AMES, Ia. — The Sooner quarterback threw his 14th touchdown of the season, and led his team to a road victory in a hostile environment, but feels he left some plays on the field.
Although Oklahoma beat Iowa State 27-13 Saturday afternoon, Dillon Gabriel knows the game was closer than the final score indicated. After all, the Cyclones finished with more plays, yards and first downs than the Sooners, but still lost.
Which is why Gabriel isn’t jumping over joy with his performance. He completed 15 of his 26 passes for 148 yards, and led the offense on a scoring drive in every quarter. However, his yards through the air were his second-lowest output of the season besides the TCU game, in which he left early due to an injury. Oklahoma racked up 332 yards of total offense, but it was its’ second-lowest production of 2022.
“I think the offense got to play a little better, and that starts with me, but I’m going to be better for the guys,” Gabriel said. We just got to continue to make the corrections and be better.”
Oklahoma fans were expecting the gunslinger to put up video game numbers in Jeff Lebby’s scheme this season That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Gabriel led the nation in passing yards per game at Central Florida in 2020. The Hawaii native has delivered on some of the hype he arrived to campus with though.
Gabriel is third in the Big 12 and 17th in the FBS in passing efficiency. He’s also averaging 8.79 yards per pass attempt, which is second-best in the league. The former three-star prospect is a natural at managing the game and not panicking in the clutch. Had Gabriel finished the TCU game and played in the Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma would probably be higher in the Big 12 standings.
Regardless, Gabriel refuses to worry about spoiled milk, and just wants to make sure the Sooners finish out the rest of the season strong.
“We have a lot to clean up, there’s a lot of throws I want back, and I just want to continue to execute and make competitive plays,” he said. “But I’ll never be mad with a win.”
As of now the Sooners are still on the outside looking in as far as conference standings, and will need the top-two teams to lose a couple of couple of games to climb back in the race. It’s still any given Autumn Saturday, and so much football left to be played. So Gabriel wants to control what he can, which is scoring more touchdowns for the offense.
The 5-foot-11, 203-pounder understands it’s going to take more touchdowns and less field goals in order to get the Sooners to the promised land. And most importantly, Oklahoma has to keep winning.
“Just glad for this team and how hard we’ve been working,” the 21-year old said. “Just continue to chip away because we know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, so just continue to be consistent with the work.”
With two of the next three games at home, Oklahoma (5-3) has plenty of opportunity to gain momentum. Gabriel is confident this isn’t the same Sooner team that lost 49-0 to the Longhorns. At the end of the day he believes the offense is in good hands with him at the helms.
“You have to be patient, you have to take care of the football, and you just got to find a way, and I think that’s what we did today.”