The Sooner faithful at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium did not have to wait long for the first score of the Brent Venables era as UCF transfer quarterback Dillion Gabriel marched the Sooners 75 yards in 1:17 giving Oklahoma a quick 7-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
In the blink of an eye the Miners were forced to claw from behind as an efficient Oklahoma offense scored touchdowns on their first 3 possessions jumping out to a 21-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the 3rd Miner possession where Gavin Hardison and company were able to find some success on offense driving into Oklahoma territory only to have the Oklahoma defense tighten up sacking Hardison and forcing a bad snap and the Miners would have to Settle for a Gavin Baechle 48 Yard Field goal making the score 21-3.
Following their initial score of the game the Miner defense was able to force an Oklahoma punt giving the Offense the ball back at their own 15 with a little bit of momentum driving 85 yards on 11 with Hardison finding Rey Flores for 3 key catches on the drive to move the sticks and setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Dion Henkins touchdown run cutting the lead to 21-10.
The UTEP defense would tighten up even more on the next possession forcing a 3 and out and an Oklahoma punt giving UTEP the ball back on their own 43 yard line, but back to back sacks by the Sooners of Gavin Hardison would leave the Miners unable to capitalize on the field position.
The Sooners would drive into UTEP territory in the closing minutes of the 1st half scoring on a Dillion Gabriel to Brayden Willis touchdown pass to take a 28 to 10 lead. The Miners would get the ball back with :55 left until halftime and drive to the Oklahoma 35 but Oklahoma would sack Gavin Hardison as time expired to keep the Miners from cutting into the lead.
The Miners would receive the second half kick and after a long pass from Hardison to his fullback James Tupo the Miners would be forced to punt. Oklahoma would score on the ensuing possession pushing the lead to 35-10 in the 3rd quarter.
The Miners would continue to fight but were clearly overmatched with the lone bright spot of the 2nd half coming on a 54 yard field goal by Gavin Baechle. Oklahoma would cruise to a 45-13 victory. The Miners struggles running the football carried over putting most the pressure on Hardison and a newly acclimating wide-receiving core led by Rey Flores.
The Miners now return to the Sun Bowl with a chance to turnaround a disappointing 0-2 start to the season versus their rival New Mexico State in the Battle of 1-10.
Story by Chris Gomez