Coming into the 2022 College Football season the Oklahoma Sooners were ranked No. 9 and aimed to continue their Big 12 dominance. They started the season with three easy wins to move up to No. 6 in the country heading into week four. Despite all of this hype, conference play has proved to be Oklahoma’s downfall. Let’s take a look at how they went from 3-0 to 3-3 in a disappointing fashion.
The Spectacular Sooners
After losing head coach Lincoln Riley and QB Caleb Williams to the USC Trojans after the 2021 season the Sooners needed to fill some spots. They brought in former Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Brent Venables to head up this team and transfer QB Dillon Gabriel from the UCF Knights.
As usual, the season began with three non-conference games and the Sooners got a pretty easy start.
The season opener was at home against the UTEP Miners and they came away with a 45-13 victory. It was their sixth straight season opener win.
They cruised to victory in game two as they took down the Kent State Golden Flashes 33-3. They followed that up by destroying the Nebraska Cornhuskers 49-14. This gave them 16 straight victories against non-conference opponents.
This was only the fifth time since the 2010 season that they scored 33 or more in their first three games. It was an excellent start even for their standards.
Even though they went into week four 3-0 and ranked No. 6 they began conference play with major struggles.
The Sooners’ final game of September was against the Kansas State Wildcats to begin conference play. This matchup has proven extremely tough for the Sooners as Kansas State had won two of the last three. The struggles continued.
The Sooners’ defense had no answer for the Wildcats’ transfer QB Adrian Martinez who threw for 234 yards and one pass TD as well as 148 rush yards and four rush TDs.
Outside of their failing to slow the Wildcats’ offense, the biggest issue for Oklahoma was all of the penalties. There were 11 penalties that went against the Sooners for 87 crucial yards.
The Wildcats came away with a solid 41-34 victory.
Looking for a bounce back, the Sooners went on the road to TCU where it got even worse. The first quarter took an hour as the TCU Horned Frogs went beast mode and put up 27 points. They followed that up with 14 more in the second and third quarters.
TCU dominated Oklahoma in every aspect. QB Max Duggan threw for 302 yards and three pass TDs in addition to 116 rush yards and two rush TDs. Overall their run game recorded 361 rush yards and five rush TDs, highlighted by Kendre Miller‘s 136 yards and two TDs.
Kansas State also racked up four sacks and seven tackles for loss.
The biggest blow however was that Sooners QB Gabriel was knocked out of the game when he was hit hard during a slide. Once Oklahoma lost their superstar QB the game went to complete TCU control.
TCU came away with an easy 55-24 victory.
There was plenty of excitement surrounding the Red River Showdown between the Sooners and Texas Longhorns which was played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas. There was not much that went right for Oklahoma.
The Longhorns starting QB Quinn Ewers finally returned after getting hurt against the Alabama Crimson Tide a few weeks prior. His return was quite spectacular. He went 21/31 for 289 pass yards and four TDs.
In addition, Bijan Robinson, one of the best running backs in college football, put on yet another show. He had 22 carries for 130 rush yards and two rush TDs.
Texas boasted 585 total yards compared to Oklahoma’s 195, which saw only 39 from passing. Without Gabriel, the Sooners tried to rely on QB Davis Beville who only threw 6/12 for 38 pass yards and an interception.
Additionally, the Longhorns’ defense exploited the Sooners’ offensive struggles. They stacked up three sacks and an immense 11 tackles for loss.
As the dust settled Texas walked away with a 49-0 victory.
This was the biggest margin of victory in the history of this rivalry and even more incredible this was the first time Oklahoma was shut out since 1998.
This stretch has been more than unusual for the Oklahoma Sooners who have dominated the Big 12 for many years.
They are not accustomed to losing often, especially in conference play. The last time they lost three conference games overall in a season was in 2014 when they went 5-4 against Big 12 opponents.
It has been even longer since they last lost three straight games which happened in 1998. That season they lost five straight and started 0-4 in the Big 12.
The last time the Sooners allowed 40 or more points in three straight games was between 11/3-23/2018, but they won all four of those (51-46; 48-47; 55-40; 59-56).
What is extra frustrating for the Sooners is that these last two were blowouts of massive proportions. The last time they lost multiple games in a season by 30 or more points was in 2014 when they lost 48-14 to No. 12 Baylor and 40-6 to No. 17 Clemson in their Bowl Game.
The last one that should be pointed out is that Oklahoma is known for great QB performances. Against Texas, they only had 39 pass yards. This tied their fewest in a game since 2004. Paul Thompson did it in a 17-16 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies on November 4, 2006, and Cody Thomas did it in a 44-7 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on November 22, 2014.
It has been an extremely rough stretch for the Oklahoma Sooners, a stretch that has rarely occurred in the history of this team. If they get Gabriel back soon there is a chance it can get better but as of right now their offense and defense are at an all-time low. The Big 12 is very tough this season and it will not get easier as they take on the new version of the No. 19 Kansas Jayhawks (5-1) on October 15.
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