3-Peat: Sooners Win 2017 Big 12 Title
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Baker Mayfield threw four touchdowns and No. 2 Oklahoma staked claim to a playoff spot with a 41-17 win over No. 10 TCU in the return of the Big 12 championship game Saturday.
With their record 11th Big 12 title, the Sooners (12-1, No. 3 CFP) are a lock to be in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons. They are the only Big 12 team to make the four-team playoff format that started in 2014.
Oklahoma jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead, including Caleb Kelly's 18-yard fumble return for a touchdown after running back Kyle Hicks' turnover on the first offensive play by TCU (10-3, No. 11).
Kenny Hill threw two TD passes to get the Horned Frogs within 24-17 at halftime, but Oklahoma scored twice on its first three offensive plays after the break.
Mayfield, the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy to be named next week, finished 15-of-23 passing for 243 yards and take game MVP honors. The first two touchdowns were to tight end Mark Andrews .
Hill opened the second half with three consecutive incompletions. On the first play after the punt, Mayfield hit Mykel Jones for a 55-yard catch-and-run score.
On fourth-and-1 from the Oklahoma 41 on the next drive, Hill bootlegged to the right side. Big defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo chased him toward the sideline before Parnell Motley delivered the crushing blow that kept TCU's quarterback from getting a first down.
Two plays later, Marquise Brown made an impressive over-the-shoulder grab for a 52-yard TD and a 38-17 lead.
TCU: The Horned Frogs had allowed only six points (two field goals) combined after halftime in their last seven games. Even Oklahoma was scoreless in the second half of its 38-20 home win over TCU three weeks ago. The 41 points are the most TCU has allowed this season.
Oklahoma: The Sooners clinched their third straight Big 12 title, all since former Texas Tech transfer Mayfield took over as the starting quarterback. Their 11th Big 12 title overall was the first without Bob Stoops, the coach for their last national title in 2000 who resigned unexpectedly last summer. Lincoln Riley, at 34 the youngest FBS head coach, is only the fifth coach in FBS history with no previous head coaching experience at a four-year college to win at least 12 games in his debut season.
TCU: The Horned Frogs could still possibly make it into one of the New Year's Six bowl games, and if not likely will be the Big 12 representative in the Alamo Bowl.
Oklahoma: The Sooners wait to find out who they will play and in which national semifinal game, the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl.