No. 7 Texas overwhelms Texas Tech 57-7 to reach Big 12 championship game

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Keilan Robinson returned a kickoff 95 yards for one of his two touchdowns, Bert Auburn made five field goals and No. 7 Texas overwhelmed Texas Tech 57-7 on Friday night to reach the Big 12 championship game.

Leaving with Oklahoma for the Southeastern Conference after this season, Texas (11-1, 8-1), has won six straight since a loss to Oklahoma. The Longhorns will face an opponent to be determined Saturday in the championship game Dec. 2 in Arlington.

“Awesome. It was a great night. A great celebration,” said coach Steve Sarkisian, 5-7 and 8-5 in his first two seasons at Texas before this one. “Proud of everybody who put a lot of work in to get us to this point. But we’re not done. We stubbed our toe (against Oklahoma) early in October. We couldn’t afford to stub our toe again.”

Every Monday after the loss, Sarkisian told his players that their game that week was a Big 12 championship game.

“Now we’re finally here,” Sarkisian said.

Texas Tech (6-6, 5-4) was outgained 528 yards to 198. Quarterback Behren Morton was 5-0 in games he started and finished this season before Friday. But hounded by a fierce Texas pass rush, he completed 19 of 36 for only 88 yards with three interceptions.

His Texas counterpart, Quinn Ewers, threw for 196 yards and one touchdown against one interception. Ewers was 17 of 26.

Texas Tech’s Tahj Brooks, ranked third nationally in rushing yards per game with 122.5 coming in, gained 95 on 19 carries.

“We couldn’t get anything going,” Red Raiders coach Joey McGuire said. “Made way too many mistakes, and it’s really frustrating.”

Texas Tech briefly looked like it might be competitive. Trailing 10-0, the Red Raiders used a 55-yard kickoff return by Drae McCray, a 25-yard run by Brooks, and a pass interference penalty against Texas to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Morton late in the first quarter.

Texas responded quickly with a 69-yard touchdown run by backup running back Jaydon Blue to start the second quarter. Blue had 121 yards on 10 carries.

Later, after the teams traded interceptions, Auburn kicked his third field goal for a 23-7 lead. His second field goal, earlier in the quarter, set a school record of 16 straight without a miss.

Auburn wasn’t finished. Texas Tech, which converted 6 of 8 fourth-down attempts while beating Texas last season, failed on its only attempt of the first half Friday. Texas, taking the ball at the Tech 45 with 31 seconds to produce something, finished the half with a 44-yarder by Auburn.

Robinson began the second half with his long kickoff return, Auburn added a career-best 54 yard field goal, and Jett Bush returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown, catching the ball after it hit a Tech receiver’s foot and popped up.

Robinson, a senior, went out with a splash.

“My last game here,” Robinson said. “It felt good to show them one more time, this is what I do. It’s excitement when you see a wide-open hole. You can’t even believe it ”

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas Tech: Second-year coach McGuire provided Texas with bulletin board material. After beating the Longhorns last season in Lubbock, McGuire made a locker room speech that included, “The country’s gonna find out: Everything runs through Lubbock!” Before this season, speaking about Texas and Oklahoma competing in the Southeastern Conference in 2024, McGuire told some Tech fans “These so-called blue bloods — and I really question that — one of them (Texas) is really good at Olympic sports.”

‘I use the adage embrace the hate and I apologize if I offended anybody want when I said that early on,” Sarkisian said. “But we have to embrace that we’re the University of Texas and we can’t continue to sit back and and just take punches from everybody and not kind of fight back.”

Texas: In addition to celebrating a big win, Longhorns fans witnessed something they’ve waited for all season. Freshman quarterback Arch Manning, nephew of quarterback royalty Peyton and Eli, made his Longhorn debut in the second half. He completed 2 of 5 passes for 30 yards. Sarkisian said second-team quarterback suffered an injury to his non throwing shoulder when he was hit on the sideline during Robinson’s kickoff return for a touchdown,

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: Waits for an invitation to a bowl game.

Texas: Awaits an opponent for the Big 12 championship game Dec. 2.

___ AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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