OU football: SMU brings historically dominant offense to Norman

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a series looking at Oklahoma’s schedule for the 2023-2024 season. The Transcript will rank all games by evaluating their significance, difficulty and entertainment value. This article previews SMU, which is ranked 10th among Sooner opponents in the series.
Oklahoma’s defense faces its toughest non-conference test in the second week of the season against SMU.
The Mustangs struggled defensively in their first season under head coach Rhett Lashlee, but the former offensive coordinator put together an offense that could put up points in a hurry in 2022. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai is no longer around after transferring to Wisconsin, but sophomore Preston Stone is set to take over an offense that’s been dominant in recent seasons.
SMU has finished in the top 15 in scoring offense in each of the last three seasons.
Quick facts
• When and where: Saturday, Sept. 9, 5 p.m. at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
Last season: 7-6
• Offense: 37.2 points per game (12th)
• Defense: 33.9 points per game (119th)
All-time meetings: 7
Despite the two schools being less than 200 miles apart, Oklahoma hasn’t faced SMU since the turn of the century.
The Sooners have won the last four meeting between the two schools with the last coming in 1995. They also faced off 10 years prior, in a non-conference game that wasn’t played until the final game of the regular season.
That season, which Oklahoman writer Barry Tramel dubbed ‘the year the Sooners waited forever’ didn’t start until Sept. 28. According to an article by Tramel, the two schools had originally been set to play to open the season before ABC suggested the game get moved to December.
The Sooners agreed, and had to sit through a bye the following week before opening the season against Minnesota. After beating Texas, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, the Sooners entered the final game of the regular season with just one loss to Miami.
Oklahoma knocked off SMU 35-13 behind two rushing touchdowns from Jamelle Hollieway then beat Penn State in the Orange Bowl to win the national title.
SMU will be relying on some transfer portal additions to step up into key roles this season.
Biletnikoff finalist Rashee Rice has moved on to the NFL, so the Mustangs will need to find a player that can step up in his absence. Jordan Kerley and R.J. Maryland each made big contributions last season.
Tyler Lavine returning as a senior gives the Mustangs an added threat in the running game. Lavine rushed for 4.5 yards per carry last season with 10 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Mustangs hope to grow from last season with their additions in the transfer portal. Linebacker Kobe Lewis, defensive lineman Elijah Roberts and corner Charles Woods are all new names to watch on the defensive side of the ball.

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