TCU vs. Oklahoma in Big 12 championship

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Marquise Brown celebrate hooking up for a long pass and touchdown score in the second half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game against TCU on Saturday Dec. 2 2017

The Horned Frogs really needed to be flawless on the offensive side of the ball to keep up with Baker Mayfield and Co. He kept the Horned Frogs in the game in the first half Saturday, threading some nice passes into coverage, and picking up some tough yards on the ground (he led TCU with 51 yards rushing).

"We've known it for a while, and we're excited to play", Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. "We knew there was going to be a championship game and that was just going to be part of our journey if we wanted to get to this place".

The Sooners (11-1, 8-1, No. 3 CFP) would nearly certainly be a lock for one of the four playoff spots even without another win.

"I don't think either side is going to come in and just totally scrap what they do and change it completely up", Riley said. "The most exciting thing about today was we controlled our own destiny. That's all out in front of us". That included shutting out Oklahoma in the second half the first time the two teams met this season.

Now what? The Sooners (12-1) will earn the invitation to the four-team field, but can they win it all?

It didn't necessarily go according to script, but No. 3 Oklahoma finally locked up its College Football Playoff spot.

"I had it updated before Bedlam", Mayfield said, referring to game against rival Oklahoma State a month ago.

The Sooners almost squandered an early lead, but eventually took care of business in a 41-17 win over No. 11 TCU in the Big 12 championship game. In two games against Big 12 foe TCU this year, Mayfield rose to the occasion with a stat line of 559 passing yards, seven TDs and zero interceptions. But a loss would have likely knocked OU out of contention. But on the 11th-ranked Horned Frogs' first play from scrimmage, running back Kyle Hicks fumbled and Sooners' Caleb Kelly returned it 18 yards for a score to put Oklahoma up 10-0. "We're built different and that's a big reason why you see the consistent success". "Two plays basically in the second half", TCU coach Gary Patterson said.

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"The worst thing that could happen in the third quarter happened", Patterson said.

OU's Mayfield probably had the Heisman Trophy locked up before this game, but his performance on Saturday, 15 for 23 passing for 243 yards and four touchdowns, including a dazzling 65-yard run in the first half, all but assured it.

Hill opened the second half with three consecutive incompletions. Oklahoma discarded those trends in a flash, striking for a 55-yard TD pass from Mayfield to Mykel Jones on its first offensive snap of the third quarter to push OU's lead to 31-17. Marquise Brown made an impressive over-the-shoulder grab for a 52-yard TD and a 38-17 lead.

"My career has been up and down", Hill said. "As far as Baker goes, man, he looks like the Heisman". TCU wants to avenge its 38-20 loss against the Sooners in the regular season. Oklahoma's 17 first-quarter points was the most ever scored in an opening quarter in Big 12 title game history.

Oklahoma: The Sooners' 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. Diarse had immediately run to the sideline and told Patterson it was a catch.

Oklahoma has averaged 34 points in the first half of its past five games.

Saturday's game served as a microcosm of Hill's career as a Horned Frog, a roller-coaster ride of an event.

Nationally, Oklahoma is celebrated most for a likely Heisman Trophy victor, with a cast of lesser-known players orbiting around him to give the Sooners such gaudy offensive stats.

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