It took a little more than one half of football for Caleb Williams to cement his place in Red River lore.
The Oklahoma freshman came on in relief of the struggling Spencer Rattler and led a remarkable comeback. The Sooners trailed 28-7 after the first quarter, 38-20 at halftime and 41-23 late in the third.
With Williams leading the charge, Oklahoma somehow rallied all the way back and emerged with a dramatic 55-48 victory in Dallas to remain undefeated and stay firmly in the College Football Playoff conversation.
The winning score didn’t come until there was one second left on the clock.
Oklahoma rallied from that 41-23 late-third quarter deficit and took a 48-41 lead with 7:10 to play. Texas, to its credit, tied the score with 1:23 to play. That set the stage for Oklahoma to deliver the final blow. Williams completed a few passes to get the Sooners in field goal range, but running back Kennedy Brooks did not want to rely on a kick.
When it looked like OU was simply putting Gabe Brkic in position for a straight-on field goal, Brooks reeled off a 33-yard touchdown run to put the final nail in the coffin in an all-time victory in one of college football’s most storied rivalry.
But before it could all come down to the huge run from Brooks, who finished the day with 217 yards, OU head coach Lincoln Riley had to make a gutsy decision.
Williams first made his presence felt with his legs, breaking off a 66-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-short play early in the second quarter. But Rattler still came out with the OU offense for the next drive.
Later in the second quarter, however, Rattler committed his second turnover of the first half and Riley made the switch OU fans have been clamoring for. He benched Rattler, the preseason betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy, in favor of the prized freshman.
Williams led a field goal drive before halftime and then remained in with the offense when the second half began. Texas had built up a commanding lead, but the offense sputtered in the second half.
The Longhorns tacked on a field goal with 2:45 remaining in the third to extend their lead to 41-23. That’s when Williams’ magic was just beginning.
On the ensuing drive, Williams connected with Marvin Mims for a 13-yard score, cutting the UT lead to 41-30. The connection between Williams and Mims would be heard again in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma would settle for a field goal on its next drive before Williams pulled a rabbit out of his hat, delivering a 52-yard bomb to Mims. Mims somehow got a foot in bounds, the Sooners tacked on a two-point conversion and the score was now tied at 41-41.
Texas fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Brooks scored on the next play to give Oklahoma its first lead of the day. Texas would tie it, but Williams and Brooks would make the final play and leave the Cotton Bowl with the win.