Spencer Rattler Benched for Caleb Williams in 1st Half of Oklahoma vs. Texas

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 9, 2021

DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 09: Spencer Rattler #7 of the Oklahoma Sooners warms up before the game against the Texas Longhorns during the 2021 AT&T Red River Showdown at Cotton Bowl on October 09, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley benched starting quarterback Spencer Rattler in favor of true freshman Caleb Williams during the second quarter of Saturday's Red River Rivalry game against Texas.

The move was made after a Rattler lost fumble helped the Longhorns extend their lead to 35-17 with a touchdown.

Prior to getting lifted from the game, Rattler was just 8-of-15 for 111 yards with an interception as well as the lost fumble.

The Sooners are the No. 6 team in the nation with a 5-0 record, but Rattler has been under fire throughout the campaign.

Four of their wins were by seven points or less, and none were against ranked opponents. Oklahoma beat Tulane by only five points in its opener and scored a six-point win at Kansas State last week.

Two weeks ago, Sooners fans made their desire for Williams to play clear, as they chanted for him while Rattler struggled in a 16-13 home win over West Virginia.

Despite all that, Rattler's numbers looked good, as he completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 1,260 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions to go along with 95 yards and two scores on the ground.

Still, the Sooners offense had a different energy with Williams on the field Saturday, and that was apparent even before he took over.

With OU trailing Texas 28-7 in the second quarter, Williams seized some momentum with a 66-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-1:

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Rattler led the Sooners to a field goal on their next drive, but then he fumbled, and Riley went in a different direction.

Williams, who starred at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., was a highly touted recruit.

Per 247Sports, Williams was the No. 7 player and No. 2 quarterback in the 2021 class, making him an instant threat to Rattler.

With Riley at the helm, Oklahoma has grown accustomed to elite quarterback play from Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts in recent years, and it simply wasn't getting that out of Rattler on Saturday.

Now, the focus will shift toward whether Riley will consider making Williams the full-time starter.