Brigham Young Cougars vs. Oklahoma Sooners Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 18th 2023

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Oklahoma is looking for consistency and BYU is looking for a win.

The 14th-ranked Sooners take on the Cougars in Provo, Utah, with plenty on the line.

For Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12), it’s a chance to at least stay in the race to make the Big 12 Championship Game heading into the season’s final week.

BYU (5-5, 2-5) is looking to snap a three-game losing streak and clinch bowl eligibility for a sixth consecutive season.

The Cougars have struggled to adjust during their first season in the Big 12, especially on the defensive end.

After last week’s 45-13 loss to Iowa State, Cougars coach Kalani Sitake questioned whether his team believed in the defensive system. He backed off that a bit a couple days later.

“We are going against a different beast here,” Sitake said. “These are teams that have been at a Power Five level way longer than we have. I’m not making excuses. I’m just telling you, they are good players.”

Now they’ll face the top offense in the Big 12 in the Sooners, who are averaging 505.4 yards and 41.8 points per game.

BYU’s offense is last in the league in both categories, averaging 300 yards and 21.9 points.

During their current losing streak, the Cougars have been outscored 117-26.

BYU is hoping quarterback Kedon Slovis will be able to return after missing the last two games due to injury.

Junior Jake Retzlaff has started in Slovis’ place in losses to West Virginia and Iowa State.

“He is still banged up, not 100 percent yet,” Sitake said. “Last week, we felt like Jake gave us the better chance. This week, we will kinda see what it looks like.”

Oklahoma is coming off a 59-20 win over West Virginia that snapped a two-game losing streak. Both of the Sooners’ losses came on the road.

Over the last two games, senior receiver Drake Stoops has 22 catches for 298 yards and four touchdowns. He’s topped his career high in receiving yards in each game. “Just a baller,” Sooners coach Brent Venables said of Stoops. “Just always doing the little things right. … Whether he’s cracking somebody to set up a run or a screen play or making the third-down catch, making the extraordinary catch look ordinary. And then his ability to run after the catch is different. He bounces off of guys.”

Saturday’s meeting is the third between the programs and the first since 2009.

The Cougars have won the only two meetings. They’ve never played in Provo.

While the Sooners haven’t played BYU in a while, several players on Oklahoma’s roster have, including quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

UCF, with Gabriel at quarterback, lost to BYU 49-23 in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl.

That wasn’t one of Gabriel’s best games.

But he’s coming off his best overall game with the Sooners, with 423 yards and five touchdowns through the air and scoring three rushing touchdowns in the win over West Virginia where Gabriel moved into the top 10 in NCAA career passing yards.

“He’s a tremendous leader and a tremendous quarterback and I’d go to war with him every day,” Stoops said.

–Field Level Media

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