We aren’t going to talk much about last Saturday’s game at Nippert. It’s Big Noon Saturday and Big Noon Kickoff at Nippert Stadium! The Bearcats will have the odds stacked against them at Noon on Fox. Will the Bearcats defense be able to slow down former Central Florida foe Dillon Gabriel?
So Long, Farewell
The Victory Bell has left Clifton for the first time since I set foot on UC’s campus. A streak of 16 straight wins ends in an overtime loss to the Redhawks. The Blackcats defense played a solid game, but were unable to stop QB Brett Gabbert from scrambling for big gains and a huge 79 yard TD on the first play of the game was the difference maker. The Bearcats offense gained yards, but failed to punch their ticket into the endzone, only scoring 1 touchdown on 7 trips. A blocked kick late in the 4th quarter was the deciding factor taking the game into overtime, the red zone being the Bearcats nemesis last week. The Redhawks end the streak at 16 and bring the series even again, 60-60-7. Next year’s game has the Bearcats traveling up US27 to Oxford.
This weeks opponent is a once in a lifetime match-up at Nippert Stadium. The Sooners hold a 2-0 series lead over the Bearcats with a 2008 blowout in Norman and a tight match-up at Paycor Stadium in 2010. WR DJ Woods was the culprit in 2010, fumbling 2 balls in a 2 point loss in Butch Jones first season as Bearcats head coach. This will be our only chance to play Oklahoma in conference as they will leave the B12 at the end of this season and head for the SEC. Fox decided to highlight this game for their Big Noon Kickoff show (10 am, Fox) as we enter our first B12 matchup.
This year’s Oklahoma team led by QB Dillon Gabriel, a former Central Florida starter and coached by former Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables, is averaging almost 56 points per game and only allowed 28, albeit against lower competition. The Sooners have defeated SMU, Arkansas State (Hey Butch), and Tulsa. Gabriel has flourished at Oklahoma, ranking #15 overall in the NCAA with 905 passing yards, 11 TDs and 1 INT. His heir apparent has gotten some opportunities as well, the two of them averaging for an 83% completion percentage. Their rushing game is averaging 156 yards per game which is good for 50th in the country. The Blackcats defense will have to improve from their showing last week if they want to slow down the Sooners. As much grief as I’ve given Gabriel in the past, he’s completing 85% of his passes so the Bearcats will have to lock up their passing defense if they have any chance of winning. Gabriel looks to have taken a step forward as a passer, how much of that is due to the level of competition?
The Sooners defense is led by one of the greatest defensive minds in college football. They are #32 in yards per game, but have only allowed 3 total TDs to opposing teams good for #8 in the country. They’ve only accrued 5 sacks, but have a total of 8 turnover (6 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles) throughout their 3 games. The Bearcats are going to have to keep the ball in their hands this week if they want to secure a victory. Emory Jones is going to have to look like the guy we saw in Week 1, not the past two weeks if we have any shot of winning this game.
Unfortunately, optimism has quelled a bit for the Bearcats, but a tough loss to Miami might be what the Doctor ordered for the Bearcats to get a big win in their first Big 12 game. Oklahoma has a strong passing offense and the Bearcats are susceptible to the big play. If the Bearcats can keep the ball in front of them, they’ll have a chance. Sooners have the talent advantage here.
Bearcats – 27
Boomer Sooner – 41