Sep. 28—In a small sample size, Oklahoma’s offensive rhythm has been evident in its first few possessions in all four games this season.
Last week against Cincinnati, the Sooners picked up a quick first down before facing third-and-9 from their own 22. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel wasn’t looking at the center when the ball was snapped and had to scramble to get an incomplete pass off before the oncoming rush.
After punting, the Sooners got the ball back on their second possession trailing 3-0 and drove 71 yards before Gabriel fumbled the ball back to the Bearcats.
The Sooners would be held to a season-low 20 points.
“Creating easy completions,” Gabriel said about starting faster. “Moving the chains. I mean I don’t want to sound like a broken record but finding ways to get in the rhythm.”
Two weeks before, against SMU, the Sooners picked up a first down on their opening drive and then missed a block on a swing pass for a four-yard loss. The offense stalled and would finish the first quarter averaging just 3.9 yards per play.
Against Arkansas State and Tulsa, the Sooners scored on each of their first two possessions and rode that momentum to blowout wins. Against Cincinnati and SMU, they punted and struggled to execute consistently throughout the game.
Against the Bearcats, the Sooners were able to take back the lead on the third possession. Gabriel overthrew Jalil Farooq on a pass deep over the middle of the field, but found Nic Anderson for an 18-yard score three plays later.
Gabriel shook off the early miscues to finish 26 of 38 (68%) for 322 yards and no interceptions.
The Sooners entered the week leading the country in third down conversion percentage (67.6%), but went six for 16 last week. They had nine runs stopped for no gain or less and the offense was penalized four times on third down with a holding penalty on…