Oklahoma football: Sooners pull off unbelievable come-from-behind win

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley celebrates after the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Oklahoma won 55-48.Ou Vs Texas
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley celebrates after the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Oklahoma won 55-48.Ou Vs Texas /

That roar you just heard was from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas where another score has just been put up on the board. You had to see it to believe it, but No. 6 Oklahoma football is alive and well, and still unbeaten, after coming from behind for an unbelievable 55-48 victory over Texas.

It appeared from the outset of this year’s Red River rivalry game that the Sooners were sleepwalking, or maybe it was the early kickoff time, but No. 15 Texas delivered a knockout punch right from the beginning, stunning Oklahoma with 14 points and a two-touchdown advantage before two minutes had elapsed in the game.

On the first play from scrimmage, Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy took a quick throw at the left sideline from quarterback Casey Thompson and took off to the races, going 75 yards for the opening touchdown with just 14 ticks gone off the clock.

The Sooners went three-and-out and were forced to punt on their opening possession, but the punt was blocked and recovered by the Longhorns at the OU two-yard line. Two plays later Texas running back Bijan Robinson ran the ball in for two of his 137 rushing yards on the day and the Longhorn touchdown. And just like that, with 13:07 showing on the clock, it was 14-0 in favor of underdog Texas.

Final. 55. 815. 48. 851

Oklahoma was able to get on the board on its next possession, driving 75 yards in 10 plays with Spencer Rattler taking it the final two yards to cut the Texas lead in half at 14-7.

The Longhorn offense was just getting started, though. Before the first 15 minutes was over, Texas had put up 28 points and 214 yards of offense on the beleaguered Oklahoma defense. It was the most points ever scored by Texas in the opening quarter in this 117-game series.

After throwing an interception and losing the ball on a fumble, OU head coach Lincoln Riley pulled quarterback Spencer Rattler from the game in the second quarter, replacing him with backup Caleb Williams. Unlike last year’s Red River game, however, when the same thing happened for the same reason, Rattler did not return in the second half.

Riley rolled the dice and went with his true freshman quarterback. Williams came into the game early in the second quarter, but for just one play on a third-and-short yardage situation. Williams picked up the first down and 65 more for an Oklahoma touchdown, making it a two-score game at 28-14.

William entered the game for good at the 6:36 mark in the second quarter and played the rest of the way for the Sooners.

Texas took a 38-20 lead into halftime

The two teams went to halftime with the Longhorns in full control and with a 38-20 lead. If you are an Oklahoma fan, you couldn’t have felt comfortable about this situation and the way the Texas offense was having its way with the OU defense. Texas had rolled up 345 yards of offense in the first half alone, and the Sooners were aiding the Longhorns’ cause with two crucial turnovers and a blocked punt.

The switch flipped after halftime, however, and the momentum right along with it.

Both teams were forced to punt on their opening possession of the second half and then traded field goals on their next possession.

That’s when Oklahoma seized the momentum in the game. Kennedy Brooks broke off a 65-yard run to the Texas 15-yard line. At the end of the play, however, it appeared that Texas defender B. J. Foster had stripped Brooks of the ball and recovered for Texas. Upon review, however, it was ruled that Brooks was down before the ball popped out. A potential game-changing call in this game.

That call reversal set up the Sooners’ third touchdown of the contest when Williams connected with Marvin Mims in the end zone on a third-down play. That brought OU a notch closer at 41-30.

The third quarter ended with Texas holding onto a 41-30 advantage. That’s when Oklahoma took over the game. Call it Sooner Magic if you’d like, but the fact is, the Sooners took control of the game when it counted the most, in the fourth quarter.

The final quarter was all Oklahoma

Oklahoma gained 226 of its 662 total offensive yards in the final quarter while outscoring Texas 25-7.

A 26-yard field goal by OU’s Gabe Brkic made it 41-33 early in the fourth. Midway through the quarter, Williams found Mims for a spectacular 52-yard touchdown grab. The Sooners went for two points and converted, and all of a sudden the game was tied at 41, completing an 18-point second-half comeback by Oklahoma.

The key play in the game came on the ensuing Oklahoma kickoff.

Texas kick returner Worthy — the same guy who scorched the Sooners with a 75-yard TD run on the game’s opening play — chose to return the kick out of the end zone instead of calling for a fair catch. Bad decision.

OU sixth-year senior Caleb Kelly knocked the ball loose, and the Sooners recovered at the Texas 18-yard line. One play later Brooks broke loose through Longhorn defensive line and ran it in for a touchdown to give the Sooners there first lead in the game.

With time winding down, Texas made things interesting with a six-play, 60-yard scoring drive to draw even at 48-48.

The Sooners took over with a minute 23 seconds remaining on the clock. That was all Williams and the Oklahoma offense needed to put the game away. With 10 seconds on the clock and the ball at the Texas 33-yard line, it looked like the Sooners were setting up for what would be a game-winning field-goal try. Instead, Brooks took a handoff from Williams and busted free for the game-winning touchdown.

All the attention before and during this year’s game had been on Texas running back Robinson, and he had a terrific game, with 137 rushing yards and an average of close to seven yards per carry. The Sooners had great difficulty getting the Longhorn star on the ground.

It was Oklahoma’s Brooks, though, who ended up stealing the show.

Brooks, who hails from the Texas side of the Red River in Mansfield, Texas, rushed for a career-best 217 yards and two touchdowns. If there was a most valuable player in this game, it would have been awarded to Brooks, hands down.

Williams completed 16 of 25 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns in place of Rattler. The one-time Heisman contender Rattler finished the day completing 8 of 15 passes for 11 yards, all in the opening half.

Casey Thompson, the Texas starting quarterback and the son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson looked good in his first Red River rivalry game, throwing for 338 yards and five touchdowns.

Marvin Mims had five receptions and two touchdown catches for the Sooners. Joshua Moore and Worthy each had two TD catches for Texas.

So Oklahoma pulls off the incredible comeback — literally seizing victory from the jaws of defeat — and improves to 6-0 in the process. The Sooners now return home to host TCU next weekend at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with all their season goals still out in front of them.