Dillon Gabriel ‘good enough’ but offensive miscues derail Oklahoma comeback

When your offense scores 34 points in a game, it should be good enough for a team to get a win. There’s no way around that reality. In Oklahoma’s 41-34 loss to Kansas State, the defense’s inability to get stops consistently was the biggest contributor to the loss.

The defense put the offense in a bind from the jump, forcing them to play from 14 down early in the first quarter. The offense rallied, tieing the game midway through the second quarter after the defense forced several three-and-outs in a row. But as good as things were going at times, Gabriel and the Sooners’ offense couldn’t sustain drives.

Untimely penalties, poor play calling at times, and despite how good he was at times, Gabriel’s own inaccuracy thwarted the Oklahoma Sooners’ offense from mounting a serious threat in the second half.

The play calling asked Gabriel to throw at or behind the line of scrimmage eight times in this game. Those eight throws yielded a net of eight yards and one touchdown, the goalline pass to Brayden Willis. Gabriel was excellent at throwing the football down the field.

On throws of 10 yards or more, Dillon Gabriel was 9 of 12 (75%) for 210 yards and three touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. Including the eight throws at or behind the line of scrimmage, Gabriel was 19 of 23 (82.6%) for 119 yards and one touchdown. Sure, he was efficient, but the throws behind the line of scrimmage or in the short area passing game rarely yielded the results they were looking for.

Where Oklahoma made its money in the passing game was in pushing the ball down the field. Gabriel completed 50% of his passes on 20 yards or more throws. That’s a very efficient number on a high degree of difficulty throw.

When the offense did get on the move, the offensive line killed drives with untimely false starts and a holding call that wiped out an eight-yard gain. The Sooners’ offense was charged with six penalties for 35 yards. Four of those six came in the second half of the game as the Sooners were trying to draw even with Kansas State. And each time, it was just after they easily marched across midfield.

The penalties were drive killers that ultimately forced Oklahoma to punt or use all four downs to try and convert.

And while Gabriel was good throughout much of this game, the Marvin Mims touchdown pass was art, there were several throws that needed to be better.

Every quarterback misses throws. You can’t watch a game on Saturday or Sunday without seeing even the best miss throws, but in a game like Saturday’s, when every possession and every play counts, those misses are magnified and carry a little more weight.

While he completed 67.5% of his passes, there were several that he’d like to have back. You take away the 8 of 9 passing behind the line of scrimmage from his ledger, and his completion percentage drops to 61.2%

There was the overthrow of Drake Stoops after the wide receiver lost his man on a sluggo route. And then, on a critical fourth and three, he threw wide, and Stoops had to dive just to get his hands on the football.

Brent Venables was asked whether Kansas State was getting to Gabriel or if he was just off in the loss, “I think it was more off. You know, he’s been good enough. And that’s what I know.”

“But again, critical situations, you got to be precise, and there’s a lot to it,” Venables said. “So whether that’s we’re running the routes or putting the ball where it needs to be and probably easier said than done. And again, that’s a top 10 defense, you know, in every category in times they played like and at times our offense, you know, did some great stuff.”

Dillon Gabriel and the offense did their part. Scoring 34 points in a game isn’t easy, especially against a team that was allowing fewer than 10 points per game. And at the same time, the miscues are what stand out the most in a game that was a few plays from ending in Oklahoma’s favor. As Venables mentioned, it’s coming through in the critical moments of the game and being more precise.

While they fell short, Gabriel and several members of the offense remain a bright spot for the Oklahoma Sooner, but they have to play a cleaner game moving forward as the Big 12 schedule stays tough with a road trip to TCU upcoming followed by the Red River Showdown the following week.

List

Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns fall: Big 12 power rankings after week 4

List

Social media reacts to the Oklahoma Sooners loss to Kansas State

Contact/Follow us @SoonersWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Oklahoma news, notes, and opinions. Let us know your thoughts, and comment on this story below. Join the conversation today. You can also follow John on Twitter @john9williams.

Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire