Sooner Football Takeaways: UTEP

Sooner Football Takeaways: UTEP

by September 4, 2022 0 comments

The first game of the Oklahoma Sooner football season is in the books. After the Thursday night performance of Oklahoma State, some were wondering how the Sooners would fare. They performed admirably against the UTEP Miners, winning 45-13, with the offense and defense firing on all cylinders.

Though UTEP had the greater time of possession and three more first downs than the Sooners, OU had more total yards with 492. It is interesting to note that 301 of those yards came in the first half. The Sooners also committed no turnovers, while UTEP had one. After one game, it is apparent that Sooner Football is heading in a direction the coaches want. It’s the first small step in a long journey back to greatness. There is only one Oklahoma, and right now, they are doing okay.

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Need for Speed

The offense for the Sooners hit so quickly, it was surprising the UTEP defense knew what was happening. On their first possession, the Sooners took 1:17 off the clock running five plays for 75 yards and a touchdown. Their next two possessions were similar in their ability to move down the field using few plays and still coming away with touchdowns. Overall, there were 13 plays in 3:35, resulting in a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

Dillon Gabriel came out firing, and other players contributed to the high-flying offense. Eric Gray had 16 carries for 102 yards, while Brayden Willis had three receptions for 40 yards and two touchdowns and also helped to clear the way for Gray to have some running room a few times. Marcus Major had seven carries, 54 yards, and two touchdowns, while Gavin Freeman had only one carry, which resulted in a touchdown.

Eventually, the speed of the offense slowed a bit, but it appeared to be more of a settling down into the game. They will need to work on being slow after halftime, but keeping the pressure on the opposing team’s defense is a win for the Sooners.

How About That Defense

For the past few seasons, there has been a decrease in the effectiveness of the Oklahoma defense. For all the attention the offense gets, the defense, while just as important, has been treated like the little brother no one wants to deal with. Each time the defense was on the field, it was apparent that they were no longer the forgotten brother.

Oklahoma was using its defense as a punishment and did not hesitate to go after the UTEP offense. The defense was able to not only work at stopping the run, but they were able to get to the quarterback. Those six sacks were music to the fan’s ears. While UTEP’s quarterback put up quite a few passing yards against the Sooner, it was only because the Sooners were able to shut down the running options, allowing only 28 rushing yards.

A Full Game

While OU had a complete game on both sides of the ball, they also were present for the entire game. The Sooners did not mail in their performance and competed for the entire game. It is great to see that because it gives fans hope that later in the season, against conference teams, the Sooners will fight through the game and not give up or mail in their performance as they have in the past.

Avoid the Yellow Flag

The Sooners had seven penalties for 59 yards, and while that might not seem bad when thinking about four full quarters of a game, some of the penalties came at inopportune times. Coach Venables will need to sit the boys down and tell them what they did wrong and why. Although, with a high temp offense, there are bound to be quite a few false starts. It is better they work it out now before they get to the conference games. Penalties against them in those games will not be very forgiving.

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