Preview: Texas vs. Oklahoma
Lincoln Riley’s dynamic offense at Oklahoma has consistently been explosive enough this season to make up for one of the worst defenses in the country, but Texas knows all about the one time it wasn’t. The fifth-ranked Sooners hope to avenge their only loss of the season and impress the College Football Playoff committee enough to move up from the No. 5 spot in the CFP rankings when they meet No. 9 Texas on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Oklahoma, which leads FBS in scoring (50.3 points) and total offense (583.8 yards), finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak despite surrendering 47.3 points per game in its last four contests – and at least 40 points in each contest – by averaging 53.3. The Sooners have failed to score at least 48 points in only three games, the last of which came on Oct. 6 when Oklahoma needed less than six minutes in the fourth quarter to erase a 21-point deficit before the Longhorns got a game-winning 40-yard field goal from freshman Cameron Dicker as time expired for a 48-45 victory. Texas has been living on the edge for most of the season, playing all but one of its last eight opponents within one score and winning six of them. The Longhorns are making their sixth Big 12 Championship appearance and first since 2009, while the Sooners are seeking their fourth consecutive conference crown and a ninth championship win in 18 league title games.
TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Oklahoma -8
ABOUT TEXAS (9-3): Sam Ehlinger, who produced 386 yards of total offense and five total touchdowns in the first meeting, is responsible for the two highest total offense outputs by a Longhorn quarterback in the 113-game history of this rivalry (388 last season) but has been playing through a shoulder injury since Oct. 13. Lil’Jordan Humphrey (72 catches, 1,058 receiving yards and eight TDs) and Collin Johnson (57, 768, six) are one of only 14 duos in FBS with at least 55 catches, and Humphrey is only the fifth player in school history with at least 1,000 yards and eight receiving TDs in a season. Dicker’s 34-yard field goal against the Jayhawks tied him with Dusty Magnum (16; 2001) for the most made field goals ever by a Texas freshman.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (11-1): Heisman Trophy candidate Kyler Murray is the first player in FBS history to average at least 300 passing yards (306.2) and 60 rushing yards (71.1) for an entire regular season and leads an offense that is the first in FBS history to record at least 500 yards of total offense in nine regular-season games. With Trey Sirmon (shoulder) still limited due to injury, freshman Kennedy Brooks took over the team lead in rushing with 993 yards and boasts an FBS-best 9.6 yards per carry (minimum five rushing attempts per game). Since returning to full strength prior to the Oklahoma State victory on Nov. 10, junior receiver Marquise Brown has caught 25 passes for 450 yards and three TDs.
1. This game marks the second in-season rematch between the arch-rivals and first since 1903.
2. Oklahoma’s eight-game streak of scoring at least 45 points is tied for the longest among FBS teams since at least 1980.
3. The Longhorns, who are the only school in the Big 12 with a winning record against the Sooners (62-46-5), are 6-3 in one-possession games this season.