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Three Texas Longhorns earn Big 12 football awards for opening-weekend efforts

Swoopes, Nelson, and Buechele picked up some big honors for their respective performances.

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NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Texas Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Following the thrilling 50-47 double-overtime victory by the Texas Longhorns over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday evening, three Longhorns received recognition for their efforts in the big win on Tuesday.

Senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes earned co-Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors, sophomore defensive tackle Chris Nelson won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, and freshman quarterback Shane Buechele earned the nod as Newcomer of the Week.

Swoopes scored the game-winning touchdown with a dive into the end zone following a six-yard run, an image that is quickly reaching iconic status among Longhorns fans. The score was one of three on the day for the big senior, who gained 53 yards on 13 carries for the game.

As promised by head coach Charlie Strong, Swoopes had a chance to win the game and took advantage by scoring both touchdowns in overtime for Texas, securing the program’s first home win over a top-10 opponent since 2008.

The Whitewright product is now seventh in school history among quarterbacks with 845 rushing yards and third at his position in rushing touchdowns with 20.

A spot contributor last season in the defensive tackle rotation, Nelson was one of the breakout players in the opener with eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss after earning a surprise start over senior Paul Boyette. The Florida product appeared in eight games last season, collecting seven tackles with one tackle for loss.

In other words, Nelson’s performance against Notre Dame on a big stage surpassed his entire career production heading into it.

And then there’s Buechele, who once again looks like the answer at quarterback following his impressive debut in the Orange-White game this spring. The first true freshman to earn a start in the season opener for the Longhorns since Bobby Layne in 1944, Buechele played like a veteran in surpassing 300 total yards.

Through the air, he completed 16-of-26 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both perfectly thrown balls — one to Armanti Foreman on the first drive and one to John Burt for a 72-yard touchdown to start the second half. The throw to Burt was the fourth-longest by a freshman quarterback in school history.

All told, his 280 passing yards and 313 total yards were true freshmen records for a Texas quarterback.