Big 12 Championship Preview
There’s nothing quite like two young and talented coaches bringing new life to an age-old rivalry, as Tom Herman of Texas and Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma meet for another clash in the Red River rivalry. With Texas taking a victory in the first meeting this season, the stakes are much higher this time around as it determines who will be crowned Big 12 champion.
First off, Oklahoma, who is led by Heisman trophy candidate Kyler Murray, sits at a comfortable 11-1record on the season with a big win over top 25-ranked West Virginia to end week 13. In classic Big 12 fashion, Oklahoma features an extremely high-powered offense and a lackluster defense. The Sooners are led by Kyler Murray who has torched opponents to the tune of 3,674 yards, 37 touchdowns and a 70 percent completion percentage with only seven interceptions all year. Murray is also an extremely dangerous runner with over 800 yards rushing and 11 rushing touchdowns as well. The Sooners also feature an extremely talented running back in Kennedy Brooks, who has 993 rushing yards on the year while averaging 9.6 yards per carry and finding the end zone 12 times. With such a strong offense carrying them, Oklahoma’s defense is quite underwhelming, ranking 111th in the nation in total defense, giving up 52 total touchdowns on the year and surrendering 450 yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Texas Longhorns are a formidable team in their own right with a more balanced mix of offensive and defensive talent across their roster. Under center for the Longhorns is quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who has thrown for 2,774 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions all while completing 64 percent of his passes. Ehlinger, like Murray, possess a running ability with 376 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Texas also features one of the best wide receivers in all of college football in Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Humphrey has had nothing short of a monster season with 72 receptions for 1,058 yards and eight touchdowns. To top it all off, Texas is a very good defensive team as well ranking in the top 100 in total defense with a fearsome pass rush led by Charles Omenihu and an equally as dangerous secondary with ball hawking DB Caden Sterns.
Coming into this heavily contested Big 12 title game matchup, Texas has already downed Oklahoma once before this season, winning 48-45 in their neutral site matchup at the Cotton Bowl. The Longhorns bring one of the best defenses in the Big 12 into this matchup so their ability to contain Kyler Murray will be key as he presents an extremely difficult matchup with both his rushing and passing abilities. Look for this game to be an absolute shootout in classic Big 12 style with both offenses racking up astronomical yardage totals and points.
However, at the end of the day, Texas’s defense will prove to be just enough to get them a win and Big 12 title with the Longhorns taking it 51-48.
David Saggio is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email, firstname.lastname@example.org.