FORT WORTH, TX — Oklahoma’s nightmare scenario struck on Saturday.
Down 24 points to the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium, OU quarterback Dillon Gabriel fell victim to a late hit from linebacker Jamoi Hodge.
Penalty flags littered the field for a targeting call, but the damage had been done.
Gabriel left the game with 9:39 remaining in the second quarter, and now his status for next week’s Red River Rivalry is in question.
“He’s under concussion protocol,” coach Brent Venables confirmed.
The No. 18-ranked Sooners (3-2) turned to Pittsburgh transfer Davis Beville to finish the game, something OU may have to do next week against Texas (3-2).
Entering Saturday, Davis had attempted just two passes in a Sooner uniform.
Facing a big deficit, offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby had to let Beville take to the skies in Fort Worth.
The backup quarterback completed 7-of-16 passes for 50 yards, while Gabriel had turned in a 7-for-16 with 126 yards.
“I mean, you talk about a tough situation, a quarterback having to go in after the starter goes down,” OU wide receiver Marvin Mims said after the game. “That’s a tough situation to go into, especially with how the game was going. I thought Davis handled it well. Couldn’t be more proud of him for that. He was ready. He was prepared.”
Lebby was pleased that Beville didn’t turn the ball over, but he'll have to be much better next week if Gabriel doesn’t clear concussion protocol.
“I felt like Davis did a good job. He played solid,” Lebby said. “He took care of the football. I was proud of him because of his attitude, his energy and his effort. Obviously we didn’t want to be in that situation and down the way we were, but that was because of self-inflicted stuff we did in the first half. Credit to TCU. But we have to play better.”
Three straight run calls saw the Sooners score a touchdown to finish the drive where Gabriel was knocked out of the game, but Oklahoma scored points on just one of its last seven drives with Beville or General Booty at the helm.
Beville held the ball too long behind a beaten up offensive line, taking three sacks throughout the second and third quarters.
“He’s going to want some things back,” Lebby said. “But I’m proud of him and how he played, the toughness, taking care of the football and doing some good things.”
If Gabriel can’t give it a go inside the Cotton Bowl next week, Lebby believes that the coaching staff will be able to prepare Beville to face the Longhorns.
“I think if that’s what ends up happening, then Davis will be a guy that will be ready to go,” Lebby said. “That’s the expectation. We’ll put him in a good position and he’ll play his butt off.”
Unfortunately for the Sooners, Beville doesn’t bring a wealth of experience to the table.
In three seasons at Pittsburgh, he appeared in just nine games and completed 22-of-32 passes for 237 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
A bulk of his action came in last year’s Peach Bowl when Beville had to enter the game after Pittsburgh backup-turned-starter Nick Patti sustained an injury.
Regardless of who takes the snaps next week, Oklahoma needs a major response against Texas.
The Sooners have dropped back-to-back games for just the second time this century and are staring down the barrel of a potential four-game skid heading into the bye week.
“I'm proud of (Beville), and I'm ready to go if he's the guy,” tight end Brayden Willis said. “Whoever the guy is, we're ready to go. Regardless, the supporting cast has to play better for anybody who's at the helm for us to get going. I'm ready to get to work with those guys.”
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