DALLAS (CNN) —The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners overcame a shaky second half to down the Texas Longhorns 29-24 in Saturday’s Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield helped lead the Sooners to their second straight Golden Hat by completing 17 of 27 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Oklahoma’s ground game, spearheaded by 96 yards on 20 carries from Trey Sermon, combined for 174 yards even with Abdul Adams out due to an ankle injury.
While the Sooners came out on top, for the third straight week they couldn’t put away their opponent despite mounting a big lead early.
That was a problem three weeks ago when Oklahoma nearly coughed up a 28-10 lead in a nail-biter against Baylor, and it was an even bigger one last week when a 17-3 edge over Iowa State evaporated as the Cyclones rebounded to pull off a 38-31 stunner on the Sooners’ turf.
The narrative didn’t change Saturday despite the Sooners’ victorious effort.
Although Oklahoma took a 17-0 lead in the second quarter while Mayfield was firing on all cylinders, head coach Lincoln Riley’s attack stalled for big swaths of the second half. That allowed Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger to bring the Longhorns all the way back and take a 24-23 lead with 8:01 remaining in the fourth quarter on the back of his eight-yard touchdown run and a Joshua Rowland extra point.
But in true Red River Showdown fashion, Mayfield had a response ready and connected with tight end Mark Andrews on a 59-yard touchdown pass to put the Sooners back in front.
The Longhorns had quality chances to grab the win late, but a 12-play drive stalled out at the Sooners’ 34-yard line before their last gasp-effort with no timeouts fell short since it started in the shadow of their own goalpost.
Despite the loss, Ehlinger was deserving of praise.
Playing on his biggest stage yet, the true freshman went 19-of-39 for 278 yards and one touchdown. He also had 22 carries for 106 yards and a score.
The defeat will sting, especially considering the Longhorns led midway through the final frame, but Ehlinger’s development into a dual-threat stud who can pressure defenses from a multitude of angles has the program trending in the right direction.
Texas will get another crack at a ranked opponent next week when it hosts the No. 14 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Sooners, having dodged consecutive losses, will attempt to string together back-to-back wins when they clash with the Kansas State Wildcats in Week 8.