Oklahoma starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel suffered what coach Brent Venables described postgame as an "upper body injury" in the first half of the No. 14 Sooners' 31-24 win at BYU on Saturday and did not return. Gabriel's injury prompted five-star freshman Jackson Arnold to take over in the second half after Gabriel did not come back out for warmups out of halftime.
Venables did not offer an exact timetable for Gabriel's return but said he expects the Sooners signal-caller to return to action "pretty quick." Oklahoma concludes the regular season at home against TCU on Nov. 24 and is still in contention for the Big 12 Championship Game, which is set to be played Dec. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Gabriel was 13-of-21 passing for 191 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game, which was tied 17-17 at halftime. Arnold, in relief of Gabriel, was 5-of-9 passing for 33 yards and rushed for an additional 24 yards on eight carries as the Sooners got out of Provo, Utah, with a 7-point victory and avoided a third consecutive road loss.
With Arnold entering the game in relief, Oklahoma was forced to burn the redshirt for the touted freshman who signed with the Sooners as a five-star prospect, according to 247Sports, in the 2023 cycle. Arnold already saw playing time in four games earlier this season, which was the maximum amount of playing time for him to preserve his redshirt. Arnold, prior to Saturday, had thrown for 169 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for an additional 54 yards and two scores during his playing time this season.
Gabriel, who joined Oklahoma in 2022 after transferring from UCF, previously suffered a head injury last season during a loss at TCU, forcing him to miss one start (vs. Texas). Gabriel has been a critical piece of the Sooners offense in 2023. He eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark in Week 11 when he threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns in a home victory against West Virginia. Gabriel's impact on the ground has also been felt, as the Sooners signal-caller has rushed for 337 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2023.
Oklahoma's victory against BYU was its first in three tries as the programs clashed for the first and only time as conference foes. The Sooners previously dropped contests against the Cougars in 1994 and 2009.