FORT WORTH, Texas — For a third straight Saturday, Oklahoma players stood in the red zone, awaiting a single, game defining play.
Only this time, the 11 Sooners on the field had their backs to the end zone.
With 25 seconds remaining, TCU receiver Josh Boyce couldn't make a fourth-down touchdown catch between Julian Wilson and Tony Jefferson, and Oklahoma escaped Amon G. Carter Stadium with a 24-17 win.
“The clock was ticking, and we knew the game was all in our hands,” said senior cornerback Demontre Hurst. “We just buckled down and really made plays when we needed to.”
With the victory, Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1 Big 12) claimed at least a share of the Big 12 Conference championship and is all but guaranteed a coveted BCS bowl berth.
The Sooners stayed alive in the hunt for both achievements by winning offensive shoot-outs in back-to-back weeks — 50-49 at West Virginia on Nov. 17, and 51-48 in overtime over Oklahoma State last weekend.
In each of those victories, Oklahoma's offense found ways to outscore its opponent and bail out its defense, which allowed the Mountaineers and Cowboys to put up historically shocking numbers.
“These last couple weeks, offense has been, for the most part, bailing us out,” said senior defensive end R.J. Washington. “We felt like we needed to pull our own weight. For the defense to come up with a last-second stop — last play of the game is on us — I wouldn't have it any other way.”
After OU kicker Michael Hunnicutt's 42-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left with 2:49 remaining, the Horned Frogs picked up a first down, then suddenly advanced to the OU 12 when quarterback Trevone Boykin found Cam White on a 46-yard pass.
On first down, Jefferson stuffed TCU's B.J. Catalon for no gain.
On second down, Catalon swung from the backfield and extended his right arm toward Boykin's slightly overthrown pass, bobbling the ball before hauling it in for no gain.