ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Any chance of the University of Texas football team officially crashing the College Football Playoff party hinged not only on a victory in its conference championship game on Saturday morning, but a convincing one.
So the Longhorns went out and made a statement — and then some.
CFP Selection Committee, I don’t envy you.
Quarterback Quinn Ewers threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as the No. 7 Longhorns scored four touchdowns on their first four drives on their way to a 49-21 victory over No. 18 Oklahoma State to win the 2023 Big 12 Football Championship Game inside AT&T Stadium to kickoff conference championship Saturday across the country. Texas’ defense also forced two turnovers during the Longhorns’ 30-minute tour de force of a first half, while also holding Cowboys’ running back Ollie Gordon II, the nation’s leading rusher, to just 34 yards on the ground on 13 carries.
Texas snapped its longest drought without a conference title in program history, winning its first Big 12 football championship since 2009 — the last season in which the Longhorns appeared in the national championship game. The win also throws more complications into the selection process to pick the fourth team that will participate in the national semifinals in the Football Bowl Subdivision, as Texas’ 12-1 record, including an away victory against SEC finalist Alabama in September, could end up being enough to vault current No. 4 Florida State, who goes into their ACC Championship game undefeated but without injured star quarterback Jordan Travis.
The win is a poetic Big 12 send-off for the SEC-bound Longhorns, who won the first Big 12 Championship Game in 1996 in an upset victory over No. 3 Nebraska in San Antonio.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s contest, with photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 13 pictures in total.