In their Big 12 home opener, Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners picked up a 50-20 win over Iowa State.
The Sooners combined a dominant first-half performance from the offense with a shutdown second-half performance from the defense to pick up the 30-point win against the Cyclones.
Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) will now set its sights on a massive Red River Rivalry game in Dallas against the third-ranked Texas Longhorns (5-0, 2-0). Meanwhile, Iowa State (2-3, 1-1) will host TCU and try to get back in the win column.
Here are a few thoughts on tonight’s game and what it means for both teams moving forward.
Dillon Gabriel Shines Again
Through the first five weeks of the 2023 college football season, there haven’t been many quarterbacks in the country who have had a better start than what we’ve seen from Dillon Gabriel. The Sooners’ signal-caller has been sharp, efficient, and effective since Week 1, and that trend continued against Iowa State. Gabriel finished the evening going 26-39 for 366 yards and three touchdowns through the air, adding two scores and 37 yards on the ground. His 366 passing yards were the most that Iowa State has given up since 2020, showing just how special his night was. Heading into the biggest game of Oklahoma’s regular season, its best player is shining as brightly as ever.
Despite Early Momentum From Iowa State, OU Defense Prevails
In the first 21 minutes of action, Oklahoma surrendered 20 points to an Iowa State offense that was averaging just 21.0 points per game coming into this week. However, from that point on, the Sooners’ defense found its stride, holding the Cyclones out of the offense and completely off the scoreboard the rest of the way. OU held Iowa State to 82 offensive yards and just five first downs in the second half, showing their ability to make major changes after halftime. On the flip side of the ball, Oklahoma put 40 points up in the first half and tacked on another 10 to extend its lead in the second half. Despite dealing with some early adversity, Oklahoma squandered Iowa State’s attempts to steal the momentum after the first quarter and never really looked back.
All Eyes on the Cotton Bowl
The entire college football world will turn its gaze to the Texas State Fair next Saturday as the Sooners and Longhorns prepare for the biggest Red River Rivalry matchup in over a decade. OU and Texas will both enter the contest undefeated and are the only remaining teams in the Big 12 that have reached Week 6 without a mark in the loss column. Whether it was Texas underperforming for several years or Oklahoma’s down year in 2022, the OU-Texas game has failed to capture the attention that it did in the early to mid-2000s, but this year’s edition of the rivalry will be front and center on the first Saturday in October, as they should be.