The 113th Red River Showdown had huge implications heading in, and was an instant classic heading out. Texas had an electric start by taking a 45-24 lead late in the second half before Kyler Murray led a ridiculous 21-point comeback for the Sooners.
Then the Longhorns, led by Sam Ehlinger, marched down the field and won the game on a climactic, 40-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker. Texas knocked off the conference favorite Sooners, and now control their own destiny in the Big 12.
Here’s what we learned on Saturday.
Sam Ehlinger Is One Of The Big 12’s Top QBs
Sam Ehlinger played like he was going to win this game no matter what happened. He completed 25 of his 34 attempts for 314 yards, and rushed for 72 yards as well. He also totaled five touchdowns; three on the ground, and two by air.
Ehlinger was determined all afternoon and led the Longhorns to their biggest win in a while. The Big 12 has an obvious top two quarterbacks, Will Grier and Kyler Murray claim that role. The debate as to who’s the conference’s third best signal caller was an open competition. That question is now answered. Ehlinger has played out of his mind recently and now has 1,499 yards on the season and 17 touchdowns between his arm and legs. He has played like not just a game manager, but a winner lately and seems to be starting to figure himself out. Texas is in a great place with Ehlinger under center.
Texas Is Back
This time the Longhorns seem legit. After wins against USC and TCU, some people dared think that the Longhorns were back to their normal state of dominance. However, many still held reservations. After this win, those doubts have been erased. Texas has three top-25 wins, and will have a couple of chances for more as the season goes on.
Texas defense played really well despite giving up 45 points. The secondary is showing to be the best in the conference, and the offense is starting to have a nice balance. Texas is now in a legit position to win the conference, just like old times.
Oklahoma’s Defense Is Still A Work In Progress
The Sooners defense was a major concern for this Oklahoma team going into week six, and they did nothing to change that this week against Texas. The Sooners gave up 48 points to an average offense and, despite the offense putting up 45 points, it wasn’t enough. Sam Ehlinger, who is not known for his playmaking ability, put up five scores and OU just didn’t have an answer.
When Oklahoma crawled back and tied the game the defense couldn’t get a stop and let Texas march down the field leading to a game tying field goal.
Texas totaled just over 500 yards of offense from the line of scrimmage, and it was an all-around failure by Oklahoma defensively. Texas averaged 8 yards per pass and 4.7 yards per rush. Both of those numbers are nowhere close to where they need to be if Oklahoma wants to win out, which they need to do to even have a shot at the playoff.
Kyler Murray Lost His “Heisman Moment”
Every Heisman winner has their Heisman moment or game. Kyler Murray did all he could do to have that moment, but his defense let him down. Oklahoma was looking at a 21-point deficit and an embarrassing no-show in one of their most anticipated games. Murray responded by scoring those 21 points in just over seven minutes to tie the game.
He had an electric, Heisman-esque run of 67 yards in the midst of that. The game seemed to take a complete 180 degree turn and it looked like a overtime Sooner win was in the cards. The Oklahoma defense let him down and Murray, despite a rough performance from Grier, seems to be in third place for the Heisman race. A win would have given him a signature moment to attach to his resume for the trophy.
Texas Controls Their Destiny
Texas is in the driver seat of the Big 12 following this one. The Longhorns are already done with two of the hardest games in a conference slate, they already beat TCU and Oklahoma. In November the Mountaineers visit Austin and Texas also has a road game in Stillwater that looks less and less daunting by the week. Because of the tiebreaker rules and assuming it’s Texas, OU, and WVU at the top, Texas can now afford a loss and still be playing in the conference championship game. They are currently tied for first place with West Virginia and have tremendously increased their chances of competing in the championship game, and winning the regular season title.