After one of the longest offseasons in recent memory, the Oklahoma Sooners answered plenty of questions today, as they cruised to victory over Arkansas State, 73-0. On a very hot September day in Norman, the Sooners could not have started any quicker, as they get on the board the very first drive and never looked back. The party got started as Drake Stoops catching a pass from Dillon Gabriel and walking in from 10 yards out for the first Oklahoma touchdown of the 2023 campaign. After the defense forced a quick three-and-out, electric playmaker Gavin Freeman took a punt return 82 yards for a touchdown. Sooners scored on all seven possessions of the first half.
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
Oklahoma made it known that they were on a mission and that they were going to score early and often. The tempo from the OU offense caused major problems for Arkansas State and caught their defense out of position on many occasions in the first half. It was refreshing to see the up-tempo offense work to perfection this afternoon, and even more encouraging to see OU’s wide receivers make competitive catches. Transfer WR Andrel Anthony had the stadium buzzing with his speed and showed what he is capable of this season. Jayden Gibson (two receptions, 54 Yards and a touchdown) displayed freaky athleticism on both of his catches, which should boost his confidence moving forward after struggling with drops last year.
Gabriel came out and took care of business, as he finished the day 19 of 22 passing with 308 yards with two passing TDs and one rushing TD. Five-star freshman phenom Jackson Arnold entered the game to begin the third quarter and did not disappoint, going a perfect 11 for 11 for 114 yards through the air and posting both a rushing and passing touchdown.
The offensive line looked better than last year at this point despite having to replace two NFL draft picks from a season ago. They kept both QBs clean and made their presence know throughout the game. Many young players got to see the field, including Cayden Green, which impressed with his blocking ability. Overall, this Sooners’ offense took care of business and looked good doing it.
A Year Wiser
Brent Venables’ defense in year two looks a lot more confident and got their first shutout since BV has returned to Norman. Only giving up 48 rushing yards and 160 passing yards is not a bad way to kick off your season. It is safe to say the defense looked more sound on all three levels. The only thing you could point to if you're a Sooner fan is you would like to have seen a few more sacks this game. With that in mind, Butch Jones’ offense got the ball out of the QBs hands quickly today and keep rolling out the pocket, minimizing the opportunities the OU D-line had to make an impact in that regard. At the end of the day, this group did their job and did not allow a single point, which should obviously make any fan happy.