The Sooners are finally back in the win column for the first time in three weeks. Back in the summer if you would have told me that Oklahoma would need to beat a top 20 Kansas team to keep the season above .500, I would have laughed. Feels crazy being happy with a win over the Jayhawks, doesn’t it?
Dillon Gabriel and the offense came out firing on all cylinders scoring a touchdown on each of the first two drives. The offense of the Sooners looked a lot more familiar than what we saw during the three game skid. Oklahoma was able to do essentially anything they wanted to Kansas. But, believe it or not there was some defense played in this game. The Sooners came up with two interceptions on the way to beating the Jayhawks by ten. Let’s jump into three thoughts on the barn burner in Norman.
Dillon Gabriel, We Missed You.
Stating the obvious here, but the Sooners offense missed Dillon Gabriel. The game plan was obvious from the start: Let Gabriel sling the ball. He threw 42 passes while racking up 403 yards and 2 touchdowns. There was a much different feel with him under center. The offense was in an all around better rhythm. The passing game helped the rushing game, and the rushing game complimented the passing of Dillon Gabriel. Seems to be the first time this season that Oklahoma has dominated in all aspects of offense.
The return of Gabriel wasn’t all good though. He managed to make it through 5 games without a turnover, but he was responsible for three of them against Kansas. He threw an interception, and fumbled twice. It’s crazy to think that the Sooners scored 52 points while turning the ball over three times. What has made DG so efficient during his time at OU is his ability to take care of the ball. Oklahoma was very lucky that the turnovers didn’t hurt them in this one. I’d expect him to clean things up and be a lot more secure with the ball moving forward.
It’s hard to look at a defense that gave up 42 points and think that improvements were made. But, in all reality the defense did show a lot of improvements in this victory. The Sooners came up with two interceptions, and held Kansas to 5-11 on third downs. The lack of turnovers produced by the defense has been a big problem the last few weeks. The other big issue was not being able to get off the field on third down. I thought the team did a great job in both of those categories.
There’s still one big problem this team has to fix if they want any shot of running the table. Giving up big plays is still haunting this defense. Once this team figures out how to prevent the big plays from happening they’ll be in a much better position. It’s going to take time, but as the season continues I think we will see improvements in this area as well.
A Much Needed Bye Week
The Sooners will be back in action again on October 29th as they travel to play Iowa State. The week of rest will be huge for this team. Injuries are plaguing both sides of the ball. I think after the bye week we will see guys like Billy Bowman make a return to the field. I’m excited to see what this team can do in the second half of the season!
Follow us on Twitter @SportsHeartland.