Oklahoma 45 – UTEP 13 | Notes & Quotes

“I thought the defense was pretty good on third and fourth down. Almost 70% successful on those downs. Again, we had six sacks and nine tackles for loss. A lot of different guys really stepped up and did cool things for the first time. Again, one of my favorite things was that the defense came back in the second half and established their attitude and mindset, and that mindset is to close the door and shut things down. There are signs there because it happened today.” – Brent Venables on the performance of the defense

“We’re so confident. Jeff (Lebby) is a great play caller and does a great job with some play designs. Dillon is incredibly accurate and experienced in the system, so they can really put some pressure on people. I think we’re really skilled and our offensive line, as we go throughout the year, will continue to gel and improve. But philosophically, it’s a very aggressive system. Take what the defense gives you.” – Venables on the performance of the offense

“At the end of the day, we’re going to be aggressive. We started fast (and) did some good things. (We) got a ton of work to do and a ton of things to clean up, but (I’m) glad with the performance and where we’re at. – Jeff Lebby on the offense

“Anytime you do that, you’re going to have a good chance to win. Obviously, the tackles for losses, I think we had six sacks and that’s outstanding. And at the same time, some of the things like third-down conversions and the penalties on third and fourth down, those things led to points. We’ve got to do a better job there. There’s a lot of things to clean up. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I thought it was a great start. And I’m glad to see our guys play pretty clean, for the most part.” – Ted Roof on the defense getting pressure

“I have to give credit to the offensive line. There is a lot that setup that play. My quarterback, the wide receivers, Coach Lebby and everything that goes into it. It was nice to get those two touchdowns. On to next week and see if we can do it again.” – Brayden WIllis on his two touchdowns

“That was out mindset the whole week. Coach Venables made it very clear that our first goal was to stop the run. That was our main focus and priority all week. We went out there and executed.” – Isiah Coe on stuffing UTEP’s rushing attack

“I think the offense came out great. There are always things to work on. But I think for our first-game standpoint and really seeing a different opponent, I think we did a great job. 21-0 in thirteen plays, that’s what you draw up, that’s what Lebby draws. So, I think we did a great job
coming out fast. I think we sustained, and we stayed fast.” – Eric Gray on the performance of the offense

“I was like ‘Oh I got a chance to score’ and once I scored, I was like ‘Oh, no way’, it was definitely a lot crazier in my head. It was all instinct.” – Gavin Freeman on his touchdown run

“I honestly felt like we did good. I was saying earlier that the thing we could probably work on more is when the quarterback gets out of the pocket and matching the receivers and not allowing extra yards from them.” – Billy Bowman on the backend of the defense

“They did a fabulous job. Reggie Grimes, Ethan Downs, that whole line did amazing today. As soon as the ball was snapped, there was a huge knock at it every single play. It’s something that comes together and takes a lot of commitment as a group. What we have is rare and I’m very excited to see how it goes moving forward.” – Danny Stutsman on the play of the defensive line

“It felt amazing (playing for Lebby again). I missed it for sure. It was great just getting on the phone and hearing Coach Leb’s voice, and just having some familiarity with the plays.” – Dillon Gabriel on playing for Jeff Lebby again

“There are some spots we can do better obviously, but I think we stopped the run really well as far as that is concerned. You have to play the pass a little better, but hey game one and we still have a long season to go. I can’t wait to see where we go.” – Reggie Grimes on the play of the defense


  • OU has won six straight season openers and 12 of its last 13, and has won 17 straight home openers.
  • Twenty-four players made their first appearance in an Oklahoma uniform Saturday. Seven players made their first start at Oklahoma.
  • Twenty-one first-year Sooners saw the field on Saturday.
  • Oklahoma produced 492 total offensive yards with a balanced attack of 259 rushing yards and 233 passing yards and averaged 8.1 yards per play to UTEP’s 3.9 yards per play.
  • The Sooners held the Miners to 28 rushing yards (-19 in the first half) on 31 carries. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed by an OU defense since 2014 (19 vs. Kansas).
  • OU registered six sacks (totaling 46 yards) and nine tackles for loss (totaling 57 yards) in the game.

Dillon Gabriel

• Completed 15 of 23 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed six times for 20 yards and a 12-yard score in his OU
• He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 27 of his career games and at least two TD passes in 21 career contests.

Billy Bowman

• Registered a career-high nine tackles (seven solo), which was tied for the team high. His previous career-high tackle total was five tackles last season vs. Kansas State.

Gavin Freeman

• The walk-on freshman scored a touchdown on a 46-yard rushing play in the first quarter. It was the second play and first touch of his career.

Eric Gray

• Rushed 16 times for a game-high 102 yards (6.4 yards per rush). It was his first 100-yard rushing game at Oklahoma and the sixth of his career. He also notched two receptions for 33 yards.

Reggie Grimes

• His 2.5 sacks were a career high and the most by a Sooner since the 2020 season (Isaiah Thomas vs. Baylor). He also forced a fumble and was credited with a QB hurry.

Marcus Major

• Scored touchdowns on rushes of 1 and 6 yards in the third quarter. He now has six career rushing touchdowns (the two Saturday were his first since the 2020 season). Finished with 54 yards on seven rushes.

Marvin Mims

• Registered a game-high 81 receiving yards on three catches, which included a 42-yard reception.
• Had a 42-yard reception, his 13th career catch of at least 40 yards.

Danny Stutsman

• Logged a career-high nine tackles (six solo), which tied for the team high. His previous career best was eight tackles vs. Western Carolina last season.
• Added the first two pass breakups of his career and a QB hurry.

Gentry Williams

• Registered his first career interception in the end zone during the final minute of the fourth quarter.

Brayden Willis

• Finished with three receptions for 40 yards and made touchdown catches of 6 and 28 yards in the first half. This was his first career game with multiple touchdowns and now has eight career TD catches.

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