The Texas Longhorns defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in a wild Red River Showdown. A last-minute comeback and an unbelievable catch led to a thrilling victory for the Longhorns, who improved to 7-3 on the season.
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The Red River Showdown has managed to conjure up the most beautiful moment since cameras were first placed into orange foam blocks.
On Saturday in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, a few blades of grass between Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims’ foot and the sideline, recorded in perfect detail by the pylon cam, were the difference between glory and despondency.
The ultimate distillation of the unpredictability when Texas and Oklahoma meet is Mims’ 52-yard acrobatic touchdown catch on third-and-19 with 7:25 remaining in the game, thrown by a backup quarterback who had previously been employed mainly as a runner.
It was also the most important play in arguably the best game between the two fierce rivals in their 117 encounters, as No. 6 Oklahoma rallied to defeat No. 21 Texas 55-48.
When it comes to Texas vs. Oklahoma, all the clichés are true. Nothing that you anticipate to be important typically is. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s the lone game at a 91-year-old stadium surrounded by hundreds of fans eating corn dogs and fried shrimp gumbo balls.
But none of it mattered in 2020, when it was held in the midst of an empty fairgrounds after the fair was canceled, with just 24,000 people filling the 92,000 seats. The two teams battled for almost five hours in the spooky environment, a four-overtime slugfest that included the highest points in the rivalry’s history until Saturday’s 103-point contest, which the Sooners won 53-45.
A real Big 12 brouhaha erupted this year in the first meeting since both schools declared an as-yet-to-be-determined departure for the SEC, with Oklahoma surprising Texas by rallying from a 28-7 first-quarter hole. It was the first occasion in University of Texas football history that the Longhorns lost a game in which they led by 21 points.
OU coach Lincoln Riley remarked, “I’m trying to remember of the times in my career when I’ve been prouder of a squad.” “There aren’t many if there are any.”
This year’s edition of the rivalry was noteworthy for more than simply the comeback. It was noteworthy for the manner in which it all transpired.
Caleb Williams, Oklahoma’s quarterback, airs it out to Marvin Mims, who scores on a leaping grab to tie the game.
A year after most supporters were denied access to the game, they took advantage of the chance to express themselves. “Texas Fight” shouts echoed from the north end of the stadium, while “Boomer Sooner” echoed from the south. While the rides continued to whirl outside the stadium boundaries, the drama on the field intensified.
Casey Thompson, a Texas junior, had a father, Charles, who played for Barry Switzer at Oklahoma. After four years of waiting behind four-year starter Sam Ehlinger for his opportunity on this stage, the quarterback chose the burnt orange of UT over the Sooners’ crimson and cream.
However, Thompson was overshadowed on Saturday by Caleb Williams, a true freshman from Washington, D.C., who came off the bench after two early Rattler mistakes.
Williams threw for 211 yards and added 88 yards on the ground to set a new record for total offense by an Oklahoma true freshman versus Texas. With the pocket breaking down on third down, he rolled to his right and lofted a ball to Mims, tying the game for the first time since kickoff.
Riley remarked of Mims, “Gosh dang, what a play.” “Today, they tossed a few of them. My guy was the one who went out and grabbed them. Today was a great day for him.”
Xavier Worthy, like Williams, was a freshman breakthrough star for Texas, who had the second-best receiving performance in school history in just his sixth game, catching nine receptions for 261 yards and two scores, including a 75-yarder on the Longhorns’ opening play.
Yet, with 7:17 remaining in the game, Worthy will be remembered for a fumble on an ill-fated effort to take a kickoff out of his own end zone, which resulted in an Oklahoma score in one play, giving the Sooners their first lead of the game.
Caleb Williams, a freshman, came off the bench to help Oklahoma pull off a stunning comeback win against Texas. Jeffery McWhorter/AP Photo
On the heels of a 216-yard, two-touchdown effort against TCU, Texas running back Bijan Robinson entered Saturday’s game with some Heisman momentum. After previously sharing time with Eric Gray, Oklahoma’s Kennedy Brooks stole the spotlight against the Horns, rushing for 217 yards and two scores.
The special-teamers put on a display as well. In the first quarter, Texas blocked a punt and recovered it on the 2-yard line, leading to a touchdown run by Robinson. Michael Turk of Oklahoma had an 85-yard punt, while Cameron Dicker of Texas produced a 78-yarder.
“Those of us who have played this game know how difficult it is to win — for both teams,” Riley added. “That’s why it’s college football’s greatest rivalry, the best environment.”
You may be new around here, Steve Sarkisian, but none of this is. Even the games that seem to be predictable are always unexpected in this rivalry.
Like in 1996, when the 0-4 Sooners, headed by first-year coach John Blake, stunned a Texas team that included Ricky Williams and Priest Holmes and was rated No. 6 before the season.
Or in 2018, when Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray tossed for 304 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 92 yards but lost 48-45 when Dicker, a freshman at the time, kicked a game-winning field goal with nine seconds left.
This was the seventh consecutive game decided by a single score, the most in the nation between any two teams. Texas and OU have combined for at least 85 points four times since 2016, the most by any two FBS teams in that time period.
There’s also the possibility that the two teams may meet again in the Big 12 title game.
“Hopefully in December, I’ll have another shot at these guys,” Sarkisian remarked after the game.
The only certainty is that if he does, there is no way of knowing what will happen.
The gary nolan show podcast is about the Red River Showdown. It is an incredible comeback, an unbelievable catch and the wildest Red River Showdown ever.
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