Ewers throws 4 TDs as Texas wins Big 12, routs Oklahoma State

Published 10:04 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Quinn Ewers and the Texas Longhorns are leaving the Big 12 with bookend championships and still hoping for a chance at the College Football Playoff. As for their fans, it was good riddance to the commissioner they felt was rooting against them.

Longhorns fans heartily booed and chanted “S-E-C!, S-E-C!” while Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark addressed the crowd before presenting the championship trophy to their team. Ewers set a career high by throwing for 452 yards with four touchdowns, one of those to 362-pound defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat, as seventh-ranked Texas won 49-21 over No. 19 Oklahoma State on Saturday.

It was the fourth Big 12 title for the Longhorns (12-1, No. 7 CFP), and their first since 2009. They also won the championship game in the league’s inaugural 1996 season and in 2005 when they were last national champs.

Email newsletter signup

“I know it’s been a long time coming. Everybody’s been starving for this championship,” third-year Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “To get it in our final game in the Big 12, I hope everybody enjoys it as much as we do.”

At one point during the postgame presentation, Sarkisian waved both of his arms trying to quiet the jeers toward Yormark, who before the season when addressing a crowd of Texas Tech supporters publicly rooted against the Longhorns, who are going with Oklahoma to the SEC next season.

“It’s all good, it’s all good,” Yormark said with a smile.

“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, 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 Texas, the only team that has beaten SEC champion Alabama this season, stayed in playoff contention with its final Big 12 trophy. However, they need a lot of help to make the four-team CFP field that will be revealed Sunday, a year before it expands to 12 teams.

“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.” Sarkisian said. “It’s in their hands. … Like we told the players, control what we can control, now let’s play the best football we could. And I thought we did that today and hopefully put in their minds what would it look like if Texas was in a four-team playoff.”

Behind 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 per game 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. Texas had a season-high 662 total yards, while holding the Cowboys to 281.

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 do a raucous celebration on the Texas sideline with the Longhorns up 21-7 late in the first quarter.

Ewers’ first two touchdowns 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.