11/19/2022 10:32:00 PM | Football
By: John Rohde for SoonerSports.com
After constructing its most explosive first quarter in Bedlam history to build a 28-0 lead, the Oklahoma football team hung on for a 28-13 victory over No. 24-ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday night to make the Sooners bowl eligible for the 24th consecutive season.
“A lot was at stake,” OU first-year head coach Brent Venables said afterward. “I told them earlier in the week, ‘This will be a day you’ll never forget.’ “
The Sooners (6-5, 3-5) assembled the largest first-quarter lead in series history by amassing 299 total yards and 12 first downs and added two defensive interceptions. It was the most points OU has scored in an opening quarter against OSU. The previous high was 24 points in 1979.
Saturday’s total yardage surpassed the Sooners’ previous first-quarter record of 298 yards against Kansas State in 1988 and was OU’s second-most total yards gained in any quarter, trailing the 312 yards in third quarter against Colorado in 1980.
Thereafter, however, the Sooners battled to hang on for the victory. In the final three quarters, OU was outgained 423-135 in yards and 23-5 in first downs.
OU senior quarterback Dillion Gabriel completed 14 of 18 passes for 224 yards and two TDs in the opening period, and finished with 259 yards on 20 of 40 passing.
“Kind of a funky game,” Venables said. “I know we didn’t finish the second half the way those guys would like. Things came so easy, (but) it’s not an easy game to manage. It’s a great problem to have, but it’s not an easy game to manage. I don’t even know how that happened. I know we forced turnovers and our guys came out ready to play. They were incredibly motivated.”
Though the offense stalled after the opening quarter, Venables said he was pleased with the defensive effort throughout, holding the explosive Cowboys to one touchdown in 19 possessions and 102 plays.
The OU defense finished with four interceptions, six sacks, 13 tackles-for-losses and 12 quarterback hurries.
“You play aggressive and confidently through your preparation,” Venables said. “That’s how you earn that edge. We forced eight three-and-outs. They were 7 of 24 on third and fourth downs. We had some great stops when we had to get some stops at the end there. We’ve got a long ways to go, but tonight was definitely a step in the right direction from a development standpoint and a belief standpoint.”
Gabriel opened the scoring with a 2-yard keeper. Senior running back Eric Gray, who finished with a game-high 90 yards rushing on 20 carries, also scored on a 2-yard run.
The scoring receptions were a 30-yarder to sophomore receiver Jalil Farooq and a 23-yard connection to senior receiver Drake Stoops, who established a career high with six receptions for 89 yards in the first half alone.
In the first half, the Sooners outgained the Cowboys 365-153 in total yardage and averaged 7.9 yards per play to OSU’s 3.6 and limited the Cowboys to 43 rushing yards and 1 of 10 on third-down conversions.
Saturday’s contest featured teams with the Big 12’s best overall records in the past 20 years. The 117th Bedlam game drew the 146th consecutive sellout at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The Sooners close out the regular season next Saturday at Texas Tech at 6:30 p.m.