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Red River Rivalry 2023: Red-Hot Oklahoma, Gabriel, beat Texas, 34-30, with 15 seconds left

DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07, 2023: Quarterback Dillon Gabriel, #8 of the Oklahoma Sooners, wears the Golden Hat as he flexes for the cameras after the win over the Texas Longhorns at Cotton Bowl Stadium. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CC) - Oklahoma Sooners senior quarterback Dillon Gabriel touched down in Big D as the nation's no. 8 FBS quarterback for passing yards (1603). Trailing Texas, 27-30, he led his Oklahoma Sooners onto the field with 1:17 left in the 119th Red River Rivalry game today.

The southpaw then saw to it as the red-hot AP No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners shocked the No. 3 Texas Longhorns, 34-30, with a 3-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Nic Anderson, with 15 seconds remaining.

Just like the Mississippi River divides the great states of Missouri and Illinois, the Southern Red River divides the great states of Texas and Oklahoma.

No other rivalry game divides fans down the middle of the stadium like UT-OU. Seating is always split at midfield, where crimson and burnt orange meet. OU fans on one side, UT on the other. They are not seated amid one another.

Set amid the yearly Texas State Fair, visitors from all over the world can feast on very unique delicasies such as deep fried candy pecan bacon bread pudding.

On the gridiron, the now (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) Sooners started the game by putting in work and feasting on the Longhorns (5-1, 2-1 Big 12).

With over 91,000 watching at sold-out Cotton Bowl Stadium, opportunistic OU snatched the early lead, 7-0, thanks to Gabriel's 9-yard run at the 13:11 mark.

His scamper came after sophomore defensive back Gentry Williams intercepted redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers on UT's first possession.

In fact, the Sooners intercepted Ewers on UT's first two possessions, courtesy of Williams and junior DB Kendel Dolby.

But a resilient UT tied the game after Malik Muhammad, a freshman DB, grabbed the football in the end zone off a blocked punt from the OU 7-yard line.

Texas' special teams both gave and took away today.

A running into the kicker penalty, at 1:50 in the first, led to a Zach Schmit 27-yard field goal that put the Sooners ahead, 10-7, early in the second.

Texas retaliated with a 9-play, 85-yard, 4:49 drive, capped by Gunnar Helm's 22-yard TD reception from Ewers at the 9:27 mark in the second.

14-10, Longhorns.

OU's junior running back Tawee Walker regained the lead for the Sooners with a 1-yard walk. But his second opportunity for a walk-in score was missed on the first half's last play from scrimmage, as he bobbled a short pass from Gabriel near the end zone.

The Boomers settled for a 26-yard field goal, and led 20-17 at the break.

Before today's meeting, the team leading at halftime had won 83% of the last 12 games in this rivalry.

On the second half's opening possession, set on continuing the trend, the Sooners strolled down the field on a 13-play, 75-yard TD drive, dotted by Walker's second 1-yard rushing jaunt.

OU had scored on four possessions in a row, including two TDs, dealing Texas its largest deficit of the season, 27-17.

At the 7:32 mark in the third, the ball-hawking Williams recovered a fumble, after five-star true freshman safety, Peyton Bowen, boomed the ball loose from Ewers at midfield off a scramble.

The sharpened Longhorns forced a punt, though, as OU went three-and-out.

Junior place kicker Bert Auburn then drove a 45-yard field goal through the uprights, and wild wind gusts, with 1:53 left in the third.

The defenses then took over as OU's gargantuan goal-line stand trolled Texas, with 11:30 left in the game, as the Longhorns looked to tie it.

Gabriel then led the Sooners down the field, but OU barely missed a 45-yard field goal that would have made it a double-digit lead with 7:55 left.

Ewers had completed 19 passes in a row before Jonathan Brooks raced to the end zone on a 29-yard rush that made it 27-27 at the 6:10 mark.

This looked like OT waiting to happen.

Texas again forced an OU punt to happen, and took possession deep in its own territory with 4:49 left.

As game tensions rose, Ewers led Texas down the field before giving way to Auburn for a clutch 47-yard field goal.

30-27 UT with 1:22 Left.

Gabriel quickly led OU to the red zone, and tossed the game-winner, a 6-yard dart in the left corner, to a wide open Anderson.

The Texas defense suffered a broken coverage scheme, an UT's fans suffered broken hearts.

Meanwhile, the exuberant, heartfelt OU fans charged the field after the game to thank Gabriel and the rest of the team.

Last year, he missed the Red River Rivalry game after suffering a concussion the week before against TCU. Oklahoma finished with only 39 yards passing and 195 total in that one, a 49-0 Longhorns stampede victory.

Today, the senior passed for 285 yards and 1 TD - a strike that he, and OU fans, will likely never forget, padding his reputation.

Game Pads

  • In 1947, Texas was ranked No. 3 and OU no. 15. Texas won 34-14.

  • Both teams entered the Red River Rivalry game undefeated for the first time since 2011.

  • The last time either team was ranked in the top four was 2011 when no. 3 OU defeated no. 11 Texas 55-17. Neither team was ranked in the AP Top 25 when they played in 2022.

  • Last year's 49-0 shutout was the Longhorns largest winning margin in Red River Rivalry history. And also their first shutout over OU since 1965. It was also Brent Venables' first season as OU head coach.

Goal to Go

  • Today's contest is expected to be their final Texas-Oklahoma game in the Big 12, as both teams are slated to move to the SEC next season.

  • OU is Longhorns’ biggest rival, because Texas A&M was taken off the annual schedule in 2012. But the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry is set to resume in the SEC.

  • Texas-Texas A&M was traditionally played as a Thanksgiving Day game since 1920, but sometimes the game was played near Turkey Day.

  • Whether the Longhorns and Aggies meet annually or not remains to be seen.

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