There was definitely, however, some trepidation, a feeling of the defense being exposed. The Sooners allowed more than 600 yards to the Golden Hurricane in the 52-38 victory.
But as the afternoon turned to the evening turned to the night, OU fans probably felt just a little bit better about themselves as OU heads into its bye weekend.
OU saw Auburn get smoked by LSU. Georgia Tech fall to undermanned Notre Dame. Alabama lose at home to Ole Miss. TCU get a scare from SMU at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Ohio State look vulnerable against Northern Illinois. USC lose at home to unranked Stanford.
In other words, with winning, things fall into place. A preseason rank of No. 19 has gone up to No. 14, and simply put, OU did what it needed to in the first quarter of the season. No team is perfect in 2015 so the Sooners are right there with everybody else.
“Every game is different, every win is going to be different,” Mayfield said. “Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes it’s not. Last week we relied on them (defense) for three-and-a-half quarters until we got the ball in the fourth.
“This week, I mean we knew we could score every time we touched the ball so we went out and did our job.”
The OU offense did its job to the tune of 773 yards, setting the all-time mark for a Tulsa opponent. Coincidentally, breaking a record that was held by Houston back when Baker Mayfield’s father, James Mayfield, was playing quarterback.
It’s not time to start booking those college football playoff plans just yet in Norman, but the Sooners have already been hit in the mouth once and responded.
At Tennessee, obviously, OU’s backs were up against the wall when trailing 17-0. A comeback by last year’s team in Knoxville would have seemed highly improbable. But 2015 is different and could potentially turn into what everybody thought 2014 would be.
Mayfield has made two home starts and set records in each of them. Against Akron he set the season-opener passing record. And of course vs. Tulsa, it was the single-game total yardage mark. Mayfield accumulated 572 yards (487 passing, 85 rushing) and six touchdowns in lighting up the scoreboard.
“We’re excited to win,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “I told the guys in the locker room every week we can find a way to win different ways. A week ago, we were a sensational defense and the offense really didn’t get things going until late into the fourth quarter. Today, offense is moving it along all day. But again you win different ways every week and I’m proud of our guys in general.”
Winning in different ways is always going to be OK because it’s a win. Last year the Sooners found different ways to lose a game. A pick-six here, a missed kick there, a re-punt there, you get the picture. Winnable games were tossed to the side.
Conference play won’t be a picnic and starting with what looks like an improved West Virginia team is not an ideal way to start. But you have to go through the grind no matter what, might as well get a big showdown out the way nice ‘n early.
OU has a lot to smile about and a lot to fix. But the good news is the fresh energy that was supposed to be arriving in Norman is indeed making its mark. The rest of the season is unknown, but it should be a fun, wild ride.