Oklahoma State vs. Texas score, takeaways: Quinn Ewers struggles as No. 11 Cowboys outlast No. 20 Longhorns
On a windy day in Stillwater, an injured Spencer Sanders proved to be the more effective quarterback
No. 11 Oklahoma State outlasted No. 20 Texas 41-34 as Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders proved to be a more effective signal-caller than Texas' Quinn Ewers on a blustery day in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Following a slow start due to a lingering shoulder injury, Sanders threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes that rallied his team for its seventh win over Texas in the past 10 years.
Sanders threw 57 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns to will Oklahoma State back into the game after falling into a two-score deficit. During the eventual game-winning drive with fewer than five minutes remaining, Sanders completed 3 of 4 passes for 64 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Bryson Green. Running back Jaden Nixon added 64 yards, while Dominic Richardson posted three touchdowns.
Ewers, meanwhile, struggled in his first road start since playing for Southlake Carroll High School in 2020. Ewers completed just 19 of 49 passes for 319 yards with two touchdowns. However, he threw three interceptions, including a game-clincher in the final minute.
Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson rushed for 140 yards and added 41 yards receiving with two total touchdowns, while Roschon Johnson added a 52-yard rushing score of his own. However, Texas' offense fell apart in the second half as the Longhorns finished the day with five punts on nine drives. Another drive ended on a turnover on downs and two more ended with interceptions. The only second-half scoring drive for Texas came after a punt return gifted the Horns the ball on the Oklahoma State 20-yard line.
With the win, Oklahoma State throws itself right back into the Big 12 Championship Game race after a double-overtime loss a week ago to No. 8 TCU. The Cowboys have just one loss in Big 12 play, joining the Horned Frogs and Kansas State, both of which are in action Saturday night, as programs with one or fewer conference losses. Texas has a tough road back after losing a second Big 12 game and dropping a tiebreaker against Oklahoma State. The Longhorns have not been to Arlington since 2018 or won the Big 12 since 2009.
Premature hype for Ewers
Some were quick to put Ewers onto the short list of the nation's best quarterbacks following a monstrous effort in a shutout win over Oklahoma two weeks ago. A tight game against Iowa State quieted some of the noise, but Ewers' first road start officially has the hype train off the rails.
Ewers was brutal against the Cowboys, completing just 39% of his passes for 319 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. After completing four attempts in a row in the first quarter, Ewers did not complete consecutive passes for the rest of the game. He was especially bad on third downs, missing six straight such attempts in the second half with a sack.
For all the hype, Ewers has still played very little football at the collegiate level. There's plenty to be excited about with Ewers long term, but any hope that Ewers could simply slot in and repair a broken Texas program is premature.
Sark is the opposite of clutch
There hasn't been a worse coach in the clutch in college football over the past two seasons than Steve Sarkisian. In 10 losses over the past two seasons, Sark's Longhorns have held a lead in seven, including all three losses in 2022.
Every Texas shortcoming was on full display across the fourth quarter in Stillwater. Oklahoma State put together five fourth-quarter drives, two of which ended in touchdowns with the Cowboys ultimately going on a 14-0 run with 143 yards on 24 plays during that span. Texas, conversely, put together a punt, two interceptions and a missed field goal in the fourth quarter.
Regardless of opponent, quarterback play or any other factor, Sarkisian's squads keep falling short when it matters. The 14 penalties committed by the Longhorns -- to zero (0) from the Cowboys -- were a perfect representation of this program's inability to get over the hump. The program needs to look inward and figure out why.
Texas Point Differential By Half in 2022— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) October 22, 2022
1st Half: +94
2nd Half: +28
Pokes' superstar skill players
The Cowboys have been hampered mightily by injuries during the 2022 season, but there were plenty of players who stood up and made their impact known. Running backs Jaden Nixon and Ollie Gordon strung important runs together as the Cowboys tried to compensate for a banged up Dominic Richardson.
On the outside, Stephon Johnson Jr. was a revelation with six catches for 90 yards while stepping in for Braydon Johnson. Add sophomores Bryson Green (5 catches, 133 yards, TD) and John Paul Richardson (7 catches, 63 yards) to the list and the future looks bright for Oklahoma State at the skill spots. As Oklahoma State goes further into the Big 12 title race, this depth will pay off in a big way.
Texas had an opportunity to take the lead, but a pair of bizarre plays gives Oklahoma State the ball with a chance to win the game instead. Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers missed a wide open Xavier Worthy in the end zone on a ball that Worthy likely should have caught. One play later, standout kicker Bert Auburn shanked a long field goal attempt.
Oklahoma State 34, Texas 34
The Cowboys erased a double-digit Texas lead in virtually no time at all as Spencer Sanders connected with Brennan Presley for a 10-yard touchdown. Sanders has 328 yards passing and 43 yards rushing against the No. 20 Longhorns as the Cowboys have battened down the hatches on both sides. The only points from Texas came thanks to a punt return setting up a field goal.
3Q: Texas 34, Oklahoma State 24
Texas got the ball at the 20-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal after an errant pass from quarterback Quinn Ewers. Still, the 33-yarder from kicker Bert Auburn gave the Longhorns a two-score lead for the first time in the second half. Texas has struggled to finish games under Steve Sarkisian, but a 10-point lead gives the Longhorns a little bit of cushion.
Texas faces perhaps its best scoring opportunity of the day after a strong 29-yard punt return from receiver Xavier Worthy. The Longhorns start at the 20-yard line in hopes of scoring for the first time in the second half.
It's been a tale of two halves in Stillwater as the offensive switch has fully turned off since the break. The Cowboys and Longhorns have traded five consecutive punts with only one drive that lasted more than two minutes. The game has stayed within one touchdown the entire time as the Longhorns continue to hold a 31-24 lead.
Texas' defense has allowed Oklahoma State to create opportunities, but Longhorns cornerback Ryan Watts came away with one of the biggest plays of the game. Watts snatched a flat pass from Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders and intercepted it in the end zone to prevent the Cowboys from tying up the game.
Texas 21, Oklahoma State 17
The Cowboys finally strung together a consistent drive as Oklahoma State finally created some manageable looks for Spencer Sanders to score a one-yard touchdown. Sanders completed 4 of 5 passes for 34 yards and rushed for 20 yards to set up another score. More importantly, the eight-play drive kept Oklahoma State's defense off the field and gave them a chance to regroup.
Texas 21, Oklahoma State 10
The Longhorns got another big play touchdown from running back Bijan Robinson as quarterback Quinn Ewers found Robinson on a screen for a 41-yard touchdown scamper. The Cowboys appeared to have a busted coverage as Robinson was completely uncovered on the catch. Oklahoma State is in danger of losing control of the game if it can't generate a quality offensive drive.