NORMAN, Okla. — Brendan Radley-Hiles couldn’t remember who got to him first after he recorded Oklahoma’s first takeaway under defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
Radley-Hiles just saw the fists go up.
That’s the Grinch’s universal signal that the ball’s back in the rightful hands.
“It was electrifying. Seeing everyone’s fists go up, it was just an experience,” the sophomore defensive back said. “I was looking for Grinch to give him the ball, but I kind of took off in the wrong direction.”
Radley-Hiles fell on a fumble in the first half and returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in the second. It was OU’s first pick-six since Parnell Motley’s against Tulane in 2017.
Radley-Hiles also finished with two tackles, one for a loss.
“It’s great to see him finish plays,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “To get those opportunities, then to finish them is a big deal. You want them to be a big deal. For us to be the group we want to be we’re gonna need that.”
• Hold on: OU’s offensive line had a slew of first-half issues.
The Sooners were flagged for holding four times. Starting left tackle Erik Swenson was charged with two, while R.J. Proctor and Adrian Ealy were the other culprits.
It wasn’t a pretty first half in general. Shortly before intermission, Creed Humphrey backed up the Sooners with a bad snap and the left side of the line broke down, allowing the first sack of Jalen Hurts this season.
OU finished with 12 penalties for 96 yards.
• Hayes out: Marquis Hayes didn’t start at left guard due to injury. Riley didn’t offer a timetable for return.
Hayes was replaced by R.J. Proctor, which briefly hatled Proctor’s competition with Erik Swenson at left tackle. The two were set to share time indefinitely, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said, during what’s been a close battle.
Other players who returned after sitting out last week were freshman running back Marcus Major, freshman linebacker Jonathan Perkins, and redshirt freshman defensive back Miguel Edwards.
• Band together: South Dakota brought a small but mighty band to Norman. The group performed “Old Town Road” at halftime and formed the shape of the state of South Dakota at midfield.
It was a spirited performance, pulled off without uniforms. There were about 75 members simply wore black mesh shorts and matching t-shirts.
In 2014, Tennessee declined to bring its Pride of the Southland Band to Norman for a meeting.
“It’s a cool stage,” South Dakota linebacker Jack Cochrane said. “It’s obviously one of the most hallowed grounds in all of college football. But once you’re out there it’s elevens on elevens playing football.”
• First time for everything: OU pulled its starters just before the 8:00 mark of the third quarter. Backup quarterback Tanner Mordecai and receiver Jadon Haselwood wasted little time getting a couple big firsts.
The two connected for both of their first collegiate touchdowns. Mordecai completed a pass over the middle and Haselwood bulled his way into the end zone as OU took a 49-0 lead.
Haselwood almost had a 40-yard TD earlier in the game, but a fumble out of bounds set OU up at the 3-yard line.
Later, freshman Theo Wease caught his first collegiate pass and took it for a 37-yard touchdown. Freshman caught a 9-yard TD pass, his first in college.