CINCINNATI (AP) — Dillon Gabriel threw for 322 yards and accounted for two touchdowns as No. 16 Oklahoma welcomed Cincinnati to the Big 12 Conference with a 20-6 defeat Saturday.
The UCF transfer completed 26 of 38 passes, rebounding from his three-interception performance in his last trip to Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium in 2019 and notching his first career victory in three tries against the Bearcats.
Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) outgained Cincinnati 322-202 through the air, as the Bearcats (2-2, 0-1) got their first taste of the Big 12 since moving from the American Athletic Conference in July.
Cincinnati’s points came on two field goals. The Bearcats have now gone 15 straight drives without scoring a touchdown, dating back to last week’s overtime loss at home to in-state foe Miami (Ohio).
Carter Brown made a 40-yard field goal to open the scoring with 7:39 in the first quarter.
Oklahoma responded at the end of the first quarter, capping a six-play, 66-yard drive with a 5-yard strike from Gabriel to Nic Anderson.
The Sooners grabbed a 10-3 lead on a 34-yard field goal with 8:40 to go before halftime.
Cincinnati quarterback Emory Jones threw a pass into double coverage in the end zone on the ensuing drive, resulting in an interception by safety Key Lawrence. The turnover was the closest the Bearcats would come to a touchdown.
Brown missed a 26-yard field goal just before intermission, continuing the Bearcats’ woes near the end zone.
Brown netted a career-long 54-yarder to pull the Bearcats within 10-6 at the 8:22 mark of the third.
Oklahoma’s offense countered with a nine-play, 75-yard surgical drive. Gabriel punctuated it by calling his own number on a 1-yard score to put the Sooners ahead 17-6 with 5:23 before the fourth.
Oklahoma surged ahead 20-6 following a 30-yard field goal in the fourth, and then the Sooners defense picked off Jones for the second time.
Oklahoma: The Sooners’ march toward a 15th and final Big 12 title got off to a solid start. Oklahoma, who is scheduled to join the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2024, has more conference championships than any other Big 12 program. No other program has more than three. Oklahoma has now held opposing teams to 17 or fewer points in each of its first four games.
Cincinnati: A morning of celebrating ahead of their first Big 12 game ended in an afternoon of despair as the Bearcats failed to get anything going offensively under offensive-minded, first-year coach Scott Satterfield. Cincinnati lost back-to-back games at home for the first time since 2017.
Oklahoma: The Sooners return home Sept. 30 to host Iowa State. Oklahoma has won three straight meetings against the Cyclones. The Sooners haven’t lost in the series since Oct. 3, 2000 (37-30) in Ames, Iowa.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats look to capture their first win in Big 12 play Friday night at fellow Big 12 newcomer Brigham Young. Like Cincinnati, BYU joined the conference in July.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll