ARLINGTON — The No. 7 Texas Longhorns dominated the 18th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys 49-21 to capture their fourth Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship in front of a record-setting 84,523 crowd at AT&T Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers and the Longhorns put on an electric show for the College Football Playoff to behold as he completed 35 of 46 passes for a Big 12 Championship record 452 yards and record-tying four touchdowns. The previous Big 12 title high was Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford with 384 in the 2008 contest against Missouri. With 35 completions, Ewers also topped Bradford’s for most completions (34 in 2008).
“We can win a game in any three phases, whether it’s defense or special teams or the offense making plays,” Ewers said. “Today I think we came out here and showed that we are capable of doing all three and coming together as one.”
Ewers was named the Big 12 Championship game’s Most Outstanding Player.
Wide receivers Ja’Tavion Sanders and Adonai Mitchell both eclipsed the 100-yard mark while Xavier Worthy had six catches for 86 yards prior to suffering an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. Ewers also had a 2-yd TD pass to 362-pound defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat.
While the Texas offense’s prowess was the big story of the game, the Longhorns’ defense was also dominant in shutting down Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Ollie Gordon II. Texas held the nation’s leading rusher to 34 yards on 13 carries.
Arch Manning took a knee in victory formation on the Longhorns’ final snap in the Big 12 Conference and afterwards flipped the football to running back Jonathon Brooks, who was able to take the field for the game’s last play in a class move by Sarkisian. Brooks tore his ACL against the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth in November and is out for the season.
“Jonathon meant a great deal to us. We would not be here today without Jonathon Brooks ,” Sarkisian said. “I said when we win Saturday, Jonathon is going to be out there with us and he’s going to register a snap that he was part of a Big 12 Championship game. It was a great moment. He’s earned it. He deserves it.”
The Longhorns’ 12-1 record was their best showing in head coach Steve Sarkisian’s three-year tenure that has shown improvement every season. Texas’ only loss on the season was a 34-30 setback against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
The Longhorns concluded their farewell tour of their 28-year run in the Big 12 by capturing their first conference championship since 2009 on their way to joining the SEC next season. The 2009 title game featured a last second field goal to top the Nebraska Cornhuskers 13-12 en route to Texas’ berth in the BCS Championship game.
Texas’ victory bookmarks the Longhorns’ Big 12 Conference era with beginning and ending championship titles. The Longhorns also won the inaugural Big 12 title game with a 37-27 win over Nebraska with that game being contested in St. Louis.
The Big 12 champion Texas Longhorns will learn their College Football Playoff fate on Sunday morning at 11 am CT on ESPN when the committee unveils the four teams that have been selected.