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Gabriel has hand in 5 TDs to help No. 14 Oklahoma rout Iowa State 50-20, with Texas up next

Dillon Gabriel
Posted at 11:57 AM, Oct 01, 2023

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma emphatically handled business and finally can focus on its showdown with Texas.

Dillon Gabriel passed for 366 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two scores, and No. 14 Oklahoma rolled past Iowa State 50-20 on Saturday night to set up a battle of unbeatens at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas next weekend.

Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) got through its trap game unscathed. The Sooners lost to Iowa State in 2017 and 2020 and have had several other close games against the Cyclones in recent years. Iowa State (2-3, 1-1) looked as if it might have another upset in the works, but Oklahoma shut the door by allowing 82 yards and five first downs in the second half.

"If we want to have the kind of season that we want ... you got to get to 5-0," Oklahoma coach Brent Venables said. " And this is about improving and being relentless to improve. Got to get better. We're not a championship team right now, but this was another step in trying to get there."

Third-ranked Texas did its part by beating Kansas 40-14 earlier Saturday. Now, Oklahoma and Texas will play their last regular-season rivalry game as members of the Big 12 on Saturday before moving to the Southeastern Conference next year.

Gabriel continued his outstanding play. He helped the Sooners put up 523 yards against the Cyclones, who led the Big 12 in total defense.

"Dillon's as talented as anybody we've played against," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "We've played against some great quarterbacks here and some great quarterbacks in this conference. But, boy, I just feel like the veteran-ness of a guy that's been in the system now for a long time and really confident with his playmakers, really confident in the scheme — he played like an elite quarterback tonight."

Iowa State freshman quarterback Rocco Becht got off to a hot start, but finished with just 188 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

On Iowa State's third offensive play, Oklahoma's Billy Bowman intercepted Becht's pass and took it 44 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring 57 seconds in.

Iowa State pulled to 21-17 on a 67-yard touchdown pass from Becht to Jayden Higgins, and Chase Contreraz's field goal made it 21-20 with 9:06 left in the second quarter. Oklahoma did not allow another point.

"Obviously, the two picks can't happen," Campbell said. "But boy, there were some big-time plays in some critical moments, too."

Gabriel found Drake Stoops in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with seven seconds left in the second quarter to put the Sooners up 40-20 at halftime. Iowa State was called for two holding penalties and one pass interference on the drive, and the Sooners scored anyway. The Sooners gained 339 yards in the first half, and Gabriel passed for two touchdowns and ran for two before the break.

Oklahoma scored again on the opening drive of the second half. Jayden Gibson's 41-yard touchdown grab from Gabriel on fourth down gave the Sooners a 47-20 lead.

"Really strong response, and that ultimately is how all of us are defined," Venables said. "In the football world, that's life happening on the football field, how you respond. And so that's a sign of some maturity and accountability and leadership from our players."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Oklahoma might have some room to move up with No. 13 LSU losing to Ole Miss. The Sooners could also jump a few spots based on their margin of victory against a respected Iowa State program.

FABULOUS FRESHMEN

Oklahoma freshman receiver Nic Anderson has five touchdowns on just 10 catches, making him the fastest Sooner to reach five touchdown grabs in a season since George Thomas Jr. had five scores on six catches in 1949.

Peyton Bowen blocked his second punt of the season for the Sooners. This one resulted in a safety that gave Oklahoma a 30-20 lead in the second quarter. He became the first Oklahoma player to have blocked more than one punt in a season since 2004.

BIG NUMBERS

Through five games, Gabriel has passed for 1,593 yards and 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also has rushed for four scores.

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa State: The Cyclones got their offense going for a bit, then reverted back to the struggles they had in the first three games of the season. Becht struggled with Oklahoma's pressure up the middle, and the Cyclones couldn't find an answer.

Oklahoma: Gabriel did it all for the Sooners. He completed 67% of his passes and kept the team rolling early while the defense struggled. He had his first game as a Sooner with more than one touchdown rushing.

UP NEXT

Iowa State: Hosts TCU on Saturday.

Oklahoma: Plays No. 3 Texas on Saturday in Dallas.

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