The regular season is in the books, and it is now on to conference championship weekend. While there are other championship games around the country, the Big 12 Championship Game is, of course, my personal favorite. There was plenty of action to unpack in the sea of orange inside AT&T Stadium. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Big 12 Championship Game, which Texas won 49-21.
It’s not often you get to witness a record-breaking performance, but we got to see one on Saturday here in Arlington. Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers put on a clinic as he threw for 452 yards and four touchdowns against Oklahoma State. His 452 passing yards were the most in Big 12 Championship Game history and he also tied the record for touchdown passes. Of course, he ended up taking home the WWE Big 12 MVP Belt for his unforgettable performance.
While Ewers was carving up Oklahoma State through the air, the Longhorns had a solid day on the ground as well. Texas had nearly 200 yards and averaged five yards per carry as they held the ball for over 40 minutes. I also must give credit to Steve Sarkisian for calling a great game as well. To rack up 662 yards of offense in a conference championship game is impressive. And how about getting to see Big 12 defensive player of the year T’Vondre Sweat score a touchdown? I didn’t see that coming.
As good as the offense was for Texas, the defense played a great game too. They held Oklahoma State to just 21 points and gave up less than 285 total yards. Texas only gave up three first-down attempts the entire game and was able to force a pair of turnovers. I know this defense has a ton of premier talent, but to be as consistent as they are is tough to do. They don’t just beat opponents, they dominate them.
The Streak is Over
It’s been 14 years since the Texas Longhorns raised the Big 12 championship trophy. In this very building back in 2009, Colt McCoy and his team got the extra second they needed to kick a last-second field goal to beat Nebraska. As great as that moment was for Texas fans, the 13 years after that haven’t been as pleasant.
Since that memorable moment back in 2009, Texas has had four different head coaches and has had three seasons where they didn’t even make a bowl game. Heck, they have only had one ten-win season since then before this year.
But all the negative talk is over. Texas finally backed up their hype and won a Big 12 championship. Sure, it took look enough, but this team deserves it. They are balanced on both sides of the ball and truly look like what a good Texas football should look like. And to win this conference title in their final year in the Big 12 is going to be something the Texas faithful will remember for years to come.
Forget about separating the offense or defense here. Oklahoma State did not play their best football on Saturday on either side of the ball. The defense couldn’t stop Texas at all. Texas scored on nearly 65% of their drives. If not for a turnover, Oklahoma State’s defense wouldn’t have gotten a single stop against Texas in the first half.
The Cowboys’ defense was torched through the air for 464 yards and gave up over 650 yards of offense. Due to the lack of stops, the offense had no chance of keeping up with Texas. And because of that, it took the Big 12 offensive player of the year (running back Ollie Gordon III) out of the game essentially.
Simply put, Texas was on a different level than Oklahoma State. That is no disrespect to the Cowboys who have had an incredible ride to get here but nobody thought they were going to knock off the Longhorns.
The Trophy Presentation
I know that Texas fans don’t like the Big 12 Conference. They want to be out of the Big 12 and move on to the SEC as soon as humanly possible. And speaking of the SEC, we heard plenty of those chants too.
When I saw Commissioner Yormark present the trophy to Texas, I could hear the boos from a mile away. I honestly felt bad for the guy when he was up there. I guess he now knows how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell feels because everyone boos him too. By no means am I upset with Texas fans here. I thought it was funny. However, I could have done without the SEC chants, but I understand why they did it.