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After a terrible start to the game that saw the Oklahoma Sooners fall behind the Texas Longhorns 28-7, the Sooners worked their way back to a 28-17 deficit and had the ball first and 10 at the Texas 44 yard-line. With roughly eight minutes to go in the second half, the Sooners had a chance to bring the Red River Showdown back to a one-score game.
Then Spencer Rattler drops back to pass, attempts to escape pressure, and on contact has the ball stripped away for his second turnover of the day.
On the Longhorns’ ensuing drive, they went three plays, 55 yards, and another Casey Thompson touchdown that extended the lead to 18 points.
With that, Lincoln Riley turned to his true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams and never looked back.
Williams proceeded to lead the Sooners on a field goal drive after the Longhorns’ touchdown to make it 35-20 to end the half.
The Sooners defense would hold Texas to a field goal to end the first half. It was in the second half that Caleb Williams went to work.
After punting on their first drive to start the second half, Williams and the Sooners scored on six of their final seven drives for 35 points in the second half. It took poise and playmaking to will the Oklahoma Sooners back into this game, and Williams provided the spark that led to that.
MARVIN MIMS. UNREAL.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 9, 2021
In the second half, Caleb Williams was 10 of 14 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. As crucial as the stat line was, his presence provided a much-needed lift for the Oklahoma Sooners in their epic comeback win.
The running threat that Williams regularly put on display gave the Texas Longhorns one more thing to think about, and his willingness to allow his receivers to make a play was the difference in the game. In particular, throws down the field to Marvin Mims, one of which was a touchdown, changed the complexion of the Oklahoma Sooners offense and gave them a big-play element that they haven’t had in 2021.
Williams’ running threat also took some of the pressure off of a running game that had been good but wasn’t nearly as efficient before the Freshman entered the contest. As the Longhorns had to key in on Williams, Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray had much more room to run, and the Oklahoma Sooners offensive line had more time to develop their blocks as Williams held the linebackers at the mesh point.
With Caleb Williams at quarterback, Kennedy Brooks carried the ball 15 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Brooks had just 62 yards on 12 carries in the first half, and that’s a vast difference.
The Oklahoma Sooners just looked different with Williams in the game. They were more confident and more effective as the Sooners overcame deficits of 21 points and 18 points in the first half to win one of the best games in the 117 matchups between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.
At this point, Lincoln Riley has to continue riding Caleb Williams. His talent was on full display in the epic Red River Showdown win over the Longhorns. He showed a poise, leadership, and decision-making ability far beyond his years as he guided the Sooners to one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the program.
Spencer Rattler’s played some good football for the Oklahoma Sooners. As up and down as the 2021 season has been, that’s the reality. At the same time, the 2021 Oklahoma Sooners are better with Caleb Williams at quarterback. If their ultimate goal is to win a national championship, Caleb Williams gives this team their best chance.
They showed on Saturday that they’re a better team with Caleb Williams at quarterback, and as they continue to press on with TCU next week, Williams should remain the starter. Now that the move has been made and the team had a lot of success with Williams under center, Lincoln Riley and the Sooners’ offensive coaching staff can’t look back. Caleb Williams should be the Sooners’ starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2021 season.