Stunning collapse is a reminder of how daunting Texas-OU can be

Matthew Boncosky, Sports Reporter

There are few places on Earth where the seemingly impossible happens with as much stunning regularity as it does at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Over the course of 117 meetings, odds are that just about every scenario that could occur in a football game between Texas and Oklahoma would have already happened, yet Saturday’s game suggested otherwise.

“This one hurts,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “That’s what sports (are) about. When you play a tight game in a rivalry game (and lose), it hurts.”

The Longhorns burst out of the gate early, scoring 14 points before two minutes even came off the clock. Freshman wide receiver Xavier Worthy took a screen pass 75 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Then came a blocked punt that led to Bijan Robinson scampering in for his lone touchdown two plays later. The Longhorns were off and rolling against the No. 6 team in the country.

All signs pointed upward at the halftime whistle as well, with the Longhorns taking a 38-20 lead into the break. Junior quarterback Casey Thompson had 244 yards and four touchdowns, appearing to thrive in his long-awaited Red River moment.

Texas fans don’t need to be reminded of the complete collapse that led to Texas’ 55-48 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday afternoon, but the sting will be remembered for a long time.

“We’ve been here before,” senior linebacker Demarvion Overshown said. “We didn’t like the taste the first time, we didn’t like it this time.”

Up until the end of the third quarter, the fans on the Oklahoma side of the stadium were forced to sit in stunned silence as redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler struggled against the Texas defense.

Rattler’s subsequent benching in favor of backup quarterback Caleb Williams kicked off an improbable comeback that silenced the Texas side of the Cotton Bowl by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

“He did good using his legs to extend plays,” Overshown said. “He came in, he had a lot of momentum, and we didn’t make plays when we had to.”

Texas’ offensive line completely broke down and the Oklahoma fans relentlessly beared down with a cascade of noise as the Texas offense took the field on the Sooners’ side of the field. After a miraculous 52-yard touchdown reception on a third-and-19 play, the Sooners had tied the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Worthy fumbled the return leading to a go-ahead score for Oklahoma, only for Worthy to redeem himself with a 31-yard touchdown reception that tied the game with a little over a minute left.

“He’s never out of it. He always wants more,” wide receiver Joshua Moore said. “Even after the adversity that he had on the fumble, he still came back and made some big-time plays.”

Those 83 seconds the Longhorns left on the clock proved to be too much though, as the Sooners marched down the field and scored a heartbreaking touchdown with three seconds left on the clock. Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks’ touchdown provided the final death blow.

The enthusiastic euphoria that abounded among the sea of burnt orange-clad Texas students and fans ended in heartbreak just as it had in last year’s 4 overtime loss to Oklahoma. Once again, the picturesque scene at the Cotton Bowl was anything but for the Texas faithful.

“Big picture wise, this will test our mettle,” Sarkisian said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of. We’ve got to bounce back next week.”

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story attributed a quote about Xavier Worthy’s play to senior cornerback Josh Thompson. The story has since been corrected to attribute the quote to wide reciever Joshua Moore. The Texan regrets this error.