NORMAN — Oklahoma kicker Gabe Brkic kicked a trio of historic field goals on Saturday and, in so doing, did two things for the Sooner Nation.
One, he kept the Sooners in front. Had he missed from 51 yards in the second quarter, 56 yards in the second quarter and 55 in the third, OU would not have prevailed 40-35 over Tulane in their season-opener at Owen Field.
Two — this actually came after the game — he proved himself to be a certified character.
One of the last questions he took during the players’ postgame media session asked him about the mustache he’s sporting, one that circles into points at both ends.
“Thats’ where my power comes from,” he said, “my ‘stache.”
At the moment Brkic made each of his tries, everything appeared in hand,
His first 3-pointer was a chip shot, from just 26 yards, putting the Sooners on top 24-14 following a slow start that saw the Green Wave open up a 14-7 lead.
The second, his first long one, followed a drive — 4 plays, no yards — that might have been a harbinger of things to come from the offense after the half. Still, from 51 out, it marked 20 unanswered points, putting OU on top 27-14.
It came 7:58 before the half and the one that followed, on the final play of the half, from 56, made it 30 unanswered Sooner points.
When he knocked through the last one, from 55, with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter, though OU had slowed down, it still led 40-22.
“He’s a great weapon,” sophomore receiver Marvin Mims said. “Basically, we just have to cross the 40-yard line and he can put it in there.”
Brkic actually missed wide left from 31 yards with 5:03 remaining, a kick that would have put the Sooners up 43-28, but it was hard for anybody to complain given what he’d already done.
In all, Brkic tied a national record by connecting on three field goals of 50 yards or longer.
Never before had a Sooner kicker connected on more than one from such distance. He also tied a program record by putting four through the uprights. It’s happened 11 times and he’s now done it three times.
The mustache comment wasn’t his only interesting quip.
He also insisted that the one thing he doesn’t think about when kicking a football is kicking a football.
“I’ve learned through the years that you can’t be thinking about the kick at that moment,” he said. “It’s all muscle memory at that point. I can’t tell you what I think about … but I take my mind completely off football.”
Later, though, he spilled the beans. Apparently, a friend of his father once said that kicking a field goal is like parallel parking, and that’s what he thinks about.
“Let’s parallel park this football,” he said.
Saturday, he parked several from long distance.