Oklahoma football: Three keys for Oklahoma to stay unbeaten with win at Tulsa

The final Oklahoma football nonconference game of 2023 and the final one as a member of the Big 12 Conference features the 19th-ranked Sooners on the road against the Tulsa Hurricane.

This is the 29th game historically between OU and Tulsa but the first time the two teams have faced each other since 2015. Oklahoma won that game 31-14 in a battle of unranked teams. The Sooners are 20-7-1 all-time against the Golden Hurricane, including the last nine games.

The Sooners are 28-point favorites in Saturday’s game.

Three keys to the game for Oklahoma to remain unbeaten

  • QB Dilon Gabriel needs to have a clean game with no turnovers and move the ball around to multiple receiving targets as he has in the first two games of the season. Fourteen different Sooner players have caught at least one pass this season, with Michigan transfer Andrel Anthony leading the pack with 10 catches. True freshman Jaquaize Pettaway is next with nine. With no true primary target, the Sooners are able to keep the defense honest and not able to key on any one player.
  • The OU defense needs to stop the run and force the Tulsa QB duo of Cardell Williams and Roman Fuller to throw the football. Tulsa is averaging 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. The Sooner front seven has held their two opponents thus far to just 2.9 yards per rush. OU needs to have a comparable performance on Saturday. If Tulsa becomes one dimensional, it will allow OU to fold back their ears and bring more pressure on the Golden Hurricane QBs.
  • Junior running back Tawee Walker has been nothing short of sensational in the first two games, averaging 5.6 yards per rush. The Sooners need to get more touches for second-year RB Jovantae Barnes and even Gavin Sawchuk, one of the fastest guys on the team. The latter two are strong complementary pieces to Walker and fifth-year senior Marcus Major. If the Sooners are able to establish the run game by rotating in backs with fresh legs, Gabriel and the passing game becomes twice as lethal. The Sooners lead the nation since 2015, averaging 5.5 yards per running play.