OU football: The return of the Schooner and pay-per-view problems among bests and worsts
NORMAN — OU blew out Missouri State 48-0 on Saturday night in a season-opener unlike any in the Sooners' long history.
Here are the bests and worsts from night at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium:
Best comeback: The Sooner Schooner
The Sooner Schooner's season was cut short in 2019 after a roll-over accident during the Sooners' win over West Virginia.
- Related to this story
- Article: Recap: OU vs Missouri State
- Article: OU football: 'Sooners For Humanity' initiative announced
- Article: For OU football fans, the new-look gameday means a new approach: 'The memories are more important'
- Article: OU football: Five takeaways from Sooners' 48-0 win over Missouri State
- Article: Carlson: OU football report card all As after season-opening shutout of Missouri State
- Article: OU football: Sooners' season-opening win vs. Missouri State by the numbers
- Article: Carlson: Why OU quarterback Spencer Rattler went into airplane mode and helped the Sooners take flight
- Article: OU football: Absences don't keep Sooners from dominating Missouri State
- Article: Winners and losers from college football Week 2: Sun Belt on rise, Big 12 takes hit
- Article: OU football: Running game needs work, Lincoln Riley says
- Article: College football: Sooners up to No. 3, Cowboys rise to No. 11 in AP poll
- Article: Tramel: Big 12 football power rankings after a miserable Saturday
- Article: Sooner running game was lacking vs. Missouri State
- Article: OU football: Marvin Mims, Seth McGowan emerge as potential stars in Sooners' opener
- Article: Tramel: College football rankings should have Louisiana-Lafayette No. 1
- Article: OU football: Lincoln Riley says contact tracing holds 'excruciating' for Sooners
- Article: OSU football: Back injury led Calvin Bundage on a long journey back to football
- Article: OU football: Jeremiah Hall says Sooners used to 'higher standard' so COVID-19 protocols are easy to follow
- Article: OU football: Tre Norwood happy to be back healthy again for Sooners
- Article: OU football: 'Race to 26' turnovers remain a focus after solid first showing by Sooners' defense
- Article: OU football: Sooners changing student section guidelines after 'disappointing' behavior in opener
- Article: OU football: Marvin Mims' high school coach says Sooners freshman receiver 'just has another gear'
- Article: OU football: Spencer Rattler's arm is off the charts, but his running ability might be needed soon also
- Article: Big 12 leaves some wiggle room in its schedule for makeup games
- Article: Tramel: Cut Mike Gundy some slack for Oklahoma State quarterback decision
- Article: OSU football: Kolby Harvell-Peel shows creative side through music, with fifth album released on Thursday
- Article: OU football: After 'better than expected' opener, student section biggest change for Sooners' second home game
- Article: OSU football: The Six Shooter pregame thoughts on the Cowboys vs. West Virginia
- Article: OSU football: 3-2-1 kickoff for No. 15 Cowboys vs. West Virginia
- Video: OU football: Sooner Defense Shutout Missouri State
- Video: OU Football: Preparing for Missouri State
- Video: OU Football: Alex Grinch
- Video: OU Football: Rattler and Defense Shine in OU's win over Missouri State
- Video: OU Football: Spencer Rattler recounts season-opening win
During the offseason, Werner Wagon Works in Kansas built a new-and-improved Schooner designed to better withstand tight turns and prevent a future rollover.
The Schooner was put to work Saturday, especially in the first half as the Sooners scored five touchdowns.
The wagon is one of the iconic mascots in college football and with plenty abnormal about Saturday's game, it was nice to have the Schooner back where it belongs.
Worst absence: The Pride of Oklahoma on the field
Yes, there was a slimmed-down band and they did their best to make the most of the circumstances.
But like the Schooner, the Pride of Oklahoma is a major part of the game-day atmosphere and not having them on the field before the game and marching at halftime was definitely jarring.
There was a recorded routine by this year's band played on the video board at halftime, but it certainly was strange having the field empty.
Best debut: Marvin Mims
Several Sooners made their first career appearances Saturday but Mims' was the most impressive.
The freshman from Frisco, Texas, showed a flash of brilliance on his first touch before his punt return met a quick end when he ran into fellow freshman Brynden Walker.
The next play, though, Mims caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Rattler.
He finished with three catches for 80 yards.
Mims will certainly continue to factor into the offense, but it was at punt returner where he could be most dangerous.
Mims had three returns for 68 yards, showing a flash there that the Sooners haven't seen in several years.
Mims' 148 all-purpose yards were the second-most by a Sooners freshman in his career debut, behind only Joe Washington. Washington had 157 against Utah State in 1972.
Worst decision: Tanner Mordecai's interception
Mordecai didn't see former Virginia Tech cornerback Jeremy Webb lurking in the end zone in the third quarter, and Webb made it look easy in stepping in front of an OU receiver to pick off Mordecai's pass.
The third was a bit of a frustrating quarter for the Sooners, who didn't score in the quarter and managed just one touchdown during the second half.
The Sooners benefitted from another not-so-great decision on that play, though. Instead of falling in the end zone for a touchback, Webb brought it out and was taken down by running back Marcus Major at the 2. Five plays later, Delarrin Turner-Yell gave the Sooners the ball back with an interception of his own, which leads to...
Best celebration: Sooners defense
After Turner-Yell's interception and subsequent 42-yard return. the Sooners enter defense ran to the south end zone — Turner-Yell was brought down at the 21 — for a group celebration that included flexing and pointing.
It was the type of celebration that would sometimes draw a penalty flag but officials rightly kept their flags put away and a defense that didn't force many turnovers a year ago celebrated their first of 2020.
Worst fan experience: Pay-per-view
Fans wanting to see Saturday's game had to either be among the 22,700 in the stadium or shell out $40 or more for the pay-per-view broadcast.
That's bad enough, but the experience left plenty to be desired.
The broadcast repeatedly referred to Gabe Brkic's extra-point kicking throughout the first quarter.
Brkic was among the large swatch of Sooners missing, presumably due to COVID precautions.
Instead, it was Stephen Johnson doing the kicking.
The broadcast also broke down Anton Harrison's matchup at left tackle — long after it was clear that Harrison was also among the Sooners out.
There are plenty of challenges in putting on a television production, especially this season, but those mistakes rightly left plenty of Sooners fans frustrated.
There were also problems with the delivery of the broadcast. At least some Cox customers reported problems accessing the game, even more than two hours after the game began.