• Editor’s note: Questions remain about the 2020 football season due to COVID-19. The Transcript previews of Oklahoma’s schedule contain the latest available information, but opponents, times, sites and other details are subject to change.
Oklahoma hasn’t scheduled many Football Championship Subdivision opponents recently. Generally, they spark little fanfare.
Missouri State’s visit to OU this September is no different, though there are exceptions.
One, it will mark Bobby Petrino’s return to college football.
The former Arkansas, Louisville, Western Kentucky coach has accumulated his share of critics through the years, despite a 119-56 record as a college head coach. Scandals and misconduct have marked Petrino’s time at different stops, from Fayetteville, Louisville, Jacksonville to Atlanta.
The other exception: Assuming the game takes place on its scheduled date and location, there will be a lot of interest about how OU will open its season due to COVID-19.
It’s not clear how many fans, if any at all, will be in the stands; what the gameday atmosphere around the stadium will look like and whether all players will be available.
The pandemic has added another layer of curiosity for people who are already wondering what the latest version of the OU Sooners will look like. Now, the program is part of the larger picture: How exactly will sports will play out through the rest of 2020?
As for football storylines, OU will have a fresh face at quarterback for its season opener for the first time since 2016. Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts had all started a college game before making their debuts with the Sooners.
The transitions behind center have been relatively seamless. Now, the Sooners must work through some youth and inexperience with Spencer Rattler and Tanner Mordecai — neither have started a collegiate game — vying for the job.
The favorite is Rattler, a former five-star prospect, who figures to have one of the more highly anticipated starting debuts at OU in some time.
When: Week 1 | Saturday, Sept. 5 (Time and TV, TBA)
Where: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla.
All-time series: 0-0
A look at the Bears
Overview: There is work for Petrino to do and he's had an unconventional spring and offseason to get started.
Missouri State is coming off a 1-10 season where it averaged 15.5 points per game — that was 120th out of 124 FCS teams last year. The Bears didn’t offset that with defense, allowing 36.1 points per game, which ranked 110th nationally.
Former coach Dave Steckel was fired after winning only 13 games in five seasons. With nine of last year’s losses coming by double digits, there isn’t much momentum in Springfield.
Best returning player: Defensive lineman Kevin Ellis recorded four sacks a year ago and gives the Bears experience up front.
Biggest departure: Quarterback Peyton Huslig accounted for 210 yards passing per game and threw 10 interceptions for the year.
That doesn’t sound like much, but it made up the backbone of Missouri State’s offense. Consider too that leading receiver Tyler Currie has also moved on. The Bears lack foundation in the passing game.
Dalton Hill played in two games at quarterback last year; the only other QB listed on the roster is redshirt freshman Ty Baker.