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Nation, World Sports

No. 5 Oklahoma beats No. 9 Texas in Big 12 title game

| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, 5:24 p.m.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray celebrates after beating Texas, 39-27, in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray celebrates after beating Texas, 39-27, in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Kyler Murray threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns as No. 5 Oklahoma beat No. 9 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 third-and-10 play with two minutes left as the Sooners (12-1, No. 5 CFP) 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-and-run 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.

Oklahoma never trailed after Murray threw TDs on its last two drives before halftime for a 20-14 lead, on Calcaterra’s 6-yard TD pass in the final minute when the Sooners were out of timeouts but went 80 yards in five plays.

The Sooners were up 27-21 until Ehlinger threw a 5-yard TD to Lil’Jordan Humphrey with 2:44 left in the third quarter. But the extra point that would have put Texas ahead was partially blocked and clanged off the crossbar no good.

The Sooners won their 12th overall Big 12 title. They are the only Big 12 team that has made it into the College Football Playoff, going in 2015 and again last season with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield. They haven’t made it to a CFP title game.

Texas WR Collin Johnson set a Big 12 championship game record with his 177 yards receiving on eight catches. He had a 27-yard TD catch in the third quarter on a drive when he also had catches of 25 and 21 runs.

Texas will go to its first Sugar Bowl since 1995 if Oklahoma gets into the College Football Playoff. If not, the Longhorns are likely headed to the Alamo Bowl.

Oklahoma waits to find out if it gets into the College Football Playoff, which could mean playing in the same stadium in four weeks for the Cotton Bowl. If not, the Sooners go to the Sugar Bowl to play an SEC team.

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