Oklahoma’s football team used a big second quarter to take control of Tulane, the held off a late Green Wave rally to win 40-35 at Owen Field in Norman in the season opener for both teams.
OU quarterback Spencer Rattler was 30-for-39 passing for 304 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions.
Tulane was only outgained by OU in total yards 430-396, and Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
The two teams combined for five turnovers, with Tulane committing three of them.
OU kicker Gabe Brkic tied a school record with four field goals, three of them from at least 50 yards.
The Sooners got the ball to start the game, but on the second play, Spencer Rattler had a deep pass intercepted by Jadon Canady at the Tulane 45-yard line.
The Green Wave then drove to the first points of the game, going 55 yards in eight plays, with Michael Pratt throwing a screen pass to Cameron Carroll for a six-yard touchdown to put Tulane up 7-0 with 11:15 to play in the first quarter.
Oklahoma responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, with Rattler passing to Jadon Haselwood for a gain of 24 yards as the big play.
Rattler capped the drive with a one-yard sneak for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:59 to play in the first quarter.
Tulane came right back to regain the lead, going 75 yards in just four plays.
Pratt passed to Tyrick James for a gain of 44 yards, then Jaetavian Toles scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to put the Green Wave on top 14-7 with 4:44 to play in the first quarter.
The Sooners responded, marching 75 yards in five plays to tie it.
Rattler threw to Marvin Mims for a gain of 50 to the Tulane one-yard line.
It was originally ruled a 51-yard touchdown, but overturned on replay review, and two plays later, true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams scored on a one-yard run to make it 14-14 with 2:38 to play in the first quarter.
Mims had five catches for 117 yards.
OU’s defense finally stopped Tulane on the next possession and the Green Wave were set to punt when the first quarter expired.
The Sooners took their first lead of the game with an 84-yard drive in nine plays.
Two big plays sparked the scoring drive; a 29-yard pass from Rattler to Mims, and a 32-yard run by Kennedy Brooks, who capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 21-14 OU with 10:00 to play in the first half.
Brooks had 87 yards rushing on 14 carries.
On Tulane’s first snap of their next possession, Pratt fumbled the snap and Nik Bonitto recovered at the Green Wave 11-yard line.
The OU offense could only gain two yards however, and had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Gabe Brkic to make it 24-14 Sooners with 8:59 to play in the second quarter.
Tulane turned the ball over again on the first snap of their next possession, as Pratt was scrambling and had the ball knocked out of his hand by Isaiah Thomas and recovered by Clayton Smith at the Tulane 34.
Once again, the Sooner offense couldn’t move the ball, not gaining a single yard, and Brkic connected on a 51-yard field goal to give OU a 27-14 lead with 7:58 to play in the first half.
Tulane picked up a first down on their next possession, but OU forced a punt after a tackle for a 2-yard loss by Pat Fields, and a sack by Thomas.
Oklahoma then went on a touchdown drive of 78 yards in 7 plays, with three double digit yard plays, capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rattler to Mario Williams to make it 34-14 OU with 3:01 to play in the first half.
The Sooners got the ball back before halftime, as Reggie Grimes swiped the ball out of the hand of Pratt, and Jalen Redmond recovered for OU at the Tulane 41 with just 30 seconds to play in the half.
As the half ended, Brkic kicked a 56-yard field goal to give the Sooners a 37-14 lead at halftime.
The kick tied the third longest field goal in OU history.
Tulane got the ball to start the second half, and the drive ended with a missed 41-yard field goal attempt by Graham Dable.
Tulane stopped OU on their first possession and then drove 42 yards to a touchdown, with Pratt keeping for a 4-yard score.
The Green Wave went for two points and got it on a run by Deuce Watts to cut OU’s lead to 37-22 with 3:31 to play in the third quarter.
Oklahoma responded with a drive to set up a 55-yard field goal by Brkic, the fifth longest in OU history and his third from at least 50 yards in the game.
That gave OU a 40-22 lead with 1:02 to play in the third quarter.
On the Sooners’ next possession, Rattler had a pass intercepted by Macon Clark at the OU 47-yard line.
Tulane converted that into a touchdown, as Pratt passed to Carroll for a 5-yard score.
The two point conversion failed when Pratt tripped coming out of the snap and fell down for a loss, keeping the score 40-28 with 11:28 to play in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma had a field goal attempt to extend their lead, but Brkic missed from 31 yards out on a kick that would have broken the OU single game record for most field goals.
Tulane then marched 80 yards in eight plays, with Pratt passing to Will Wallace for a 5-yard touchdown to cut OU’s lead to 40-35 with 2:18 to play.
The Green Wave then recovered an onside kick at the Tulane 47-yard line, with Larry Brooks getting the ball for Tulane.
Tulane couldn’t get a first down, as Pratt scrambled for 12 yards on 4th and 13 and turned the ball over on downs at the OU 44-yard line.
Oklahoma then ran out the clock to win 40-35.
The game was originally scheduled to be played in New Orleans but was moved to Norman due to the impact of Hurricane Ida.
OU has won five straight season openers and 11 of their last 12.
The Sooners host Western Carolina next Saturday night at 6:00 pm at Owen Field.