The BYU Cougars lost 31-27 to the University of Oklahoma Sooners at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.

The Cougars entered Saturday with a 5-5 record (2-5 in conference) and they were coming off a 41-13 defeat against the Iowa State University Cyclones on Nov. 11. BYU needs one more win to become eligible to play in a post-season bowl game.

The Sooners entered with an 8-2 record (5-2 in conference) and were coming off of a 59-29 victory over the University of West Virginia on Nov. 11.

First Quarter

The Sooners opened the scoring after quarterback Dillon Gabriel connected with Jayden Gibson on a 55-yard pass, setting them up on the BYU 4-yard line. They took advantage of the opportunity three plays later when Gabriel found Nic Anderson in the endzone, giving them a 7-0 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cougars evened the score on the next possession when they caught Oklahoma off guard on a 4th and 1 play and Jake Retzlaff connected with Chase Roberts for a 23-yard passing touchdown, making the score 7-7 with 3:05 remaining in the quarter.

Second Quarter

Oklahoma punched back early in the second quarter when Gabriel found Gibson in the back of the endzone for a 27-yard passing touchdown, giving them a 14-7 lead with 13:06 remaining in the half.

BYU quickly responded again on their next possession when Retzleff connected with Isaac Rex on a 1-yard-receiving touchdown, evening the score at 14-14 with 4:49 remaining before halftime.

The Sooners retaliated on their next drive when Gabriel led them to the BYU 4-yard line before they were forced to settle for a field goal, taking a 17-14 lead with 2:43 remaining in the half.

Retzleff and the Cougars once again had a response on their next drive when Will Ferrin connected in a 49-yard field goal as the clock expired, tying the game 17-17.

BYU and Oklahoma were tied 17-17 at halftime.

Third Quarter

Retzlaff completed 10-17 passes in the half, throwing for 147 yards, two touchdowns and rushing for 14 yards. Kody Epps was BYU’s leading receiver at halftime, catching four passes for 65 yards.

Gabriel completed 13-21 first half passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Drake Stoops led Oklahoma’s receivers with four catches for 63 yards.

The game took a major turn in the second half when Oklahoma’s starting quarterback did not return to start the half after getting injured on the final drive of the first half. Jackson Arnold replaced Gabriel at quarterback.

Oklahoma’s defence stepped up and gave the Sooners momentum when Billy Bowman intercepted a Retzlaff pass and returned the ball 100 yards to the endzone, giving them a 24-17 lead with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Retzlaff did not shy away after his mistake, leading BYU 75 yards down the field on their next drive, capping the drive off by rushing the ball 10 yards to the endzone, tying the 24-24 with 1:19 left in the third quarter.

After three quarters, the game was tied 24-24.

Fourth Quarter

Zach Schmidt had a chance to give the Sooners a lead when he attempted to kick a 28-yard field goal directly in front of a rowdy BYU student section, however, Schmidt hooked the field goal wide to the left.

Danny Stutsman and the Oklahoma defence provided another huge moment for the Sooners when Stutsman sacked Retzlaff and forced a fumble that was recovered by Lacey Okl, giving the Sooners the ball on the BYU 25-yard line with 8:43 remaining in the game.

Gavin Sawchuk helped the Sooner’s offence take advantage of the Retzlaff fumble three plays later when he rushed the ball 16 yards to the endzone, giving them a 31-24 lead with 7:57 remaining.

Following the touchdown, the Cougars offence was unable to convert a first down.

Oklahoma’s offence took over with 5:08 remaining in the game and they were able to run the clock down to end the game.

In the end, the Sooners defeated the Cougars 31-24.

For the Cougars, Retzlaff finished the game with 173 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception and two fumbles.

For the Sooners Arnold passed for 33 yards in the second half, on top of Gabriel’s 191 first-half passing yards. Gavin Sawchuk led the way on the ground with 109 rushing yards on 14 attempts.

Turnovers were the turning point in this game. Oklahoma scored 21 points after Retzlaff’s three turnovers.

What’s next

The Cougars will return to action on Nov. 25 when they travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to face the Oklahoma State University Cowboys. The kickoff of that game will be at noon.