DALLAS, TX – It is said that the road to success isn’t easy, but the end result will be worth it.
No team knows that more than the no. 5 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1), who overcame a strong showing from the no. 14 Texas Longhorns (9-4) to win their fourth straight Big 12 football championship, a 39-27 victory at AT&T Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Kyler Murray, one of the top Heisman Trophy contenders, was the MVP for Oklahoma today as he threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger was no slouch, either, going 23-of-36 for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two as well.
Oklahoma had the most to lose going into the game, as their one loss of the year came at the hands of Texas earlier in the season. If they were going to prove to the College Football Playoff Committee that they belonged to be in the top 4, they would need to pull out a convincing victory.
Texas made Oklahoma work for it, as they took an early 7-0 lead at the 11:38 mark of the first quarter, courtesy of a rushing touchdown from Ehlinger. Oklahoma only managed a single field goal, breaking their FBS-record streak of 24 consecutive first quarters with a touchdown. At the end of the first, the Longhorns were up 7-3.
Immediately in the second quarter, Oklahoma kicked their way back into the game with an Austin Seibert field goal to cut the lead to one. Texas regained momentum with another rushing touchdown with Ehlinger, putting the Longhorns up 14-6. From there, the game became “The Kyler Murray Heisman Showcase”.
Murray ran, threw and basically did everything but the Moonwalk in the last few minutes of the second quarter. He threw a 28-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb to bring the Sooners within one, then threw a six-yarder to Grant Calcaterra for a 20-14 lead with 18 seconds to go in the first half.
At the beginning of the second half, Oklahoma took a 13-point lead (27-14) thanks to a rushing touchdown from Trey Sermon. Texas, however, was not willing to let the game get away from them. Ehlinger threw two touchdowns in the third quarter to tie the game at 27 apiece. At this point, it was going to come down to who really wanted it more.
Oklahoma answered the question, as they shut out Texas 12-0 in the final quarter. The finishing blow came from Calcaterra, who caught an 18-yard pass from Murray with two minutes left. Ehlinger attempted to cut the lead but was intercepted at the one-yard line with one minute left to seal the deal.
For the Sooners, they are going to need a lot of dominoes to fall their way if they plan on making the College Football Playoff. No. 1 Alabama will need to solidly beat no. 4 Georgia in the SEC title game, and Clemson will have to lose the ACC Championship against the University of Pittsburgh if they want a serious shot. Otherwise, they’ll end up in the Sugar Bowl against a team from the SEC.
For Texas, their bowl fate all depends on Oklahoma. If the Sooners make the playoff, they will play in the Sugar Bowl. If the Sooners don’t get in, then the Longhorns will play in the Alamo Bowl.