Mon, 04 Dec 2023

No. 16 Oklahoma uses defense to top Cincinnati 20-6

Field Level Media
24 Sep 2023, 05:40 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Dillon Gabriel threw for 322 yards and a touchdown, while running for another score as No. 16 Oklahoma defeated host Cincinnati 20-6 on Saturday.

It was the Sooners' final Big 12 opener, with Oklahoma set to move into the Southeastern Conference for next season, while it was the Bearcats' Power Five debut after moving from the American Athletic Conference in the offseason.

While Gabriel was strong, it was the Sooners' defense that led the way, holding the Bearcats to 376 yards of total offense and to just 3 of 15 on third down.

The Sooners twice picked off Cincinnati quarterback Emory Jones and forced three turnovers on downs.

Andrel Anthony led the Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) with seven catches for 117 yards.

Jones was 22 of 41 for 235 yards passing for the Bearcats (2-2, 0-1).

Oklahoma's offense moved the ball early but managed just 10 points in the first half after Gabriel lost a fumble at the Cincinnati 10 on the Sooner's second possession of the game.

The Bearcats led 3-0 late in the first quarter before Gabriel led a 66-yard touchdown drive, capped by his 5-yard touchdown pass to Nic Anderson to put the Sooners ahead 7-3.

It was Anderson's fourth touchdown catch in two games after he had three - the first three of his career - in the Sooners' victory at Tulsa a week earlier.

Oklahoma extended the lead to 10-3 in the second quarter on Zach Schmit's 34-yard field goal.

The Sooners didn't have much success running the ball early, but Marcus Major had a critical carry on the field-goal drive, picking up 19 on third-and-19 with the Sooners backed up near their goal line.

Cincinnati's defense, playing without linebacker Deshawn Pace, bowed up.

The Sooners picked up just two first downs over their next three drives stretching into the second half and Cincinnati trimmed the deficit to 10-6 on Carter Brown's career-long 54-yard field goal a little more than six minutes into the third.

Oklahoma finally got its running game going in the third quarter, with an 18-yard run by Marcus Major followed by a 9-yard run by Gabriel that led to a late-hit penalty by Cincinnati, putting the Sooners into Bearcats' territory.

Seven plays later, Gabriel scored on a keeper to put the Sooners up 17-6.

-Field Level Media

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