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December 1, 2012
Sooners beat TCU 24-17, claim at least share of Big 12
Landry Jones and Oklahoma treated their regular-season finale like a championship game - and finished wearing caps and T-shirts declaring the 12th-ranked Sooners the Big 12 champions.FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) --
They then had to wait to see if they would have to share their eighth Big 12 title, or win it outright.
"Technically, we're not sharing anything with anybody right now," Sooners defensive end R.J. Washington said. "Right now, we're the only Big 12 champions. We'll see what happens later. Sharing it or not sharing it, winning the conference championship is great."
With their 24-17 victory Saturday, after TCU's fourth-down pass to the goal line in the final minute was knocked down incomplete, the Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12) clinched at least a share of their Big 12 title - and likely a BCS berth no matter what happens.
"In the end, it's just great to be in this position and to be a winner again," coach Bob Stoops said. "For these guys, Big 12 champs, or co-champs, they're recognized as champions."
Jones threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns as the Sooners won their eighth consecutive Big 12 game since a late-September loss to Kansas State.
The Wildcats played their regular-season finale at home Saturday night against No. 23 Texas. Oklahoma would have the outright title and guaranteed BCS spot if the seventh-ranked Wildcats lose.
The Sooners, whose only other loss was to No. 1 Notre Dame, are in good shape for the final at-large BCS berth if K-State wins. Kent State's double-overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game likely ended any chance for that league to get in the Bowl Championship Series.
TCU (7-5, 4-5), the two-time BCS buster in its first Big 12 season, lost all four of its conference games at home despite winning four on the road.
"We had a chance to win the game, simple as that," coach Gary Patterson said. "We gave up an easy touchdown when a couple of freshmen blew an assignment."
The Frogs were still within a touchdown when Oklahoma's Michael Hunnicut missed a 42-yard field goal attempt for with just under 3 minutes left.
After the Sooners won their last two games by scoring in the final minute - to win at West Virginia and with 4 seconds left to force overtime and beat Oklahoma State - they depended upon their defense this time.
Frogs freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin, who finished with 231 yards passing, threw a 35-yarder to Cam White to the Oklahoma 12. On third-and-10 from there, Boykin got in the end zone on a keeper, but the play was called back because of a holding call - an obvious penalty that cleared the way for the score.
After hitting Josh Boyce for 7 yards, the Frogs had fourth-and-13 from the 15 in the final minute when Boykin threw toward Boyce again. But he couldn't make the play between two defenders.
"We like to make them interesting around this place," Jones said. "Unfortunately we didn't finish it the way we wanted to offensively, but the defense did."
The Horned Frogs' four-game home losing streak is their longest since five in a row from November 1996 to November 1997. Before this year, they hadn't lost consecutive home games in the same season since 1998.
Oklahoma has won the Big 12 in every even-numbered year since Bob Stoops became coach in 1999. The Sooners, who also won a conference title in 2007, have been to eight BCS games in that span.
Just a minute into the second half, Damien Williams took a handoff, shot through a gap on the left side of the line and sprinted undeterred to the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
Jones, coming in off the first consecutive 500-yard passing games by a Sooners quarterback, completed 22 of 40 passes. Williams had his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, with 18 carries for 115 yards.
After a 75-yard Oklahoma punt, the Frogs had their second one-play scoring drive of the game. Brandon Carter caught a pass behind the Sooners secondary and raced 80 yards for a touchdown.
Boykin fumbled later in the third quarter when he was sacked by Washington, a play that was initially ruled an incomplete pass until overturned on replay. That led to Hunnicut's 34-yard field goal.
Jaden Oberkrom kicked a 47-yard field goal for TCU with 7 minutes left, which came after the Frogs had lined up to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the 25 before a false start penalty.
Oberkrom was just wide right on a 32-yard attempt earlier in the fourth quarter, though the freshman kicker held his hands out in disbelief and replays showed the ball might have been inside the upright.
Oklahoma had a 14-7 lead at halftime after overcoming an interception by Jones that immediately led to a TCU touchdown, then a personal foul penalty that set up a third-and-23 play.
Sam Carter's interception and 42-yard return set TCU up at the 6. Boykin ran for a score on the next play for a 7-7 tie.
When Oklahoma got the ball back, Jones quickly completed five consecutive passes to the TCU 22. On the same play Kenny Stills dropped a pass near the goal-line, 303-pound lineman Tyrus Thompson was called for a personal foul after twice punching the helmet of Stansly Maponga while on top of the defensive end.
That made it third-and-23 from the 24, but Jalen Saunders caught a TD pass with Sam Carter defending him.
"I didn't do my job. I felt I should have made a play right there," Carter said. "You never know what could have happened."