No. 6 Oklahoma pulled off the largest comeback in the history of the Red River Showdown, topping No. 21 Texas 55-48 on a walk-off touchdown run by Kennedy Brooks. Sooners starting quarterback Spencer Rattler was benched in the second quarter as true freshman Caleb Williams led Oklahoma back from a 28-7 deficit to pull off one of the biggest comebacks in program history.
With the game tied at 48, Williams led the Sooners on a game-winning touchdown drive capped by a 33-yard rushing score from Brooks on a direct snap. The improbable play kept OU undefeated and in the thick of the College Football Playoff race.
Every break went Texas' way to start this game. QB Casey Thompson's first pass attempt was a bubble screen that went 75 yards for a touchdown. The Longhorns blocked a punt to score just seconds later and take a 14-0 lead six plays into the game.
After a Rattler fumble was taken for a touchdown two plays later to create a 35-17 deficit, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley listened to chants from the stands and inserted Williams, the true freshman No. 1 quarterback in the Class of 2021. The Sooners went on to score on six of their next seven drives, posting 25 straight points in fewer than 11 minutes of game time.
Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy didn't go down easily. The true freshman caught nine balls for 261 yards and two scores for the second-best receiving game in Longhorns history, trailing only Jordan Shipley's 273 yards against UCF in 2009. He caught a long touchdown with fewer than two minutes remaining to tie things up, but Brooks toted the long touchdown for the win.
Williams completed 15 of 24 passes for 211 yards, rushed for 88 yards and accumulated three total touchdowns. Brooks carried the ball 25 times for 217 yards and touchdowns. Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims had a bounce-back game with 136 yards receiving and two scores.
Thompson threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns in the loss. Texas star RB Bijan Robinson added 137 yards rushing and a touchdown. The Sooners have now won six of the last seven games in the Red River Showdown.
Here are major takeaways from the game.
The legend of Caleb Williams begins
Oklahoma fans have been chanting Williams' name for several weeks after poor play from Rattler, but few could have expected the true freshman from Washington, D.C., to be so poised from the start. Williams broke off a 66-yard touchdown on a short-yardage package and ultimately was the spark that changed this game.
Williams seemed to handle pressure much better than Rattler with his combination of running ability and accuracy on the run. The final stats don't even count a pair of beautiful passes that would have been touchdowns if they were caught.
Rattler entered the year as the projected No. 1 NFL Draft pick and a Heisman Trophy contender. At this point, Williams could be the starting quarterback heading forward with Rattler finding the bench as the Sooners' playoff push gets new life.
Another crushing loss for Texas
Texas has played four games against Power Five competition since coach Steve Sarkisian took over the program. Two were embarrassing losses against future SEC foes Oklahoma and Arkansas. (This one against the Sooners receives that label simply because the Longhorns held a 21-point lead.) Another was a closer-than-expected matchup against a struggling TCU squad.
There's plenty of work to do in this program -- and Sarkisian deserves time to do it -- but blown leads and being physically unprepared is as much on coaching as it is players. With matchups against No. 12 Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State in the next three weeks, the all gas, no breaks express could slide off the rails quickly.
Kennedy Brooks is a trump card
Riley had been hesitant to lean on the run game earlier in the year thanks to having just two eligible scholarship running backs on the roster. Finally, third-string Marcus Major was ruled eligible on Friday and Oklahoma's offense reaped the benefits.
In his first game getting over 15 carries, Brooks put together his first 200-yard performance since arriving at Oklahoma. The 339 yards rushing on 8.3 yards per carry was a classic Oklahoma offensive performance, the type we haven't seen since the Cotton Bowl in 2020.
While the offensive line is still a significant question mark, Oklahoma proved against Texas that it has a running game to unleash anytime it wants. With just Brooks, Major and Eric Gray on the roster, Riley might not pull it out every game, but it's always available.
Sooners finding their rhythm
Oklahoma put together the three worst scoring performances of the Riley era in the first five games, but wins against Texas and Kansas State showed more of what we expected. The Sooners scored a combined 92 points between the two games, averaging 7.5 yards per play.
One-score wins against Tulane, Nebraska and West Virginia were unacceptable, but all will be forgiven if the offense is finally finding its rhythm entering the heart of Big 12 play. Tests against No. 12 Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Baylor and TCU still remain, but every game on the rest of the schedule is winnable if Oklahoma plays to its potential.
In a year where the top of the sport looks more exclusive than ever, Oklahoma still has a chance to work its way towards the top.