Dillon Gabriel threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns to help No. 9 Oklahoma notch a 45-13 victory over UTEP on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.
The Sooners, in Brent Venables’ first game as a head coach, got off to a quick start, leading 21-0 in the first quarter.
Oklahoma overhauled things on both sides of the ball in the offseason after Venables was hired following the departure of Lincoln Riley to Southern California.
Venables brought aboard Jeff Lebby, known for fast-paced offenses at Central Florida and Ole Miss, to run the Sooners’ offense.
Lebby’s quick tempo was evident from the start.
Oklahoma needed only 13 plays — taking just 3:35 — to rack up 223 yards and build the early lead.
UTEP (0-2) settled in a bit through the air after that, cutting the deficit to 21-10 in the second quarter before Sooners got going offensively once again with Gabriel hitting tight end Brayden Willis for a 28-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half to make it 28-10 at the break.
It was Willis’ second touchdown of the half, the first time in his career with multiple touchdowns in a game.
The Sooners scored touchdowns on each of their first two drives of the second half — both on Marcus Major runs — to build a 42-10 lead by late in the third quarter.
Oklahoma’s third touchdown of the game came on a 46-yard run by freshman walk-on Gavin Freeman, who took an end-around for a score.
UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison finished 26 of 43 for 244 yards.
While Hardison helped the Miners get back into the game in the second quarter, leading a pair of long drives, UTEP struggled to get much going on the ground.
The Sooners held the Miners to minus-19 rushing yards in the first half and 28 yards for the game.
Eric Gray rushed for 102 yards on 16 carries and added two catches for 33 yards. Marvin Mims added three catches for 81 yards.
Oklahoma finished with 492 total yards
Tyrin Smith had eight catches for 71 yards to lead the Miners.
–Field Level Media