NORMAN — With the game in doubt in the fourth quarter, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel fumbled a handoff to Jeremy Maclin.
While Daniel and Maclin scrambled to recover the ball, Oklahoma's Curtis Lofton rumbled between them and scooped the fumble before carrying both Tigers into the end zone like sacks of potatoes.
Lofton's powerful touchdown return overcame his teammates' many miscues and preserved OU's national championship aspirations as the fifth-ranked Sooners survived pesky No. 11-ranked Missouri 41-31 on a gusty Saturday night in front of 85,041 at Owen Field.
"The defense came up with some huge plays,” coach Bob Stoops said. "A win against a good team is good.
"But I'm frustrated — there are some areas we've got to be better.”
For the third-straight week, the Sooners struggled to run the ball, finishing with just 118 yards rushing, most coming late in the fourth quarter.
Allen Patrick and DeMarco Murray combined for just 46 yards on the ground, prompting OU to use third-string back Chris Brown exclusively in the fourth quarter. Brown proved more effective than Patrick or Murray by leading OU with 67 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The Sooners also missed two extra-point attempts and failed on two 2-point conversion attempts.
But the most costly mistakes came from receiver Juaquin Iglesias, whose two fumbles led to two Missouri touchdowns.
"Turnovers change everything,” Stoops said. "They almost lost the game for us.