In a rare development in the Red River Showdown, the Texas Longhorns are favored against the Oklahoma Sooners for the first time since 2009 as the Longhorns try to end a four-game losing streak in the rivalry. Meanwhile, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is looking for only his second win away from Austin since arriving on the Forty Acres against an Oklahoma team reeling after two straight losses.
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As reported earlier in the week by ESPN and other outlets, redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers will start on Saturday after missing the last three-plus games with the clavicle injury he sustained against Alabama, Sarkisian told Longhorn Network.
The status of Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel is less clear after the UCF transfer was in concussion protocol this week after leaving the loss to TCU — Gabriel dressed for the game and is going through pre-game warmups.
Dillon Gabriel takes the first snaps in OU's 11 on 11 pregame warmups.— Joe Cook (@josephcook89) October 8, 2022
Dillon Gabriel will not play today. He's in a jersey and shorts on the sideline.— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) October 8, 2022
A handful of other players banged up last week are also dressed and appear set to play, including running back Eric Gray.
Some notable OU players with injury questions who are suited up and look ready to go*:— Lee Benson (@LeeBensonNews9) October 8, 2022
*Dillon Gabriel also appears to be good to go. He’s gone through regular pregame warmups. We shall see.
On defense, safety Bill Bowman will not play for the Sooners.
Not a surprise but Billy Bowman will not be available today.— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) October 8, 2022
With Oklahoma winning the toss and deferring to the second half, the beleaguered Sooners defense was able to get a three and out against the Longhorns to start the game when Ewers missed tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders on a crossing route and settled for a check down to running back Roschon Johnson, who was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Oklahoma was able to pick up a first down, by tight end Brayden Willis on a 3rd and 4 slant, but the Texas defense held after that as quarterback Davis Beville threw two incompletions sandwiched around a push pass to wide receiver Drake Stoops that the Horns stopped for no gain.
Following a first-down catch by wide receiver Jordan Whittington, Sanders took a short pass down the sideline for the game’s first explosive play. Initially ruled as a 29-yard gain, review overturned the play, bringing it back 13 yards. As Texas went tempo, running back Bijan Robinson ran for a first down, Ewers found Whittington for 22 yards, and Johnson moved the chains again by trucking an Oklahoma defender to move into the red zone. After a screen pass to Worthy picked up a first down near the goal line, Robinson scored on a two-yard run to cap the 12-play, 90-yard drive.
With Gabriel out, Oklahoma debuted a Wildcat formation with tight end Brayden Willis as the triggerman, gaining 35 yards on the first two plays. As the Longhorns defense adjusted, the Sooners had to convert a 4th and 2 to pick up the next first down before Beville returned to the game. A tackle for loss by Texas nose tackle Keondre Coburn forced a 3rd and 9 for Oklahoma. When Stoops caught a pass for a six-yard gain, the Sooners lined up to go for it on fourth down, but had to call a timeout as the play clock ticked down. Coming out of the timeout, Oklahoma called a fake field goal and picked up the first down on a throw from the holder to the kicker that narrowly made the yard to gain. On 4th and 1 from the Texas eight-yard line, the Horns were able to stop Gray as T’Vondre Sweat got penetration to hit Gray in the backfield and turn Oklahoma over on downs.
What a defensive stand by Texas. HUGE pic.twitter.com/gRaZ18Jji7— 247Sports (@247Sports) October 8, 2022
Facing a critical 3rd and 1 to start the second quarter, Johnson turned in another physical run for a seven-yard gain and Ewers hit Whittington for 13 yards. Then a misdirection run fake screen to Johnson hit up the right sideline for 38 yards. After a throw to running back Keilan Robinson for 13 yards, Ewers threw a 10-yard touchdown to wide receiver Xavier Worthy on a run-pass option glance route.
Another Wildcat formation used Gray behind center to get into Texas territory before Marcus Majors took over and the Longhorns inflicted a negative play on a push pass. On 3rd and 10, Beville threw an incomplete pass to force a punt in an area where the Sooners wanted to gain enough yards for a potential fourth-down conversion.
Able to stand clean in the pocket, Ewers completed a 22-yard pass to Whittington to open the drive, extended on a beautiful throw and catch from Ewers to Robinson as the Texas quarterback had to roll left to find his running back, who made a sensational catch. Three runs by Robinson picked up another first down as the Longhorns offense remained in rhythm and at tempo. Behind a physical block by Whittington, Keilan Robinson maintained the momentum with a 15-yard touchdown catch to make it 21-0.
A quick three and out by Oklahoma put Texas in position to bury the Sooners, but three incomplete passes resulted in a three and out for the Longhorns, too.
Back in the Wildcat formation, Oklahoma found some rhythm offensively, moving the ball into the Texas red zone on the ground, but when Gray tried a jump pass, Longhorns junior nickel back Jahdae Barron came up with the interception on a poor throw by the Sooners running back.
Oklahoma with the jump pass INT LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! pic.twitter.com/cqOYOW677O— @ (@FTBeard7) October 8, 2022
Suddenly, the Texas offense lost its rhythm as Robinson was stopped in the backfield for a loss and center Jake Majors committed a false start penalty to put the Longhorns in a 3rd and 11 situation. After a timeout by Oklahoma, Ewers was forced to climb the pocket and scrambled for the first down. The Longhorns quarterback converted another third down with a pass to tight end Gunnar Helm, then drew a pass interference penalty when Worthy was cynically knocked down in the end zone to save a potential touchdown. Suddenly back in rhythm, Ewers dropped a beautiful throw to Sanders down the seam for a 24-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
Trying to pick up some points before halftime, Beville was intercepted by Texas cornerback D;Shawn Jamison to gives the Longhorns a little bit more momentum heading into the break.
Desperate to score some points, Oklahoma went for it on 4th and 2 from their own 44-yard line, but Texas defended the play well, taking away any passing lanes for Beville, who was forced to scramble and was tackled for a yard loss.
First downs from Robinson and Johnson moved the Longhorns to the edge of the red zone before Ewers put a ball a little bit too high for Whittington, who was wide open on a fake screen. On 3rd and 9, Ewers tried to throw the ball away under pressure, but it was intercepted when he wasn’t able to get it out of bounds.
The turnover didn’t hurt the Longhorns as the Sooners remained conservative in the Wildcat and the Texas defense shut it down on three straight runs, a surprising decision even with the struggles of Beville.
Another touch pass from Ewers, this time to Whittington, gained 32 yards before a 15-yard gain by Worthy moved the Longhorns back into the red zone, where Robinson converted with an 11-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35-0.
Intent to lean on Oklahoma, Texas was able to continue gaining positive yards following another three and out by the Sooners, highlighted by a physical 17-yard run by Johnson.
With runs like this, it’s easy to forget that Roschon Johnson started his Texas career as a QB pic.twitter.com/VClFRHjPuK— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 8, 2022
Ewers finished the drive for a 42-0 lead with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Sanders as the Oklahoma defense doubled Worthy.
And the defense continued to play at a high level, closing out the third quarter with a sack of Beville by defensive tackle Byron Murphy to force the fourth three and out of the game by the Sooners offense.
A five-play, 54-yard drive by Texas was all on the ground with backups, including running back Jonathon Brooks, who picked up a 3rd and 9 on the ground, then scored on an 18-yard run.
The defense kept up its intensity, sacking Beville twice on the ensuing drive — one by Sweat and one shared by edge Justice Finkley and nose tackle Keondre Coburn.
With the second-team offensive line in the game, Brooks moved the chains on three runs, allowing third-string quarterback Charles Wright to get some playing time, leading to a missed field goal attempt by Bert Auburn.
Following extended garbage time, Texas defeated Oklahoma 49-0, the largest margin in school history, the first time the Sooners have been shut out by the Longhorns since 1965, and the worst ever shutout loss for Oklahoma.