Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Late heroics rally Oklahoma over Texas in an all-time classic Red River Rivalry

Lorianne Willett
Wide receiver Jordan Whittington during Texas’ game against Oklahoma on Oct. 7, 2023. The Longhorns lost 34-30 to the Sooners during the annual Red River Rivalry game.

The fate of two universities was on the line with 1:17 left on the clock. No timeouts, just football, and the eyes of 92,000 fans decked out in Texas burnt orange and Oklahoma maroon red. A three-point football game between two of college football’s greatest all lay in the hands of Sooner senior quarterback Dillon Gabriel versus the Longhorn defense.

One minute later, the south side of the Cotton Bowl, filled with exhausted Oklahoma fans, was loud enough to wake up fans watching at home in Norman while the north side was shocked in silence. 

34-30, Oklahoma takes the win.

“I tip my cap to Oklahoma,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “That was a nice win for them to  battle back at the end the way they did.”

Stunned is the best way to describe the feeling that the entire burnt orange nation feels after a game like Saturday’s. A program, so close to turning a new leaf, fails to finish off a miraculous comeback.

“The promising thing is I know we can play better than we played today,” Sarkisian said. “We will (play better), but we need to coach better.”

In that final Oklahoma drive, Gabriel marched the team 75 yards in five plays, just a minute in time. One minute, the Longhorns were in the lead; the next, they were speechless. Gabriel’s final play exemplified the other 60 minutes of football: Chaos turned elation for the Sooners.  

Gabriel faced heavy pressure, almost certainly going down for a sack within the next second, yet lofted a floating pass to the back of the endzone into the hands of redshirt freshman Nic Anderson, his only catch of the night.

“We’ve got to execute better, pretty simple,” Sarkisian said.

Failure to finish off plays on defense haunted the Longhorns all day. Gabriel was sacked just once and added 113 yards on the ground, mostly from broken plays. 

“I think he did a good job, especially toward the end of the game,” senior linebacker Jaylan Ford said. “He’s able to extend plays with his legs, and he made good plays.”

The Longhorns were outmatched in many important aspects of the game on all three levels of offense, defense and special teams. The Longhorns lost the turnover battle, allowing Oklahoma to take the ball away three times, two from first quarter interceptions by sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers.

Oklahoma also had five fewer penalties and 40 fewer yards lost from them, while also sacking Ewers five times for 28 yards lost.

“We turned the ball over three times,” Sarkisian said. “We didn’t create any turnovers. We had nine penalties, which was very uncharacteristic for us — one of three in the red area.”

Oklahoma was able to convert all six of their scores from the red zone, something the Longhorns struggled to contain or convert on from their offensive side. Texas scored just once from the red zone, while failing to convert two other times. The most notable stop for the improved Oklahoma defense came in the 3rd quarter, where Oklahoma made 4 consecutive stops from inside the two yard line. Junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy made a fourth down catch, but he was stopped just short of the line.

“We went to a play that we felt really good about,” Sarkisian said. “Bang bang, we don’t score by about four inches.”

It wasn’t all a catastrophe for Texas, as many players still shined brightly. Ewers settled in and delivered 346 passing yards and a touchdown after the interceptions. Sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks added 129 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while Worthy and senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington each converted over 100 yards receiving.

“We felt we found a little more rhythm offensively from the second quarter moving on,” Sarkisian said. “We were a little out of sorts early, but that didn’t change the mindset coming into the game.”

After a year of reposing inside Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, the coveted golden hat will rest in Norman for the next year, waiting for another classic matchup in the greatest rivalry in college football.

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About the Contributors
Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter
Evan is a junior journalism major and the sports editor for the Texan. He is originally from Washington DC and has covered UT sports for 4 semesters and counting. He has covered the Men's Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football teams and had the opportunity to write about the 2023 Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.