Oklahoma tops TCU for share of Big 12 title

FORT WORTH, Texas — Oklahoma fans chanted “BCS!” as the Sooners walked off the field after Saturday’s 24-17 win over TCU.

TCU fans were probably leaving out the middle initial.

A holding call negated a TCU touchdown in the final minute, and then Oklahoma stopped TCU on downs 15 yards from the end zone to preserve the win.

That was just one of several moments that will be cussed and discussed, but the final result remains: Oklahoma earned a share of the Big 12 championship with the win.

Well even that rubs some people wrong, apparently. Oklahoma finished 8-1 in conference play, losing only to Kansas State, which was also 7-1 heading into a Saturday night game against Texas.

If Kansas State also finishes 8-1, the Wildcats will be co-champs along with the Sooners. Oklahoma players were wearing Big 12 championship caps after the game, and before the game were promised rings and a trophy if they won.

“It isn’t anybody’s fault here that we’re in a 10-team league,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “That’s just how it is when you’re in a 10-team league. Nobody here made those rules.”

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said earlier in the week he prefers a championship game, but that format is only permissible in conferences with at least 12 teams.

“It’s like I told the players: The bottom line is, this is our championship game,” Stoops said. “We don’t go to Atlanta or to Dallas to play, it’s here. So let’s do our best to put ourselves in position to win. Fortunately we did.”

Oklahoma (10-2) put itself in position for a BCS bowl bid with the win. The Sooners likely are headed to the Sugar Bowl if Kansas State beats Texas and earns the Big 12’s automatic BCS berth because of its tiebreaker win over OU.

If Kansas State loses, the Sooners get the Big 12’s automatic bid and are destined for the Fiesta Bowl.

Oklahoma’s BCS plans never looked secure until the final seconds Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. TCU (7-5, 4-5) never led, but the Frogs kept hanging around like house guests who never leave.

An 80-yard touchdown pass from Trevone Boykin to Brandon Carter pulled TCU within a touchdown, 21-14, in the third quarter. Before that play, Boykin had passed for just 39 yards.

Boykin hit another big pass in the final minutes, this time 46 yards to Cam White down to the Oklahoma 12.

On third down, Boykin scored on a 12-yard keeper with 38 seconds left, but a holding call on right guard Blaize Foltz wiped away the potential tying score.

“I finally got one of those judgment calls,” Stoops said. “We’ve been on the other side of so many of those, and so many not called. Fortunately they saw it and called it.”

On the next play, fourth down, Boykin tried to hit Josh Boyce at the near pylon, but Boyce was sandwiched between OU’s Julian Wilson and Tony Jefferson and couldn’t make the catch.

“The last few weeks the offense has been on the field at the end to win it, and this time it was the defense on the field at the end of the game to get us four downs and out,” Stoops said.

“I would have much preferred not to give up a big pass ahead of that, but that’s how we’ve been doing things – making it exciting.”

Earlier in the fourth quarter, TCU had a field goal attempt ruled wide right, then replays showed the ball apparently curved inside the uprights. Windy conditions affected the kicking game for both teams.

TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom later kicked a 47-yard field goal to pull the Frogs within seven, while OU’s Mike Hunnicutt missed a 42-yard attempt with 2:49 that could have made it a two-score game.

“We had our chances to win the game, simple as that,” TCU coach Gary 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. We just have to make plays.”

After a turnover led to TCU’s first touchdown, Oklahoma marched 75 yards for the go-ahead touchdown just before half. Landry Jones, who passed for 244 yards and two TDs, hit Jalen Saunders for a 24-yard score.

Then Oklahoma opened the second half with Damien Williams breaking off a 66-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 cushion.

“Whenever we need a drive, we got it,” Jones said. “We didn’t finish it the way we wanted to as an offense, but as a team we did it.”

TCU now appears headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, although there could be some shuffling before final selections are made.

Despite a crowd of 47,501 – third largest in TCU history – the Frogs finished their inaugural season in the Big 12 with an 0-4 record in conference home games.

Oklahoma beat all four Texas teams in the Big 12, but found itself in the odd position of rooting for arch-rival Texas on Saturday night against Kansas State.

“Obviously you want to be the outright champion. We’re going to watch that game,” said Jones, who was then asked if it would be hard to root for Texas.

Jones’ answer: “Not right now.”
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire