Oklahoma vs. Texas score, takeaways: No. 5 Sooners win Big 12 championship, keep playoff hopes alive
It took a come-from-behind victory, but Oklahoma's offense -- and its defense -- ultimately prevailed
Oklahoma has done its part. Now all that remains is to watch the rest of conference championship Saturday unfold and hope for the best come Selection Sunday. The No. 5 Sooners overcame a slow start to take down No. 14 Texas 39-27 in the Big 12 Championship Game. It's the fourth straight Big 12 title for Oklahoma and the second straight since the championship game was reinstated a year ago.
Of all things, Oklahoma got the win with the help of its defense, a group that has been much-maligned throughout the season. A Tre Brown safety on a corner blitz gave Oklahoma a five-point lead in the fourth quarter. That led to a Grant Calcaterra touchdown on the ensuing possession to put the Sooners up by 12 with two minutes remaining. Then, with Texas driving in the red zone in the final minute, cornerback Tre Norwood came up with a tip-drill interception to seal the deal.
Overall, Oklahoma should be in good position for the College Football Playoff unless Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. For now, though, it can take comfort in knowing it beat every team in its conference and avenged its only loss on the year to its biggest rival.
Oklahoma's defense may not be good, but it is opportunistic: There's a whole season's worth of information to tell us that Oklahoma wins in spite of its defense. The Sooners give up just about six yards per play and nearly three points per drive. For context: that's not good. But that same defense is nothing if not opportunistic. Go back to the 59-56 win over West Virginia in Week 13. Was it not the two defensive scoop-and-scores that were the difference on the scoreboard? And against Texas on Saturday, Brown's safety made it a five-point game; an ensuing touchdown by the offense made it a 12-point margin, large enough for Texas to need two touchdowns in two minutes to win.
Oklahoma got six stops on 10 Texas drives, including the aforementioned safety and game-sealing interception. No, this doesn't suddenly make the Sooners a good defensive team, but when you struggle on that side of the ball, you take the wins where you can get them.
When Oklahoma turns it on, it's scary: Texas actually had Oklahoma corralled for the first quarter-and-a-half. The Sooners' first three drives averaged about 5.44 yards per play -- about 3.5 yards less than their season average -- and totaled only six points. While Texas' defense was a big factor (more on that later), Oklahoma was also missing opportunities. Murray wasn't connecting with Marquise Brown down the field. The quarterback was off on the accuracy of his passes and Brown wasn't bringing in the tougher catches he normally does (Brown later left the game with an apparent foot injury). It wasn't that the play-calling was bad as much as it was Oklahoma wasn't executing.
But then CeeDee Lamb happened. Lamb got a huge 46-yard reception on a RPO play in the second quarter. Five plays later, Murray and Lamb connected again on a 28-yard touchdown. Oklahoma then proceeded to cover 80 yards on five plays on the following drive for a touchdown to go up 20-14, and scored again on its first drive out of halftime to go on a 21-0 run. And with Brown out, other players like Calcaterra stepped up.
That's the danger in this team: even if kept under wraps for awhile, they always find playmakers to counterpunch. It's frightening how quickly Oklahoma can go from sluggish to a rocket.
Texas' defense played well: Oklahoma's offense still eclipsed the 500-yard mark, but it needed to work harder to do it: 74 plays at about 6.86 yards per play. Again, you have to consider Oklahoma's season average of 8.9 yards per play and that there's no way a defense is going to keep the Sooners at about 5.44 yards per play for 60 minutes. Texas did a great job of slowing the run game (3.2 yards per rush with Oklahoma really only finding sustained success late) and keeping Murray from breaking loose. And when big plays did happen, Texas didn't give up, as evidenced by Gary Johnson's forced fumble on Lamb after a big pass play in the fourth quarter.
Holding Oklahoma to a pair of early field goals were major wins that set the tone for the rest of the game. Yes, Oklahoma found a way to win because that's what it does, but this was about as good an effort as a defense has shown against college football's top offense.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from the Big 12 Championship Game. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here.
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