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Oklahoma roughs up Arkansas State from beginning, wins 73-0

by Mike Harley | September 2, 2023 at 6:17 p.m.
Oklahoma defensive back Billy Bowman Jr. (2) tackles Arkansas State wide receiver Tennel Bryant (10) during the first half in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. (AP/Alonzo Adams)

NORMAN, Okla. — No. 20 Oklahoma wasted no time exerting its dominance over Arkansas State University on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

On the first possession of the game, the Sooners drove down the field in just 1:19, scoring a touchdown on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Dillion Gabriel to Drake Stoops after Gabriel connected with Michigan transfer Andrel Anthony for a 45-yard gain.

The Red Wolves went three and out on their first offensive possession. On the ensuing punt, Gavin Freeman returned it 82 yards for a touchdown.

In the blink of an eye, the Sooners were in the driver’s seat with a 14-0 lead en route to a 73-0 victory.

“When you play a team like Oklahoma, they’re a top-25 football team for a reason,” ASU Coach Butch Jones said after the game. “That is a talented football team. They challenge you in so many ways. You have to be disciplined in the details. We got exposed today.”

Oklahoma tacked on two more touchdowns before the end of the first quarter to take a 28-0 lead. Gabriel completed 10 of 12 passes for 145 yards and 2 scores in the opening quarter.

The onslaught continued early in the second quarter. Tawee Walker punched in a 1-yard touchdown following an acrobatic reception by Jayden Gibson that set up the Sooners inside the 1. Arkansas State struggled to keep up with the high-flying, fast-paced Oklahoma offense all afternoon.

With Arkansas State trailing 35-0, Syracuse transfer Courtney Jackson gave the Red Wolves a mini-spark, catching a short pass over the middle and racing for a 47-yard gain. While the play provided a glimmer of positivity, the drive stalled out and kicker Dominic Zvada missed his second field-goal attempt of the game.

On the next possession, the Sooners extended the lead to 42-0 with 8:33 to go in the first half on a 5-yard run by Gabriel. A 21-yard field goal by Zach Schmit with 37 seconds left in the first half made the score 45-0.

Oklahoma scored points on each of its six first-half possessions, including five touchdowns.

Gabriel’s day was over at halftime. He finished 19-of-22 passing for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with his rushing score. Oklahoma played mostly backups in the second half, building a 66-0 lead through three quarters. The Sooners added a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard run by Kalib Hicks.

Arkansas State struggled mightily to move the chains, converting just 2 of 12 on third-down attempts. The Red Wolves couldn’t find any rhythm or momentum as the Sooners’ speed and physicality overwhelmed them on both sides of the ball.

“Brent [Venables] has really done a good job of really elevating his football team from last year,” Jones said of the Sooners’ second-year coach. “They’re tough, they’re physical. The speed differential was probably the most glaring I’ve probably seen in my career.”

Arkansas State takes on Memphis next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro.

“If you’re a competitor, you can’t wait to get out to the practice field,” Jones said. “You’ve got a rival coming to town. It’s going to be a great environment. If you’re a competitor, you’re excited about that. As we continue to build this, we’re not going to compromise our standard of expectations and the standard of performance that we have set forth in our football program. We are not going to digress in those expectations.”

This story has been updated. It was originally published at 3:26 p.m. under the headline "No. 20 Oklahoma tops visiting Arkansas State, 73-0."

  Gallery: Arkansas State falls at Oklahoma, 73-0


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