Three Thoughts on Oklahoma’s 45-13 Win Over UTEP
The Brent Venables era in Norman started off with a bang as the Oklahoma Sooners blew the doors off of UTEP on Saturday afternoon, winning by a score of 45-13.
In their first game under Venables, Oklahoma’s defense looked vastly improved, albeit against a vastly outgunned UTEP team. The offense under Lebby was efficient and was able to keep its play-calling very vanilla for the majority of the afternoon.
Here are three thoughts on the Sooners’ Week 1 victory.
Oklahoma’s Offense was Efficient
Oklahoma’s offense was efficient this afternoon and it was apparent that the Sooners still have several offensive weapons in 2022. Dillon Gabriel went 15/23 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, adding another score on the ground with a 12-yard scamper. In fact, the Sooners’ rushing attack was impressive in its debut, collecting 261 yards and four touchdowns on 37 attempts, an average of 7.1 yards per carry. Tight end Brayden Willis emerged as a red zone threat for the Sooners, collecting three catches for 40 yards and two scores. With a vanilla playbook and superior athletes across the board, OU’s offense didn’t appear to skip a beat under first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and looks to be capable of lighting up the scoreboard when it’s clicking on all cylinders.
The Venables Effect is Real
For the first time in recent memory, the Oklahoma defense was dominant. UTEP managed 13 points and 316 yards of offense on the day, but it earned every single point it scored. Twice the Sooners held UTEP to a field goal, one being a 54-yard attempt after a Sooner sack and they also ended the Miners’ final drive of the game with an interception. Oklahoma held UTEP to 28 yards rushing on 31 attempts, an average of 0.9 yards per attempt after the Miners had -35 yards rushing at the half. UTEP held the ball for 38:33, but as much as the OU defense was on the field, it shined in its 2022 debut, collecting six sacks and nine tackles for loss and 10 QB hurries in Game 1.
Oklahoma is Still Good at Football
Despite what the national media pundits wanted you to believe this offseason, it appears that Oklahoma might just still be good at football. Under a first-year head coach, the Sooners looked focused, hungry, and disciplined against an inferior opponent. Sure, there were some mistakes and there might be a lack of depth in some areas, but Brent Venables’ looks to have things heading in a positive direction after one game. The first three drives of the game showed what the Sooners are capable of after htey jumpewd out to a 21-0 lead just halfway through the first quarter. While it is still early and there are plenty of things to work on, Oklahoma is 1-0 after a great start. Next up for the Sooners are the Kent State Golden Flashes, and then a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska will present the first true test for Venables’ squad.