Sellout’s rapid reaction to Oklahoma’s 34-30 win over Texas

Sellout’s rapid reaction to Oklahoma’s 34-30 win over Texas

Dillon Gabriel becomes an all-time Sooner hero with game-winning drive.

Mike Sherman

By Mike Sherman

| Oct 7, 2023, 3:03pm CDT

Mike Sherman

By Mike Sherman

Oct 7, 2023, 3:03pm CDT

(Editor’s note: Sellout Crowd’s coverage of the Oklahoma-Texas game in Dallas is Sponsored by Modelo – The Official Beer of Fans with the Fighting Spirit (https://www.modelousa.com))

DALLAS — Here’s the Sellout Crowd’s rapid reaction to Oklahoma’s 34-30 victory over Texas Saturday in the Cotton Bowl:

Gabriel becomes an all-time hero

Berry Tramel: Dillon Gabriel was a decoy in the 2022 Red River. On the field in warmups, on the sideline in the first half, in the pressbox in the second half of a disastrous day.

But Gabriel became an all-time Sooner hero in the 2023 Red River. Gabriel, already quite the playmaker on a wild Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, put his name into OU lore. Gabriel, after rushing for 113 yards to keep the Sooner offense moving much of the day, took the Sooners on a go-ahead, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by his 6-yard touchdown pass to Nic Anderson with 15 seconds left in what became a 34-30 OU win.

Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Caleb Williams. All great quarterbacks, all great OU-Texas memories. But none led a drive like this from Gabriel, the little lefty from Honolulu. Every Sooner should don a lei on this Saturday night, in honor of Gabriel. He was gutty and effective and dramatic.

Put him in the Heisman race. But doesn’t matter whether he gets a vote or not. He won the biggest trophy of all. Adoration by a fan base mortified by a 49-0 loss a year ago that went home exhilarated by Gabriel.

A long way from Oct. 8, 2022, and 49-0

Eli Lederman: Don’t tell the 46,000 or so OU fans inside the Cotton Bowl Saturday … the biggest story out of the 2023 edition of the Red River Rivalry wasn’t the outcome.

The Sooners’ 34-30 win at the Cotton Bowl is seismic. What it signals about OU’s growth from 2022 to 2023 is even bigger. 

Last fall, Venables and Co. limped out of the Cotton Bowl after 49-0 smackdown. The Sooners didn’t have a capable quarterback that day. The Longhorns could have hung a whole lot more on a disjointed OU defense that trailed 28-0 at halftime.

A lot can change in a year.

On Saturday, Gabriel delivered a gutsy Red River debut and the Sooners tapped Texas’ defense for more points than any other opponent this season. On defense, OU forced turnovers, got after Quinn Ewers and matched the Longhorns at the line of scrimmage when it mattered.

Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days after 49-0, the Sooners took it to a bonafide College Football Playoff contender and likely the best Texas team since 2009 and came out on top. 

The win on the verge of the Sooners’ Week 7 bye entirely changes the conversation around the back half of OU’s season; the College Football Playoff conversation is now a conversation.

Saturday’s had massive implications on 2023. But don’t miss what the biggest win of Venables’ career as a head coach says about the Sooners’ broader trajectory. 

Another Red River classic

Jenni CarlsonTalk about some Saturday entertainment.

Just what OU-Texas should be.

A blowout like last year’s game should be the anomaly in this series, and thankfully, this year’s Red River Rivalry wasn’t just close. It wasn’t just interesting. It was another classic. 

It wasn’t as crazy as the game two years ago, but then, we may all see thousands more football games in our lives and never see another game like that. That shouldn’t be the standard. 

What we saw Saturday?

Count it among the OU-Texas classics. 

Neither team led by more than 10 points, but a vast majority of the game, the Sooners and Longhorns were within one score of each other. And of course, you know about the end. A Texas field goal with a little more than a minute remaining gave the Horns a three-point lead. Then with no timeouts, OU drove 75 yards in just over a minute to score the game-winning touchdown.

What a game. What a classic. What a rivalry.

Gabriel makes the difference

Ed Murray:  I’m exhausted! Another classic to join so many others in this fantastic rivalry. The first quarter may be the most exhilarating, unbelievable 15 minutes of football I have watched in 40+ years of covering college football. And the last 3 quarters were one whale of a game.

What a difference a year makes! What a difference Dillon Gabriel makes. Playing outstanding football all day, he saved his best for last; an amazing drive in the game’s closing minute. Down 3, he marched the team down the field, capping the 75-yard drive with 15 seconds remaining with a TD pass to Nic Anderson.

But it may be the defense that is talked about first for decades to come. A defense that intercepted two of Quinn Ewers’ first six passes, one on the game’s second play, announced the Sooners defense had come to play.

All that may not have mattered though, if the defense had not stopped Texas 4 times from the one early in the 4th quarter. A goal-line stand that now has its place among the classic lore of this classic match-up! What a game!!! And what a victory for this program!!!

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Mike Sherman is the director of content for Sellout Crowd. He spent the majority of his 39 years in journalism at The Oklahoman, first as a sportswriter and then as the sports editor. His staff routinely produced award-winning coverage of the Sooners, Cowboys, Thunder, high school sports and major events. Mike is a past president of the Associated Press Sports Editors. His career includes tenures as the sports editor with the Tampa Bay Times and Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch, an assistant city editor with The Tennessean in Nashville and a reporter for the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa. More recently, he spent three years as executive editor for Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit investigative news organization in Oklahoma City. Mike and his wife, Cathleen, live in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they raised four children. Email Mike at mikesherman@selloutcrowd. Follow him at @MikeSherman on X/Twitter.

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