Wild Red River Showdown!

Wild Red River Showdown!

Texas may have rattled Rattler, but they didn’t rattle Lincoln Riley and the rest of the Sooners. Down 28 to 7 after the first quarter, Oklahoma spent the rest of the game playing catch up. In fact, the game looked very much out of reach at halftime with Texas up 38 to 20. Somehow Oklahoma dug deep. They made some key changes on the offense and the defense to win the game on the last play of the game. Oklahoma displayed an impressive show of resilience.

Change is hard. We all have difficulty making changes that effect our day-to-day life. It takes guts to make sweeping changes. Yet, our country was built on change. Most of the people who settled Oklahoma and Texas in the early 1800s left what they knew and loved for the unknown wilds of the frontier. They knew that change would be tough and taxing. They also knew change could be rewarding. Lincoln Riley made such a change on Saturday. Spencer Rattler went 8 for 15 and 111 yards. He also committed two costly turnovers, throwing an interception, and losing a fumble. It was time to pull him. The fans have been calling for the change at quarterback for weeks. Lincoln has been hesitant to make the change. Rattler was still the starter when Caleb Williams was called in just to get a first down, and then he proceeded to rip off a 66-yard touchdown run. In fact, Rattler continued at quarterback the next two possessions, leading the Sooners to a field goal before promptly fumbling the ball away his next possession under center. Rattler’s fumble was the last straw for Lincoln. He put Caleb Williams in, and the rest is history for this Red River Rivalry game. What must be noted is OU didn’t make this change while playing KU or TCU. This quarterback change came playing in the biggest rivalry game of the year in a very loud and intense environment. Coaches are creatures of habit. You shoot with the rifle you’re familiar with in the heat of battle. Lincoln Riley determined that the Rattler rifle barrel melted under the intense heat of the moment and had to go with Caleb Williams. Lincoln made a gutsy call. He made the right choice.

Texas started this game with a bang. First play of the game was a 75-yard pass from Casey Thompson to Xavier Worthy. The Texas defense hit the field fired up and forced a three and out pushing the Sooner offense back 6 yards off the line of scrimmage. Then the Texas special teams blocked a punt allowing Bijan Robinson to run two yards for an easy score. This is how the first two minutes started for the Longhorns. It was a dream start for Texas and a horror movie start for Oklahoma. Texas kept the pressure on Oklahoma scoring 38 first half points. The Texas offense was a work of art most of the game. Casey Thompson threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns. Xavier Worthy caught nine balls for 261 yards and two touchdowns, while Heisman hopeful Bijan Robinson ran for 137 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Sark had his offense rolling like an avalanche with nothing to break its momentum. So, what happened? The Texas defense was not prepared for the talent, speed, and arm of Caleb Williams. Further they were not well prepared for the run game that Oklahoma presented. The Texas offense is humming, but their defense needs a lot of work. That is par for the course these days in the Big 12.

Caleb Williams had an impressive debut as a freshman under center. Lincoln Riley’s play calling helped mixing in a healthy dose of the run game to help Williams throw the ball. Kennedy Brooks stunned the Longhorn defense for 217 yards and two touch downs on 25 carries. Every young quarterback needs that kind of production to help him in the passing game. Williams is a legit dual threat quarterback. While he runs well, he also distributes the ball well in the passing game. Williams hit nine different receivers. He was seeing the whole field and spreading it around. That is impressive. He did not stare down one receiver while he was on the field. He found the open man. That bodes well for his future under center as a Sooner. Barring injury to Williams, Lincoln Riley can’t return Rattler to the field now. Caleb Williams’s mobility was a game changer in this game and could transform Oklahoma’s prospects this season. Spencer Rattler will likely hit the transfer portal this summer to find another quarterback needy school to play for. Hopefully he works his rattles out or he will ride the bench on his new team as well.

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