Texas is back ... in the Big 12 title hunt

Texas just needs to beat Kansas on Friday to play for the Big 12. (Getty)lege fo
Texas just needs to beat Kansas on Friday to play for the Big 12. (Getty)lege fo

Texas is a win away from the Big 12 championship game.

The No. 15 Longhorns dispatched No. 16 Iowa State 24-10 on Saturday and just need to beat Kansas on Friday to secure a spot against either Oklahoma or West Virginia in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 1. The Mountaineers’ 45-41 loss to Oklahoma State earlier Saturday opened the door for the winner of the Iowa State-Texas game to jump back into the thick of the conference title race.

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Texas does have a slight worry, however. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the game late in the second half after getting hit in the right shoulder on a running play. He didn’t return to the game. Ehlinger has been dealing with a sprained shoulder, though he hasn’t missed a start since first injuring the shoulder on Oct. 13 against Baylor.

Ehlinger was replaced by Shane Buechele for the second half.

Iowa State QB Brock Purdy left the game injured as well. He was replaced after a hard fall to the turf in the fourth quarter by Kyle Kempt. The sixth-year senior was Iowa State’s starter in the second half of 2017 but lost his job in 2018 after an injury and Purdy’s emergence.

Texas jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the second half and led 17-3 at halftime. The second half felt like a simple formality as the Longhorns added another score and Iowa State couldn’t get near the end zone until the final two minutes of the game. ISU’s best scoring chance in the final 30 minutes was a 48-yard field goal that went off the upright.

Kansas beat Texas two years ago

Texas’ Big 12 title hopes took a huge hit with back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and West Virginia in the final week of October and first week of November. But West Virginia’s loss means Texas plays the winner of the Mountaineers’ game against the Sooners in Dallas for the conference title. If Texas beats Kansas, that is.

Texas lost to Kansas the last time it played in Lawrence in 2016. That was part of a season-ending three-game losing streak that cost coach Charlie Strong his job and led to the hire of Tom Herman. While the Kansas loss helped indirectly lead to Strong’s departure, a loss Friday would be even more impactful than it was in 2016 simply because of the conference implications. Texas hasn’t won the Big 12 since 2009 when the team went 13-0 in the regular season and lost to Alabama in the BCS championship game.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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