The Oklahoma Sooners won the Big 12 Championship in Arlington on Saturday afternoon to claim its eleventh title since the inception of the conference. A school that holds the claim to most of those trophies added another one in dominating fashion.
The rematch between TCU and Oklahoma looked to be a bit of a fight in the first half, but it didn’t take long for the game to get out of reach for the Horned Frogs.
To start the game, Oklahoma went 51 yards on their first drive and quarterback Baker Mayfield managed to nickel-and-dime the offense down to the 24 yard line of the Horned Frogs. The Sooners would have to settle for a field goal to get the first score of the game at 3-0.
TCU had a chance to respond to Oklahoma’s score, but disaster struck on their first play from scrimmage. Running back Kyle Hicks fumbled the handoff and Sooner linebacker Caleb Kelly scooped up the fumbled and ran into the end zone for the 18 yard fumble return. Oklahoma was up 10-0.
Oklahoma would take a TCU punt and march down the field to go up 17-0 when Mayfield hit tight end Mark Andrews for the five yard touchdown.
TCU would begin to come awake, however. The Horned Frogs used their short passing game to get to the Sooner 29 yard line, where it looked like they might be stopped on third down. Quarterback Kenny Hill managed to find Jalen Reagor on a fade route, however, and were down ten, 17-7.
After an Oklahoma missed field goal, TCU would again driven down and score. Hill hit tight end Cole Hunt in the end zone to pull the Horned Frogs within a field goal, 14-17.
The Sooner offense continued to roll. With Mayfield, Andrews and running back Rodney Anderson getting the majority of touches, Oklahoma would score again on Mayfield-to-Andrews touchdown pass.
With just under four minutes left, TCU managed to again march the ball down the field with their short passing game. They ended the first half scoring with a Cole Bunce field goal that made the score 24-17 at halftime.
It looked like TCU might be able to capture some momentum, but the Sooners would begin to run away with the game. After a Horned Frog punt, Mayfield would throw a touchdown pass on Oklahoma’s first offensive play of the second half.
Mayfield hit Mykel Jones for 55 yards as he slipped past a TCU defensive back. Oklahoma was then up 31-17.
After stopping the Horned Frogs on fourth down, the Sooners would score again, this time in two plays. Mayfield dropped back on second down and found wide receiver Marquise Brown matched up on TCU’s Matt Boesen in the flat. The mismatch was a killer for the Horned Frogs as Brown took that reception to the house. The Sooners were now had a comfortable lead 38-17.
TCU continued to struggle offensively in the quarter, particularly with being able to run the ball against the Oklahoma defense.
With five minutes left in the third quarter, Hill would make a crucial mistake that seemed to put the game away. Backed up to the TCU four yard line, Kenny Hill threw a pass up for grabs down the left sideline and it was picked off by Oklahoma safety Will Johnson.
The pick would turn into an Oklahoma field goal a few plays later.
TCU was unable to get anything going for the rest of the game and the Sooners take up over twelve minutes of clock on two possessions by handing the ball off to Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon.
The final score of the 2017 Big 12 Championship saw Oklahoma beating TCU 41-17.
|3rd Down Eff||5-11||5-13|
|4th Down Eff||0-1||2-2|
|Yards Per Pass||6.3||10.6|
|Yards Per Rush||3.5||5.1|
|TCU – K. Hill||27/37||234||6.3||2||1||—|
|OU– B. Mayfield||15/23||243||10.6||4||0||93.8|
|TCU – K. Hill||13||51||3.9||0||18|
|OU – R. Anderson||24||93||3.9||0||13|
|TCU – J. Diarse||5||66||13.2||1||15|
|OU – M. Brown||3||87||29.0||1||52|
EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK
The last time these two teams played, Oklahoma was able to run the ball in order to run up the score. This time, it was the arm of Baker Mayfield, who faced very little pressure in the pocket and was his usual play-making self. Coming out after halftime, it would be tempting to think that the pressure was on Oklahoma, but TCU seemed to be the team to tighten up. Against a defense that was probably the Big 12’s best, Mayfield made it look easy. The two touchdowns in three plays to start the second half set the tone and made the lead seem insurmountable in a hurry.
Going into this game, TCU was going to have to bring the “A” game on offense to win, but they looked off-kilter from the start. Aside from some solid Kenny Hill runs and the occasional big yardage pass play, the Horned Frogs were inconsistent. The offense’s inability to get a first down with a fourth and one yard to go in Oklahoma territory was an absolute back-breaker. That play was symbolic of TCU’s inability to really get anything going in the running game all day. Had the Horned Frogs been able to run the ball and control the clock, the game might have been manageable, but the lack of a running game really handicapped the offense.
Baker Mayfield was named the Most Outstanding Player and his performance in this game has in all likelihood sealed the Heisman Trophy for him. Mayfield was for all intents and purposes flawless on the day, picking apart a Gary Patterson defense that many expected would prove formidable. Along with play caller Lincoln Riley, Mayfield made the vaunted Horned Frog defense look all too human as he seemed to always find mismatches downfield. He was on point all day and had a performance that was without a doubt championship-level.
There was a lot of thought going into this game that Gary Patterson would be able to limit the Oklahoma offense in the rematch. While TCU was able to make the Sooners drive the length of the field, the Horned Frogs had a particularly hard time getting off the field on third down. They also struggled matching up against tight end Mark Andrews, who made big catches throughout the day.