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Oklahoma storms back from huge deficit, shocks Texas 55-48 on last-second TD

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It took a little more than one half of football for Caleb Williams to cement his place in Red River lore.

The Oklahoma freshman came on in relief of the struggling Spencer Rattler and led a remarkable comeback. The No. 6 Sooners trailed No. 21 Texas 28-7 after the first quarter, 38-20 at halftime and 41-23 late in the third.

With Williams leading the charge, Oklahoma somehow rallied all the way back and emerged with a dramatic 55-48 victory in Dallas to remain undefeated and stay firmly in the College Football Playoff conversation.

The winning score didn’t come until there was one second left on the clock.

Oklahoma rallied from that 41-23 late third-quarter deficit and took a 48-41 lead with 7:10 to play. Texas, to its credit, tied the score with 1:23 to play. That set the stage for Oklahoma to deliver the final blow. Williams completed a few passes to get the Sooners in field goal range, but running back Kennedy Brooks did not want to rely on a kick.

When it looked like OU was simply putting Gabe Brkic in position for a straight-on field goal, Brooks reeled off a 33-yard touchdown run to put the final nail in the coffin in an all-time victory in one of college football’s most storied rivalries.

Lincoln Riley benches Spencer Rattler for Caleb Williams

Before this game could all come down to the huge run from Brooks, who finished the day with 217 yards, OU head coach Lincoln Riley had to make a gutsy decision.

Williams first made his presence felt with his legs, breaking off a 66-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-short play early in the second quarter. But Rattler still came out with the OU offense for the next drive.

Later in the second quarter, however, Rattler committed his second turnover of the first half and Riley made the switch OU fans have been clamoring for. He benched Rattler, the preseason betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy, in favor of the prized freshman.

Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) looks to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) looks to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Williams led a field goal drive before halftime and then remained in with the offense when the second half began. Texas had built up a commanding lead, but Steve Sarkisian's offense sputtered in the second half.

The Longhorns tacked on a field goal with 2:45 remaining in the third to extend their lead to 41-23. That’s when Williams’ magic was just beginning.

On the ensuing drive, Williams connected with Marvin Mims for a 13-yard score, cutting the UT lead to 41-30. The connection between Williams and Mims would be heard again in the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma would settle for a field goal on its next drive before Williams pulled a rabbit out of his hat, delivering a 52-yard bomb to Mims. Mims somehow got a foot in bounds, the Sooners tacked on a two-point conversion and the score was now tied at 41-41.

Texas fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Brooks scored on the next play to give Oklahoma its first lead of the day. 

Texas would tie it on a beautiful 31-yard touchdown throw from Casey Thompson to Xavier Worthy, but did so with 1:23 remaining on the clock. That was plenty of time for Williams, who hit a few completions to move the ball quickly into Texas territory. 

Brooks would handle things from there and send the Sooners back to Norman with an unbelievable victory.

What does this mean for Oklahoma?

The Sooners, despite playing unevenly in almost every game, are still undefeated.

And after Saturday's events, it'd be shocking if Riley went back to Rattler and put Williams back on the bench. Rattler put up big numbers, but was inconsistent throughout the 2020 season. It's been more of the same in 2021. He turns the ball over, holds onto the ball too long and often bails from the pocket too soon and aimlessly rolls out to his right. The OU offense has been solid, but nowhere near as explosive as it had been in recent years. Williams seemed to bring that explosive element back to the offense. 

Now 6-0, Oklahoma is the heavy favorite to win the Big 12 yet again. OU should be big favorites in its next few games — vs. TCU, at Kansas and vs. Texas Tech. 

The end of the season is more challenging with road games at Baylor and Oklahoma State and a home game against Iowa State. Those three teams are a combined 13-3 so far this season, with Oklahoma State as the only other undefeated team remaining in the conference.