DALLAS — Oklahoma’s tenuous undefeated record, it turns out, was a foundation of strength.
The No. 6-ranked Sooners stumbled early on Saturday against Texas, but shored things up with a quarterback change and a defensive resurgence, and rallied from a three-touchdown hole to beat the Longhorns 55-48 in an instant classic.
Caleb Williams replaced Spencer Rattler in the second quarter, and helped stake the Sooners to a seven-point lead before Texas tied it up at 48 with 83 seconds to play.
But Williams led the game-winning drive, capped off by Kennedy Brooks’ 33-yards touchdown run with three seconds to play.
Brooks finished with 217 yards on 25 carries and scored twice.
Williams finished 15-of-24 for 211 yards passing with two touchdowns and also ran for 88 yards on four carries and scored a 66-yard touchdown.
Marvin Mims caught five passes for 136 and two touchdowns, including an acrobatic 52-yard TD grab from Williams.
A hot day in the Cotton Bowl quickly got hotter for Oklahoma, which gave up a 75-yard touchdown pass on the opening play and then went backwards on offense and got a punt blocked for another Texas TD — and the route was on.
Williams — the No. 1 high school recruit in the nation last year, got his shot was because OU starter Spencer Rattler was largely ineffective and, ultimately, prone to turnovers. He threw an interception early (tight end Austin Stogner ran an out and Rattler threw an in) and lost a fumble straining for a first down.
Rattler hit 9-of-16 passes for 112 yards and had minus-9 yards rushing while losing the fumble and the pick. He did come back after his benching — following Mims’ crazy catch — to throw a 2-point conversion to Drake Stoops tied to tie the game at 41-41.
Texas then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Brooks scored with 7:10 to play to give the Sooners their first lead of the day.
OU, a 3-point favorite, finally covered the spread in game against an FBS opponent. Close calls in victories over Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia and Kansas State actually may have prepared the Sooners for the intensity of taking on the Longhorns and new coach Steve Sarkisian in their biggest game of the season.
The Sooners (6-0 overall, 3-0 in Big 12 Conference play) take on TCU next week in Norman. The Longhorns (4-2, 2-1) host Oklahoma State.