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Sooners Survive TCU In Thriller
December 01, 2012
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

FORT WORTH, Texas – As the clock ticked to 0:00 following Landry Jones' victory formation kneel down, Oklahoma fans in the northeast corner of Amon G. Carter Stadium started a familiar chant.

"Bee-Cee-Ess … Bee-Cee-Ess."

The Sooners' bowl destination won't be announced until Sunday night but there is a high probability they'll be a BCS at-large selection. What Oklahoma assured itself with Saturday's 24-17 brass-knuckle victory over TCU was another Big 12 Conference title. The players marked the occasion with a team picture on the field, wearing "Big 12 Champion" hats and t-shirts.

Oklahoma is 10-2 overall and finished 8-1 in Big 12 play. The Sooners won eight consecutive league games after losing to Kansas State and beating the Horned Frogs put them in the awkward and unique position of rooting for their Red River Rivals.

"You want to be the outright champion," said Jones, who joins Sam Bradford as the only OU quarterback during the Bob Stoops Era with two Big 12 championships.

"It's not that big a deal, we got our part of the championship first" Oklahoma defensive end R.J. Washington said with a laugh. "Hey, if Kansas State wins, they get a trophy, we get a trophy. They get rings, we get rings. Am I rooting for Texas? Not really. It is what it is."

And this is what it is: Kansas State used a 21-point fourth quarter to overcome a 10-7 halftime deficit to defeat Texas, 42-24. The Wildcats are 11-1 overall, 8-1 in the Big 12. They're co-champions with Oklahoma. By virtue of Kansas State's 24-19 victory over the Sooners on Sept. 22, K-State has the tie-breaker edge in terms of earning the Big 12's automatic BCS bid.

Oklahoma's two losses came to teams with a combined record of 23-1; OU's other loss was to 12-0 Notre Dame, which will play for the national championship. After losing to K-State in the Big 12 opener, the Sooners had no margin for error. In the last three weeks, they won twice because Jones and the offense was unstoppable. Against TCU OU's defense made the key plays.

"You win as a team and today the defense came through," Stoops said. "We've had to battle adversity all season and today we had to overcome two big turnovers and that's tough to do on the other team's field.

"It's fun to coach these guys and the last three weeks speak to the character and the spirit of this team. They have found a way to win."

Oklahoma has won at least 10 games in 11 seasons with Stoops as coach.

"I'm proud of that," said Stoops, whose team was 5-0 in road games this season. "It's consistency. It's not easy to do, or everybody would be doing it." 

For a relatively low scoring game, Oklahoma vs. TCU featured big plays, momentum swings and twists of fate.

Trailing 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, TCU freshman Jaden Oberkrom missed a 32-yard field goal that went over the top of the right upright and then hooked left. Television replays created the optical illusion that kick was good.

That figured into the decision for TCU coach Gary Patterson later in the quarter. After OU fumbled a punt, Oberkrom kicked a 47-yard field goal on fourth-and-nine.

"We had our chances," Patterson said. "If we would have made the first field goal, I probably would have gone for it on fourth down when we made the second one."

TCU made the most with limited opportunities. Sam Carter's interception of Jones set up a one-play scoring drive and Trevone Boykin hit Brandon Carter with an 80-yard touchdown pass for another one-play drive. On the Horned Frogs' final possession, Boykin connected with Cam White on a 42-yard gain to the Sooners' 12.

On third and 10, Boykin scrambled and scored but the play was wiped out by a holding call that drew flags from two officials.

"Yeah, I had a pretty good view of it and it was a hold," Stoops said. "But sometimes they miss those. I've been on the other side of that."

On fourth down, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops guessed TCU would run a "smash corner" route to top receiver Josh Boyce. OU defenders Aaron Colvin and Julian Wilson had Boyce bracketed in coverage and knocked the pass down.

Bob Stoops had high praise for Oklahoma's offensive line, which started the season down two starters because of season-ending injuries. TCU led the Big 12 in total defense and rushing defense while ranking second in sacks. The Sooners finished with 421 total yards, averaged 5.5 yards per rush and didn't allow a sack.

"These last three weeks have been quite a ride," Oklahoma senior left tackle Lane Johnson said. "We know if we can keep Landry Jones clean, he's gonna be able to move the offense. And it helped that we could run the ball."

Jones hit a wide open Damien Williams with an 11-yard swing pass to give Oklahoma a 7-0 lead. After his interception set up the Horned Frogs' first TD, he drove the Sooners 75 yards in nine plays, hitting Jalen Saunders with a 24-yard scoring strike. On the fourth play of the second half, Damien Williams (155 yards on 18 attempts) busted loose for a 66-yard touchdown run to give OU a 21-7 lead.

Oklahoma was the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 championship. The Sooners have won eight Big 12 championships but the first they have shared.

"This was our championship game," Stoops said. "It's just how it is when you're in a 10-team league. That's what I told the players … let's put ourselves in position to win it and fortunately we did."

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