5 thoughts and an instant reaction on the Oklahoma 53-45 win over Texas.
5. Remember, this all started because of THAT third down pass
Let’s start with this …
The finish saved us all from the Lincoln Riley Can’t Coach thing that social media was cranking up.
The amazing finishing kick and overtimes helped stop that, but the Sooners were just this close to losing a third straight game after being up by double digits late.
On the flip side …
Oklahoma was just this close to being 4-0 and ranked fourth in the nation, but even with this win, the team needs to find a closer.
To be fair, the Sooners don’t have the running backs they were supposed to going into the offseason, and Spencer Rattler isn’t the veteran quarterback who’s been through the wars – until now, and more on that in a moment – but this has now become a pattern.
It takes a whole series of events and issues to blow two games in a row like Oklahoma did before surviving this.
It was one pass that screwed things up.
Texas was still going to get the ball back no matter what, but on 3rd and 9 on the Sooner 43 – and with time running and the Longhorns with no timeouts – Riley chose to throw for the first down.
If Rattler hits his throw, Oklahoma wins in regulation and it’s a whole different story. The play was broken up, Texas had enough time to come up with something special, and then this became one of the most amazing Red River Showdowns ever, partly because …
4. Sam Ehlinger did absolutely everything he could possibly do
Ehlinger’s last pass for an interception was how it all ended, but he put on one amazing show to at least get Texas back into the mix.
He was brilliant in the final four minutes, finished with 287 yards and two touchdown passes and ran for 112 yards and four scores, but … those two interceptions.
It’s hard to fault No. 11 for the two mistakes when he had to carry the whole team on his shoulders.
The defense couldn’t tackle in key moments early on, the running backs combined for just 11 carries, and the offense was Ehlinger, Ehlinger, and more Ehlinger.
Bijan Robinson is a five-star running back – he ran just five times. The receivers didn’t make enough big things happen with the ball in their hands, and the defense didn’t help in overtime.
This was almost going to go down as the Sam Ehlinger game, but …
3. The maturity of Spencer Rattler
It wasn’t Rattler’s fault that he didn’t have the at-bats logged in to be comfortable late against Kansas State and Iowa State, but welcome to the working definition of the “needs to take his lumps” cliché.
The guy might have played a bit like a redshirt freshman before, but he just advanced up a few grades after the way he came through in overtime.
He struggled early, gave up a bad turnover, seemingly banged up his shoulder, got benched, and then came back in and fought through the adversity of yet another fourth quarter collapse to start to look the part again.
There’s no questioning his talent or ability, but he didn’t have the experience of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, or Jalen Hurts when those three took over the Lincoln Riley offense. Maybe Murray didn’t have a ton of time logged in, but he had been around the block at Texas A&M before going to OU.
This Texas game was over.
OU blew it, Ehlinger was magical, and all of the momentum was on the other side of the field after the Longhorns got up 38-31 in overtime.
Rattler stepped it up on Oklahoma’s possession – calmly hitting a 3rd-and-8 throw for a score – kept his head, didn’t make any major mistakes, and pushed his way in for a touchdown in the second overtime and threw a touchdown pass in the third as he looked and played like huge things are coming very, very soon.
Patience isn’t warranted at a football program like Oklahoma, but give it a little more time. No. 7 can play.