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

Texas falls to Oklahoma in a Red River Rivalry game for the ages

Lorianne Willett
Tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders is tackled during Texas’ game against Oklahoma on Oct. 7, 2023. The Longhorns lost to the Sooners 34-30 during the annual Red River Rivalry Game.

The Red River Rivalry is nicknamed the Red River Shootout for a reason — the game always makes fans expect the unexpected.

With both teams undefeated at 5–0, Texas ranked No. 3 and Oklahoma No. 12, the matchup gained national attention from College Gameday. And, by having the stadium split down the middle, the game is one of the true neutral sites in college football. 

In an electric first quarter, sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers threw an interception on the second play of the game, giving Oklahoma the ball on Texas’ 22-yard line. It took three plays for Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel to run the ball in for a touchdown from nine yards out. 

Texas got the ball back but failed to convert on third down and sent out senior punter Ryan Sanborn and the rest of the punt team for what looked like a normal punt. Until it didn’t. Senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington caught the snap and ran 20 yards for the first down and more. 

Four plays later, Texas faced a fourth and one. Sophomore running back Savion Red came out in the wildcat formation and found junior tight end Gunnar Helm over the middle for the first down. Helm ran the ball to the 14 yard line but had it knocked out as he was tackled. Oklahoma recovered. After a review by the referee, Helm was ruled down and Texas kept the ball.

“We didn’t play a great first quarter, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We were a little out of sorts early.” 

Two plays later, Ewers threw a high pass to junior tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, who had the ball knocked out of his hands by one defender and into the hands of a second Oklahoma defender for Ewers’ second interception of the game. 

The two interceptions were uncharacteristic for Ewers, who had only thrown one the entire season. 

“I just didn’t start how I wanted to,” Ewers said. “It’s always tough when on the first three drives you throw two interceptions, but I’m glad we bounced back.” 

Oklahoma got the ball back but was unable to make any progress and was forced to punt out of its own end zone. 

Beating his man down the middle, senior defensive back Kitan Crawford jumped Oklahoma’s line and blocked the punt straight into the hands of freshman defensive back Malik Muhammad for a touchdown. 

Only six minutes had ticked off the clock. Neither team had any momentum. 

After a slow first quarter, Texas trudged through the rest of the game but not without struggle. Texas turned the ball over three times and failed to score touchdowns in red-zone situations. 

“(The game) was out of character for us,” Sarkisian said.  “We were playing uphill there for a while, and to get all the way back to have the lead the way that we did, that took a lot of resiliency from this group.”

In the fourth quarter, Texas rallied back and took the lead after a dominant series of drives. 

The Texas defense blocked an Oklahoma field goal, marched down the field and scored a touchdown. Oklahoma punted the ball, and junior kicker Bert Auburn made a 47-yard field goal to take the lead 30-27. 

Texas left 1:55 on the clock for Oklahoma, which proved to be too much time.

Gabriel and the Sooners stormed down the field scoring a touchdown with 15 seconds left to regain the lead.  

Ewers and the Longhorns couldn’t bounce back, falling 34-30 to the Sooners for the first loss of the season.

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About the Contributor
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.