Nov 19, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) runs for a touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during a game at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma, Texas Tech ‘due’ for vintage performances

Not that long ago, there was a time when a meeting between Oklahoma and Texas Tech meant plenty of offensive firepower.

The 2016 meeting featuring Baker Mayfield, at quarterback for the Sooners, against the Red Raiders’ Patrick Mahomes, set a handful of NCAA records.

But entering Saturday’s regular-season finale between the teams at Lubbock, Texas, offensive consistency is a problem area.

Proven capable of explosive plays, each team also has encountered flattening lulls.

While the two rank second and third in the Big 12 in total offense, they’re seventh and eighth in the league in scoring offense.

“We’ve been due,” Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel said. “It’s not always perfect. There are a bunch of things to clean up.”

The Sooners (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) showed their explosiveness early last week, turning in one of the most productive quarters in program history in building a 28-0 lead over Oklahoma State.

Then the offense went dormant, with only two first downs in the second half.

Oklahoma was able to win that game thanks to its defense, which Texas Tech offensive coordinator Zach Kittley said is starting to look much more like the defenses Sooners coach Brent Venables had at Clemson.

“These last two to three weeks, they started to play a lot better defense, going kind of back to this basic stuff they were doing there at Clemson, but they’re very multiple, they’re a high-pressure team. They’re going to blitz you.”

Texas Tech (6-4, 4-4) has won back-to-back games for the first time since the first two games of the season.

In the first four games of conference play, the Red Raiders averaged nearly 520 yards per game. Since, they’ve averaged just more than 350 yards.

They were held to just 246 total yards in last week’s 14-10 win over Iowa State.

Tyler Shough is expected to make his third consecutive start at quarterback for Texas Tech.

“Tyler’s done a good job of coming in and doing what we thought,” Red Raiders coach Joey McGuire said. “He’s getting closer and closer to where we really know who he is and what he can be. But Behren (Morton) will be ready to go.”

Morton hasn’t played since Nov. 5.

The Sooners have won the last 10 meetings between the programs. Texas Tech has not beaten Oklahoma in Lubbock since 2009.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) drops back to pass against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 OK State seeks back-to-back Bedlam wins vs. Oklahoma

After coming on in the second half to lead Oklahoma State to a comeback win against Iowa State, quarterback Spencer Sanders was definitive about his availability for this week’s game against Oklahoma.

“Ain’t no question about it,” Sanders said.

After dropping three of their previous four games, the win over the Cyclones gave the No. 22 Cowboys (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) some much-needed momentum heading into their annual Bedlam matchup with the host Sooners (5-5, 2-5) on Saturday in Norman, Okla.

It is just the fourth time in the rivalry’s history where Oklahoma State is ranked and the Sooners are not.

The last such instance came in 2009, when unranked Oklahoma knocked off the No. 11 Cowboys, 27-0.

Sanders is a big reason why Oklahoma State moved into the rankings. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 84 yards and one touchdown after coming off the bench in the 20-14 defeat of Iowa State.

The shoulder injury that had kept Sanders out of nearly two complete games remains a factor.

“We’re going to have to treat him the same way we’ve treated him the last five weeks,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. “But that’s good news, though, if he feels like that because we need to get him ready to play.

“But he’s the one making the decisions on whether he’s playing or not.”

Sanders played a big role in the Cowboys’ 37-33 win over the Sooners last season, passing for 214 yards and a TD and rushing for 93 yards and a score.

Oklahoma State is looking for back-to-back wins over OU for the first time since 2001-02.

But Oklahoma is in a much different position than it has been for this game in quite awhile.

The Sooners are still looking to secure bowl eligibility for what would be the 24th consecutive season.

Oklahoma has dropped back-to-back games and five of its last seven.

One of the bright spots for the Sooners recently has been senior running back Eric Gray, who has averaged 148.5 rushing yards over his last four games.

“He’s been so consistent on and off the field — his daily routine, how much time he spends in the building,” Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said. “Since we’ve been here, Eric’s been a pro.”

Both teams have struggled defensively all season, with the Cowboys last in the Big 12, allowing 452.9 yards per game. The Sooners are eighth at 432.3.

Oklahoma State has particularly struggled against the pass, allowing nearly 290 yards per game through the air.

The Sooners have struggled, though, to get their deep passing game going consistently.

Marvin Mims has hauled in long passes from Dillon Gabriel in each of the last two games, but several other deep balls weren’t completed.

Oklahoma is hoping to get help in the secondary this week. Cornerback Jaden Davis and safety Key Lawrence missed last week’s loss to West Virginia, while Justin Broiles left that game. Sooners coach Brent Venables said he expected all three to play Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Garrett Greene (6) runs the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia edges Oklahoma on last-second FG

Casey Legg’s tiebreaking 25-yard field goal on the final play gave West Virginia a 23-20 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.

In the Mountaineers’ first home win over the Sooners and first overall win against the Sooners since moving to the Big 12 in 2012, backup quarterback Garrett Greene ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 138 yards and another score.

The Mountaineers got the ball back with 6:24 remaining and the game tied, and deliberately moved the ball downfield with plenty of help from Greene.

Greene hit Bryce Ford-Wheaton on a fourth-down conversion pass to keep the drive alive, then West Virginia kept it on the ground.

Greene’s seven-yard run on third-and-6 from the Oklahoma 17 put the Mountaineers in position to run out the clock, and they did, with Legg kicking the field goal as time expired.

West Virginia scored the final 10 points, tying it early in the fourth quarter on Greene’s 11-yard touchdown run.

Eric Gray rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns for the Sooners, who outgained West Virginia 426-406.

Neither offense had much success until late in the first half.

The Sooners (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) got the ball back at their own 4 with just more than two minutes remaining, kicking off a wild finish to the first half.

Earlier in the half, Oklahoma receiver Marvin Mims dropped two key passes.

On this drive, though, he didn’t, as Dillon Gabriel’s 67-yard pass to Mims set up Eric Gray for a 12-yard touchdown run that put the Sooners ahead 10-0.

West Virginia (4-6, 2-5) returned the kick near midfield, then Greene, who had alternated with starter JT Daniels in the first half, led the way with a 33-yard run followed by a 5-yard touchdown run.

But the Mountaineers holder couldn’t handle the snap on the extra-point try. Legg picked it up but was hit hard from behind by Oklahoma’s Robert Spears-Jennings to jar the ball loose.

Billy Bowman scooped it up and returned it 88 yards for a defensive two-point conversion to give the Sooners a 12-6 lead at halftime.

Late in the third, Ford-Wheaton caught an 8-yard TD pass from Greene to put West Virginia ahead 13-12. But about two minutes later, Gray’s 5-yard TD run gave Oklahoma a 20-13 lead entering the fourth.

–Field Level Media

Oct. 29, 2022; Ames, Iowa, USA;  Oklahoma head football coach Brent Venables reacts after his defense stopped an Iowa State drive in the fourth quarter at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryon Houlgrave/Des Moines Register-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia out to end skid, saddle Sooners with fifth loss

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables and West Virginia coach Neal Brown are trying to keep their teams in a positive mindset entering Saturday’s game between the Sooners and the Mountaineers in Morgantown, W.Va.

The Sooners enter the matchup following a 38-35 loss to Baylor that was Oklahoma’s fourth loss in six games.

“Sometimes it’s easy to sit outside and judge and say, ‘Well, the season, you lose your fourth game and the season’s over,’” Venables said. “That’s one way to look at it. To me, if you judge it that way, then when bad things happen in life, you just kind of pack it in. That doesn’t happen when you invest in it, invest in the game of football or any sport.”

Brown’s Mountaineers have dropped three consecutive games and four of their last five.

“The way I look at it is this — football problems, those are better than 99.9 percent of other people’s problems,” Brown said. “I’m not going to get too hung up on them. I hate it because the investment level’s high … and when things don’t go like you want them to go, that’s disappointing, but you always have next.”

West Virginia has never beaten the Sooners in Morgantown, and Oklahoma has won all nine meetings between the programs since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.

Brown said it will be important for his team to handle Oklahoma’s offensive tempo.

“They’re going to play really fast,” Brown said. “Obviously we had struggles with that against Texas Tech so we’ve got to be better there.”

Texas Tech blew out West Virginia, 48-10, on Oct. 22.

For Oklahoma, running the football figures to be a key.

The Sooners have the top rushing offense in the Big 12 at nearly 220 yards per game, while West Virginia is No. 4 in the league in rush defense, holding opponents to 137.3 yards per game.

Eric Gray is closing in on his first 1,000-yard season, having rushed for 902 yards and eight touchdowns on 140 carries.

“He’s been a stud,” Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said. “He’s been so consistent on and off the field. … Eric’s been a pro.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables reacts during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Defense comes into focus as Oklahoma takes on Iowa State

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables is trying to build his defense into a powerhouse like the ones he coordinated at Clemson and as an assistant coach with the Sooners.

Iowa State’s defensive ascension under coach Matt Campbell over the past seven seasons is an example for Venables to follow.

“They’ve been the example of what good defense has been in this conference, consistently, over the last four or five years,” Venables said. “They do a great job, developing their guys, believing in their system, and again, playing with great effort and physicality.”

On Saturday, Oklahoma (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) will face Iowa State (3-4, 0-4 Big 12) in Ames, Iowa, with the Sooners looking to maintain some momentum while the Cyclones will aim to turn theirs around after both teams had byes last week.

Iowa State has dropped four consecutive games by a combined 14 points. Its past three games have been decided by a field goal or less.

The Cyclones are tied for sixth nationally in average points allowed per game (15.1) and are 10th in total defense, holding opponents to less than 290 yards per game.

It figures to be strength against strength, as Oklahoma is 23th nationally in total offense, a number that would be even better had quarterback Dillon Gabriel — who missed all of the Sooners’ 49-0 loss to Texas on Oct. 8 and most of their 55-24 loss to TCU a week earlier — remained healthy.

On Oct. 15, Gabriel returned to throw for 403 yards and two touchdowns and run for 37 yards and a score in a 52-42 win over then-No. 19 Kansas that snapped Oklahoma’s three-game losing streak, its longest since 1998.

“If we put it all together, as we’ve shown a few times this year, we’ve got everything that we need,” Venables said.

But the Sooners need plenty of help defensively as well. Venables said he was hopeful safety Billy Bowman, who was injured against TCU, was close to returning, though he wasn’t sure Bowman would be available against Iowa State.

The Cyclones also have missed several key players due to injury.

“We’re maybe as close to healthy as we have been since the beginning of the season,” Campbell said.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) talks with quarterback Jason Bean (17) after leaving the game with an injury during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Roles reversed as No. 19 Kansas visits Oklahoma

Oklahoma has dominated Kansas for more than two decades.

But Saturday’s meeting between the Big 12 teams in Norman, Okla., is different.

The Jayhawks (5-1, 2-1) are the ranked team this year, remaining at No. 19 following last week’s 38-31 loss to TCU.

It’s the Sooners (3-3, 0-3) who are reeling, having dropped three consecutive games for the first time since 1998.

Oklahoma has won 17 straight meetings between the teams, with Kansas’ last win coming in 1997.

Saturday’s game is just the third time since then that the Jayhawks have been ranked heading into the game (2008 and ’09, when OU drilled them 45-31 and 35-13). It’s just the second time Oklahoma has entered the matchup unranked (2005, when the Sooners won, 19-3).

Quarterback Jalon Daniels has been a significant piece of the Jayhawks’ success this season, with 1,413 total yards, 11 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns in the six games.

But the Jayhawks are likely to be without Daniels against the Sooners after the junior suffered a shoulder injury late in the first half against the Horned Frogs. Kansas coach Lance Leipold said Daniels was doubtful for Saturday’s game, although with backup quarterback Jason Bean throwing for 262 yards and four touchdowns against TCU, the KU offense was not the problem in that defeat.

The Sooners expect their quarterback to return against the Jayhawks.

Dillon Gabriel was injured against TCU on Oct. 1 and Oklahoma’s offense has struggled in his absence.

Backup Davis Beville is just 13 of 28 for 88 yards with no touchdowns and an interception in six-plus quarters since Gabriel’s injury.

In last week’s 49-0 loss to Texas, the Sooners largely went with a wildcat offense, using a string of running backs and receivers to take snaps.

Gabriel, who has thrown for 1,215 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions, said Monday he remained in concussion protocol but was on track to return.

“He’s full-go in practice,” Sooners coach Brent Venables said. “If he continues to stay out of harm’s way in regard to that protocol, I would expect him to play.”

Leipold said he didn’t expect Oklahoma’s struggles to continue much longer.

“I think it’s a case of some other teams playing their best ball against them and playing very well,” Leipold said. “That’s too good of a staff, too good of a program and roster.”

During the current losing streak, the Sooners have allowed 48.3 points per game.

Venables, in his first season as head coach after more than two decades as a defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Clemson, said things were going wrong across the board for the defense. The Sooners had given up just 30 points combined in their first three games.

“I know we’re not playing fundamentally sound,” Venables said. “We’re not tackling well.”

Before the five-game winning streak to start the season, Kansas had not won more than three games in any season since 2009.

In last season’s meeting, Kansas led 10-0 at halftime before the Sooners took control in the second half, ultimately winning 35-23 — a margin that was expanded with a touchdown in the final minute.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Drake Stoops (12) is brought down by Texas Longhorns defensive back Austin Jordan (4) and Texas Longhorns defensive back Anthony Cook (11) during the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022.


Texas adds to Oklahoma’s misery in 49-0 rout

Quinn Ewers threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns, Bijan Robinson ran for 130 yards and two scores and Texas blew out Oklahoma 49-0 on Saturday at Dallas.

It was Texas’ first win over the Sooners since 2018 and the most points the Longhorns had scored in the long history of the series.

Playing for the first time since being injured early in the Longhorns’ Sept. 10 loss to Alabama, Ewers didn’t take long to make an impact.

The freshman led a 12-play, 90-yard touchdown drive on Texas’ second possession, the first of three consecutive touchdown drives for the Longhorns.

While Texas’ quarterback was back in action, the Sooners’ QB was not on the field.

Dillon Gabriel, who was in concussion protocol after being knocked out of last week’s loss to TCU, warmed up prior to the game but when Oklahoma came out of the locker room for kickoff, Gabriel was in shorts.

Instead, Davis Beville started at quarterback for the Sooners.

Beville was just 6 of 12 for 38 yards with an interception.

The Sooners largely used a series of running backs and tight ends as Wildcat quarterbacks.
The strategy was effective in spurts but didn’t produce any points.

Oklahoma finished with just 195 yards of offense, its fewest since 2005.

Ewers found Xavier Worthy, Keilan Robinson and Ja’Tavion Sanders for touchdowns in the first half, giving Texas a 28-0 lead at the break.

Jordan Whittington finished with five catches for 97 yards for the Longhorns (4-2, 2-1 Big 12). Sanders had five catches for 71 yards and two TDs.

Wide receiver Jalil Farooq, one of four non-quarterbacks to line up at the position for the Sooners, had five carries for 60 yards to lead Oklahoma (3-3, 0-3).

Oklahoma’s three-game losing streak is its first in the regular season since 1998. It’s the first time the Sooners had lost back-to-back games by 30 or more points in at least a century.

The Sooners have given up an average of 48.3 points per game during the losing streak, after allowing an average of 10 in the first three games.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma's Marvin Mims (17) celebrates beside Texas' B.J. Foster (25) after catching a pass for a touchdown during the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.  Oklahoma won 55-48.

cover main

Unique Red River Showdown matches unranked Oklahoma, Texas

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables is no stranger to the rivalry with Texas. But he’s never seen a Red River Showdown quite like this.

Texas counterpart Steve Sarkisian doesn’t have nearly as much experience with the annual meeting between the two at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl, but he hasn’t either.

For the first time since 1998, the game will feature a pair of unranked opponents when they kick off

The Sooners come in scuffling, having lost consecutive regular-season games for just the second time since 1999. Oklahoma (3-2, 0-2 Big 12) dropped games to Kansas State and TCU.

The Sooners were in a similar position two seasons ago, before a four-overtime 53-45 win over the Longhorns began a six-game winning streak that vaulted Oklahoma into the Big 12 Championship Game.

Although some of his players said having the rivalry game could help turn things around, Venables brushed that notion aside.

“I know the emotion, the intensity, and what this game has meant to so many people,” Venables said. “But we shouldn’t prepare for this game any different than we do any other game. And if we are and I allow that then I’m not doing a good job leading.

“We couldn’t do extra this week or be more committed this week. We should be habitual in how we get ready to play.”

Texas (3-2, 1-1) is coming off a 38-20 win over West Virginia and has lost two games by a combined four points, including a one-point loss to top-ranked Alabama.

The Sooners have won four consecutive games in the series beginning with the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game.

Sarkisian said the Longhorns couldn’t take Oklahoma lightly even with their recent struggles.

“Last time I checked this morning when I walked in our building, the Golden Hat wasn’t there,” Sarkisian said, referencing the trophy the game’s winner takes home. “It’s going to take maximum mental intensity and focus and execution to come out on top. That’s what we’re striving to do.”

Questions at quarterback are likely to linger into the game.

Sooners’ starter Dillon Gabriel was knocked out of the loss to TCU in the second quarter and is in concussion protocol. If Gabriel can’t go, Pitt transfer Davis Beville is likely to start.

Hudson Card has started the last three games for Texas after Quinn Ewers (clavicle) was knocked out of the loss to Alabama.

Neither coach offered much in the way of updates on their quarterback’s status entering Saturday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA;  TCU Horned Frogs running back Emari Demercado (3) dives for yardage as Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Justin Harrington (37) defends during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Max Duggan helps TCU steamroll No. 18 Oklahoma

Max Duggan threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 116 yards and two more scores as TCU blew out No. 18 Oklahoma 55-24 on Saturday in Big 12 play at Fort Worth, Texas.

Kendre Miller ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns as the Horned Frogs beat the Sooners for the first time since 2014.

TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) poured it on early, with a series of long touchdowns that led to a 27-10 lead after one quarter.

After Oklahoma (3-2, 0-2) fumbled on the game’s first series, Duggan hit Savion Williams for a 19-yard touchdown.

The next two Horned Frogs’ scores were from much longer distance, with Duggan hitting Taye Barber for a 73-yard score and Duggan carving up the Sooners’ defense with a 67-yard touchdown run.

Only a missed extra point on the second touchdown kept TCU from tying the most points ever scored on Oklahoma in a quarter in Big 12 play.

While the Horned Frogs’ offense was rolling from the start, the Sooners struggled early once again.

Dillon Gabriel made several overthrows early and Oklahoma managed just a field goal over its first five drives.

Things got worse in the second quarter when Gabriel was hit by TCU linebacker Jamoi Hodge as Gabriel slid to give himself up.

Hodge was ejected for targeting on the hit, and Gabriel stayed motionless on the field for several minutes before standing up and walking off the field under his own power.

But Gabriel’s day was done.

He finished 7 for 16 for 126 yards, and had no touchdown passes for the first time in his collegiate career.

Davis Beville took over at quarterback for the Sooners. He was 7-of-16 passing for 50 yards.

The loss gave Oklahoma back-to-back regular-season losses for just the second time since the start of the 2000 season.

The Horned Frogs finished with 668 total yards — 361 yards rushing. It was TCU’s highest offensive output since 2016.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Austin, TX, USA; Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers walks to the medical tent during the fourth quarter of the loss to Alabama at Darrell K Royal   Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday September 10, 2022.   Mandatory Credit: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

Report: Texas QB Quinn Ewers eyes return vs. Oklahoma

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers is expected to miss his third straight game on Saturday but hopes to return from a shoulder injury for the Oct. 8 rivalry game against Oklahoma, ESPN reported.

The Longhorns (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) host West Virginia (2-2, 0-1) in Austin, Texas, on Saturday before facing the 18th-ranked Sooners at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Ewers originally was expected to miss four to six weeks after getting hurt in the first quarter of a 20-19 loss against then-No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 10.

He sustained a sprained SC joint (sternoclavicular) in his non-throwing shoulder when he was hit by Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner, who was flagged for roughing the passer.

Ewers has completed 25 of 36 passes for 359 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in two games.

Hudson Card is expected to make his third straight start on Saturday against the Mountaineers. He has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 620 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Ewers, who transferred to Texas after one semester (and no games) at Ohio State, was the top quarterback recruit in the country in 2022 before reclassifying to the 2021 class.

–Field Level Media