AUSTIN (KXAN) — Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel led a lightning-fast 75-yard drive that ended in a 3-yard touchdown pass with 0:15 left to lift the Sooners to a 34-30 win over Texas in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl.
Gabriel drove the Sooners down the field in just over a minute to make the go-ahead score, a 3-yard pass to Nic Anderson for his only catch of the game. Texas had a last gasp with 0:02 left from the Sooners 44-yard line, but Ewers’ pass fell incomplete at the goal line.
After Texas kicker Bert Auburn gave the Longhorns the lead with a 47-yard field goal with 1:17 left, Gabriel cemented himself in Red River Rivalry lore with the final drive. he completed passes of 11, 16 and 28 yards, and with the help of a Texas pass interference penalty, the Sooners were already on the Longhorns’ 6-yard line. After Gabriel carried the ball to the 3-yard line on first down, Anderson came across the formation on a pre-snap motion and it looked like it confused the Texas defenders. Anderson went into his route, sliding between two defenders to the back left corner of the end zone, and no one was around him. Gabriel lobbed it to him, and that sent the Golden Hat back to Norman.
Gabriel finished with a career-high 113 rushing yards to go with 285 yards on 23 of 38 passing with a touchdown.
“Our inability to corral the quarterback hurt us, especially in the second half,” Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “The promising thing is I know we can play better, and we’ve got to take it one game at a day moving forward now.”
Coming into the game, Texas was one of the best teams in the country at defending in the red zone and at not committing penalties. The Sooners scored all six times they had red zone possessions while Texas had allowed opponents to score just half the time previously. Texas committed nine penalties for 70 yards, well above their season averages of 4.2 penalties per game and 34.8 penalty yards per game.
“That wasn’t our best football, but we still had an opportunity late,” Sarkisian said. “I’m proud of the way the guys competed, but we need to coach better and play better football to be the team we’re capable of being.”
Texas had a golden opportunity to score early in the fourth quarter. After Jordan Whittington hauled in a 28-yard pass to get the Longhorns to the Sooners 1-yard line, the Oklahoma defense made the stand of the season. Texas tried to run it with Jonathon Brooks three times and were stuffed each time, and then a Ewers pass to Xavier Worthy ended up a yard short on fourth down with 11:30 left in the game.
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That was the only fourth down Texas didn’t convert, going 3 for 4 in the game. Texas converted three fourth downs in the first half, one with a 20-yard run by Whittington on a fake punt and another on a beautifully-executed playaction pass to Gunnar Helm for a 22-yard touchdown.
Ewers finished the game 31 for 37 passing with 346 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Ewers also lost a fumble in the third quarter, but Oklahoma failed to capitalize on the turnover.
Oklahoma sacked Ewers five times and had 10 tackles for loss, and some of that could be attributed to the loss of center Jake Majors early in the game. He left the game early in the first quarter and didn’t return. Defensive back Jalen Catalon also left the game with an injury and didn’t finish.
Texas scored its first touchdown after Kitan Crawford blocked a punt and Malik Muhammed recovered it in the end zone in the first quarter.
Brooks had his fourth-consecutive 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 129 yards on 22 carries. Whittington ended the game with 115 receiving yards on 10 catches while Xavier Worthy had eight catches for 108 yards. For the Sooners, Jalil Farooq racked up 130 yards on five catches.
Jahdae Barron led Texas with 11 tackles and Jaren Kanak had 13 tackles for the Sooners.
“We were kind of playing uphill there for a little while, and our guys showed a lot of fight and resiliency when we weren’t at our best against a good football team,” Sarkisian said. “To get all the way back to get the lead the way we did, I credit them a lot for that.”
Texas (5-1, 2-1 Big 12 Conference) has a bye week coming up and will face Houston on the road Oct. 21. Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0) also has a bye next week and takes on Central Florida at home Oct. 21.
FINAL: Oklahoma 34, Texas 30. The hail mary falls incomplete and the Sooners’ final drive is the one that decides the game. The Golden Hat heads back to Norman.
0:15 4Q: TOUCHDOWN OKLAHOMA: Gabriel finds Nic Anderson wide open in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score. PAT good. 5 plays, 75 yards, 1:02. Sooners 34, Longhorns 30
1:17 4Q: FIELD GOAL TEXAS: Auburn blasts a 47-yard FG straight through the uprights and Texas leads 30-27. Sooners will get it back without timeouts. 11 plays, 58 yards, 3:32. Longhorns 30, Sooners 27
6:10 4Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Jonathon Brooks makes a nice cut and goes 29 yards for the score. PAT good. 5 plays, 73 yards, 1:45. We. Are. Tied. Longhorns 27, Sooners 27
7:55 4Q: OU’s Zach Schmit pushes the 45-yard FG attempt right and it’s no good.
11:30 4Q: Oklahoma stuffs Texas all four times at the 1-yard line. Three runs and a pass. What a stand. Holy cow.
14:09 4Q: Ewers finds Whittington for 28 yards and Texas has it at the Oklahoma doorstep.
End 3Q: Oklahoma 27, Texas 20. Longhorns have the ball with a 1st-and-10 on the Sooners 34-yard line to start 4Q.
0:54 3Q: Oklahoma goes for it on 4th-and-1 and Gabriel throws incomplete. That was the 1st time the Sooners went for a 4th down today. Texas takes over on their own 48
1:53 3Q: FIELD GOAL TEXAS: Auburn’s kick is true from 45 yards and the Longhorns are back within a TD. 10 plays, 67 yards, 4:17. Sooners 27, Longhorns 20
6:10 3Q: The Longhorns defense get a 3-and-out after the turnover but Worthy calls for a fair catch at the 6-yard line on the punt. OU had a gunner down there but maybe Worthy should have let that one go and perhaps bounce into the end zone.
7:32 3Q: Ewers scrambles and gets popped by Peyton Bowen and the ball comes out. Sooners recover at midfield. OU with 3 takeaways, UT with 0
10:21 3Q: TOUCHDOWN OKLAHOMA: Walker in from a yard out and the Sooners have scored every time they’ve been in the Texas red zone. PAT good. 13 plays, 75 yards, 4:39. Sooners 27, Longhorns 17.
0:00 2Q: FIELD GOAL OKLAHOMA: Schmit nails it from 26 yards and give the Sooners the halftime lead, and they get the ball to start the 2nd half. 9 plays, 67 yards, 1:53. Sooners 20, Longhorns 17
1:53 2Q: FIELD GOAL TEXAS: Bert Auburn connects on a 25-yard kick to tie it up. 10 plays, 68 yards, 3:30. Longhorns 17, Sooners 17
5:23 2Q: TOUCHDOWN OKLAHOMA: Tawee Walker punches it in from a yard out and the Sooners regain the lead. PAT good. 10 plays, 75 yards, 4:04. Sooners 17, Longhorns 14
9:27 2Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: Magnificent call from Sark there. 4th-and-1 and he goes playaction to a wide open Gunnar Helm who leaks behind the OU defense for a 22-yard touchdown. PAT good. 9 plays, 85 yards, 4:41. Longhorns 14, Sooners 10
11:01 2Q: Texas is hit with its fifth penalty of the game on a false start by DJ Campbell, and that takes them over their per-game season average of 4.2. They’ve been a very disciplined team all season, but perhaps some mental/emotional things are creeping up. It’s also doesn’t help that Majors left the game with an injury and hasn’t returned. He keeps the offensive line in line, so to speak.
14:14 2Q: FIELD GOAL OKLAHOMA: The Texas red zone defense keeps Oklahoma out of the end zone, but the Sooners get a 27-yard FG from Zach Schmit to take the lead. 13 plays, 78 yards, 4:34. Sooners 10, Longhorns 7
End 1Q: Texas 7, Oklahoma 7. We can stop to breath now. Oklahoma will have it 2nd-and-9 from the Texas 10-yard line to start the 2Q.
1:50 1Q: Texas bails Oklahoma out with a running into the kicker penalty that gives the Sooners a first down. That’s Texas’ 3rd penalty of the game and they’ve average a little over 4 per game this season
9:02 1Q: TOUCHDOWN TEXAS: UT’s Kitan Crawford blocks the punt in the end zone and Malik Muhammad scoops it up for a touchdown. PAT good. We’re only 6 minutes into this game and it’s already starting to go off the rails. Longhorns 7, Sooners 7.
10:01 1Q: Texas came into the game as the No. 2 red zone offense in the country, but that interception off JT Sanders’ hands will hurt that conversion rate. It’s picked off by Kendal Dolby after Sanders took a huge shot over the middle
10:42 1Q: Another 4th down conversion on the drive for the Longhorns with Savion Red throwing out of the wildcat formation to Gunnar Helm. The play ended with a fumble but it was reversed as they ruled Helm’s knee down before the ball came out. Gain of 25 for the Horns.
IT’S A FAKE. Jordan Whittington takes it 19 yards on the fake punt to convert on 4th-and-5. Sarkisian going to the bag of tricks early on.
Jake Majors went down with an injury on Texas’ second drive of the game. Connor Robertson is listed at the No. 2 center on the depth chart.
13:11 1Q: TOUCHDOWN OKLAHOMA: Dillon Gabriel fights through the middle of the Longhorns defense and scores from 9 yards. PAT good. 5 plays, 22 yards, 1:03. Sooners 7, Longhorns 0
14:14 1Q: Ewers throws his 2nd interception of the season as Gentry Williams gets underneath that slant pattern and picks it off. Oklahoma starts on the Texas 22-yard line. The interception is Oklahoma’s 11th of the season, which leads the country along with Liberty.
15:00 1Q: The Longhorns will get the ball to start the game.
Pregame: ESPN College GameDay’s Lee Corso made his headgear pick from inside the Cotton Bowl … and he put on Hook ‘Em’s head with former Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield right next to him. Desmond Howard and Pat McAfee also picked the Longhorns, and you can guess who Mayfield picked.