AUSTIN, Texas - The No. 7 ranked Texas Longhorns have a big game Saturday against Oklahoma State.
The magnitude of UT's Big 12 Championship opportunity is not lost on Steve Sarkisian.
"To think, in the last 27 years here at Texas, there have been only three conference championships, and so we don't take this lightly. To be in this discussion, and to play for a conference championship, that's why I came here," said Sarkisian.
It is also why many of the veteran leaders stayed in Austin despite Sarkisian's challenging 5-7 debut season.
"That's part of the reason I came back here was to win a Big 12 championship. Like I said, it's been awesome being with these group of guys, and now we have the chance to go play for a Big 12 championship," said defensive lineman T'Vondre Sweat.
AUSTIN, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 24: Arch Manning #16 of the Texas Longhorns rolls out to pass in the fourth quarter against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 24, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
If you think bringing home the program's first Big 12 Championship in almost 15 years isn't something that motivates these guys, you'd be wrong. In fact, the year 2009 is right there in the north endzone at DKR motivating the Longhorns on a daily basis.
"They tell us to face the side with all the National Championships and Big 12 Championships, so we see those, so we've been looking at that every day since summer," said defensive back Jahdae Barron.
"When we warm up, we look at those numbers every day, so it's just a constant reminder of goals and 'it's not over yet' until we hoist that trophy up," said linebacker David Gbenda.
"It's just cool to be a part of a team like this that has an opportunity to go make their mark on this program and put their year up in DKR, and it's always going to be a special moment that we're all going to be able to live with for the rest of our lives," said quarterback Quinn Ewers.
Texas and Oklahoma State will play for the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 11 a.m. in Arlington, Texas.