Seven months ago, Lincoln Riley took over as the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. With lofty expectations from the fanbase, the 34-year inherited loads of talent on both sides of the ball. Yet to see the product on the field, fans flooded Norman on September 2nd with anticipation.
Rattling off four consecutive wins — including a victory in Columbus, Ohio over the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes — the Sooners cemented themselves in the College Football Playoff conversation. However, an upset bid from the Iowa State Cyclones brought the program back down to earth.
Forced to keep the train on the tracks, Coach Riley hit the drawing board once again. Reenergizing and refocusing his players, Oklahoma earned a spot in the Big 12 Championship after an 11-1 regular season. Claiming win number twelve in the title bout over the TCU Horned Frogs, Riley set a school record for wins in a debut season as head coach.
One of the best offensive minds in the game, Riley’s scheme posted 579.6 yards per outing, a 71.4% completion rate, and 361 first downs — all numbers that led the nation. The effort spurned the Oklahoma coach to be named the FWAA First-Year Coach of the Year!