For the third straight game, the Oklahoma Sooners couldn’t hold a fourth-quarter lead.
The good news is that this time, they’ll have an extra period to right their mistakes.
After leading 31-17 with under four minutes to play, Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns rallied to draw even with Spencer Rattler and the Sooners in the final seconds. Here’s how it happened.
The Sooners began the fourth stanza with first down from their own 41-yard line, but two consecutive receptions by Theo Wease netted five yards in the wrong direction. Rattler’s third-down pass to Wease fell incomplete, and Oklahoma punted.
Texas couldn’t capitalize, as Delarrin Turner-Yell buried a scrambling Sam Ehlinger on third-and-12 to end the Longhorns’ drive after just five plays. However, Ryan Bujcevski masterfully pinned the Sooners inside the 5-yard line for the third time on the day, as his 60-yard punt came to a rest at the Oklahoma 2.
Three straight T.J. Pledger carries moved the ball out to the 30-yard line, where Rattler kept the ball on the read option and scampered for 23 yards of his own. With the Longhorns’ defense demoralized and clearly losing the battle up front, Lincoln Riley kept the ball on the ground. However, Texas stuffed Marcus Major for no gain on second-and-3, then sacked Rattler to bring up a fourth down in no-man’s-land. Kasey Kelleher downed Reeves Mundschau‘s punt at the Texas 10-yard line with 7:02 to play.
On the Longhorns’ first set of downs, Ehlinger appeared to convert a third-and-4 on a scramble, but after replay review, officials ruled he was short of the line to gain. He kept the ball to move the chains on fourth-and-inches. Ehlinger hit Bijan Robinson for a long gain into Oklahoma territory, and two plays later, the Longhorns were knocking on the door of the red zone. But Ehlinger tried to force the ball to Joshua Moore in the end zone, and Woodi Washington stepped in front of the pass. The redshirt freshman rose up to nab his first career interception, and the celebration began on the Oklahoma sideline.
Oklahoma went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but forced the Longhorns to burn all three of their timeouts. Texas regained possession at midfield after a Mundschau punt with 4:38 on the clock and a 14-point deficit. On second-and-5, Ehlinger took another shot downfield to Moore, but Jaden Davis deflected the pass. Ehlinger scrambled for 22 yards on the next snap to set the Longhorns up at the Oklahoma 23-yard line, and the Sooners then shot themselves in the foot with a couple of untimely penalties. Nik Bonitto drew a flag for a neutral zone infraction, and Davis was called for a hold. Ehlinger cashed in, tossing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Moore and capping a drive that took just 70 seconds.
With no timeouts and 3:28 remaining, Tom Herman elected to try an onside kick, but Cameron Dicker connected a bit too firmly. The ball ricocheted off Austin Stogner‘s outstretched hand and out of bounds at the Oklahoma 46.
Rattler’s streaky day nearly took another turn for the worse on first down, as he fumbled an option keeper. However, Oklahoma averted disaster, as Jeremiah Hall emerged from the pile with the ball. T.J. Pledger gained four yards back on second down, but Stogner dropped a third-down pass from Rattler that would have moved the chains. Mundschau’s third punt of the quarter gave Texas the ball on their own 16 with less than two minutes to play.
Ehlinger misfired on a first-down pass, but Patrick Fields drew a holding penalty. On the next snap, Ehlinger broke containment and rambled for 17 yards to the Texas 43. His next throw was a dime to Brennan Eagles for 17 more, giving the Horns a fresh set of downs at the Oklahoma 40-yard line.
After an incompletion, Ehlinger again escaped the pocket for 10 yards and a first down. After an Oklahoma timeout, a holding penalty marched the Longhorns back to the 40. But Ehlinger found Moore again, this time for 19 yards to set up a second-and-1 at the 21. Keaontay Ingram ran for four yards and a first down, but Ehlinger followed by missing Moore in the end zone.
The next play proved pivotal, as Patrick Fields drew yet another yellow flag in coverage. He got a little too much of Kai Money‘s jersey, and the pass interference call moved the ball to the Oklahoma 2-yard line with 18 seconds remaining. Given new life, Ehlinger then hit Ingram on a wheel route for the tying score.
Oklahoma then took a knee to send the game to overtime.
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