In a Red River Showdown for the ages, the Oklahoma Sooners were treated to a rare Heisman Trophy moment from their quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Down three points with just over a minute left, all eyes turned to Gabriel and the Sooners offense. And they didn’t disappoint.
Gabriel and the Sooners defeated Texas, 34-30, behind Gabriel’s legs and arm in a true Heisman moment.
Dillon Gabriel Delivers Heisman Moment, Wins Red River Showdown
The race for the Heisman Trophy is far from over. And Heisman Trophies aren’t won in October. But, it need be said, Gabriel is one of but a handful of players that have had a true Heisman moment so far in 2023.
Down three points and with his defense clearly tired, Gabriel took the field from his own 25 and 1:11 left on the clock.
With no timeouts, Gabriel orchestrated a brilliant drive that showcased everything you’d want in a Heisman Trophy winner. He hit Drake Stoops on the first play for 11 yards, moving the chains and using their tempo, hit Jalil Farooq on the sidelines from the opposite hash to stop the clock.
In the blink of an eye and with two Gabriel throws, the Sooners gained 27 yards and stopped the clock.
Then, Gabriel’s legs were again the difference.
With the pocket collapsing on the very next play, Gabriel stepped up in the pocket, bought time, influenced the second-level defenders for Texas to bite up, and hit Stoops, who was wide open, behind the Longhorns’ linebackers for a 28-yard gain.
Even with a lack of timeouts, Gabriel calmly walked his team to the ball following a big play and spotted one-on-one coverage on the outside to his dominant left-hand portion of the field. Targeting that, he threw it to where only his receiver could make a play, encouraging contact from the defensive back, drawing the defensive pass interference penalty.
Understanding the situation of the game, Gabriel then broke contain on the next play and gained three yards on a scramble drill, not forcing a red-zone throw and keeping possession. With :15 left on the clock, Gabriel then clinched his Heisman moment.
Again, with the pocket collapsing on him, Gabriel calmly stepped up, stood tall in the pocket, extended with his legs, and nearly left his feet to drop an accurate pass behind the last line of Texas defense for the game-winning touchdown.
Gabriel’s Heisman moment was capped when the Oklahoma defense kept a Hail Mary attempt out of the end zone and the Sooners defeated the Longhorns, 34-30, in the Red River Showdown.
Gabriel Throws for 285, Rushes for 113 in Win Over Texas
The final result in hand, Gabriel’s final stat line indicates just how he got it done against Texas.
Gabriel threw for 285 yards and a touchdown while running for another 113 yards and an additional score. It doesn’t add up to his career-best in either metric, but given the situation and circumstances around this rivalry, along with the nation’s eyes on Dallas, Texas for this contest, it was arguably his finest performance of his career.
Prior to this weekend’s action, CFN stated Gabriel had a legitimate chance to be in New York with the rest of the Heisman Trophy candidates come the end of the season.
Gabriel’s performance against Texas all but guarantees him a spot in New York as a Heisman finalist.