Sooners Win! Takeaways from Oklahoma’s Red River Upset

The #12 Oklahoma Sooners upset the #3 Texas Longhorns in an epic back-and-forth battle of the Red River Rivalry. In a game that Sooners fans are sure to remember for years to come, Dillon Gabriel and the Sooner defense came in clutch. Even though the Longhorns outgained the Sooners in total yards, the OU defense forced three turnovers and Gabriel led a drive in the final minute that culminated in a three-yard touchdown pass to Nic Anderson, giving the Sooners a 34-30 win.

Takeaways From the Oklahoma Win Over Texas

OU’s Defensive Performance

Hats off to Brent Venables and the Oklahoma defense. While they did allow Texas to put up 30 points and 527 total yards of offense, they also tallied two interceptions, one fumble, and five sacks. They did just enough to limit the Longhorns, and it was an impressive performance considering where this defense was a year ago.

Venables’ unit was one of the worst in the entire FBS and in last year’s Red River game and got absolutely torched for 49 points. This OU defense is now a real threat.

Two of the stars of the day were Billy Bowman and Jaren Kanak, who both really stepped up with Danny Stutsman playing hurt in the game. Bowman collected 11 total tackles and defended one pass, and he was all over the field, playing fast and aggressive. Kanak is starting to blossom into another great linebacker for this OU group, as he led the team in tackles and recorded one sack.

The entire defensive line played great all game, constantly pressuring Quinn Ewers and forcing him to scramble to rush his throws. Jacob Lacey and Da’Jon Terry both had sacks, and Ethan Downs had two.

 The entire secondary should be commended on their success in limiting Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell. In fact, Mitchell was almost a non-factor in this game; he finished with only three catches for 33 yards. Gentry Williams also deserves a shoutout for his interception and fumble recovery. His pick of Ewers on the first drive immediately shifted the momentum to Oklahoma’s side.

The Sooners’ Offense Prevailed

Oklahoma would have never had a chance in this game without the play of Gabriel. He was exactly what his team needed him to be and then some. He didn’t bend or break under the pressure of Texas’ pass rush, and he took his own running game to a new level.

He led OU with 113 rushing yards and also scored after a nine-yard run on the Sooners’ first drive of the game. His best run of the day came on a 44-yard scamper on a drive that resulted in only a missed field goal but also flipped the field for Texas.

Oh, and he also threw for another 285 yards and one touchdown with a 60% completion percentage. Gabriel was quick and decisive with his throws, and his arm strength shined on short and medium throws. The offensive line also did a phenomenal job protecting him, allowing only one sack.

It turns out the x-factor in OU’s offense wasn’t Andrel Anthony, but his counterpart, Jalil Farooq. Farooq had a monster game, and he provided a spark that OU was lacking on the outside for parts of the game. He finished with five receptions for 130 yards, and was electric after the catch, sprinting and juking past Texas defenders on multiple occasions.

All in all, it was another successful day in the office for the OU offense. They were efficient, didn’t turn the ball over, and dropped 34 points on the nation’s third-ranked team.

Where does Oklahoma go from here?

Well, Oklahoma slayed the dragon and left Dallas with the Red River golden cowboy hat, so the Big 12 is now theirs for the taking. The Sooners and the Longhorns are undeniably the class of the conference, and should both teams take care of business as they should the rest of the season, they appear to be on a collision course for a rematch in the Big 12 Championship game.

More than that though, Brent Venables has the defense moving in the right direction and he has the Sooners prepared for a great rest of the season. After their triumph in the Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma should expect to move into the top 10 of the AP Poll and are sure to garner more respect in the College Football Playoff discussion.

Venables will have to make sure that his team doesn’t drink too much or their own Kool-Aid though, because the rest of their Big 12 opponents will all want a piece of them. Six games remain in the season, and after their bye next week, the Sooners will take on UCF on their quest to win the Big 12 and more.

Main Image:  Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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Actually, OU is off this week with a BYE

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