Sooners win Big 12 title No. 12, stake claim on playoff spot
Kyler Murray took the final snap, kneeled, and started the celebration with the international sign of the Sooners.
The Oklahoma quarterback threw down the much-talked-about hand signal for the first time all afternoon. No flag was thrown, by the way. This wasn’t a taunt, after all. This was a celebration.
OU 39, Texas 27.
On the day the Sooners staked a claim
on a spot in the College Football Playoff, they claimed their 12th Big 12 title and won an unprecedented fourth consecutive conference crown. They beat their biggest rival and avenged their only loss of the season. All of that left lots of happy Sooners inside AT&T Stadium.
Yes, there were lots of heady questions, too. Has OU done enough to make the Final Four when it is announced Sunday morning? Did the defense help the Sooners’ case with the selection committee? Could Murray have won himself a Heisman Trophy?
But in those moments after the game Saturday, jubilation outweighed consternation.
“To sit here now as the four-time defending Big 12 champion, man, that sounds good,” Sooner coach Lincoln Riley said. “It took a lot from these guys. When the rest of the world didn’t believe in them, they believed in themselves, and that’s why we’re sitting here with this trophy.”
After losing Heisman winner Baker Mayfield as well as Orlando Brown and Ogbo Okoronkwo from last year’s team, there were questions about whether this OU squad might take a step back. Defensive struggles early in the year that culminated in early October with a loss to Texas and the firing of Mike Stoops only added to the consternation.
The defense has continued to struggle under interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, but Saturday was one of its finest hours.
The Sooners held the Longhorns to only four scores Saturday, a huge improvement from the six touchdowns they allowed back in October.
The 27 points scored by Texas was also the lowest total for an OU opponent since Kansas State on Oct. 27.
“They were awesome today,” Riley said of the defense. “They played just like we know they can play.”
What’s more, the play of the game came from Sooner defensive back Tre Brown who sacked Longhorn quarterback Sam Ehlinger for a safety in the fourth quarter.
“It was the first time I blitzed today,” Brown said. “(The coaches) made a great call, sent me at the right time, and I got home and made it happen.”
The offense sealed the victory with a Murrayto-Grant-Calcaterra touchdown on the ensuing possession, and not long after, the Sooner celebration was full throat at JerryWorld.
What comes next remains to be seen.
“We’re 12-1 and one of the best teams in the country,” Riley said. “It’s going to fall how it does, and we will be excited for the next challenge regardless of where it is.”
“To sit here now as the four-time defending Big 12 champion, man, that sounds good. It took a lot from these guys. When the rest of the world didn’t believe in them, they believed in themselves, and that’s why we’re sitting here with this trophy.”
Lincoln Riley, Sooner coach
University of Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley celebrates Saturday after the Sooners won the Big 12 Championship football game against the Texas Longhorns at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Sooner quarterback Kyler Murray carries the Most Outstanding Player trophy to the locker room Saturday after OU won the Big 12 championship by beating Texas 39-27.
Oklahoma fans give the “Horns Down” gesture before the Big 12 Championship football game Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.