By: Hunter Cornejo
The Oklahoma Sooners debuted their new alternate uniforms, an anthracite uniform, honoring the late great Dr. Prentice Gautt, Oklahoma’s first African-American scholarship athlete. Gautt was a two time Big 8 player, as well as Academic All-American during his time as the Sooners’ running back from 1956-1959. For the first time since Week 1, Oklahoma scored first. In Dillion Gabriel’s return to the Sooners backfield, the Sooners answered early with Jovantae Barnes scoring a 1 yard touchdown run. Kansas’ backup quarterback Jason Bean responded, finding Lawrence Arnold in double coverage over Oklahoma defensive back Justin Broiles, showing why Broiles has been a rightful lightning rod for criticism from Sooner fans. Eric Gray was the star of the next Sooner drive, accounting for 38 yards, including a two yard touchdown rush to put the Sooners up 14-7. Kansas evened up the score when Devin Neal rushed for a 11 yard score. Jovantae Barnes picked up his second score of the day, following another Gavin Freeman big play, this time a 41 yard reception to put the Sooners in the red-zone. The Oklahoma defense came up with a much needed turnover, with C.J. Coldon coming down with a SportsCenter top 10 interception, his 2nd interception in the past 2 games. Dillion Gabriel capitalized on the turnover, finding Theo Wease for a 24 yard score. Oklahoma linebacker David Ugwoegbu came up with a third down sack on Jason Bean to give Gabriel & Co. another chance to put up more points and that is just what they did with Eric Gray scoring twice, a 21 yard run that was called back, and then another impressive 28 yard rush that counted for 6. Kansas kept the game in reach going into the half when Jason Bean connected with Mason Fairchild for a 18 yard score. The Kansas defense did their part by stopping the Sooners on the goal line to end the first half. Coming off of a Deshaun White interception, Dillion Gabriel scored on the QB keeper on 4th and goal, this time making sure the officials could see the extended ball as it broke the plane of the end-zone. Jason Bean capitalized off of Kenny Logan Jr picking off Dillion Gabriel, finding Lawrence Arnold once again for another Jayhawk touchdown. Brayden Willis once again showed why he is the best player on this Oklahoma team scoring a 26 yard touchdown, making the score 49-28. After a Dillion Gabriel fumble, Ky Thomas scored to keep the Jayhawks in the game. Zach Schmit scored the Sooners’ final points on the next drive, drilling a 37 yard field goal. Jason Bean once again found Mason Fairchild for a Jayhawk touchdown to put Kansas within 10 with less than 4 minutes left to play. Oklahoma recovered the onside kick, and picked up the necessary first downs to end their losing streak with a 52-42 win.
This was a great win for this Oklahoma team over a really good Kansas team. I have criticized Jeff Lebby and Dillion Gabriel heavily, however it is very obvious that as of right now Dillion Gabriel is the Sooners’ only chance of winning, as the Oklahoma offense picked up 701 yards of offense today. The Oklahoma defense proved that regardless of who the opposing teams quarterback is, starter or backup, they will put up at least 40 points on this feeble Sooner defense. It was very nice to see the young bucks getting meaningful playing time. The freshman from Broken Arrow, Robert Spears-Jennings had a few impressive tackles. Going forward this Oklahoma defense needs the young guys to see the field and make plays to have the slightest chance of having a successful game. Although Justin Broiles is a very respectable person, he should not be seeing the field as much as he is, he is awful. I remember how bad Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles was for this Oklahoma secondary, and the sad truth is that Justin Broiles is probably worse. Bookie made some good plays, but after every good play he would make a bonehead mistake, costing the Sooners 15 yards. Justin Broiles however is not even able to make the occasional great play. Although I am extremely critical of Justin Broiles’ poor play, I respect what Brent Venables said about him earlier this week making sure that Sooner fans knew regardless of anyone’s opinions on Broiles, he will always have his players back. Marvin Mims had another good outing, racking up 106 yards on 9 catches, however there were once again many overthrows to Mims that have to be fixed for Oklahoma to have a chance in the upcoming games. Marvin Mims is hands down one of the best receivers in the country, for Oklahoma to have future success he needs to find the end zone. Jeff Lebby had a much improved performance, drawing up some impressive plays on the Jayhawk defense. Lebby is in a very difficult position, having to have a near perfect play calling performance as the Sooners’ defense cannot be relied on to get stops. Although Michael Turk is my favorite Sooner, it is nice to see Turk getting the majority of his reps on the point after as the holder. Turk only had 1 punt today for 55 yards.
Oklahoma looks to inch closer to bowl eligibility, playing Iowa State in Ames, IA coming off of the bye week. Oklahoma will face a talented Iowa State defense that just held Texas to only 24 points in a heartbreaking loss in Austin. Although the kickoff time has not been announced, I am willing to bet it is another 11:00 AM CT kickoff for the Sooners.