The Texas Longhorns have mostly themselves to blame.
The Sooners were penalized five times for 60 yards. The 18 combined penalties and numerous replay reviews made for a, at times, laborious championship game in front of the largest conference championship crowd ever recorded: 83,114.
“It’s hard to win when you’re going backwards that many times,” Texas tight end Andrew Beck said. “I do think that had an impact.”
The 128 penalty yards against Texas surpassed the 113 by Oklahoma in the 2007 championship. Texas’ 13 penalties tied Oklahoma (‘07) and Kansas State (1998) for most in the championship game.
A couple of the penalties erased big plays by the Longhorns, including Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with two minutes remaining that was overturned because of a holding call on Josh Thompson.
“I was really praying it was on them, but it wasn’t,” said Humphrey, who had seven catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. “We shot ourselves in the foot. We can’t do that. That played a big role in today’s loss. We’ve got to do better on that.”
The loss left the Longhorns still looking for their first Big 12 title since 2009.
“I want to say we’re right where we want to be, but we’re not yet,” Humphrey said. “We’re supposed to be Big 12 Champions but that’s not what we are right now. We still have a lot of work to do but we’re getting there. We’re close. That’s what we really struggle with, shooting ourselves in the foot. So we have to play smarter.”
Texas coach Tom Herman called some of the flags “aggressive penalties that were called that certainly hurt us.”
It’s the most penalties and penalty yards against the Longhorns since they had 16 for 128 in a loss to Oklahoma State on Sept. 26, 2015.
“Those penalties definitely hurt us,” said Collin Johnson, who had a championship game record 177 yards receiving. “But we have no say on the call.”