Survival and controversy was the name of the game for the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday, as they got a critical 24-17 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive.
The survival portion of the contest came on the final drive, as a 46-yard pass from Trevone Boykin to Cam White put the Frogs in a position to tie the game in its final minute. Helped by a holding penalty, the Sooners wound up holding off TCU when a fourth down pass from Boykin fell incomplete to seal the contest.
Meanwhile, the controversy came far earlier in the final period. After a stalled drive gave TCU an opportunity to bring itself within one score via a field goal, kicker Jaden Oberkrom drove home what looked to be a perfect 32-yarder.
Only one problem: The officials called it no good, and rules prevented the call from being overturned via a review.
Though the call wound up not mattering in the final score, it's indicative of how lucky the Sooners must feel to be walking away victorious.
As for the biggest reason Oklahoma came away with a win, look no further than quarterback Landry Jones.
Jones completed 22 of his 40 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns against one interception, surviving a surprisingly stout TCU performance in the secondary. It was Jones who connected with Damien Williams for an 11-yard touchdown to put the game's first points on the board late in the first quarter.
However, it was also Jones' only mistake of the day Saturday that brought TCU back into the game. The Sooners quarterback tossed an interception to Sam Carter, who returned the ball to OU's 6-yard line, from where Trevone Boykin ran the ball in for a score to tie the score at 7.
The score wasn't tied for long, though, as Jones expertly navigated a drive on the next possession, culminating in a 24-yard touchdown strike to Jalen Saunders. That put the Sooners back into a lead they would not relinquish.
After the break, both sides came out with big plays early in the third quarter, as a 66-yard run from Williams put Oklahoma up by two scores, only for Boykin to connect with Brandon Carter on an 80-yard bomb of his own.
From that point forward, the game was more intriguing for its missed calls and opportunities than any particular play that happened on the field.
Barring something unforeseen, Saturday's win should lock up a BCS bowl berth for the Sooners. Kent State's loss to Northern Illinois opens up the fourth at-large berth, giving Oklahoma an inside track if Kansas State wins versus Texas.
If the Wildcats lose, however, it's celebration time in Norman, with a Fiesta Bowl faceoff coming likely against Oregon. Nevertheless, Saturday's game was all about giving the Sooners a chance. It wasn't always pretty, but Bob Stoops' squad got the job done.
In the second quarter, Landry Jones made history, passing Ty Detmer for fifth all time with 122 passing touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats & Information:
With 2 TD passes in the 1st half, Landry Jones passed Ty Detmer for 5th most in FBS history (122). Colt Brennan next with 131. #OUvsTCU— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 1, 2012
While that's impressive in and of itself, CBS Sports' Chris Huston wasn't as amused and compared Jones' accomplishments to another well-known college quarterback:
Matt Barkley & Landry Jones passed for 28,450 yards & 236 touchdowns over last 4 years. Never has so many yards, TDs amounted to so little.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) December 1, 2012
After Jaden Oberkrom's "missed" field goal put TCU's back against the wall, Run Home Jack of Every Day Should be Saturday came through with a humorous quip:
Weird that the Big 12 officials gave three points to Syracuse on that TCU field goal attempt.— sir broosk (@celebrityhottub) December 1, 2012
It wasn't all negative on Saturday for TCU. Trevone Boykin's performance piqued the intrigue of The Solid Verbal, who cannot wait to see him in spring practices:
Already interested to see what kind of QB Trevone Boykin will be after a spring/fall camp of starter reps.— The Solid Verbal (@SolidVerbal) December 1, 2012
Meanwhile, ESPN's Ivan Maisel took the time out to show appreciation for Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops:
Ho-hum. Another 10-win season for Bob Stoops. #OUvsTCU— Ivan Maisel (@Ivan_Maisel) December 1, 2012