3 Sooners Takeaways: OU Drops To No. 6 During BYE Week Ahead Of Homecoming, Gabriel Reunion With UCF

The Sooners had a week off at the midway point of the season to catch their breath and heal up following a classic matchup with Texas. Up next, Heisman hopeful and former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel faces his old team for homecoming.

Tuesday, October 17th 2023, 11:45 am

By: News On 6, News 9, Drake Johnson


The Sooners had a week off at the midway point of the season to catch their breath and heal up following a classic matchup with Texas.

All-in-all, it was a successful Bye week for Oklahoma. In typical fashion, OU dropped one spot in the rankings without even playing. The Sooners were jumped by Washington who defeated Oregon by three points at home.

On the schedule this week for OU is a team that quarterback Dillon Gabriel knows better than anyone.

Here's your three Sooners takeaways, the bye week edition:

1.) Dillon Gabriel Becomes A Real Heisman Hopeful

Gabriel already had his Heisman moment, beginning with 1:17 left on the clock in the Cotton Bowl. That drive gained him national attention.

In Week 7, he's now a consensus finalist for the award behind Washington's Michael Penix Jr., who is a heavy favorite across the board.

The race has been up and down all season.

The 2022 winner has plummeted after a rough loss at the hands of Notre Dame, Quinn Ewers failed to defeat Oklahoma after the Crimson Tide win vaulted him up the board.

Colorado's Shedeur Sanders hasn't been able to keep up, especially with the temporary loss of Travis Hunter.

So here we are, halfway through the season and OU is right back in the mix for the Heisman.

Gabriel's stats through six games:

141/195, 1,878 yards passing, 16 TDs, 2 INTs with 208 rushing yards and 5 TDs.

Penix's stats through six games:

155/215, 2,301 yards passing, 20 TDs, 3 INTs with 92 rushing yards and 4 TDS.

The only issue for Gabriel is the lack of a marquee matchup in the regular season, compared to Penix at least.

As of now, no ranked opponents remain on Oklahoma's schedule and Washington still has to play No. 18 USC, No. 14 Utah and No. 12 Oregon St.

2.) USC Lost.

Whether Sooners fans want to admit it or not, they were likely glued to the TV to watch USC-Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Trojans had struggled the last few weeks and many felt like the Fighting Irish would expose Lincoln Riley, Caleb Williams and the rest of the former Sooners playing for Southern California.

The final score of 48-20 wasn't that shocking, it was how it happened.

It was the offense, not the defense, that ended USC's perfect season this weekend.

The man who began his career at Oklahoma and is now the projected number-one pick in the 2024 NFL draft had his worst game as a college player (arguably.)

Williams threw three interceptions in the first half, resulting in USC being down 24-6 at intermission.

The Fighting Irish kept Williams contained in the pocket, limiting his freelancing abilities and forcing him to throw into coverage.

"We've obviously got a lot in front of us," USC coach Lincoln Riley said to the media after the game. "This game means a lot. We know it means a lot to our fan base, it means a lot to college football."

USC's performance opened the door the Penix and Gabriel to claim the top spots in the Heisman race, while Williams dropped outside the top five.

Having won last season, Caleb was facing an uphill battle that nobody has accomplished since Ohio State's Archie Griffin in the 1970s.

3.) Homecoming Is A Special Matchup For Gabriel

The University of Central Florida heads to Norman on Saturday as a conference foe for the Sooners and a former home for quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

He spent his first three collegiate seasons playing for the Golden Knights in the American Athletic Conference, notably throwing 32 TDs and 4 INTs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

In total, Gabriel had 13,083 passing yards, 111 TDs and 22 interceptions from 2019-2021. His last season was shortened by injury before his transfer to Oklahoma following the departure of Riley, Williams and many more.

"He's got an outstanding skill set," said UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn about Gabriel. "He's a veteran guy now too, think about all the snaps he's played."

The current OU quarterback says he's looking forward to the matchup with his old team.

"I think it's interesting how college football brings it all full circle, but I'm excited for it," Gabriel said.


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