When quarterback Quinn Ewers missed time earlier in the season, the Texas Longhorns had to lean on their running game. Now, Ewers is back, but the rest of the Texas backfield is banged up heading into the Big 12 Championship with a potential spot in the College Football Playoff on the line.
The No. 7 Longhorns will be without starting running back Jonathan Brooks when they take on No. 18 Oklahoma State. Brooks is out for the season with a knee injury that he suffered against TCU in Week 11. Since that game, CJ Baxter has been the lead back, but last week in the blowout win over Texas Tech, Baxter left in the third quarter with a hip injury.
In his first game without Brooks, Baxter went for 117 yards on 20 carries, but last week he only managed 45 yards on nine carries before exiting. Jaydon Blue took over and ran for 121 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
The run game will be important in this one. Oklahoma State is 117th in yards per play allowed, and the Cowboys give up 172.0 yards per game on the ground, which is 104th in the country. Texas comes in as a 15-point favorite and might need a convincing win to convince the CFP committee that they belong in the top four.
Baxter will be a key part of the equation next to Quinn Ewers in the backfield if he is healthy enough to play. It looks like he may have even been healthy enough to play last week, but head coach Steve Sarkisian thought better of it.
Sark told reporters after the game, “Baxter had kind of gotten a hip pointer that we kind of looked at the scoreboard and said, ‘Okay, we’re going to be in good hands.”
CJ Baxter injury status:
CJ Baxter is listed as PROBABLE to play in the Big 12 championship game after suffering a hip pointer last week.