NORMAN – Oklahoma beat OSU 28-13 Saturday night in Norman, in one of the stranger games in a season full of strange games. OU came out and hit the Cowboys with a haymaker unprecedented even in this lopsided series, rolling up 299 yards of offense and four TDs in a 28-0 first quarter that left OSU reeling. But the OU offense turned it over in the red zone twice in the first half, and then was completely inept in the second. Fortunately, the Sooner defense played perhaps their best game of the year, shutting down OSU for most of the night and picking off four Cowboy passes.
Dillon Gabriel went 20-40 with two TDs and a pick. Drake Stoops led the Sooners with six catches for 89 yards and a score. Marvin Mims had five for 68, while Brayden Willis added three for 35. Eric Gray caught three balls for 30 yards, and Jalil Farooq had one for 30 and a score.
Gray led the Sooners in rushing once again with 90 yards and a score on 20 carries. Jovante Barnes added 59 yards on six carries, and Gabriel tallied 30 yards and a score on six carries of his own.
OSU won the toss and deferred. The Sooners took over on their own 25 after a touchback. After an incomplete pass on the first play of the game, Gabriel hit Stoops for 13 yards, then Mims for seven, Gray for 20, and Stoops again on a twisting, diving catch that ended with a 33-yard completion at the OSU two-yard line. Gabriel took it in on the next play, and it was 7-0 Sooners only 1:17 into the contest.
Ethan Downs should have had a pick on OSU’s second offensive play. He dropped it, but it was a sign of things to come. OSU would go three-and-out and punt the ball back to the Sooners at the OU seven-yard line.
After a two-yard carry by Gray, Gabriel connection with Mims for 19 yards, then Stoops for 12. Gray ran for 12 and three, then Gabriel ran for 11 more and a first down at the OSU 34. Two plays later, Gabriel found a wide-open Farooq down the right sideline, and it was 14-0 Sooners with 9:44 to play in the first quarter. As it turned out, that was all the points the Sooners would need.
On the opening play of the ensuing possession, OSU QB Spencer Sanders lofted a deep ball down the right side, but the only player on either team anywhere near the ball was OU’s CJ Coldon, who snagged the Sooners’ first of four picks on the night – which really should have been seven or eight picks, to be honest.
After the Sooners went three-and-out, Sanders was picked off again, this time by Jonah Laulu on a tipped ball. Laulu took it back all the way to the OSU four-yard line. Two plays later Gray took it in from the two, and it was 21-0 with 7:57 to play in the first quarter.
OSU went three-and-out again, and OU moved from their own 43 to the OSU 19 in two plays after a 35-yard Gray run. However, Willis would fumble the ball away on the next play while fighting for extra yardage, and OSU took over on their own three. They picked up their initial first down of the game before punting this time. The Sooners took over on their own 25.
From there, Gabriel hit Willis for six, then Mims for 16. Barnes ran for eight, then Gabriel connected with Mims again for 22 yards to the OSU 23. Stoops caught a TD pass from there, and OU was cruising at 28-0 with 1:09 to play in the first quarter.
OSU would move into OU territory on the ensuing possession, but Billy Bowman baited Sanders into throwing what looked like a wide-open deep ball down the right side that Bowman came across to pick off at the OU seven.
After two Sooner punts sandwiched around an OSU punt, the Cowboys got on the board. A 10-play, 48-yard drive ended in a field goal, and the score was 28-3 with 4:05 to play in the first half.
The Sooners went exotic on the kickoff return, with Bowman taking it and then lateraling to Mims on the other side of the field. The return went for 33 yards, and a personal foul on OSU moved it all the way to the OSU 41. After three plays netted only five yards, the Sooners went for it on fourth and five from the OSU 36. Mims’ reception was only good for four yards, though, after a replay review, and the Sooners turned the ball over on downs.
After OSU went three-and-out again, the Sooners took over with 1:07 to play in the first half. They moved the ball to the OSU 29, but a Gabriel pass was picked off, and the teams went to the locker room with the score 28-3 Sooners.
In the second half, the Sooner offense would not cross midfield and would complete only one pass. OSU would add a TD with 1:03 to play in the third quarter to cut the lead to 28-10, and a field goal with 12:37 to play in the game to forge the final score of 28-13. The Sooners turned away OSU scoring chances in the second half with an end zone pick from DaShaun White and a couple of fourth down stops.
The Sooners are now bowl eligible and will face Texas Tech Saturday night in Lubbock for the regular season finale. See you in the Llano Estacado.