OU team ratings: Passing attack, Danny Stutsman and DBs shine

OU team ratings: Passing attack, Danny Stutsman and DBs shine

A position-by-position analysis of the Sooners’ 66-17 road win.

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

| Sep 16, 2023, 6:44pm CDT

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

Sep 16, 2023, 6:44pm CDT

TULSA — Oklahoma hit the ground running on its first road trip of the season and improved to 3-0 in a 66-17 throttling of Tulsa in front of a sold out crowd of 30,085 inside Chapman Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Let’s talk about it.

Quarterbacks

Dillon Gabriel: The Sooners’ fifth-year quarterback completed his first 10 passes and came away from OU’s initial two possessions with 155 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Jalil Farooq for a 34-yard score to open the scoring, then found Drake Stoops for four-yard touchdowns on back-to-back possessions as the OU lead ballooned to 28-0 late in the first quarter.

Gabriel’s 28-yard touchdown throw to Nic Anderson later in the half marked his 10th in 2023 and his most through the three games of a college season.

  • 2023: 10
  • 2022: 7
  • 2021: 9
  • 2020: 9
  • 2019: 9

Gabriel took a heavy hit and threw his first interception of the season on a deep ball fired in the direction of Gavin Freeman in the second quarter. All told, it was another sharp performance from the veteran passer who finished 28-for-31 with 421 yards, five touchdowns and 10 passes of 15-plus yards.

Running backs

Jovantae Barnes: Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said the sophomore rusher would be more involved and Barnes got the start. He ran more than any other Sooner, carrying 13 times for 68 yards and his first touchdown of the season

Tawee Walker: The next rusher in after Barnes and he appeared in the backfield multiple times without a handoff.

Marcus Major: The third back out there for OU. Major burst through for a 23 yard carry on his first carry only for the run to get called back on Walter Rouse’s holding penalty. 

Gavin Sawchuk: He carried twice for four yards before the break and was more active after halftime. Sawchuk’s goal line score highlighted a nine-carry, 25-yard performance.

Daylan Smothers: The freshman rusher broke off a 16-yard carry in the fourth quarter and finished 20 yards on a pair of attempts in the fourth quarter. 

Pass Catchers

Jalil Farooq: Made up for fumbling away the opening kickoff quickly with his 34-yard touchdown on the Sooners’ first offensive possession. He was everywhere in the opening half with four catches on four targets for 106 yards and finished with six catches for 126 yards. 

Andrel Anthony: Targeted early and often for a third straight week. Anthony hauled in a 55-yard deep ball from Gabriel to set up Farooq’s touchdown and made an over-the-shoulder grab on a 32-yard completion later in the first half. His four catches for 112 yards amounted to Anthony’s most productive performance since arriving at OU.  

Drake Stoops: Caught three passes in the red zone on the Sooners’ second possession and found the end zone on his fourth. Stoops notched his third touchdown of the season on the following series in the first multi-score game of his career. 

Nic Anderson: The second-year receiver made his two catches for the day count. Anderson was on the receiving end of Gabriel’s fourth touchdown of the first half, then made a man miss to finish a 42-yard touchdown reception that opened the Sooners’ scoring after halftime. 

Jayden Gibson: The lengthy sophomore flashed strong hands for an impressive 34-yard reception between two defenders to take OU into the red zone before Stoops’ second touchdown. 

Austin Stogner: The tight end’s first quarter reception went for 10 yards. Stogner has recorded just two catches through three games in his second stint with the Sooners. 

Offensive line

Savion Byrd: Got the start at left guard after he was benched against SMU. The third-year lineman later exited with an injury before halftime and did not return.

Troy Everett: Replaced Byrd at left guard for a second straight week.

Walter Rouse: Flagged for a holding call in the first half. That’s three penalties in two weeks for the experienced left tackle.

Jacob Sexton: The second-year tackle returned Saturday for his first action since suffering a torn ACL in last season’s Cheez-It Bowl. Sexton was flagged for a holding penalty that nullified Gabriel’s five-yard rushing score. 

Cayden Green: The four-star freshman rotated in at both guard spots. Committed a holding penalty on the same play as Sexton’s infraction that brought Gabriel’s touchdown back.

Defensive line

Trace Ford: Led all OU defensive lineman with four tackles (two solo) and pulled down the Sooners’ fifth interception of the day on a fourth-quarter screen pass.

Ethan Downs: Turned in another productive performance with four tackles (0.5 for loss).

Marcus Stripling: Impressed on the Sooners’ second defensive series after halftime and was credited with OU’s first sack of the afternoon.

Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman (28) takes down Tulsa’s Devan Williams (19) in the first quarter Saturday at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. (Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports)

Linebackers

Danny Stutsman: Intercepted Tulsa’s Roman Fuller and breezed on his 30-yard return for the pick-six. It was Stutsman’s third career interception and his first touchdown in an OU uniform. He finished with a team-high nine tackles with a pair of tackles for loss. 

Jaren Kanak: Picked up a sack and a forced fumble in the third quarter. Kanak tallied five tackles (two for loss) to bring his total count on the season to 12. 

Secondary

Peyton Bowen: The freshman safety got the start at the cheetah linebacker spot and spent most of the afternoon there with Justin Harrington and Dasan McCullough missing. He handled the role well and finished with two tackles and a pair of pass breakups. 

Gentry Williams: The Booker T. Washington alumni shined in his Tulsa homecoming. Williams pulled down his second career interception on the fifth play from scrimmage. He exited later in the quarter after he appeared to reaggravate the shoulder injury he picked up against SMU but returned to lead all OU defensive backs with six tackles (one for loss).  

Key Lawrence: Made only a pair of tackles in a quieter performance from his stat-packed Week 2. Lawrence’s second interception as a Sooner came after halftime. 

Kendel Dolby: Had played only five snaps across Weeks 1 and 2 and made the most of his action against Tulsa with a first-quarter interception. 

Reggie Pearson: Recorded five tackles but was involved in a pair of breakdowns that led to Tulsa touchdowns. After Pearson bit hard on a route fake for Tulsa’s second score, his father weighed in via Twitter.

Special teams

Jalil Farooq: The third-year receiver ran the opening kick 62 yards before coughing the ball up for a Tulsa recovery. He bounced back from there to finish with 105 return yards as part of the 231 all-purpose yards he produced on the day.

Zach Schmit: Flawless once again on PATs and knocked in a 20-yarder before halftime for his second made field goal of the season.

Injury report

Justin Harrington (knee) did not suit up Saturday. Fellow Cheetah linebacker Dasan McCullough (ankle) dressed but did not play for a second straight week.

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Eli Lederman reports on the University of Oklahoma for Sellout Crowd. He began his professional career covering the University of Missouri with the Columbia Missourian and later worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before two years writing on the Sooners and Cowboys at the Tulsa World. Born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York, Lederman grew up a rabid consumer of the New York sports pages and an avid fan of the New York Mets. He entered sportswriting at 14 years old and later graduated from the University of Missouri. Away from the keyboard, he can usually be found exploring the Oklahoma City food scene or watching/playing fútbol (read: soccer). He can be reached at [email protected].

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