Red River Rivalry in Review
Oklahoma vs Texas, a game for the ages. Oklahoma pulled off the largest comeback in the history of the Red River Showdown.
This was a story of two halves and two quarterbacks. Moving forward there should be no question who the undisputed leader of the Sooners is.
For the first time all year, the offense and defense complemented each other, especially after a rocky first 20 minutes. This was quite possibly the greatest Oklahoma vs Texas game in modern history, especially if you live north of the red river.
There were so many storylines in this epic battle of college football blue bloods. With this in mind, let us delve into the 2021 version of the Red River Rivalry in review.
As anyone who watched this game can attest, the Longhorns have nothing to hang their heads about. It’s unlikely Texas will lose another game this season. The Longhorns, took it to the Sooners early, racing out to a 28-7 lead. It appeared Texas was in route to an uncharacteristic one-sided red river shootout.
The Longhorn offense was everything advertised and more. Oklahoma native Casey Thompson had a spectacular first red river battle. Thompson threw for 388 yards on 20 of 34 passes and five scores. As far as the Texas ground game, that was handled by the best back in college football Bijan Robinson. Robinson carried the ball 20 times for 137 yards and a touchdown. In as far as pass catchers, Xavier Worthy caught nine passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Worthy had the second-most yards in a game by a Longhorn receiver. Only Jordan Shipley’s 273 yards topped Worthy’s yardage today. Worthy began the Longhorn scoring with a 75-yard screen pass and ended it with a game-tying 31-yard catch with 1:23 remaining.
Clearly, the weakest part of the Texas squad is on the defensive side of the ball. With this being said, nothing should be taken away from the Sooner’s elite offensive performance.
Given a little maturity by the Longhorn defense and this will be a formative group.
For the first time all year, the Sooners finally put things together on both sides. That being said, Oklahoma had to overcome a shaky start and two Spencer Rattler turnovers to put everything together. The two biggest statistics to be noted would be that Oklahoma overcame the largest deficit in the red river rivalry. Secondly, this was the largest deficit to ever be overcome against the Longhorns in their storied history.
In spite of a very shaky start, the Sooner offense hit its stride. Granted that while trailing 28-7 freshman quarterback Caleb Williams ran for a 66-yard touchdown. Although this may be the case, arguably the most important play of the game or season came on a Rattler fumble midway through the second quarter. Following Rattler’s second giveaway of the first half, Lincoln Riley was forced to make a quarterback change.
Williams brought the Sooners all the way back for a momentous victory. While Williams had a great game on the ground and through the air, his greatest contribution was his leadership.
Without question the most important ingredient missing from this squad was leadership.
Kennedy Brooks had by far his best game of the year. Brooks carried the ball 25 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 33-yard score with three seconds remaining. Marvin Mims had his best game of the year. Mims finished with five receptions for 136 yards and his first two touchdowns of the year. To make much of this possible, the offensive line played the best game of the year.
Once the defense got over a tumultuous start, the defense settled in and played well. After Texas took a 38-20 lead the Sooner defense only allowed a single field goal until a late touchdown. The defense allowed the offense an opportunity to overcome a big Texas lead. The defense actually played with heart, passion, and effort for the first time this year.
The Final Word
The Sooners found what they have been missing on the floor of the Cotton Bowl today, a leader. For Sooner fans, there should be cause for hope that this team can now live up to expectations.
Williams is clearly the emotional leader of this team. Following his game-changing 66-yard touchdown run, Williams was mobbed by teammates on the sideline. The conspicuous absence was Rattler. While Sooner teammates celebrated after a hard-fought victory, Rattler could be seen walking to the dressing room alone. Those are not the qualities of a leader. Rattler should not play another meaningful down at the University of Oklahoma, barring injury to Williams.
There is much reason for hope and excitement in Norman going forward.