Football

The Eyes of Texas: Four players to watch in Saturday’s Big 12 championship game

Posted November 30th, 2018

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The 14th-ranked Longhorns play No. 6 Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game in Arlington on Saturday. The eyes of Texas will be upon …

Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma running back

Brooks has yet to start a game this season, but you wouldn’t know that by his stats. He’s averaging 9.6 yards a carry — 993 yards on only 103 attempts. And over his last three games, he’s rushed for 518 yards and six touchdowns. He’s been the Sooners’ primary rusher against Oklahoma State, Kansas and West Virginia; Brooks got 25 carries (175 yards, 2 TDs) against Kansas while Trey Sermon had one, and Brooks had 21 carries (187 yards, 1 TD) last week against West Virginia, while Sermon had five. Brooks is eight yards away from becoming OU’s sixth freshman to rush for 1,000 yards. Texas is allowing 136.5 rushing yard a game, which ranks 36th nationally.  In the first game, Brooks had only three carries but averaged 11.3 yards per run.

Cameron Dicker, Texas kicker

Eight weeks ago, Dicker the Kicker became a household nickname — and a GIF — at the Cotton Bowl. With nine seconds remaining, the freshman from Lake Travis booted a 40-yard field goal to win the game. That 40-yarder has been the biggest kick of Dicker’s debut season, but not his longest. In fact, it doesn’t even make the list of his five longest. Dicker nailed one from 52 yards in Lubbock on Nov. 10 and has one 47-yarder and three from 46. Dicker has made 16 of his 22 tries and needs just one more to set UT’s freshman record. Back in 2001, Dusty Mangum also made 16 field goals as a freshman.

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Collin Johnson, Texas receiver

Johnson, a junior, has 57 catches for 768 yards and six touchdowns — all career highs. He had six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Sooners in October, the third-best receiving day in that game behind Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown (9-131-2) and Texas’ Lil’Jordan Humphrey (9-133-1). The Sooners have the country’s 126th-rated pass defense; a big day on Saturday would help Johnson make a move in the UT history books. He has 1,848 career yards, which rank 10th all-time. He’s 152 yards away from the 2,000-yard mark, and only eight other Longhorns have reached that milestone.

Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma linebacker

Back in September, Murray set Oklahoma’s single-game record when he had 28 tackles against Army. He now has 133 for the season — only four other players in the country have more. By comparison, Texas’ leading tackler, linebacker Gary Johnson, has 74 stops. Murray, a 6-2, 238-pound sophomore, has been kept busy; the Sooners rank 111th nationally in total defense and 100th nationally in scoring defense. He had 10 tackles and one quarterback hurry against the Longhorns in the first game.

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