Oklahoma’s football team opened the Brent Venables era on Saturday, by beating Texas-El Paso 45-13 at Owen Field in Norman.
Oklahoma scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, and new starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel passed for 233 yard and two touchdowns and ran for another score in his OU debut.
The Sooners took the opening kickoff and went 75 yards in five plays, with Dillon Gabriel passing deep to Marvin Mims for 42 yards, then keeping himself for a 12-yard touchdown to put OU up 7-0 just 1:17 into the game.
Mims had three catches for 81 yards.
Oklahoma forced UTEP to punt on their first possession, then OU went 93 yards in just six plays, with three plays of at least 24 yards to move the ball down the field.
Eric Gray ran for 35 yards, then Gabriel passed to Mims for 31 and Gray for 24, setting up a six-yard touchdown pass from Gabriel to Brayden Willis to give the Sooners a 14-0 lead with 9:18 to play in the first quarter.
Gray had 102 yards rushing on 16 carries.
The Sooners forced another UTEP punt, then took just two plays to go 55 yards, with Heritage Hall freshman Gavin Freeman making a tremendous 46-yard run on a reverse for a touchdown to make it 21-0 with 6:43 to play in the first quarter.
The Miners put their first scoring drive together, and on the second play of the second quarter, got a 49-yard field goal from Gavin Baechle to make it 21-3 Sooners with 14:12 to play in the first half.
Oklahoma had to punt for the first time on their next possession, then UTEP responded with a 10-play, 85-yard drive.
It resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by Ronald Awatt to cut the Sooner lead to 21-10 with 8:18 left in the second quarter.
After the two teams exchanged punts, Oklahoma got on the board again with an 11-play, 68-yard drive, with Gabriel passing to a wide open Brayden Willis for the 28-yard touchdown to put the Sooners up 28-10 with 55 seconds left in the second quarter.
UTEP moved the ball into OU territory late in the first half, but Reggie Grimes sacked Gavin Hardison to end the half.
Oklahoma forced a Miners punt to open the second half, then marched 80 yards in 10 plays to add to their lead.
Gabriel passed to Theo Wease for a gain of 33 yards, and Marcus Major finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 35-10 Sooners with 10:48 to play in the third quarter.
Major had 54 yards rushing on seven carries.
UTEP kept the ball for more than five minutes on their next possession, but gave the ball up on downs.
OU then went 64 yards in 7 plays, with Marcus Major gaining 27 yards on one run, then capping the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to give the Sooners a 42-10 lead with 3:16 to play in the third quarter.
The Miners responded by getting a 54-yard field goal from Baechle to cut OU’s lead to 42-13 with 14:01 to play in the fourth quarter.
The two teams exchanged punts, then OU moved deep into Miners territory, before settling for a 22-yard field goal by Zach Schmit to make it 45-13 with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma’s defense recorded six sacks, with Reggie Grimes accounting for 2 and a half of those.
Gentry Williams finished off the day for the Sooner defense with an interception in the end zone.
OU has won 17 straight home openers, and will be home next Saturday to host Kent State at 6:00 pm.