red river rivalry

Red River Rematch? It's Possible for No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 25 Texas

Caleb Williams #13 of the Oklahoma Sooners dives for a touchdown in the first half defended by D'Shawn Jamison #5 of the Texas Longhorns during the 2021 AT&T Red River Showdown at Cotton Bowl on Oct., 2021 in Dallas, Texas.
Tim Warner/Getty Images

There is a path for a Red River rivalry rematch in a title game for fourth-ranked Oklahoma and No. 25 Texas.

“If we handle our business, we’ll see them again,” Longhorns receiver Joshua Moore said.

While true, there is still a long way to go before the Big 12 championship game that matches the teams that finish 1-2 in the conference standings. The Sooners (6-0, 3-0) and Longhorns are only halfway through the regular season after Oklahoma’s impressive 55-48 comeback victory from an early three-touchdown deficit in another classic game for them at the State Fair of Texas.

“It was weird though because everybody got to storm the field. I was like, Whoa, this is a miracle. Like, I’ve never had that happen at OU. ... There were just a bunch of people in your face,” Oklahoma senior linebacker Caleb Kelly said. “It was cool though because my mom got to come on the field. That’s her first time being on the field all six seasons, so that was really cool to get a picture and do that.”

Oklahoma, the six-time defending Big 12 champion, has the nation’s longest winning streak at 14 after Alabama’s loss at Texas A&M that knocked the Crimson Tide out of the top spot in the new AP Top 25 poll Sunday. The Sooners were up two spots, and Texas (4-2, 2-1) slipped four to just hang in the rankings.

If there is another Red River matchup this year for the future Southeastern Conference teams, it would be Dec. 4 for the Big 12 title, and a guaranteed New Year’s Six bowl spot. That game is at the home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, about 20 miles from Cotton Bowl Stadium where a sellout crowd of 91,200 watched Saturday.

When Oklahoma beat Texas in the 2018 Big 12 title game, after the Longhorns had won 48-45 in the traditional October matchup, it was the first time the rivals had met twice in the same season since 1903 — the first year they played. Their latest game was the highest-scoring in series history, breaking the mark set just last October in the Sooners’ 53-45 four-overtime win.

Texas is home next Saturday against No. 12 Oklahoma State (5-0, 2-0), which was off Saturday. That is the only game for the Longhorns on their Austin campus in a six-week span that includes their bye Oct. 23.

Already with wins over TCU and Texas Tech, the Longhorns follow their home game against the Cowboys by going on the road to play Baylor and Iowa State. They finish the regular season against Kansas, West Virginia and Kansas State — none have won a Big 12 game yet this season.

“We understand that we’ve still got a whole season left. And we’ve got to capitalize on every game that we play,” Big 12 rushing leader Bijan Robinson said. “Lord willing, we could see them at the end of the season if they are in it. ... Lord willing, we will get back to it and play, and play an awesome game.”

Before closing their regular season with Bedlam against Oklahoma State, the Sooners are home against TCU next weekend. Their closing stretch includes games against the rest of the teams in the top half of the Big 12 standings.

With its third 28-point quarter this season, including a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into Saturday’s game, Texas led 28-7 after the first quarter. The Sooners, who replaced preseason AP All-America quarterback with true freshman Caleb Williams midway through the second quarter, then matched their second-largest comeback in school history.

“You’ve got to fight. Four overtimes, that’s not easy. No one will tell you it’s easy. And then to come back from that deficit we had (Saturday), the way the game started off 14-0 right out of the gates, it’s hard to do that,” said sophomore receiver Marvin Mims, who had two second-half TD catches. “I thank God that I was a part of these games. It shows a lot about our team, it shows a lot about us.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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