Newcomers shine and Mayfield honored at Spring Game
NORMAN –In front of a record Spring Game crowd of 75,360, Team Red held off Team White 21-17 in the Oklahoma Spring Game on Saturday at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
This was Sooner Nation’s first look at Brent Venables, who was hired as OU’s 23rd head football coach in December, and his team. 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, whose statue was unveiled on Heisman Row during the recognition, was honored at halftime of the contest.
True freshman tailback Jovontae Barnes scored the game’s first points with a 1-yard run set up by a 48-yard connection from the quarterback Dillon-Gabriel for Theo Wease to give the red team a 7-0 lead. The white team responded with a 21-yard field goal from Gavin Marshall to bring the score to 7-3. A pair of first-quarter touchdowns that included Barnes’ second score of the day put the red team up 21-3 late in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Tawee Walker responded for Team White with an 11-yard run that found the end zone to make it 21-10. First-year receiver Jayden Gibson carried in a 95-yard touchdown pass from Micah Bowens to score the game‘s final points as White pulled it down to 21-17. The red team found a save on the game’s final drive to secure the 21-17 win.
Gabriel took snaps for both teams in the first half, completing 19 of 28 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. Barnes shone on his earlier debut, finishing with 60 yards on 17 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Walker had 13 carries for 55 yards and a score, while Eric Gray finished his day with 54 yards on four carries. Gibson led all players with 113 yards on three receptions, highlighted by his 95-yard tally. Drake Stoops hauled in four catches for 30 yards.
Marcus Striplin had four tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks en route to a five-tackle day. Ethan Downs finished with two sacks and four tackles for the red team. Clayton Smith, Jake McCoy and Jeffrey Johnson led the White team with four tackles apiece, as Johnson scored one sack. Kendall Dennis grabbed an interception and also tallied two tackles.
Michael Turkish threw five times for 252 yards (50.4 avg), pinning the red team at the 1-yard line and sending another punt into the end zone. Josh Plaster handled punt duties for the red team, finishing with an average of 46.6 yards per punt on eight punts.
The 2022 season officially kicks off on September 3 when the Sooners host UTEP in Norman.