The Oklahoma Sooners hold off TCU to win share of Big 12 title
The Sooners win over TCU guarantees at least a tie with Kansas State for Big 12 Conference title
By KEVIN LONNQUIST
Big 12 Insider
FORT WORTH – Regardless of the controversy of whether Oklahoma had “earned” a share of the Big 12 championship Saturday afternoon, the conference rules clearly stated it and every member of the Sooner football team emerged from the locker room wearing either a Big 12 conference championship T-shirt or hat or both.
The No. 11 Sooners (10-2, 8-1) put themselves in position to at least share the title with a grinding 24-17 victory at TCU.
“Right now, we’re not sharing anything,’’ senior defensive end R.J. Washington said. “According to my clock, we’re the only Big 12 champions right now. It means a lot to this program and the consistency its shown.’’
Now, the Sooners wait for Sunday and their BCS fate, which is likely going to be one of the two at-large positions and an invitation to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
When asked if he thought this team was going to the Sugar Bowl, Stoops said, “We’ll see. Everything seems to be indicated that way.’’
The fervor behind the controversy was the fact that you had two teams in a tie and that Kansas State winning the head-to-head matchup in Norman on Sept. 22, 24-19, somehow meant the Wildcats were the outright winners.
“The bottom line is, this our championship game,’’ Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “We don’t get to go to Atlanta [site of the SEC championship game] or Dallas to play it, so it’s here. So let’s put ourselves in position to win it and fortunately, we did.’’
But then again, Stoops has been one of the opponents of a championship game so he’ll gladly point out that he’ll take this as it is. And of course, before there were ever championship games, there has always been such a thing as shared conference championships.
Typical of the last three weeks, the Sooners didn’t know their fate until the final 24 seconds of regulation or overtime. A holding penalty nullified TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin’s tying 12-yard touchdown run – on senior Blaize Foltz – with 38 seconds to play and moved the ball back to the Sooner 22. On fourth down from the 15, Boykin’s perfect throw to Josh Boyce was broken up in the end zone.
This win had its share of the quirky to it. The Horned Frogs missed a disputed 32-yard field goal in the third quarter in which replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball went the right upright or not.
Then there was the dreaded holding penalty where Stoops breathed a sigh of relief and TCU coach Gary Patterson seethed. Mix in the fumble that Washington caused on Boykin in the third quarter. Originally ruled an incomplete pass, replay showed it to be a fumble because Boykin’s arm was not going forward. You had it all.
And just for good measure, Justin Brown’s muffed punt gave TCU life that resulted in a 43-yard field goal.
Nothing was easy but this was the kind of game that Stoops expected. In short, that’s the way Oklahoma’s season has transpired.
The Sooners’ journey this season has been filled with its share of hiccups. As two-a-days started in August, two starting offensive linemen went down. Center Ben Haburn had to give up football because of back and neck issues and then guard Kyle Evans blew out a knee.
Then there just seemed to have a nondescript feel to the start in that especially with an uninspiring 24-7 win in the opener at UTEP. Home losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame along with an antagonistic relationship between the Big 12’s all-time leading passer Landry Jones and a scrutinizing fan base just never made it comfortable. Although the 63-21 rout of Texas was nice, that didn’t create much buzz either…well, because the Sooners blow out the Longhorns a lot.
Still, here are the Sooners with their 11th 10-win season. And Jones has won two conference championships. Only Sam Bradford has done that.
“I’ve been so thankful,’’ Jones said. “It’s an honor to be able to have done this two times.’’
>Oklahoma’s championship is its eighth in the Big 12 and 44th in school history
>The Sooners are 5-0 all-time in Fort Worth
>Sam Carter’s interception in the second quarter gave TCU 21 for the season to lead the conference. The Horned Frogs have intercepted passes in 11 of 12 games.
>TCU coach Gary Patterson is 14-10 in his career against ranked teams.
>OU has won 23 consecutive games when allowing opponents to score 20 or fewer points
The Big 12 has five teams at 7-5 in TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor and West Virginia. So that makes the Bowl selection process pretty unique.
So here’s what we can tell you:
BCS Fiesta Bowl – Kansas State. It’s all in their hands if they beat Texas
BCS Sugar – Oklahoma. Sooners should get ready for Bourbon Street
Cotton –Texas. This seems like their home destination now that OSU is at 7-5
Alamo – Oklahoma State. This looks like their destination now that things are settled.
Holiday – Baylor. The Baylor players want to go to California. Who can blame them?
Buffalo Wild Wings (formerly Insight) – Texas Tech. The last time they were here, they had the greatest comeback in bowl history
New Era Pinstripe – West Virginia. It would be breaking news if they didn’t come here.
Meineke Car Care – TCU. Keeping the Horned Frogs in Texas would help their fans travel. They didn’t last year to San Diego.
Heart of Texas Bowl – Iowa State. This bowl would be a good choice for them against a Big 10 team, likely Minnesota.
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