ARLINGTON — The Texas Longhorns football team is leaving the Big 12 as a champion after earning a dominant 49-21 win over Oklahoma State in the 2023 Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday.
The Longhorns, who have won four Big 12 Championships, including the conference’s inaugural season in 1996, added an impressive win to their resume behind an electric offensive performance as they fought for a potential College Football Playoff berth.
“We just played a fantastic game, and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys and more happy for them, and couldn’t be more happy for a Longhorn Nation,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian told the media postgame. “It’s been a long time coming. I know everybody’s been starving for this championship, and so to get it in our final game in the Big 12, I hope everybody enjoys this as much as we do.”
Texas’ offense came out on a mission, scoring five touchdowns in the first half, while Oklahoma State struggled to move the ball early. Quarterback Quinn Ewers led the way, completing 16 of his first 17 passes and throwing three touchdown passes in the first quarter to atone for a disastrous performance against the Cowboys last season.
After a punt gave the Longhorns a short field, Ewers helped the team score quickly as he connected with wide receiver Adonai Mitchell to take a 7-0 lead. The Texas defense came up with another stop, and a 54-yard pass from Ewers to Xavier Worthy helped set up a trick play that ended with a Ja’Tavion Sanders touchdown grab.
Oklahoma State responded with a rare touchdown drive, converting on a third-and-goal with a touchdown pass from Alan Bowman to Brennan Presley. However, the Cowboys’ defense continued to struggle against the Longhorns’ offense, which put up 422 yards in the first half, as they dove back into their bag of tricks and Ewers completed a pass to defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat for a touchdown.
The Cowboys added another touchdown after intercepting Ewers, but Texas’ passing game continued to rule the day as it built a 35-14 lead for the Longhorns at halftime.
The beginning of the third quarter was a little more competitive until Texas’ Keilan Robinson ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run to put the Longhorns up 42-14. He added to the lead with another touchdown run early in the fourth, and the Longhorns rolled to victory.
Ewers finished the day with a Big 12 Championship record of 452 passing yards with four touchdown passes and one interception thrown, while Sanders and Mitchell both had more than 100 receiving yards and scored touchdowns. Robinson led the Longhorns in rushing with 75 yards and two touchdowns.
Bowman led Oklahoma State with 250 passing yards and three touchdown passes. He also threw an interception. Pressley and Owens combined to score all three touchdowns for the Cowboys.
WHAT TO KNOW
— Texas blew out Oklahoma State 49-21 in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, delivering one final blow to the conference as it walks out the door to the SEC next season.
— The Longhorns snapped a two-game losing streak to the Cowboys and won their fourth Big 12 Championship. It was their first conference championship since 2009.
— With the win, Texas may be in a position to crack the top four and reach the College Football Playoff for the first time.
— Texas now leads the series against Oklahoma State 27-11 and is 3-0 in neutral site games.
— Ewers was voted the game’s MVP.
BY THE NUMBERS
— Texas’ 422 yards in the first half was its most all season. The Longhorns outgained the Cowboys 662-281.
— The teams combined for 49 points in the first half, breaking the previous record set by Texas and Colorado in 2001.
— The Texas defense held the nation’s leading rusher, Euless Trinity High School alum Ollie Gordon II, to 34 yards on 13 carries (2.6 yards per carry) as Oklahoma State was forced to turn to its passing game.
— Ewers’ 452 passing yards broke the Big 12 title game record set by Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford against Missouri in 2008.
— Some 84,523 fans attended the game, also breaking a Big 12 Championship record set during Texas and Oklahoma’s 2018 battle.
— Sarkisian on Texas’ playoff chances: “Hopefully, when people kind of look at the totality of the body of work, it’s not just about the record, it’s about the quality of the team. I think that the intent of the College Football Playoff is putting the four best teams in that playoff. Do we think we’re one of those four? Sure we do, but this isn’t a vote, and we don’t all get to go to the election booth and vote. So it’s in their hands. All we can do is, like we told the players, control what we can control, which was playing the best football that we could, and I thought we did that today.”
— Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark on Texas’ legacy in the Big 12: “Big part of the history of who we are, not just today, but also in the future, and just to put it behind us, I love the Texas team. I’m great friends with the coach, the president, [and] the AD. I wish them all well today, and as I said at Media Day, they are a big part of the history of this conference and always will be, so it’s a nice way to finish your time here being at the championship game, and I wish them all well this morning.”
— Both teams await invitations to bowl games. Texas (12-1, 8-1 in the Big 12) has a chance to be one of the four teams selected for the College Football Playoff when the matchups are announced on Sunday.