Sellout’s rapid reaction to OU’s 31-24 victory at BYU

Sellout’s rapid reaction to OU’s 31-24 victory at BYU

The Sooners improved to 3-2 in true road games this season and 5-5 in the Brent Venables era. But this was a much closer game than expected.

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| Nov 18, 2023, 2:35pm CST

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

Nov 18, 2023, 2:35pm CST

PROVO, Utah  — OU’s struggles on the road continue.

On a day the Sooners had a chance to build lots of momentum heading into the final week of the regular season with a chance at making the Big 12 title game, they instead scuttled at BYU.

OU 31, BYU 24.

The Sooners improved to 3-2 in true road games this season and 5-5 in the Brent Venables era. But this was a much closer game than expected.

The Sellout Crowd crew weighs in on the Sooners’ victory.

It was a strange game

Berry Tramel: Strange game. OU’s defense got gashed yet basically won the game. The Sooners missed Dillon Gabriel something fierce. But with Gabriel, the Sooners played to a first-half tie; without him they outscored the Cougars 14-7 in the second half. With a big passing threat in the first half, OU’s running game wasn’t much. With little passing threat in the second half, OU’s running game thrived.

Told you it was a strange game.

But the Sooners won, courtesy of turnovers — a 3-0 edge — and all three takeaways led to OU touchdowns. Turnovers determine most games in a parity-driven league like the Big 12, and this was a parity-heavy game. A team with conference title hopes against a team that had been beaten 117-26 combined during a three-game losing streak that dropped the Cougars to 5-5.

Strange game, but the Sooners won, which is all you can ask in these last days of Big 12 membership.

Defense struggles to contain struggling Cougars 

Jenni Carlson: There’ll be all sorts of talk about Jackson Arnold replacing Dillon Gabriel, but even if the Sooners had their starting quarterback, that wouldn’t have fixed a poor defensive performance.

BYU entered the game averaging less than a hundred yards rushing, one of the worst in the country. But OU surrendered over 200, and had BYU not gotten too cute and called for passes instead of runs a few times, the Cougars likely would’ve gone for lots more.

Frankly, in the second half, it became silly for the Cougars to do anything but run the ball, they were so effective.

The Sooners were getting blocked at the line of scrimmage as the Cougars opened big running lanes for their tailbacks. And then when the Sooners did have would-be tacklers in position to make stops, they often whiffed.

Not the kind of crispness you’d hope to see in game No. 11 from the OU defense.

OU’s playmakers met the moment without Dillon Gabriel

Eli Lederman: When the Sooners lost one key playmaker Saturday, others stepped up.

Gabriel’s first-half head injury left OU without its offensive engine on the road in a 17-17 game, and placed Arnold into the first pressure situation of his college career.

Arnold steered the ship well enough, completing five of his nine passes for 34 yards and gained more on the ground while OU totaled 138 yards of offense after halftime. But the Sooners walked out of Lavell Edwards Stadium at 9-2 on the power of the game-changing moments produced by some of the other game-changing talents on the roster.

It began with Billy Bowman’s 100-yard pick-six that swung the momentum. It continued with Danny Stutsman’s strip sack and the Jacob Lacey’s fumble recovery that followed, and the energy stayed through Gavin Sawchuk’s tackle-shedding, go-ahead touchdown run from 16 yards out three plays later. Minutes later, Jalil Farooq’s first-down reception was enough to ice the game.

All of that — from the Sooners’ chief playmakers in the biggest moments — proved to be all the Sooners needed Saturday.

Sooners Turn Away BYU Upset Bid

Ed Murray: One of the few aspects where OU outplayed BYU was in the turnover department. And that was enough. On a day when OU lost its star quarterback at halftime, OU was able to turn three BYU miscues into 21 points. Two of those came in the second half amid BYU running over and through the OU defense.

Bowman’s 100-yard pick-six midway through the third quarter accounted for a 14-point swing. After BYU responded to tie the score at 24-all, Danny Stutsman’s strip-sack set up the OU offense on a short field and the go-ahead score.

Once again, OU had too many pre-snap penalties, at least four false starts. Another penalty wiped out a successful fake punt that might have given OU enough early momentum to win easily. I have no explanation for how the nation’s 126th-ranked rushing offense blistered OU all day.

OU found a run game late with Sawchuk and  Arnold engineered a great clock-killing drive to secure that victory.

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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