Photo Courtesy: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Follow along as I jot down notes from today’s game Big 12 Championship Game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns.
What a great first three minutes of play for the Longhorns. The Texas defense forced a quick three & out, and the Longhorns offense followed that up with an expedient touchdown drive. Steve Sarkisian has started the game off with several confidence-building play calls for Quinn Ewers and the young quarterback capped the drive with a well-placed touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell.
Another quick drive, another quick touchdown for the Longhorn offense. This time, Xavier Worthy began the drive with a big 54-yard reception on quick pass from Quinn Ewers. Afterwards, Ewers and Ja’Tavion Sanders capitalized the drive with a trick play touchdown pass on a flea-flicker.
It was only a matter of time before Oklahoma State woke up offensively, but it was Texas defensive back Jahdae Barron who helped to wake up the Cowboys by being penalized by a defensive pass interference penalty, and then being a hair late to another deep completion for the Cowboys. Eventually, Oklahoma State quarterback Alan Bowman found Brennan Presley on a 5-yard touchdown pass. It will be important for the Longhorn defense to bounce back on the next drive, as you can sense the rising level of confidence for Oklahoma State offensively.
Currently, Longhorns defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat is considered to be a Heisman contender. While he might not receive the award, he had his own sort of Heisman moment with a 2-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Quinn Ewers.
So far, the Longhorns offense has sought to stretch the Oklahoma State defense from sideline to sideline – quietly slipping in vertical plays when the defense has fallen asleep.
Again, what a start to a quarter. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers, who finished the first quarter with three touchdown passes, found Adonai Mitchell on a big 62-yard pass – later setting up a CJ Baxter 10-yard touchdown rush.
Quinn Ewers’ first mistake of the day is a big one as Oklahoma State linebacker Nickolas Martin intercepted the Longhorn quarterback, setting up the Cowboys offense with the ball at the Texas 3-yard line. As a result, Oklahoma State found the end zone on a Alan Bowman 7-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Owens.
The Longhorn defense has created two turnovers in the first half, first on an impressive interception by Kitan Crawford, and then on a forced fumble by Anthony Hill Jr. With the Texas secondary being a bit shorthanded today with Ryan Watts and Austin Jordan missing the contest due to injuries, the team will take anything that it can get in today’s championship game.
There seemed to be a little bit of clock management issues at the end of the first half, with Oklahoma State taking advantage of a substitution rule to (pretty much) force a Longhorn delay of game penalty – ultimately resulting in a Bert Auburn missed field goal.
With Longhorns defensive back Derek Williams being ejected for targeting on the opening kickoff of the second half, things have been less than ideal to start the third quarter. Additionally, the Texas offense ended up stagnating at their own 30-yard line following a Jaydon Blue first down-gaining reception.
Oklahoma State star running back Ollie Gordon had to be attended to by his team’s training staff, so it remains to be seen whether the Doak Walker Award favorite will return to the game. Until (if) Ollie Gordon returns to the game for Oklahoma State, you are going to have to assume that they are going to repeatedly test Texas’ shorthanded secondary.
Keilan Robinson has been making the most of his opportunities as of late, this time with a massive 57-yard touchdown rush late in the third quarter. With Jonathon Brooks being out for the remainder of the year due to injury, Texas’ trio of Blue, Brooks and Robinson has done a solid job of picking up the slack.