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Three Quick Takeaways From Oklahoma's Win Over TCU on Senior Day

Brent Venables' Oklahoma Sooners closed the regular season in style with a 69-45 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs on Black Friday.

NORMAN — Oklahoma saved one last excellent home performance for Senior Day.

The No. 13-ranked Sooners torched the TCU Horned Frogs 69-45 in the final Big 12 game to ever take place at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Brent Venables avenged last year’s 55-24 loss at the hands of the Horned Frogs, clinching a 10-win season for the Sooners in the process.

Despite exiting last Saturday’s contest against BYU with an upper body injury at halftime, quarterback Dillon Gabriel started for Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12), leading the offense to an explosive day at the office.

Now, the Sooners will sit idle. OU needs help from elsewhere in the conference to qualify for next week’s Big 12 title game, or the Sooners will be off and wait for their bowl assignment on Dec. 3.

Stylish Sendoff

TCU hung around far too long in the second half, but it wasn’t the offense’s fault.

Playing in their final games on Owen Field, OU quarterback Dillon Gabriel and wide receiver Drake Stoops starred yet again.

Gabriel attacked downfield early and often, finding Nic Anderson for a 50-yard pass on his first snap, connecting with Jayden Gibson for a 59-yard touchdown and tossing a 53-yard bomb to Brenen Thompson.

As the game wore on, Gabriel started to find Stoops more and more.

In total, Stoops was targeted 14 times, catching 12 of those passes, for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Though the super senior made a nice move in the open field and powered through a TCU defender to stretch the ball over the goal line in the third quarter, his best play actually came one snap earlier.

Just as he did all afternoon, Gabriel had plenty of time to sit in the pocket on first-and-10 from TCU’s 26-yard line.

As he worked through his progressions, Gabriel flung the ball toward Stoops on the sideline, who controlled his body to keep both feet inbounds, completing a 17-yard reception.

Gabriel’s availability was the subject of speculation all week long, but he ultimately got the sendoff he deserved at Oklahoma.

He completed 24-of-38 passes for 400 yards and three scores, throwing just one interception. He also got involved on the ground, carrying the ball seven times for 36 yards and another score.

Defense Caught Napping

After allowing 16 points in the first half, with one touchdown coming as a result of a muffed punt deep in Oklahoma territory, the Sooner defense struggled in the third quarter.

TCU ran 21 plays in the third quarter, scoring 22 points and posting 228 yards of offense.

The Sooners took bad angles and missed tackles, allowing the Horned Frogs to press on with a balance between the ground game and the aerial attack despite facing a big deficit.

As a result, redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Hoover got into a decent rhythm after a touch-and-go first half.

Venables’ defense had a nice stretch to close the first half, forcing three punts and coming up with a fourth down stop to help the Sooners extend the lead out, but it was far from a complete four quarter performance.

The Sooners ended up with one sack and seven quarterback hurries, but had to wait until late in the fourth quarter for Billy Bowman to pull down the first interception of the game, which he proceeded to return for his third pick six of the season.

Season Ends With Massive Improvement

One year ago, the Sooners limped into bowl season.

Oklahoma blew an early 17-0 lead to fall 51-48 to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock.

The loss meant OU ended the regular season 6-6, a mark that turned into a losing season after the Sooners were overmatched in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Though the second half wasn’t always pretty, Oklahoma clinched the program’s 42nd 10-win season with the victory over TCU, ensuring Venables would make at least a four-game improvement on last year’s win total.

As OU departs to the SEC, the Sooners needed a bounce-back year.

Venables not only needed to show things were moving in the right direction to continue to build momentum on the recruiting trail, but he also needed to show that 2022 was an aberration in a transitional year.

Things have been far from perfect in 2023.

Oklahoma was a totally different team on the road than at home, including a combined six turnovers in Lawrence and Stillwater that cost OU its contests against Kansas and Oklahoma State. But there were clear defensive improvements, and the Sooners are still in the hunt for a Big 12 title game appearance if they can get help from either Texas Tech or BYU this weekend.

Venables will have to break in a new starting quarterback in Jackson Arnold next year in the SEC, but Oklahoma will host seven home games as it jumps straight into the deep end in 2024.