Florida Atlantic quarterback Casey Thompson (11) passes during the second quarter against Monmouth at FAU Stadium on Saturday, September 2, 2023, in Boca Raton, FL.

FAU QB Casey Thompson, former Longhorn, commits to Oklahoma

Casey Thompson, who spent three seasons playing quarterback at Texas, is heading to the other side of the Red River rivalry and joining Oklahoma.

The Florida Atlantic transfer announced his commitment to the Sooners on Thursday. He is a native of Oklahoma City.

“Dear Oklahoma, I’m coming home,” he posted on social media with images of him in Oklahoma gear.

It’s likely Thompson will enter 2024 as the backup to Oklahoma quarterback Jackson Arnold, who is taking over for Dillon Gabriel.

Thompson’s 2023 season was cut short when he tore an ACL in the Owls’ third game of the season Sept. 16 against Clemson. He finished the interrupted campaign with 509 passing yards, five touchdown and five interceptions.

Thompson threw for 2,422 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine picks in 19 games at Texas from 2019-21. He transferred to Nebraska in 2022 and played in 10 games, throwing for 2,407 yards, 17 TDs and 10 picks.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Ted Roof watches the Sooners warm up before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. Oklahoma won 69-45.

Oklahoma, defensive coordinator Ted Roof part ways

Ted Roof will not return as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2024, the Sooners announced Thursday.

Oklahoma and Roof “mutually agreed to part ways,” according to the football program’s announcement. He had worked at the university for two seasons.

“I have the utmost respect and appreciation for Ted,” head coach Brent Venables said in a statement. “I told him Wednesday I made a decision to go in a new direction at defensive coordinator and offered him an opportunity to remain on our staff in a different role. He explained that he has a deep desire to keep coaching and will look to do that at a different school.”

Roof, 60, has worked as a defensive coach at the college level since the late 1980s. Previous stints as a defensive coordinator included UMass (1995-96), Western Carolina (1997), Georgia Tech (1999-2001, 2013-17), Duke (2002-03), Minnesota (2008), Auburn (2009-11), UCF (2011), Penn State (2012), NC State (2018, as co-defensive coordinator), Appalachian State (2019) and Vanderbilt (2020).

While at Duke, he was named interim head coach during the 2003 season and promoted to the role full-time for 2004-07. The Blue Devils went 6-45 under Roof.

Oklahoma, which will join the SEC later this year, ranked just inside the top 50 nationally this season in scoring defense (23.5 points per game allowed).

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA;  Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita (11) throws a pass in the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Arizona overtakes No. 12 Oklahoma to win Alamo Bowl

No. 14 Arizona forced six turnovers and got the go-ahead touchdown on a 57-yard pass to Jacob Cowing, stunning No. 12 Oklahoma with a 38-24 comeback victory in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday in San Antonio.

Wildcats safety Gunner Maldonado intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles, the second of which he returned 87 yards for a game-changing score late in the third quarter.

That touchdown with two seconds left in the third quarter and subsequent two-point conversion pass from Noah Fifita to Montana Lemonious-Craig cut Oklahoma’s lead to 24-21 — just as it seemed the Sooners were about to add to an 11-point edge.

Fifita passed for 354 yards for Arizona (10-3), which won its seventh consecutive game, its longest streak since the 1998 season. The Wildcats reached 10 wins in a season for the fourth time in school history.

Oklahoma true freshman quarterback Jackson Arnold, making his first start in the wake of Dillon Gabriel’s transfer, passed for 361 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was intercepted three times and lost a late fumble on a sack after the Wildcats took a 31-24 lead with 5:28 left on Cowing’s touchdown.

Arizona then added a 19-yard touchdown run by DJ Williams, ending the game by scoring 25 unanswered points in the final 15:02.

Oklahoma had roared back from a 13-0, first-half deficit and was up 24-13 when momentum changed quickly.

Dalton Johnson popped the ball out of the hands of receiver Jalil Farooq, and Maldonado grabbed it and raced down the left sideline for his 87-yard fumble return.

Martell Irby intercepted Arnold on the next play from scrimmage, setting up Arizona at the Oklahoma 11. The Sooners defense stiffened, though, forcing the Wildcats into a game-tying, 37-yard field goal.

When the Wildcats got the ball back after a punt, they drove 95 yards, capped by Fifita’s scramble and TD pass to Cowing. Cowing caught seven passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Tetairoa McMillan made 10 receptions for 160 yards.

Arnold completed 26 of 45 passes. Oklahoma outgained Arizona 562-383 but was undone by the six turnovers, which led to 28 points.

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver Deion Burks (4) reacts after making a catch during the NCAA football game against the Illinois Fighting Illini, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 44-19.

Purdue WR Deion Burks transferring to Oklahoma

Standout Purdue wide receiver Deion Burks announced Tuesday he is transferring to Oklahoma.

He led the Boilermakers with 47 catches for 629 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games in 2023.

“Took me a SEC but it was gone happen SOONER or later,” Burks posted on social media, referencing the Sooners’ move from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2024.

The second-team All-Big Ten selection opened the season with 152 yards and two TDs in a loss to Fresno State.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) runs the ball as Kansas Jayhawks linebacker Rich Miller (30) defends during the game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon lands veteran transfer QB Dillon Gabriel

Former Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel will complete his college career at Oregon.

Gabriel entered the transfer portal earlier this week and announced the move to Oregon on social media on Saturday. At Oregon, he presumably will walk into the starter’s job as the Ducks seek a replacement for Heisman Trophy finalist Bo Nix.

Gabriel’s college career began in 2019 at UCF and he spent three seasons there, with his 2021 campaign cut short because of a season-ending shoulder injury suffered in the third game. He then moved on to Oklahoma and will be a sixth-year senior at Oregon with one year of eligibility left.

In 2023, he completed 266 of 384 passes for 3,660 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran and ran for 373 yards and has 12 touchdowns.

In all, Gabriel has thrown for 14,865 yards with a completion rate of 63.1 percent with 125 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his five college seasons.

A native of Hawaii, Gabriel turns 23 later this month.

–Field Level Media

The Golden Hat Trophy is raised after the Red River Rivalry 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. 7, 2023. Oklahoma won 34-30.

Red River, Civil War rivalry games getting extended

One major college football rivalry got extended and another is reportedly on the verge amid the changing landscape of schools switching conferences heading into the 2024 season.

Texas and Oklahoma announced the extension of their Red River Rivalry through the 2036 season. Both are jumping to the SEC next year but their annual game will continue to be played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

Out west, the move to preserve the Civil War game between Oregon and Oregon State is nearing completion, Pac-12 insider John Canzano reported Wednesday. Only moving forward, that game will now be a nonconference game with the departure of the Ducks to the Big Ten beginning in 2024.

Oregon will travel to Corvallis next year with Oregon State playing in Eugene in 2025, per the report. The agreement involved the shuffling of games involving multiple schools in 2024, per the report.

The Red River Rivalry dates to 1900 while the Civil War began in 1894.

Washington and Washington State previously announced that their rivalry, the Apple Cup, will continue despite the Huskies’ jump to the Big Ten in 2024.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby talks with Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. Oklahoma won 69-45.

Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel enters portal, weighing 2024 draft

Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel entered the transfer portal while weighing his plans for the 2024 season.

Gabriel would be one of the most coveted transfers available for his final year of college eligibility. But he’s also likely to engage the college advisory committee to vet his status for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Gabriel declared Oklahoma was “forever home” in January. The Hawaii native threw for 3,168 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions, and 315 rushing yards with six touchdowns, in 2022 but opted to come back to the Sooners and rejected options via the portal and NFL draft.

At 5-11, 200, one of the main barriers to the NFL is likely to be size.

But Gabriel, who turns 23 later this month, was sixth in the FBS in passing yards in 2023 — 3,660 yards — with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He rushed for 12 touchdowns on a career-high 93 carries for 373 yards.

Gabriel transferred to Oklahoma from UCF after three seasons, following offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to Norman. But Lebby was named head coach at Mississippi State, sparking speculation he could bring Gabriel with him.

Gabriel could revert from the portal and play for the Sooners in 2024. He has until Jan. 15 to enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby in the first half during a Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023

Mississippi State hires Oklahoma OC Jeff Lebby as new coach

Mississippi State hired well-respected offensive mind Jeff Lebby as its new coach on Sunday.

Lebby has been the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma the past two seasons. He also ran the offense at Ole Miss (2020-21) for two seasons and at UCF (2018-19) for the second of his two seasons.

Lebby, 39, replaces Zach Arnett, who was fired with two games remaining in his first full season as coach. The Bulldogs went 5-7 this season.

“As we continue to invest in excellence at Mississippi State, the future of our football program is incredibly bright with the addition of Jeff Lebby at the helm,” athletic director Zac Selmon said in a news release. “I am confident that Jeff is the perfect leader for the next exciting chapter of Mississippi State football.

“He will bring an exciting brand of football, elite student-athlete development, and a winning culture to Starkville, all while doing so with high integrity. He is a dynamic recruiter who will attract an elite coaching staff and the nation’s top talent. There is no doubt in my mind that Jeff’s leadership, vision, and resilient work ethic will take this program to incredible heights.”

This season, Lebby’s Oklahoma offense ranks third in scoring (43.2 points per game) and fourth in total offense (502.4 yards per game). The Sooners scored 50 or more points on five occasions, including outputs of 73, 69 and 66 points.

“Being the head coach at Mississippi State is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Lebby said in the news release. “My family and I are fired up to engrain ourselves in this community, build relationships with our players, and hit the recruiting trail. This is a special place with special people and a football program with a storied tradition.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to add our dynamic offensive scheme to an NFL powerhouse with a nationally regarded history of elite defensive play.”

Arnett was promoted to head coach after the tragic death of Mike Leach in December 2022.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma's Gavin Sawchuk has sparked a two-game winning streak to keep the Sooners in the New Year's Six conversation.

Significant stakes usher Oklahoma, TCU into regular-season finale

A lot of on the line in Norman, Okla., on Friday in the regular-season finale between Oklahoma and TCU.

The Sooners need a win to keep their hopes of making the Big 12 championship game alive and stay in the hunt for a New Year’s Six bowl berth.

College Football Playoff national championship runner-up in January, the Horned Frogs need a win over the Sooners to secure bowl eligibility with a sixth win.

There are bad memories lingering from last season’s game for the Sooners.

Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel went down with a concussion, hastening the Sooners’ struggles in TCU’s 55-24 shellacking of the Sooners in the Big 12 opener and showed the Horned Frogs were legitimate Big 12 contenders.

There are questions at quarterback for OU this time, too. Gabriel suffered a head injury late in the first half of Saturday’s win at BYU and missed the rest of the game. Gabriel was replaced by freshman Jackson Arnold. Sooners’ wide receiver Jalil Farooq was banged up late in the game, too.

“Dillon and Jalil, I feel like both of those guys, if they continue to progress throughout the week, they’ll be available this weekend,” Sooners coach Brent Venables said.

Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) comes into the game on a two-game winning streak after dropping consecutive games, and recent success mirrors the emergence of running back Gavin Sawchuk.

After rushing for just 127 yards on 34 carries in the season’s first eight games, Sawchuk has 49 carries for 353 yards over the last three – reaching the 100-yard mark each time out.

“He’s done a really good job of just being back in playing shape,” offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said. “He is playing his best football and proud of him for, man, just staying the course. Look forward to continuing to lean on him when we need him.”

TCU (5-6, 3-5) is coming off a 42-17 win over Baylor that snapped a three-game losing streak and kept their bowl hopes alive.

The Horned Frogs’ passing game has come on strong of late, with Josh Hoover throwing for an average of more than 355 yards per game over the last three.

“He gets better every game,” Horned Frogs’ head coach Sonny Dykes said of his redshirt freshman quarterback. “He’s more comfortable and makes better decisions. That’s what young quarterbacks are supposed to do.”

Tight end Jared Wiley was his favorite target against Baylor, with seven catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

The game will be the final Big 12 regular-season game for the Sooners, who were original members of the conference in 1996 and will make the jump to the SEC next season.

Oklahoma has dominated the conference, going 175-60 in regular-season conference play during that era, 19 more wins than second-place Texas.

The Sooners have won 14 Big 12 titles while no other program has more than three.

Before last season’s TCU victory, Oklahoma had won eight consecutive meetings between the programs. The Sooners have won all five meetings between the teams in Norman since the Horned Frogs joined the conference in 2012.

An Oklahoma win would be the program’s nation-leading 700th in college football’s modern era (marked by the end of World War II). Alabama is next at 667 victories.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma's Dillon Gabriel (8) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the second half of a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov., 11, 2023.

No. 14 Oklahoma makes maiden voyage to BYU

Oklahoma is looking for consistency and BYU is looking for a win.

The 14th-ranked Sooners take on the Cougars in Provo, Utah, with plenty on the line.

For Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12), it’s a chance to at least stay in the race to make the Big 12 Championship Game heading into the season’s final week.

BYU (5-5, 2-5) is looking to snap a three-game losing streak and clinch bowl eligibility for a sixth consecutive season.

The Cougars have struggled to adjust during their first season in the Big 12, especially on the defensive end.

After last week’s 45-13 loss to Iowa State, Cougars coach Kalani Sitake questioned whether his team believed in the defensive system. He backed off that a bit a couple days later.

“We are going against a different beast here,” Sitake said. “These are teams that have been at a Power Five level way longer than we have. I’m not making excuses. I’m just telling you, they are good players.”

Now they’ll face the top offense in the Big 12 in the Sooners, who are averaging 505.4 yards and 41.8 points per game.

BYU’s offense is last in the league in both categories, averaging 300 yards and 21.9 points.

During their current losing streak, the Cougars have been outscored 117-26.

BYU is hoping quarterback Kedon Slovis will be able to return after missing the last two games due to injury.

Junior Jake Retzlaff has started in Slovis’ place in losses to West Virginia and Iowa State.

“He is still banged up, not 100 percent yet,” Sitake said. “Last week, we felt like Jake gave us the better chance. This week, we will kinda see what it looks like.”

Oklahoma is coming off a 59-20 win over West Virginia that snapped a two-game losing streak. Both of the Sooners’ losses came on the road.

Over the last two games, senior receiver Drake Stoops has 22 catches for 298 yards and four touchdowns. He’s topped his career high in receiving yards in each game.

“Just a baller,” Sooners coach Brent Venables said of Stoops. “Just always doing the little things right. … Whether he’s cracking somebody to set up a run or a screen play or making the third-down catch, making the extraordinary catch look ordinary. And then his ability to run after the catch is different. He bounces off of guys.”

Saturday’s meeting is the third between the programs and the first since 2009.

The Cougars have won the only two meetings. They’ve never played in Provo.

While the Sooners haven’t played BYU in a while, several players on Oklahoma’s roster have, including quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

UCF, with Gabriel at quarterback, lost to BYU 49-23 in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl.

That wasn’t one of Gabriel’s best games.

But he’s coming off his best overall game with the Sooners, with 423 yards and five touchdowns through the air and scoring three rushing touchdowns in the win over West Virginia where Gabriel moved into the top 10 in NCAA career passing yards.

“He’s a tremendous leader and a tremendous quarterback and I’d go to war with him every day,” Stoops said.

–Field Level Media