NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma can finally talk about Ohio State.
Baker Mayfield passed for 244 yards and three touchdowns in a half of work, and the 14th-ranked Sooners beat Louisiana-Monroe 59-17 on Saturday night in a warmup for their showdown with the Buckeyes.
Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston and fell from No. 3 to No. 14 in the AP poll , but its home matchup with fourth-ranked Ohio State next week offers a chance to return to its place among the nation’s top teams.
“They’re obviously a good program,” Mayfield said. “Everybody knows that. I feel confident in what we’re doing right now, and I think we’re going to keep progressing. I think it’ll be a good matchup.”
Mayfield took the blame for the loss to Houston, saying he forced throws at times in the second half and took too many sacks. He bounced back well.
“Baker, I thought, was really decisive and quick getting the ball out in a lot of spots,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “Threw it really well.”
Joe Mixon rushed for 117 yards, and Samaje Perine ran for two touchdowns as the Sooners (1-1) outgained the Warhawks (1-1) 640 yards to 350.
Garrett Smith passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns and R.J. Turner caught seven passes for 135 yards for ULM. Smith was a dual threat in the opener when he ran for 150 yards and a touchdown in a win over Southern. He was one-dimensional against the Sooners, finishing with five yards on six carries.
Mayfield completed 10 of 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter to help the Sooners take a 21-0 lead.
Mark Andrews opened the scoring with a 39-yard touchdown grab. Andrews has four receptions this season, including three for touchdowns. Dimitri Flowers added an 8-yard touchdown catch, then Perine’s 1-yard blast up the middle made it 21-0.
“Things obviously weren’t going our way in the first half, and we were overmatched and playing against a good football team,” ULM coach Matt Viator said.
Austin Kendall replaced Mayfield in the second half, and he passed for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
“As much as anything, (it was about) keeping Baker healthy in the situation we’re in, and Austin’s a true freshman who needs to play,” Stoops said.
LOUISIANA-MONROE: The Warhawks felt they defended better in the second half, though they were playing against mostly reserves. Both teams scored 17 points after the break.
“Hopefully, we got a little bit better and learned something tonight to use for next week,” Viator said.
OKLAHOMA: The Sooners re-established their run game. They gained just 70 yards on 26 carries against Houston, but bounced back with 288 yards on 46 attempts against ULM. Mixon, a sophomore, finished with the third-highest rushing yardage total of his career.
Perine’s two touchdowns gave him 39 in his career, tying him with Joe Washington for seventh in school history.
“I thought Joe and Samaje did a great job early,” Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “I thought we really played well up front. We had good balance offensively.”
Oklahoma’s coaching staff was concerned about how many big plays the Sooners’ cornerbacks gave up against Houston. He said aside from two busted coverages in the third quarter that resulted in long touchdown catches of 73 yards by Turner and 43 yards by Alec Osborne, the Sooners defended the pass well on Saturday. Aside from those two plays, ULM passed for just 156 yards.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook attended the game and drew a loud cheer when he was shown on the video board. Mayfield entered the postgame press conference with a T-shirt with the phrase, “In Russ We Trust” on the front.
The announced attendance of 87,037 was a record for the stadium. The south end had been partially open since the stadium opened in 1923, but an upgrade turned it into a bowl and added an 8,500 square-foot video board and luxury seating.
LOUISIANA-MONROE: at Georgia Southern.
OKLAHOMA: Hosts Ohio State in a game the Sooners must win to have a realistic shot at returning to the College Football Playoff.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter @CliffBruntAP