Oklahoma Sooners’ top 10 moments from 2023

The Oklahoma Sooners had magical moments in 2023. There were national championship runs and new records set. There were incredible individual performances and great team accomplishments.

Big things happened off the field as well for the Sooners that helped set the stage for their move to the SEC.

So what were the top moments of 2023? Here’s Sooners Wire’s top 10.

OU Softball's three-peat

Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman
Steve Sisney/For The Oklahoman

From the first pitch of the 2023 season, the pressure was on the Oklahoma Sooners. As winners of two straight national titles, they were the presumptive favorite to win it all once more. However, that’s a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since the sport’s infancy.

Along the way, the Sooners stacked up wins at an incredible rate, which only added to the pressure. Throughout, Oklahoma’s roster of clutch players rose to the occasion to secure their third-straight national title in the Women’s College World Series championship against Florida State.

More: Social Media reacts to Sooners third-straight national title

Dillon Gabriel to Nic Anderson to Down Horns

Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

There was 1:17 remaining on the clock and the Sooners were down three against the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry. All they needed was a field goal to tie, but Dillon Gabriel found Jalil Farooq and Drake Stoops for big plays to give the Sooners grander ideas in the final minute in the Cotton Bowl.

After a pass interference call set the Sooners up inside the 10-yard line, Gabriel dropped back to pass and looked on the verge of being swallowed up by the Texas pass rush. He stood tall, and got an assist from Walter Rouse, who blocked two Longhorns at once. Gabriel found Nic Anderson in the back corner of the end zone for the game-winning score.

It was a monumental drive that solidified Gabriel’s place in Red River Rivalry lore and helped erase what happened in the Cotton Bowl the year prior.

More: Social media reacts to the Oklahoma Sooners’ incredible win over the Texas Longhorns

Kinzie Hansen's 3-run game-tying homer vs. Clemson

Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma Sooners were on the verge of losing their first game in months, down 7-4 in the top of the seventh against Clemson in the Super Regionals.

With two on, two out and two strikes in the count, Kinzie Hansen erased the deficit with a three-run home run against All-American Valerie Cagle.

Oklahoma went on to win the game and continued their incredible winning streak. There were other huge moments in the run, such as Tiare Jennings’ two-run double-off of Stanford star pitcher NiJaree Canady.

But this three-run homer was the stuff movies are made of.

More: Social Media reacts to Kinzie Hansen’s game-tying 3-run homer

Sooners set a new standard

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

In their historic three-peat, the Oklahoma Sooners set a new standard for excellence, breaking the record for most consecutive wins. As they closed out their third straight national title, the Sooners won their 53rd consecutive game. That streak has a chance to extend deep into the 2024 season.

Their 63-1 record also set a new mark for the highest winning percentage in a season.

With the start of the 2024 season less than two months away, Oklahoma could be the first team to win four consecutive national championships.

More: ESPY goes to more popular team, not the “best team”

Dillon Gabriel's record setting day vs. West Virginia

Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Dillon Gabriel had some big days during a career year, but none was bigger than his performance against West Virginia.

Rocking the anthracite “Unity” uniforms, Gabriel dominated the Mountaineers in Oklahoma’s 59-20 win. The former Sooner threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns and carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards and three scores.

His eight total touchdowns set a single-game record for combined touchdowns in a game.

More: Social media reacts to Sooners big win over West Virginia

Women's Gymnastics Continues Reign

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma’s women’s gymnastics team had another incredible year, winning its second straight national title and tying its previous high score at the NCAA championships.

The Sooners outlasted strong performances from Florida, Utah and LSU to capture their third title in the last four years and sixth in the last nine.

K.J. Kindler has established a dynasty in Norman. With what they have returning and the stars Kindler has recruited to Norman, the Sooners have a chance to win a third consecutive title in 2024.

Powerline Commitments

With Oklahoma’s move to the SEC, one thing had become clear: the Sooners had to get better in the trenches.

With that in mind, the 2024 recruiting cycle became top of mind with its depth along the defensive line in the class. How this recruiting class would be viewed was largely going to be determined by Oklahoma’s success recruiting along the defensive line.

They earned commitments and signatures from Wyatt Gilmore, Jayden Jackson, Danny Okoye, Nigel Smith and David Stone in the cycle to fortify. Oklahoma’s defensive line depth.

Whether it’s in 2024 or beyond, this talented group of defensive linemen will be the foundation of the Sooners’ defensive future.

More: Social media reacts to the commitment of David Stone

SEC Early Exit Agreement

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

One of the bigger topics off the field was once again realignment. Though we’ve known since the summer of 2021 that the Sooners would move to the SEC, we didn’t know when.

Well, Oklahoma, Texas, and Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark negotiated a deal that moved the Red River Rivals’ departure from 2025 to the summer of 2024.

With the move, the Sooners and Longhorns join the realignment parade that will have Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA head to the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah move to the Big 12.

Billy Bowman's 100-yard Pick 6

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Midway through the third quarter, the Oklahoma Sooners were in a dogfight with the BYU Cougars without star quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

Jackson Arnold had entered the game but had yet to make his mark. BYU on the other hand, was hanging in there and threatening to take the lead. The Cougars drove all the way to the Sooners 3-yard line when quarterback Jake Retzlaff made a quick drop and threw quickly to the goal line. Oklahoma safety Billy Bowman jumped the route and returned it 100 yards for the go-ahead pick six. It was one of three interception returns for a touchdown on the season and one of six picks in 2023.

But this moment kept the Sooners Big 12 title aspirations alive another week. It was a huge play in a game where OU struggled to find points on the road.

More: Social Media reacts to Billy Bowman’s pick 6 vs. BYU

Taylor Robertson Sets a New NCAA Mark

Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Taylor Robertson became the most prolific shooter in NCAA history, setting a new career mark for three-pointers made, passing Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State. Robertson finished her career with 537 3-pointers made, 40 more than second place all time.

Bonus - Baker Mayfield's Resurgent Season

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

One of Oklahoma’s most beloved players of the 21st century, Baker Mayfield, has had an up-and-down NFL career. He was the first quarterback to earn a playoff win for the Cleveland Browns since the 90s. Then he tried to play through a torn labrum in 2021 that limited his ability.

He spent 2022 with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023. He won a training camp battle over former Florida quarterback Kyle Trask and has had a resurgent season.

On the year, Mayfield’s thrown for 3,907 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 64.4% of his passes. He’ll be a contender for Comeback Player of the Year. A few weeks ago, on the road in Green Bay, Mayfield became the first visiting player to have a perfect passer rating in Lambeau.

Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the verge of a playoff berth if they can beat the 2-14 Panthers on the final Sunday of the regular season.

Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire