Oklahoma Sooners mauled by Baylor Bears rushing attack in 38-35 loss

The Oklahoma Sooners’ defense allowed Baylor to run for 281 yards rushing, including 114 yards rushing in the fourth quarter, and the Bears took advantage of three Dillon Gabriel interceptions to beat the Sooners 38-35.

Oklahoma drops to 5-4 on the season, and Baylor improved to 6-3 and 4-2 in the Big 12 to stay in the conference title race.

After a strong start offensively, it was a frustrating end as the Sooners had no answers for Baylor’s run game on the final two drives of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma punted from midfield and looked to have the Bears downed at the 2-yard line, but an official overruled the initial call and ruled it a touchback. Baylor proceeded to go on an 11-play, 80-yard drive to make it 38-28 with 9:15 remaining in the game.

The Sooners responded with a touchdown of their own but left just 4:05 on the clock. The Bears running game would go to work again, pounding the Sooners’ defensive front, and on a third and three, Craig “Squirrel” Williams picked up 43 yards to the Sooners’ seven-yard line before sliding so that Baylor could kneel on the ball and run out the clock.

Williams ran for 192 yards rushing and averaged 7.7 yards per carry in his return from injury.

Oklahoma opened the game with a 10-play 75-yard touchdown drive where Dillon Gabriel was efficient in the passing game and used his legs to pick up big yardage on the ground. After Baylor responded with 14 unanswered points, Gabriel hit Marvin Mims for a 63-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14.

The Sooners had a chance to take the lead at the end of the half, but an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty forced Zach Schmit to kick a 55-yard field goal, which he missed.

Mental miscues and turnovers sunk Oklahoma in a game where they had chances to take the lead despite the performance of the defense.

Gabriel finished the day 22 of 34 for 261 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. The first two interceptions led to 10 points, three of which came on a pick that could have been called back due to defensive pass interference.

Ultimately, Oklahoma’s defense struggled down the stretch as the Bears leaned on their offensive line and running game to close out the contest.

Dillon Gabriel also ran for 70 yards on nine carries and Marvin Mims had four receptions for 120 yards.

But Eric Gray was the story of the day for the Sooners offense. He ran tough and was decisive, picking up 106 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries and added eight receptions for 58 yards to give the Sooners a strong and steady performance. The Baylor Bears had only allowed 113 rushing yards per game on the day.

With the loss, Oklahoma falls to 5-4 on the season and 2-4 in Big 12 play ahead of a big road trip to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Mountaineers put up over 200 yards rushing on the Bears just a few weeks ago, so this will be another tough test for the Sooners.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire