Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Trick plays, T’Vondre Sweat lead Texas to Big 12 Title over Oklahoma State

Kennedy Weatherby
Defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat scores a touchdown during the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 2. It was the first touchdown of his career at UT.

T’Vondre Sweat struck the Heisman pose after catching a first-quarter touchdown. Yes, the 362-pound defensive lineman and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year T’Vondre Sweat. 

For Sweat, this was a long time coming. His partner in crime and the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year Byron Murphy Ⅱ caught a touchdown on a similar play design against Wyoming. 

“I was going to Coach Flood all the time and Coach Sark because I was waiting on this opportunity to get this touchdown and they told me there was the game, I was gonna get the touchdown,” Sweat said. “Coach told me that was going to be the first play he called when we got on the goal line. He wasn’t lying.” 

After a pass interference call in the end zone moved Texas up to Oklahoma State’s two-yard line, Sweat lined up as the tight end. He ran a straight route into the end zone where he was left wide open. Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers tossed a pass straight to Sweat for an easy score.

Sweat’s touchdown put Texas up 14 points in the first quarter, and it never looked back. In a show of dominance, Sweat led the No. 7 team on both sides of the ball to a 49-21 victory over No. 18 Oklahoma State. 

“He bobbled it yesterday in practice,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I said ‘Man do not mess with me,’ and then I said ‘don’t get a penalty, get your (butt) to the sidelines and celebrate at the sideline.’ So it was very cool (for T’vondre)’.” 

Sweat’s touchdown was not the only tricky play design that Sarkisian called in the first quarter. On the previous drive, Texas ran a triple reverse to find a wide-open JT Sanders for a 24-yard touchdown. 

Ewers handed the ball off to freshman CJ Baxter, who tossed it to a crossing Xavier Worthy, who then tossed the ball back to Ewers. In all of the confusion, Sanders broke free and had an uncontested path to the end zone. 

“That’s a play we’ve been planning to run for weeks,” Sanders said. “When Coach Sark called it, I already knew what it was. Finally executing the play call in the moment is a great feeling.” 

Sarkisian’s creative play calling allowed for some explosive moments on the field, and Texas quickly took control of the game. 

After the first quarter, Texas continued to dominate on both sides of the ball. Sarkisian slowed down with the tricky play calls, but Ewers continued to lead Texas on an offensive rampage. Ewers finished the night with a new career high of 452 passing yards and set a new record for The Big 12 Championship game. 

“I was confident in my abilities to get the ball in (my teammates’) hands for sure,” Ewers said. “It was awesome to go out there and play what I believe is my true game.” 

On defense, Texas held the country’s leading rusher, Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon, to just 34 yards. 

“We play great defense, and that offense was averaging well over 400 yards a game and has one of the top running backs in the country,” Sarkisian said. “We held them to (1.7) yards per carry. It was just a fantastic effort defensively. We are very, very versatile, we have extreme depth and we can win at the line of scrimmage and at the skill position spots.”

Nine different players caught passes from Ewers, and wide receiver Adonai Mitchell and tight end Sanders both had over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown each. Texas also ran for almost 200 yards. 

Senior running back Keilan Robinson led all rushers with 75 yards and two touchdowns on four carries. Robinson’s first touchdown came on a 57-yard run when he tight-roped the sideline in the third quarter to extend Texas’ lead to 42-14. 

In a fitting end to Texas’ time in The Big 12, freshman quarterback Arch Manning handed the ball to junior running back Jonathon Brooks in victory formation. Brooks led Texas in rushing but suffered a season-ending ACL tear against TCU. 

“We would not be here today without Jonathon Brooks and what he did for us in a good portion of this season,” Sarkisian said. “On Thursday at the end of practice, we took a knee and I put Jonathan out there. I said, ‘When we win Saturday, Jonathan’s going out there to be part of this victory with us.’ He’s earned it.”

With the win, Texas moves to 12–1 on the season and will await a decision by the College Football Playoff Committee on Sunday to see where it plays next.

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