DALLAS (AP) — 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 appeared to do a jump step as he threw the game-winner for the Sooners (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), to Anderson in the back of the end zone.
“Bake called me last night, he told me to do whatever it takes,” Gabriel said, referring to former Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield. “I’m all about OU football. I love this place, this is what college football is all about.”
Gabriel completed 23 of 38 passes for 285 yards and ran 14 times for 113 yards and a score. The left-handed quarterback had transferred from UCF before last season, but missed the Sooners’ 49-0 loss to Texas last October because of a concussion the previous week.
The Longhorns (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. Oklahoma 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.
“We didn’t play our best football today. Our inability to corral the quarterback … hurt us, especially in the second half,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “The promising thing is we know we can play better than we did today. And we will.”
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.
Jonathon 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, his fourth consecutive 100-yard game.
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. 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 and blocked punt recovered for a touchdown by Texas’ Malik Muhammad.
“Just didn’t start out how I wanted to. It’s always tough whenever you throw interceptions on the first two drives,” Ewers said. “I liked the way we bounced back.”
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.
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. It was Oklahoma’s first losing season since 1998.
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.
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 will be the first meeting between the former Southwest Conference rivals since 2002.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll