Boomer Sooner: Gabriel throws late TD pass as No. 12 Oklahoma beats No. 3 Texas in Red River rivalry

Dillon Gabriel threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Nic Anderson with 15 seconds left and 12th-ranked Oklahoma won a battle of unbeatens 34-30 over No. 3 Texas on Saturday in their last Red River rivalry game as Big 12 members before moving to the Southeastern Conference.

With the SEC Commissioner in attendance, but not the Big 12’s, the Sooners and Longhorns played a classic that must have made Greg Sankey thrilled with his new acquisitions.

The pocket was collapsing around Gabriel when he threw the game-winner for the Sooners (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), to Anderson in the back of the end zone.

Gabriel completed 23 of 38 passes for 285 yards and ran 14 times for 113 yards and a score. The left-handed quarterback had missed the Sooners’ 49-0 loss in last year’s game because of a concussion.

Texas (5-1, 2-1) had erased a 10-point deficit and taken a 30-27 lead on Bert Auburn’s third field goal, a 45-yarder with 1:17 left. The Sooners then went 75 yards in five plays, including Gabriel’s passes of 11 and 28 yard to Drake Stoops, the senior receiver and son of the former Sooners coach.

Quinn Ewers completed 31 of 37 passes for 346 yards, but his final throw from near midfield was knocked down near the goal line as time expired.

Jonathan Brooks, held out the end zone on three consecutive plays after Texas got to the 1 on its previous drive, tied the game at 27-27 on a 29-yard TD run with 6:10 left. Brooks finished with 129 yards rushing.


The Longhorns had gone for it on fourth down, but Xavier Worthy was hit immediately short of the goal line after a quick pass from Ewers. Oklahoma then drove 72 yards before Zach Schmit’s 45-yard field goal attempt came up short.

For Sankey, it was his first trip to the State Fair of Texas for one of college football’s most storied rivalries. Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, with Tampa Bay in its open date of this NFL season, and actor and Texas superfan Matthew McConaughey were also present.

Ewers, who had four TD passes in last year’s 49-0 romp over the Sooners, threw interceptions on the first two drives Saturday. But the game was tied after a wild sequence that included those two picks.

The Sooners led 20-17 after when Schmit kicked a 26-yard field goal, his second of the game, on the final play of the first half. They opened the second half with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended on Tawee Walker’s 1-yard TD run and made it 27-17.

The Takeaway

Oklahoma: The way Gabriel performed reinforced what so many thought about last year’s game, it would have been a much different outcome had he not missed it because of a concussion. Instead, that became the biggest shutout loss ever for the Sooners, who limped to a 6-7 season in Year 1 under coach Brent Venables.

Venables has the Sooners back in College Football Playoff contention again.

Texas: There has been a growing sentiment that the Longhorns could be the No. 1 team, instead of two-time defending national champion Georgia. Well, that question has been answered for now, and they won’t yet make it back to the top of the AP poll for the first time since 2008.

Poll Implications

Texas will drop a few spots in the new AP Top 25, and Oklahoma will move up and likely ahead of the Longhorns when the new poll comes out Sunday. But both should be among the top 10 teams.

UP NEXT Oklahoma has an open date before hosting Big 12 newcomer UCF on Oct. 21.

Texas is off next weekend before going to Houston on Oct. 21. It is their first meeting between the former Southwest Conference rivals since 2002.