OU Sooners vs. ULM Warhawks @ Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK

Coming into this season, the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners had some lofty expectations.  Not uncommon for the Sooners, especially coming off a College Football Playoff appearance and winning their eighth Big 12 title.  But with such high expectations, faltering early can be hard to swallow.  After a lackluster performance against the University of Houston Cougars, preseason hype around the Sooners had all but fallen by the wayside.  But the season is not lost as the Sooners will have plenty of opportunities to rebound against high-quality opponents, namely the Ohio State Buckeyes in two weeks.  But before the Buckeyes come to town, the Sooners had to face the Warhawks of the University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM).
Essentially a warmup game for Ohio State, no offense ULM, the Sooners took out their week-long frustrations out on the Warhawks.  It also gave them the perfect opportunity to adjust their deficiencies from their week one loss.  Overpowering on offense and defense, the Sooners took advantage of their size and strength against their foe from the Sun Belt Conference, producing 640 total yards of offense.  A huge improvement from their 393 total versus Houston.  And while the Sooners did give up 272 yards through the air, a concern exploited by the Cougars, most of the yardage came in the second half when the starters began to find themselves on the sidelines.
Baker Mayfield got off to a hot start, finding big Mark Andrews for a 39-yard touchdown strike in the opening minutes of the game.  From there, it was a hefty dose of the explosive Joe Mixon and the bulldozing Samaje Perine that complimented the slinging of Mayfield.  The second quarter proved fruitful in big plays as Jarvis Baxter took an end around for 40 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the quarter.  Not to be outdone, walk-on wide receiver Nick Basquine took his first completion to the house in a 62 yard gallop down the Sooner sideline.  In the second half, after most of the offense had taken a seat on the sideline, true freshman quarterback, Austin Kendall, completed his first two touchdowns of his young career.
It was also the beginning of a new era in Sooner Football as the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium received a makeover and was finally bowled in for the first time in history.  Or as Sooner fans would call it, SurrOUnded.  While overall capacity did go up ever so slightly, it was the addition of many loge suites and concourse areas that now filled up the south end zone.  Coming into the stadium for the first time since the upgrade, it was definitely a sight to behold.  The stadium felt smaller for some reason but the overall look was fantastic, capped off with the second largest collegiate video screen and a revamped audio system.  Even Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder came to enjoy the atmosphere, who received a thunderous applause from the crowd when he was shown on SoonerVision.
If they remain consistent, these Sooners can compete for another Big 12 title and possibly, an outside shot of the College Football Playoff.  A win agains the Buckeyes and the Sooners would be right there in the mix but a loss would prove devastating and a blow to a program that seeks a national championship annually.  A Big 12 title would still be possible with a loss, along with a Sugar Bowl berth, but the realization of a failed season would remain constant.  

More photos from the game are below:

OU Sooners vs. ULM Warhawks @ Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK OU Sooners vs. ULM Warhawks @ Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on September 12, 2016 Rating: 5
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