In the middle of the Texas State Fair, the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns squared off in the 119th meeting of the Red River Rivalry and delivered another classic. This one meant a little more as this, was the last RRR of the Big 12 era. It also meant at lot to the Sooners, who fell by a score of 49-0 in this game last year.
OU went to battle and left it all on the field, vanquishing the Horns, 34-30. They fought through many key injuries throughout the game and at one point OU only had one starting defensive back on the field. This team still found a way to make plays.
The best place to start in this one is with the OU defense, and the statement they made. Oklahoma had 10 tackles for loss, five sacks, a forced fumble, two INTs and one heck of a four-down goal-line stand from the 2-yard line. Texas brought in the two biggest players on their D-line to punch it in from from yards out, and the OU defensive line flexed their muscles as they kept the Longhorns out of the end zone on four straight plays.
OKLAHOMA STOPS TEXAS FOUR TIMES ON THE GOAL LINE pic.twitter.com/pxp5udUPyw— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 7, 2023
Oklahoma did not even play its best game today. Texas threw everything they had in the playbook at the Sooners, and it was not enough. All 50/50 plays seemed to bounce Texas’ way, and OU left several points out on the field with dropped passes and miscues from the special teams. Speaking of special teams, they did not have a good day at all. Texas won the battle there, hitting on both of their field goal tries, executing a fake punt for a big gain, and blocking an OU punt for a TD. OU will hope to improve in that area moving forward.
As for the Oklahoma offense, it was up and down all game. To Jeff Lebby’s credit, he stuck to the ground game even when it was not clicking, but was effective enough to open up some seams in the Texas defense. The most effective rusher in this game was Dillon Gabriel, who finished the game with 14 carries, 113 yards, and one rushing TD. This was complimented by Tawee Walker, who added 46 yards and two physical rushing touchdowns of his own. You cannot talk about the rushing attack without talking about the offensive line and the bully ball they played. The lineman who stuck out the most was Cayden Green, the true freshman who came into the game and absolutely dominated T’Vondre Sweat and the UT d-line. The passing game was there when it needed to be, led by Jalil Farooq, who had a nice game with 130 receiving yards.
The big stage was not too big for Gabriel, as he silenced a lot of critics today with his final drive of the game that had Sooner Magic sprinkled all over it. Deep in the heart of Texas’ side of the Cotton Bowl, the drive started on the 25 yard line, just under two minutes left in the game and zero timeouts for the Sooners. DG put the team on his back as he led the Sooners to a five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with finding Nic Anderson in the back of the end zone. It’s a play that will go down in Sooner lore forever and will provide bragging rights for the team north of the Red River for the next 365 days (Unless they meet again in Arlington).
Here’s Dillon Gabriel’s dagger to Nic Anderson from about as close to the action as you can get. pic.twitter.com/m1f8uj1gRp— Parker Thune (@ParkerThune) October 7, 2023
Now you have to start giving Oklahoma the respect they deserve after they knockoff Texas today. They are true playoff contenders and will be favored in the remainder of their regular season games. Many people fully expect these two teams to meet again in Arlington for the Big 12 championship game with a potential CFP spot on the line. Either way, this was a massive win for Oklahoma and for the trajectory of their season.