. Our impact players stayed healthy. Coach Steele did a super job with our guys. We just played solid all year and we are going to have to play solid again.”