Oklahoma Sooners vs. UTEP Miners: Sooners Wire staff predictions

·3 min read

The Oklahoma Sooners open the season with the UTEP Miners coming to town for Week 1. It should be a raucous environment to kick off the Brent Venables era.

If the Sooners’ spring game attendance record of 75,000 is any indication, fans of the program are itching to get things underway in the first year for Venables.

Each week on Sooners Wire, we’ll give you our predictions for the Oklahoma Sooners’ matchup.

You can also check out our thoughts on how the 2022 season will play out for the Sooners.

Sooners Wire staff predictions for OU vs. UTEP

Take a deep breath, Sooner fans. We made it.

After an offseason none of us saw coming this time last year, Oklahoma football is back. This time last year, as the Sooners prepared for Tulane, we talked about Spencer Rattler as a Heisman hopeful, and OU fighting for the College Football Playoff.

Neither materialized, and Lincoln Riley left for USC, which allowed Brent Venables to come back as head coach.

His first game is against UTEP, and the energy in Norman should be electric. Venables brings his incredible national championship-winning caliber defensive approach with him, and Jeff Lebby is bringing the tempo back on offense. The Sooners should cruise, but how this team comes together on Saturday will be something to watch.

New starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel lights up the scoreboard before departing sometime early in the third quarter. Two touchdown passes for him combined with rushing touchdowns by Eric Gray and Marcus Major. Defensively, I see three OU takeaways. One by Billy Bowman, my breakout player of 2022 for OU.

Oklahoma 48, UTEP 13

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Up Next: More Sooners Wire Staff Predictions

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it. No more preseason rankings, no more head coach rankings, no more nonsense. It’s time to play some football. The long-awaited beginning to the Brent Venables era begins now.

The Sooners beat two Football Bowl Subdivision opponents by more than a score last year: TCU, which had just fired its coach, and Texas Tech, which had just fired its coach.

I don’t expect that trend to continue against UTEP. The Sooners have way too much talent on both sides of the ball for this game to be anything less than an absolute butt-kicking.

Onto the predictions.

The Dillon Gabriel dark-horse Heisman campaign will get started with three touchdowns and 250 passing yards, all in the first half. We will not see Gabriel play a down after halftime.

Sooners fans will see both Davis Beville and General Booty on Saturday afternoon.

Eric Gray will assert himself as the feature running back in OU’s backfield. going for 150 yards and a score. Expect Marcus Major to get significant touches as well.

The Venables defense will collect at least five sacks, with Ethan Downs and Reggie Grimes both getting to the quarterback.

Oklahoma 45, UTEP 6

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Up Next: More Sooners Wire Staff Predictions

The Oklahoma Sooners are going to roll in Week 1. There will not be any feeling-out process or second-half letdown. The program, the fans and the players have bought what Brent Venables is selling, which should make for an incredible atmosphere on Saturday.

The Sooners will simply be too much for a UTEP team that was inefficient in both the running and the passing game. Oklahoma will jump to a big lead early, allowing it to play younger guys who could be significant role players for the Sooners in 2022 and beyond.

Oklahoma 56, UTEP 7

Contact/Follow John Williams 

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5 Oklahoma Sooners to watch on defense vs. UTEP

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