When a school like Akron plays a football game at a school like Oklahoma, it's usually just to collect a check and get blown out.
That was pretty much the story in Norman on Saturday night, as Oklahoma threw all over Akron's defense en route to a 41-3 dredging. The Zips didn't give up - that was apparent - but they just did not have the playmakers to match up with the 19th-ranked team in the nation.
Both teams had something new to show in the season opener. For Akron it was a new-ish offense and some new lids that looked pretty awesome. For Oklahoma it was the debut of the "air-raid" offense put in place by new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who was hired by OU in January from East Carolina.
For at least the first quarter, that air-raid offense was grounded and stalled on the runway. Oklahoma managed to put up just a 35-yard field goal from Austin Seibert and had barely gained any yards on the ground or through the air.
One of the many questions Akron fans had was about the quarterback situation. Pittsburgh transfer Tra'Von Chapman started over Kyle Pohl and ran the show on the first two series without much to show for it.
Pohl came in with three minutes to go in first quarter and, with good field position in hand thanks to a 73-yard Zach Paul punt, led Akron to the Oklahoma five yard-line and on the verge of a touchdown. A delay of game penalty pushed the Zips back to the ten, and after three unsuccessful rushes Akron had to settle for a field goal attempt.
But, as Akron is wont to do, kicker Robert Stein missed a chip-shot 21-yard field goal from the hashmark, and the golden opportunity for the Zips to take the lead was washed away.
Oklahoma finally started to get their offense going after consecutive three and outs. An 11-play, 60-yard drive ended with a two yard plunge from Sooner running back Samaje Perine, giving Oklahoma a 10-0 lead with 5:32 before halftime.
The air raid offense was fully on display the next time the Sooners had the ball, as quarterback Baker Mayfield led them on a quick four-play, 80-yard drive that lasted just over a minute. Mayfield was 2-2 for 67 yards on the drive, ending it with a 29-yard strike to Dede Westbrook for Oklahoma's second touchdown of the quarter.
It looked as if Oklahoma would run away with this game at that point - the Sooners had all of the momentum in the world. But, with just over a minute left in the half, Akron's Cory Morrow forced a fumble from Oklahoma punt returner Sterling Shepard, giving the Zips the ball at OU's 31-yard line.
A quick pass from Pohl to Newman Williams got the Zips to the 19, and with six seconds on the clock Stein knocked in a 26-yard field goal to get the Zips on the board.
Akron actually led the time of possession battle, but Oklahoma dominated through the air in the first half with 212 yards to Akron's 126. The Zips main issue came on third down, as they were just 1-10 and only had four total first downs.
Mayfield was just getting started though. Oklahoma's first play from scrimmage was a 76-yard bomb from Mayfield to Joe Mixon and the Sooners had broken the game wide open with a 24-3 lead.
The rout was officially on midway through the third quarter, as Mayfield hit Jeffery Mead was an 11-yard strike to bring the Sooner lead to 31-3. Minutes later Mayfield capped a 93-yard drive with a 2-yard quarterback sneak to take Akron squarely out of contention down 35 points.
Oklahoma added a fourth quarter field goal to finish off the scoring.
The Zips managed just 226 yards on offense, with 138 of them coming on the ground. Passing was the main issue for Akron, as starter Chapman was 0-8 and Pohl was just 6-17 for 88 yards. Chapman did have a decent rushing game, gaining 48 yards on 14 attempts. Dylan Evans had a great game defensively, collecting 13 tackles.
Mayfield led the charge for the Sooners, going 23-33 for 388 yards and three touchdowns. Perine ran for just 33 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Oklahoma gained 539 yards on offense, with 439 of them coming through the air.
Next week Akron takes on Pitt in the home opener, which is slated for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff.