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Three Thoughts on Oklahoma’s 69-45 Win Over TCU

The 13th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners came out on top in their final Big 12 regular season game against TCU, outscoring the Horned Frogs 69-45 on Black Friday.

With the victory, Oklahoma moved to 10-2 on the year and finished their Big 12 slate with a 7-2 record in. conference play.

Meanwhile, TCU will wrap up their season at 5-7, and dropped to 3-6 in Big 12 play just one year after their run to a National Championship appearance.

Here are three thoughts on the game and what it means for both teams going forward.

 

Dillon Gabriel Starts… and Sooner Offense Shines

All week long, there was a serious concern that Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel would miss the final game of the Sooners’ regular season after suffering what appeared to be a head injury against BYU last week. However, No. 8 did in fact make the start for OU, and in what could’ve been his final game on Owen Field, Gabriel dazzled. Leading the Sooners to their second-highest point total of the season, Gabriel completed 63% of his attempts for 400 yards and three touchdowns (and one interception), while adding 36 yards and a score on the ground. Gabriel wasn’t the only Sooner that was impressive on Friday afternoon, as the OU running game continued to churn in the latter half of the schedule. Running back Gavin Sawchuk ripped off his fourth consecutive 100-yard performance, taking 22 carries for 130 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in the game. Drake Stoops also capped off an incredible regular season with a career-high 12 carries for 125 yards and one score on the day, making him the Big 12 leader in receptions and touchdowns on the year.

TCU Burns OU Defense in Loss

Oklahoma fans had better thank their lucky stars that Jeff Lebby was calling plays for the Sooners on Friday because they needed almost every point they scored to take down TCU in Week 13. Freshman quarterback Josh Hoover showed up in a big way, going 32 of 58 for 344 yards and four touchdowns (with one interception), adding a rushing touchdown on the ground in the first quarter to get the Horned Frogs on the board. The Sooners’ defense also turned Emani Bailey loose on the ground, as he turned 21 carries into 150 yards and one rushing touchdown. TCU ran 87 offensive plays on the day, averaging 6.0 yards per play on the day, with 520 total yards of offense, their most in a loss since the season-opener against Colorado. Unfortunately for Sonny Dykes’ offense, the defense gave up 607 yards and 7.7 yards per play to Oklahoma, leading to the most points TCU has given up since 2004.

 

OU Goes Vintage Big 12 in Final Regular Season Game in Conference

Over the course of Oklahoma’s time in the Big 12, the Sooners have been the standard offensively. The offensive firepower that has come through Norman is second to nobody in the nation over the last decade and a half, and that is a big reason why OU dominated the conference during their time there. Perhaps in some sort of poetic justice, the Oklahoma offense had to win the game today, as it has so many times in the past. Over the course of 2023, Oklahoma’s defense has been much improved from where it was in the past 5-10 years, but on Black Friday, the unit plummeted in its effectiveness. TCU’s offense found ways to gash the Sooners, particularly in the third quarter, and it put a lot of pressure on the OU offense to keep pace. However, that wasn’t an issue for Jeff Lebby and the offense, as they were as good as they’ve been all season long. Under Lincoln Riley, and Josh Heupel before him, the Oklahoma offense has been the most consistent and dominant force in the Big 12, and in their final game of Big 12 play, that continued under Lebby and Co.

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