No. 8 Oklahoma holds on, beats TCU 28-24
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — It wasn’t pretty, but Jalen Hurts did what he usually does late in the season — win.
The senior passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and No. 8 Oklahoma held off TCU 28-24 on Saturday night to clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
It was a rough game by Hurts’ standards. He connected on just 11 of 21 passes, threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and lost a fumble in the red zone. But Hurts, who now has a combined 36-3 record as a starter at Alabama and Oklahoma, was fine after the game.
“Regardless of the fumble or the pick six or whatever mess-up I may have had today, we found a way,” he said.
Hurts ran for 173 yards on 28 carries. He passed for 145 yards — a total that could have been much higher.
“One of the first games where he just missed a few throws down the field that could have really busted the thing open,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “And they were all just long by just a tad bit. So he was just a little bit off on some of the deep balls.”
Kennedy Brooks added 149 yards rushing for the Sooners (10-1, 7-1, No. 9 CFP), who kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Oklahoma won its 20th consecutive November game dating to 2014. The Sooners outgained the Horned Frogs 511 yards to 204, but turned the ball over three times.
“The one kind of negative point of an otherwise pretty dominant performance,” Riley said. “Some mistakes that we’ve got to continue to clean up.”
Max Duggan rushed for 92 and a touchdown for the Horned Frogs (5-6, 3-5), who missed a chance to become bowl eligible after a furious comeback to make things interesting late.
Oklahoma ran out to a 21-0 lead and led 21-10 at halftime. Hurts threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score before the break.
“Before the ballgame, they didn’t know they could play with Oklahoma,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “After a quarter, they figured out they could. That’s what TCU is. It’s a group that can play with anybody.”
The Sooners led 28-17 and looked ready to put the Horned Frogs away, but Vernon Scott intercepted Hurts and ran it back 98 yards for a touchdown, and TCU cut Oklahoma’s lead to 28-24 with 12:43 to play.
The Sooners drove again, and Hurts broke a long run before Nook Bradford ripped the ball out of his arm and gained possession in one fluid motion inside the TCU 10.
TCU drove inside Oklahoma territory, but Brendan Radley-Hiles intercepted Duggan’s pass with 1:41 to play.
Oklahoma needed a first down to put the game out of reach. On third-and-short, Hurts ran up the middle and was awarded the first down after a review.
The Horned Frogs thought they had the stop.
“I think we did,” TCU linebacker Garret Wallow said. “But the game should never have come down to it.”
TCU: It was the Horned Frogs’ fifth loss by seven points or fewer this season. The passing offense was nearly non-existent, with Duggan completing just 7 of 21 passes for 65 yards. But TCU had a chance to go ahead late.
Oklahoma: The Sooners, coming off a big win over Baylor, hung on again. Oklahoma’s last three wins have been by one, three and four points. Oklahoma’s defense played lights out and never let TCU get comfortable as it wrapped up a trip to the league title game, which will be a rematch against Baylor.
Hurts became the third Oklahoma quarterback to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. Jack Mildren set the single-season record with 1,289 yards in 1971 and Kyler Murray ran for 1,001 yards last season. Hurts now has 1,156 yards on the season and 3,132 in his career.
In its past four games, Oklahoma has outscored its opponents just 145-144, yet has a 3-1 record. The Sooners lost to Kansas State 48-41 before beating Iowa State 42-41, Baylor 34-31 and TCU 28-24.
LAMB SCORES AGAIN
Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb caught his 32nd career touchdown pass to move into sole possession of second place on the school’s career list. He broke a tie with Mark Clayton and now trails only Ryan Broyles.
LOTS OF WINS
Saturday’ win was the 400th for Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium.
Oklahoma could move up with No. 6 Oregon’s loss to Arizona State.
TCU hosts West Virginia.
Oklahoma visits in-state rival Oklahoma State.