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If you’re still processing the emotional whiplash of Oklahoma’s 55-48 win over Texas in the Red River Showdown, you’re most certainly not alone.
A quarterback controversy, an offense discovering its big play ability, and a resilient defensive effort are just a few pieces of an incredible story that reminds us all why we love college football so much in the first place. In his weekly recap, Paul Myerberg listed the Oklahoma Sooners as one of college football’s biggest winners in week 6.
Down 28-7 after the first quarter, OU inserted freshman quarterback Caleb Williams and charged back to beat the rival Longhorns. After playing so well through five games, the Sooners’ defense was shoved early but responded to keep UT out of the end zone from just over midway through the second quarter until one minute left in the fourth. The win keeps OU on track for the playoff but does create a bit of a dilemma for coach Lincoln Riley, who may hand the offense over to Williams after he accounted for 300 yards of offense and three scores. – Myerburg
What does this mean for the Sooners moving forward? Here’s one pro and one woe from Saturday’s historic win that Oklahoma will carry into week 7.
Up Next: Back in the media’s good graces
Pro: Back in the media’s good graces
Last week, Sooners Wire asked if OU’s tumble down the national rankings was coming to an end. After holding fast at No. 6 in last week’s AP Top 25, the Crimson and Cream are back in the AP’s good graces, climbing back into the No. 4 spot in yesterday’s updated rankings.
Additionally, the Sooners regained ground in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll and now rank third behind No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Iowa.
After being penalized for close wins against Nebraska, West Virginia, and Kansas State, it’s interesting that the Sooners received a bump in the polls after yet another one-score win against Texas.
On paper, OU’s 55-48 win is its fourth consecutive one-possession victory. So what makes this latest nail-biting win so different than the others?
Simply put, OU finally provided a glimpse of what this offense is capable of and demonstrated that no lead is safe when it shows up at the same time as the defense.
The Sooners outscored the Longhorns 35-10 in the second half, as incredible play from Kennedy Brookes, Marvin Mims, and Caleb Williams (more on him in just a second) hint at the possibility that the Sooners have been operating with one hand tied behind their backs through the first five weeks.
Up Next: An Old Fashioned Quarterback Quandary
Woe: An Old Fashioned Quarterback Quandary
Lincoln Riley mentioned postgame that he wasn’t ready to declare a starter against TCU this weekend. The Sooners’ head coach doubled down on that stance earlier today as well.
— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) October 11, 2021
Riley wants to protect his true freshman signal-caller. It’s the same reason he was hesitant to put him into the game in the first place and why he denied reporters an opportunity to interview the young quarterback after the game. If anyone knew before Saturday that Caleb Williams was capable of a three-touchdown, 300-yard performance on one of college football’s biggest stages, it was Lincoln Riley.
The veteran coach knows exactly what he has in Williams. Riley’s patient approach to the young Sooners’ development is, likely in his mind, in the team’s best interest.
But Williams may have forced Riley’s hand, as he’s earned serious QB1 consideration and provides an explosive element to the Oklahoma offense that we simply haven’t seen from Spencer Rattler through six games.
Here’s what Sooners Wire’s leading man, John Williams, had to say about Caleb William’s impact on the offense.
The running threat that Williams regularly displayed 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 they haven’t had in 2021.
Lincoln Riley may not want to answer the starting quarterback question yet. But it will continue to linger over the team until he does.