Texas dominates Oklahoma State to capture Big 12 title
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Quinn Ewers set a career high by throwing for 452 yards with four touchdowns, one of those to 362-pound defensive tackle T'Vondre Sweat, and the seventh-ranked Texas Longhorns bid farewell to the Big 12 with a 49-21 win over No. 19 Oklahoma State in the conference championship game Saturday.
The Southeastern Conference-bound Longhorns (12-1, No. 7 CFP) will leave the Big 12 with bookend titles, and four overall. They also won it in the league's inaugural 1996 season, in 2005 when they were last national champs and in 2009 before playing in the BCS national championship game.
Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, who before the season when addressing a crowd of Texas Tech supporters publicly rooted against the departing Longhorns, was booed heartily by Texas fans who also chanted “S-E-C!, S-E-C!” during the trophy presentation.
"It's all good, it's all good,” Yormark said with a smile at one point as third-year Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian waved both of his arms trying to quiet the jeers.
“An incredible season by the Texas Longhorns. You guys with today’s dominating performance deserve a ticket to the CFP for sure,” the commissioner said, then adding it was an honor to present the trophy to Sarkisian and his team.
Keilan Robinson tiptoed the sideline on a 57-yard run for the first of his two touchdowns in the second half as the Longhorns, the only team to beat Alabama entering Saturday, stayed in playoff contention with its final Big 12 trophy. However, they need a lot of help to make the four-team College Football Playoff field that will be revealed Sunday, a year before it expands to 12 teams.
With national rushing leader Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State (9-4, No. 18 CFP) had won seven of eight games to get to its second Big 12 title game in three years. But Texas scored on its first four possessions, going ahead 28-7 on true freshman CJ Baxter's 10-yard run early in the second quarter.
Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman, who previously played at Texas Tech and Michigan, was 22-of-38 passing for 250 yards with two of his three touchdowns going to Rashod Owens.
Gordon came in averaging 137.1 yards per game overall — and 163 in conference games. The sophomore finished with only 34 yards on 13 carries against Sweat and the Big 12's top rushing defense, which allowed only 85 yards on the ground during the regular season.
Ewers completed 35 of 46 passes and his touchdowns went to four different receivers, the biggest one being the finalist for the Outland Trophy that goes to the nation's top lineman, offense or defense.
Sweat lined up as a tight end from the Cowboys 2, and no defender followed him into the end zone, where the senior corralled the pass from Ewers in his belly for his first career catch, struck a Heisman Trophy pose and went on to a raucous celebration on the Texas sideline with the Longhorns up 21-7 late in the first quarter.
Ewers' first two touchdown were a 10-yarder to Adonai Mitchell and a 24-yarder to Ja'Tavion Sanders. Mitchell finished with six catches for 109 yards, and Sanders had eight grabs for 105 yards. Ewers was named the game's most outstanding player and was presented a custom-made title belt from WWE star The Undertaker.
“My job is really just to get the ball to the playmakers and let them do the rest," Ewers said.
When Ewers got the wind knocked out of him and had to leave the field for one play late in the third quarter, he was replaced by Maalik Murphy instead of Arch Manning, the heralded recruit who a week earlier made his debut in a 50-point win over Texas Tech. Murphy and Manning both took snaps on the final drive for Texas over the final 6 1/2 minutes against Oklahoma State.
Texas kicker Bert Auburn's Big 12-record streak of 19 consecutive made field goals ended when he missed a 44-yard attempt in the final minute of the first half. ... The announced attendance of 84,523 was a record for the Big 12 championship game that was played for the 22nd time, the last nine at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, where it will remain until at least 2031.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll