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If there was ever a game where individual performances reigned supreme, it was the 2021 edition of the Red River Showdown. The Sooners won an all-time classic in dramatic fashion over the Texas Longhorns 55-48. The ups and downs of the game were enough to make the most relaxed person stressed out. When the dust cleared, however, it was the Sooners who were on top.
For the Sooners, it was a team effort. However, several players rose to the occasion in the biggest game of the year (to date).
Third Star: Marvin Mims, Wide Receiver
Mims came into this season looking to cement himself as one of the nation’s best receivers. The first game against Tulane provided that glimpse of what he could be, but as the offense faltered and defenses started playing Oklahoma differently, his production declined.
Last week against Kansas State, Mims came up big with four catches for 96 yards. If that was him softly reminding us he was still capable, Saturday’s effort against Texas was him yelling at the nation, “I’m still that guy!”
Mims made play after play and had two huge catches down the field to help out his true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams. That doesn’t even include his touchdown catch that came after Williams fumbled a shotgun snap in the red zone.
Mims is the undisputed WR1 on this team, and he’s very much back to making explosive plays, which the Oklahoma offense has lacked in 2021.
This is absurd throw and catch. Caleb Williams to Marvin Mims. pic.twitter.com/XOusCRp1D8
— Bryant C. (@thatmanbryant) October 9, 2021
Up Next: A Star Descends on the Cotton Bowl
Second Star: Caleb Williams, Quarterback
The man of the hour. The hero. Insert whatever compliment you want to. Superman arrived to save the Sooners on Saturday.
Initially, it looked like Caleb Williams would be relegated to short-yardage situations as he has a few other times this year. He broke off a 66-yard TD run on a crucial 4th and 1 on the first snap of his career in the Red River Showdown.
However, after a Spencer Rattler fumble, Riley benched Rattler and went with the DC kid. Williams showed he has every throw in his arsenal and used his legs to help Oklahoma complete the improbable comeback.
His poise shined through despite struggling at times to secure snaps or to set protections. Both issues are very correctable and things that will work themselves out in time.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) October 10, 2021
Up Next: He Carried the Load and an Honorable Mention
First Star: Kennedy Brooks, Running Back
In a game that featured a likely Heisman contender in Texas running back Bijan Robinson, Kennedy Brooks deserves his flowers.
The Mansfield product put together quite the day with 25 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Brooks called “game” with his back-breaking touchdown in the finals seconds to send Longhorns fans into a tailspin.
Throughout the day, his running kept Oklahoma balanced and kept them in the contest. When the Sooners went to Williams, Brooks’ ability to make plays was only magnified because Texas had to account for two running threats instead of just one with Rattler at quarterback. He carried the load and never faltered, reminding everyone of just how talented a player he is.
Honorable Mention: Caleb Kelly, Linebacker
The Sooners’ elder statesmen, Caleb Kelly, has played a ton of snaps in the Red River Showdown. He may not be counted on as a significant contributor game in and game out, but his leadership, focus, and energy are massive boosts to a team that needs it.
He’s been through many wars and had lots of ups and downs. When the game was up in the air, Kelly did his part to push Oklahoma over the top with a strip of freshman Xavier Worthy on a kickoff return. Kelly did it so smoothly it took an instant replay to confirm what Caleb Kelly already knew. His strip of Worthy will stand as one of the great plays in the history of the Red River Rivalry.
It’s a reminder that every team needs players like Caleb Kelly to be the glue and backbone of a roster. He may not be a star player for the Oklahoma Sooners, but he comes through in big moments and makes game-changing plays.