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Oklahoma Sooners Football: OU trounces Kent State, 33-3

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The Sooners dominated on defense to help overcome a sluggish first half.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A suffocating defense bought time for the Oklahoma Sooners to find an offensive spark in a 33-3 win over the Kent State Golden Flashes Saturday night at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

OU limited Kent State’s uptempo offense to 295 total yards on 73 plays, an average of just four yards per snap. The Sooners tallied 14 tackles for loss in the game, including three sacks. OU’s defense also generated two takeaways from the Golden Flashes.

The home team needed every bit of that defensive effort in the first half. OU didn’t put any points on the board until the last minute of the second quarter. A 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dillon Gabriel to star wideout Marvin Mims with 52 seconds to go in the first half gave the Sooners a 7-3 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Mims torched the Golden Flashes for 163 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Gabriel had an efficient day throwing the football, completing 21-of-28 pass attempts for 296 yards and three TDs.

While the Sooners did major damage through the air, they struggled to ignite their ground attack. For the game, OU rushed for 134 yards on 36 attempts for an average of 3.7 yards per attempt.

On the other side of the ball, the Sooners had to contend with crafty improvisation by KSU QB Collin Schlee. The junior field general completed 11 of his 19 throws for 131 yards, but he consistently eluded an OU pass rush that overwhelmed the Kent State offensive line. He added 55 yards on 12 runs – a number of which came on scrambles to keep drives alive.

OU head coach Brent Venables and defensive coordinator Ted Roof experimented with multiple personnel groupings and alignments throughout the game. Despite sitting out periods of the first half to make way for a look with six defensive backs, inside linebacker Danny Stutsman played the best game of his young career in Norman. The sophomore racked up 12 total tackles, including four TFLs and a sack.

Safeties Billy Bowman and Justin Broiles compiled 11 tackles a piece. Bowman also forced a fumble in the second half. Defensive back Justin Harrington had a late interception that helped ensure the Golden Flashes wouldn’t see the end zone in the game.

The Sooners upped their record on the season to 2-0 with the win. Kent State fell to 0-2 overall. OU travels north next week to take on its longtime rival Nebraska. The Cornhuskers took the Sooners to the limit a year ago in a 23-16 OU victory in Norman.