NORMAN, Okla. -- After a slow start, Oklahoma and quarterback Baker Mayfield cruised to a 41-3 victory over Akron in the Sooners' season opener Saturday. Here's how it unfolded:
What the win means for Oklahoma: After the poor finish to last season, the Sooners needed to regain some momentum in this opener before going up to Tennessee next weekend. It took a little while for the offense to get going, but the Sooners finally found their rhythm late in the second quarter, beginning with Mayfield's 26-yard TD pass to Dede Westbrook, who made a one-handed grab. Oklahoma will have to run the ball better in Knoxville, as Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon finished with just 60 yards combined on the ground. But with Mayfield operating out of the newly installed air raid, the Sooners showed they should be much more dangerous this season through the air.
What the loss means for Akron: The Zips missed some opportunities early when their defense was frustrating Oklahoma. But Akron struggled to do much offensively, and inevitably the Sooners pulled away. Still, this wasn't a game the Zips were expected to win. The road trip to Norman should help prepare them for the MAC.
Player of the game: Overall, it was a sharp Sooner debut for Mayfield, who beat out incumbent Trevor Knight in the preseason. After an anxious first quarter, the former Texas Tech transfer settled down to complete 23 of 33 passes for 388 yards, breaking Sam Bradford's 2007 school record for passing yards in an opener. Mayfield, who hadn't taken a snap since Thanksgiving Day in 2013, also tossed three touchdowns. Most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over. After Saturday, the Sooners have to be feeling encouraged about their new quarterback.
Top play: Early in the third quarter, Mayfield faked a handoff to Mixon and rolled to his right before stopping and throwing back down across the field to Mixon, who was gliding wide open down the sideline. Mixon hauled in the pass and coasted for a 76-yard touchdown, putting the Sooners up 24-3 to ignite the rout.