Oklahoma’s football team overcame the loss of starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel and got two big defensive plays to beat Brigham Young 31-24 at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, on Saturday.
Oklahoma was outgained by BYU 390-368, but the Sooners turned three Cougar turnovers into 21 points and did not commit a turnover on offense.
Gabriel only played in the first half, and sat out the second half after hitting his head on the grass hard late in the second quarter.
Gabriel was 13-for-21 passing for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
Jackson Arnold played for Gabriel in the second half and was 5-for-9 for 33 yards passing and rushed for 24 yards on 8 carries.
Both teams gained one first down and punted on their opening possession.
On Oklahoma’s second possession, the Sooners got a big play when Dillon Gabriel passed deep to Jayden Gibson for a gain of 55 yards to the BYU 2-yard line.
Three plays later, Gabriel passed to Nic Anderson in the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown, capping a 7-play, 85-yard drive and putting the Sooners up 7-0 with 8:04 left in the first quarter.
BYU answered by going 75 yards in 10 plays to tie it.
On fourth and one, Jake Retzlaff passed to Chase Roberts, who made some nice moves to escape two Sooner defenders and scored on a 23-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:05 to play in the first quarter.
On Oklahoma’s ensuing possession, the Sooners were lined up to punt, but faked it, and punter Luke Elzinga passed to a wide open Ethan Downs for a gain of 21 and an apparent first down.
OU’s Nic Anderson was called for pass interference on the play, however, and the Sooners had the play called back.
This time the Sooners did punt, and BYU’s Parker Kingston returned the punt 31 yards to the OU 43-yard line.
On the first play after the punt, the Cougars gave it right back, as a handoff resulted in a fumble and Rondell Bothroyd recovered for the Sooners at their own 48-yard line.
Oklahoma used seven plays to go 52 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Gabriel passed to Jayden Gibson in the back of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown to put the Sooners back on top 14-7 with 13:06 left in the second quarter.
Once again, BYU responded to an Oklahoma touchdown with one of their own, going 75 yards in 10 plays.
A pair 20-yard plus pass plays moved the Cougars into scoring range, and the drive was finished off by a one-yard touchdown pass from Retzlaff to Isaac Rex to tie the game at 14 with 7:49 left in the second quarter.
Retzlaff was 15-for-26 passing for 173 yards.
The Sooners regained the lead on the ensuing possession, with Gabriel passing to Drake Stoops for a gain of 24, setting up a 23-yard field goal by Zach Schmit to put OU up 17-14 with 2:43 to play in the first half.
BYU was able to get into field goal range following that and as time expired in the first half, Will Ferrin kicked a 49-yard field goal to tie the game at 17.
Jackson Arnold started the second half at quarterback for Oklahoma, after Gabriel had hit his head hard on the field on the last OU possession of the first half.
Both teams had to punt on their first two possessions of the second half.
On BYU’s third possession of the second half, runs of 25 and 22 yards by Aidan Robbins got the ball to the Sooner 2-yard line.
Robbins rushed for 182 yards on 22 carries.
On first and goal from the 2, Cougar quarterback Jake Retzlaff had his pass intercepted by Billy Bowman at the goal line and he ran it back 100 yards for the touchdown to put the Sooners up 24-17 with 5:55 left in the third quarter.
Bowman’s return was the seventh 100-yard play in OU history, and the first since 2014.
The Cougars answered with an eight-play, 75-yard drive, with Retzlaff keeping for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at 24 with 1:19 left in the third quarter.
It was just the third 100-yard interception return by a Sooner, with Julian Wilson doing it in 2014 and Al Needs in 1945.
Oklahoma tried to regain the lead on their ensuing possession, and the drive started promisingly.
Gavin Sawchuk ran for a gain of 29 yards, then on 3rd and 13 from the BYU 29, Arnold completed a pass to Jalil Farooq for a gain of 16 to keep the drive going.
It stalled after that, and Schmit missed a 28-yard field goal attempt wide left with 12:20 to play to keep the game 24-24.
The Sooner defense made their second big play on BYU’s ensuing possession, as Danny Stutsman sacked Retzlaff and Jacob Lacey recovered the fumble at the Cougars’ 25-yard line.
It took OU three plays to turn the turnover into points, as Sawchuk scored on a 16-yard touchdown run to give the Sooners the lead back at 31-24 with 7:57 left.
Sawchuk had 107 yards rushing on 14 carries.
BYU failed to make a first down on their next possession and punted, giving OU the ball at their own 30-yard line with 5:08 to play.
Oklahoma ran out the clock to get their first win over BYU>
This was the third meeting between the two teams, with BYU winning the first two, both at neutral sites.
The Cougars beat OU in the 1994 Copper Bowl in Tuscon, Arizona, and in the 2009 season opener in Arlington, Texas.
Oklahoma improves to 9-2 overall, 6-2 in Big 12 play, and keeps alive their hopes to make the conference championship game.
The Sooners close the regular season next Friday by hosting TCU at 11:00 am.