Soon­ers state case in Big 12 ti­tle game

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

AR­LING­TON, Texas — Kyler Mur­ray threw for 379 yards and three touch­downs as No. 5 Ok­la­homa beat No. 14 Texas 39-27 in the Big 12 cham­pi­onship game Satur­day, with the Soon­ers aveng­ing their only loss and mak­ing their case for a re­turn to the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

Mur­ray, the Heis­man Tro­phy-con­tend­ing dual-threat quar­ter­back who was 25-of-34 pass­ing, threw two of his TDs to Grant Cal­caterra. That in­cluded an im­pres­sive one-handed grab for an 18-yard score on a thir­dand-10 play with two min­utes left as the Soon­ers (12-1) won their sev­enth con­sec­u­tive game.

“That catch will live on in Ok­la­homa his­tory for­ever,” coach Lin­coln Ri­ley said. “What a play.”

Ok­la­homa is the first Power Five team to win four con­sec­u­tive out­right con­fer­ence ti­tles since Florida in the SEC in the mid-1990s.

“We’re thrilled by the vic­tory. It’s been a chal­leng­ing year, which they all are,” Ri­ley said. “But to sit here now as four-time de­fend­ing Big 12 cham­pion, man, that sounds good.”

Sam Eh­linger was 23-of-36 pass­ing for 349 yards with two touch­downs, and he also ran for two scores for Texas (9-4), but his fi­nal pass was picked off by Tre Nor­wood at the 1 in the fi­nal minute.

The Soon­ers went ahead to stay on Austin Seib­ert’s third field goal, a 31-yarder with 12:37 left that was good af­ter ric­o­chet­ing off the top of the left up­right to make it 30-27.

Two plays af­ter Ok­la­homa’s only turnover, when re­ceiver CeeDee Lamb fum­bled in­side the 10 af­ter a 54-yard catch-an­drun with nine min­utes left, the Soon­ers got points any­way. Cor­ner­back Tre Brown blitzed and sacked Eh­linger in the end zone for a safety.

“Our de­fense did a great job get­ting the ball back to us, of­fen­sively we didn’t take care of our part of the bargain,” Eh­linger said. “That’s on us, that’s on me. I will make it my mis­sion to never let this team or this school feel this dis­ap­point­ment again.”

It was a huge play for a much-ma­ligned Soon­ers de­fense that had al­lowed at least 40 points in each of the pre­vi­ous four games — three of those OU wins by a com­bined nine points.

Lamb fin­ished with six catches for 167 yards, in­clud­ing a 28-yard touch­down in the first half.

The 114th meet­ing be­tween the Red River ri­vals was their first in a cham­pi­onship game — and the first time since 1903 they had played twice in the same sea­son. Ev­ery game since 1929 had been played about 20 miles away at the State Fair of Texas, where the Longhorns beat Ok­la­homa 48-45 eight weeks ago.

JEF­FREY MCWHORTER/AP

QB Kyler Mur­ray cel­e­brates af­ter throw­ing a TD pass in Ok­la­homa’s win Satur­day.

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