No turning back, Caleb Williams should start for the Oklahoma Sooners moving forward
No turning back, Caleb Williams should start for the Oklahoma Sooners moving forward.
After a poor start that saw the Oklahoma Sooners go down 28-7 against the Texas Longhorns, the Sooners clawed their way back to a 28-17 disadvantage and had first-and-ten at the Texas 44.
The Sooners had an opportunity to pull the Red River Showdown back to a one-score game with about eight minutes left in the second quarter.
Spencer Rattler stepped back to throw, attempting to avoid pressure,
but the ball was taken away on contact, resulting in his second turnover of the day.
The Longhorns ran three plays and 55 yards on their next possession,
which was completed by another Casey Thompson score, extending the advantage to 18 points.
Lincoln Riley then went to Caleb Williams, his true freshman quarterback, and never looked back.
After the Longhorns’ touchdown, Williams led the Sooners on a field goal drive to make it 35-20,
and the Sooners defense kept Texas to a field goal to make the halftime score 38-20.
Williams really got to work in the second half.
Following a punt to open the second half, Williams and the Sooners scored on six of their last seven possessions for 35 points in the second half.
Williams supplied the spark that propelled the Oklahoma Sooners back into the game with composure and playmaking.
Williams finished 10 of 14 for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
As important as his stat line was, his presence gave the Oklahoma Sooners a much-needed boost in their dramatic comeback victory.
Williams’ constant running threat gave the Texas Longhorns something else to worry about,
and his willingness to let his receivers make plays was the difference in the game.
Throws down the field to Marvin Mims, one of which was a touchdown,
transformed the Oklahoma Sooners attack and provided them a big-play element they didn’t have in 2021.
Williams’ running threat also relieved some of the burdens on a running game that had been solid but inefficient before the rookie arrived.
Because the Longhorns had to focus on Williams, Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray had a lot more space to run,
and the Oklahoma Sooners offensive line had a lot more time to build their blocks because Williams kept the defenders at the mesh point.
Brooks ran the ball 15 times for 161 yards and two scores in the second half with Williams at quarterback.
In the first half, Brooks had 62 yards on 12 carries, a huge difference.
With Williams in the game, the Oklahoma Sooners seemed to be a different team.
The Sooners were more confident and successful as they recovered first-half deficits of 21 and 18 points to win one of the greatest games in the 117 meetings between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.
Riley has no choice but to keep riding Williams at this point.
In the dramatic Red River Showdown victory against the Longhorns, his skill was on full show.
As he led the Sooners to one of the greatest comebacks in school history,
he displayed composure, leadership, and decision-making skills well above his years.
Rattler has been a standout performer for the Oklahoma Sooners.
That’s the truth, no matter how up and down the 2021 season has been.
At the same time, with Williams at quarterback, the Oklahoma Sooners in 2021 are a superior team.
If winning a national title is the ultimate objective, Williams offers this squad the greatest opportunity.
Williams should continue to start against TCU next week if the team wants to keep moving upward.
Riley and the Sooners’ offensive coaching staff can’t turn back now that the change has been made and the team has enjoyed a lot of success with Williams at quarterback.
For the rest of the 2021 season, Williams should be the Sooners’ starting quarterback.