The Texas Longhorns entered the 2023 college football season with a target on their backs.
With Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 conference for the SEC in 2024, the Longhorns topped the Big 12 preseason media poll as they tried to bring home the conference championship in their final season, their first since 2009.
Texas accomplished their goal on Saturday, soundly beating Oklahoma State 49-21 in Dallas, TX.
Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers set a Big 12 title game passing record, throwing for 452 yards and passing Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford on the list.
Texas put it on Oklahoma State early and often, heading into halftime with a 35-14 lead. The Longhorns’ offense had the most yards in any half of a Big 12 title game over the past 20 seasons, and Ewers became the first player to throw for four touchdowns in a half of the championship game, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Even Texas defensive end T’Vondre Sweat got in on the fun, catching a two-yard pass from Ewers to take a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.
Texas also rushed for 198 yards, with running back Keilan Robinson leading the way with four carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
The Longhorns will now turn their attention toward the remaining championship games on Saturday, needing a few breaks to go their way in order to make the College Football Playoff.
“In my opinion, we can play with anybody in the country,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said about what his team showed the CFP committee on Saturday. “We’re a very versatile team. We play good defense, play good offense. We’re really good on special teams. At the end of the day, we’d love the opportunity. We’ll see what happens.”
Florida State likely has to lose to Louisville in the ACC title game for Texas to have a chance of jumping into the top 4.
Backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker will be a game day decision Saturday night due to a head injury he suffered against Florida in Week 13, according to ESPN. Freshman quarterback Brock Glenn has received most of the practice reps this week.
“There’s a process we have to go through and certain benchmarks that we’ll go through as we lead up to the game,” Florida State head coach Mike Norvell said. “Then we’ll see where he’s at. But all those guys are ready, and they’re prepared.”