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The No.6 Oklahoma Sooners overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the No.21 Texas Longhorns 55-48 in the Red River showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Saturday.
Running back Kennedy Brooks’ 33-yard touchdown rush broke a 48-48 tie with one second left to secure the victory for OU in an all-time classic.
Launderer report @Launderer report
KENNEDY BROOKS WINS IT FOR TT.
Instant classic. pic.twitter.com/X1leBrk6D4
With the win, Oklahoma extended their winning streak in the Red River Rivalry to four, and they’ve also won six of the last seven games.
Much of the focus was on Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler before the game, but it was substitute Caleb Williams who stole the show after replacing Rattler in the second quarter.
Williams gave the Sooners the spark they needed, leading an unanswered 25-point assault in the second period and adding up to 300 total yards and three touchdowns.
Texas quarterback Casey Thompson also impressed in the loss, throwing 388 yards and five scores.
Oklahoma improved to 6-0, 3-0 in the Big 12 of the season with the win, while Texas fell to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Caleb Williams, QB, OR: 16/25 for 212 YDS, 2 TD, 0 INT; 4 CARS for 88 YDS, 1 TD
Spencer Rattler, QB, OR: 8/15 for 111 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT; 1 TD RUSH
Kennedy Brooks, RB, OR: 25 CAR for 217 YDS, 2 TD
Marvin Mims, WR, OU: 5 REC for 136 YDS, 2 TD
Casey Thompson, QB, TEX: 20/34 for 388 YDS, 5 TD, 0 INT
Bijan Robinson, RB, TEX: 20 CAR for 137 YDS, 1 TD; 1 REC for 2 YDS
Xavier Worthy, WR, TEX: 9 REC for 261 YDS, 2 TD
Joshua Moore, WR, TEX: 4 REC for 70 YDS, 2 TD
Thompson enjoys the exit party in Tough Loss
Thompson did not open the season as a Texas starting quarterback, with head coach Steve Sarkisian choosing Hudson Card instead, but Thompson proved he was the right man for the job on Saturday, even in defeat.
As Thompson came off an uneven performance in a 32-27 win over TCU last week, he showed no ill effects at the start of a rivalry game against Oklahoma.
In fact, Thompson gave the Longhorns a 7-0 lead just 14 seconds into the game on a screen pass Xavier Worthy took 75 yards from home:
Later in the quarter, a touchdown pass to Joshua Moore extended Texas’ lead to 21-7:
Thompson’s most impressive pitch of the day came late in the first quarter when he threw a perfect deep ball to a wide open Moore for 48 yards:
Texan football @Texas football
it’s * the chef’s kiss * pic.twitter.com/agNZZyMMgF
He would throw another touchdown in the second quarter to bring the score to 35-17, giving him four touchdown passes before half-time.
Caesars Sports’ Max Meyer wondered if Thompson was playing his part in the Heisman Trophy conversation:
Meanwhile, former NFL defensive back Will Blackmon praised the impressive quarterback:
It didn’t hurt running back superstar Bijan Robinson who also found gaping running lanes against the Oklahoma defense in the first half, opening things up for Thompson.
Unfortunately for Thompson and the Longhorns offense, the second half was another story as Robinson was largely stopped and the Oklahoma defense started to build up pressure. As a result, the Sooners scored 25 unanswered points to clear an 18-point deficit and take the lead.
Hope seemed to be lost with Oklahoma pouring it out and grabbing all the momentum, but Thompson showed his momentum in a huge moment, rising to the lead for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Worthy with 1: 23 remaining to tie the game once again:
This firmly put the pressure back on Williams and the Oklahoma offense, which previously seemed unlikely given the turn of events throughout the second half.
Oklahoma got the ball last and took advantage of it by scoring the winning touchdown, but that didn’t change much to the fact that Thompson solidified his starting status from Texas.
Rattler’s future in question after Williams Sparks return
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley finally made the decision to remove Rattler on Saturday after Sooners fans repeatedly called for the decision in the previous weeks.
Rattler and the Sooners offense were completely out of sync in the first quarter, giving Texas a 28-7 lead.
Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports suggested that Riley’s lack of confidence in Rattler may have contributed to the problems:
After an interception in the first quarter, Rattler lost a fumble in the second as Oklahoma drove to make it a one-scoring game. This led straight to Texas scoring to bring it to 35-17.
Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III had a blunt but fair assessment of Rattler’s performance on Saturday:
ESPN’s Booger McFarland also spoke, noting that Rattler no longer looked like the No.1 pick material in the 2022 NFL Draft:
Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless also stepped in, marveling at Rattler’s unlikely downfall:
Ignore Bayless @Real Ignore Bayless
In all my time, I can’t remember a QB who entered a season as Heisman’s favorite and consensus No. 1 overall pick in the draft… and been benched in Game 6 of the season. It’s Spencer Rattler, who has more often looked like an end-of-round pick. Bench for Caleb Williams.
After the fumble, Riley clearly knew it was time for a change and turned to the dynamic Williams.
Even before Williams fully took over from Rattler, he gave the Oklahoma offense a well-deserved shot in the arm with Texas in the lead with a score of 28-7.
On a 4th and 1, Williams missed a defenseman near the line of scrimmage, then ran 66 yards for a touchdown to reduce Texas’ lead to 14 points:
After that change of momentum game, former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee praised what he saw of the young flagger:
Williams also helped mount a second-half comeback with some big plays when the Texas offense stalled.
One of those games saw him stave off disaster, as he dropped the snap on a 3rd and 11th, picked it up and landed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Mims to make it a 41-30 game. :
Williams then completed a 47-yard pass to Mims in the next practice to set up a field goal and bring the Sooners down to under eight.
As if that weren’t enough, Williams showed off his improvisational skills on a 3rd and 19 in the drive that followed, connecting with Mims on a 52-yard touchdown:
Sports center @Sports center
DIVE TAKE FOR OKLAHOMA TOUCHDOWN‼ ️
WE ARE EQUAL TO COTTON BOWL! pic.twitter.com/A4971vLI7m
Riley then surprisingly brought Rattler back for the two-point conversion, and he found Drake Stoops to tie the game at 41-41.
The following statistic provided by Chris Hummer of 247Sports made Williams’ performance even more impressive:
Tying the game off was a huge accomplishment in itself, but Williams and the Sooners recovered a fumble from Worthy on the kickoff that followed, and running back Brooks rushed for an 18-yard touchdown on the play. following to put Oklahoma in the lead for the first time:
Sports center @Sports center
OKLAHOMA TAKES THE LEAD!
Texas tied him in the next practice, but Williams looked calm and seasoned in the final practice of the game, putting Oklahoma in the shooting range before Brooks broke off the winning touchdown run.
Going forward with Williams on Rattler could be a tough decision for Riley given Rattler is a more polite passer and Williams has a long way to go in that regard, but it’s hard to dispute the spark that Williams provides. .
It’s clear that the Oklahoma fan base would love an in-depth look at Williams, and given how the Sooners performed under him on Saturday, that will likely be given heavy consideration.
Oklahoma will look to maintain momentum next Saturday against an unranked TCU at home.
Meanwhile, Texas will look to get back on track next Saturday in a tough home game against the No.12 Oklahoma State.