Dede Westbrook had three touchdown catches longer than 40 yards while setting an Oklahoma single-game record with 232 yards receiving, and the No. 20 Sooners held on for a 45-40 victory over Texas in the Red River rivalry on Saturday.
Samaje Perine added 214 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 35 carries for the Sooners (3-2, 2-0 Big 12), who rolled up 672 total yards against Longhorn coach Charlie Strong’s beleaguered defense.
Texas (2-3, 0-2) led after two long TD passes by freshman quarterback Shane Buechele in the first 4 1 / 2 minutes after halftime. But Oklahoma went ahead for good when Baker Mayfield’s 4-yard TD run, right after his 51-yard completion to Dahu Green, made it 28-27.
“It’s special to me, very special,” said Mayfield, who grew up in the Austin area. “I’ve been waiting a long time to actually come away with a win against these guys.”
Mayfield was 22-of-31 passing for 390 yards and easily made up for two early interceptions with the three TDs to Westbrook .
“He’s got track-type speed, so that’s why I going to throw to him,” Mayfield said of Westbrook, who had TDs of 71, 42 and 47 yards.
After D’onta Foreman’s 22-yard TD run with 1:45 left, Texas almost got a huge break when Mayfield fumbled the ball while being sacked on third down with a minute to go. But big right tackle Bobby Evans recovered, and the Sooners then punted.
The game ended after a wild play, with the Longhorns completing several laterals and going forward at least 20 yards before eventually losing 9 – after a final declined penalty for an illegal forward pass.
Strong’s message to his defense is to make opposing teams have to drive the ball. Oklahoma had four long TD drives of no more than four plays.
“You just look at the plays we gave up,” Strong said. “You can’t give up home runs thrown over your head.”
Foreman finished with 159 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Oklahoma: While far from perfect (four turnovers that Texas turned into only 3 points), the Sooners are off to a good start in their pursuit of a 10th Big 12 title. The Sooners are also on the way to overcoming the disappointment of those two early non-conference losses that quickly eliminated any realistic chance of returning to the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row. Mayfield and Westbrook have developed quite a connection (five touchdowns, all of at least 40 yards, in two Big 12 games).
Texas: A loss increases the heat on Strong, who is now calling the defensive plays. The Longhorns have given up more than 40 points in four games this season, and now have allowed more than 500 yards in three consecutive games. But the Longhorns need to keep taking shots down the field with Buechele, who had TD passes of 63 yards (to Devin Duvernay) and 45 yards (to Dorian Leonard) in the second half.
A more lopsided score for Oklahoma probably would have caught the attention of more voters, especially those who might not have tuned into for the less than must-see Red River game matching 2-2 teams. If not for all the miscues, the Sooners likely would have had a bigger margin. They may jump a spot or two, but are still a long way from the No. 3 spot they had to start the season.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are home next Saturday for another 11 a.m. kickoff, against Kansas State.
Texas: The Longhorns are home for the first time since Sept. 10 when they host Iowa State next Saturday.