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TCU validates place in Big 12 by taking down Oklahoma

Forgive the Frogs.

They rushed the field after Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight’s last-ditch pass sailed past the back of the end zone with no time left.

After almost four hours, twice avoiding disaster on turnovers in the fourth quarter, TCU had it — a 37-33 victory Saturday afternoon at a charged-up Amon G. Carter Stadium against the No. 4-ranked Sooners, a victory that says the Horned Frogs can contend for the Big 12 championship.

So they celebrated.

What else is there to do when 40,000 of your closest friends are rushing toward you on the field?

“It was just that feeling,” receiver Kolby Listenbee said with a laugh and a shrug. “We had a lot of love from the stands. So it was just that feeling that you had to go out and rush the field. Party with them.”

TCU earned a party. Its defense held Oklahoma to a lone touchdown in the second half, rallying from a couple of body blows in the first quarter that would have staggered other opponents.

And TCU’s offense — the “Air Raid” style that was the biggest question mark coming into the season — put up 469 yards and four touchdowns. The 37 points, which included linebacker Paul Dawson’s interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, were the most a TCU team has ever scored on Oklahoma.

“A fantastic win for the university,” quarterback Trevone Boykin said. “Not even just our football team. Our whole school was behind us.”

It validated the Horned Frogs’ belief that they are deserving of their place in the Big 12. They won only six of 18 conference games their first two seasons in the league. But as coach Gary Patterson continued to say, they were losing close those first two years, and they were not as far away as it seemed.

“We were close last year against Oklahoma. This year we found a way to score one more point,” Patterson said. “We were close against Baylor last year. We’ve got to find a way to see if we can score one more point.”

Late turnovers cost the Frogs at least three conference games last year. Late turnovers almost cost them this time.

With TCU clinging to a 37-33 lead, a Boykin fumble gave OU the ball just outside the red zone with seven minutes left in the game. But Chris Hackett’s interception gave TCU the ball two plays later.

TCU gave it right back when the ball was knocked loose from B.J. Catalon.

This time, TCU required a stop on fourth-and-1 to get the ball back. Linebacker Marcus Mallet and defensive tackle Chucky Hunter smashed upfield to stop OU’s bruising freshman tailback, Samaje Perine, short.

The Frogs took over with three minutes to burn. They used all but one minute and punted. The Sooners took over at their own 29 with 51 seconds left, and they managed a Hail Mary from the TCU 46 with five seconds left.

When it fell incomplete, the party started. And drifted into the locker room.

Even Patterson allowed himself a quick celebration.

Then he told his team — act like you’ve been there before.

“You shouldn’t get overly excited,” he said. “You got Baylor next week. Get done, eat a little dinner — I’m going to start on Baylor. It’s not just coachspeak, I promise you. It’s what’s happening.”

But for a night, the TCU players could savor what a victory meant on a weekend in which four of the top six teams in college football lost. Could they dare think of themselves as conference champions and playoff participants?

“It basically gives us confidence, knowing we can play with guys like OU,” Boykin said. “A lot of Big 12 championships have gone through there. You’ve got to go through OU and Austin and Waco to win a Big 12 championship, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

And beyond?

“I feel like if they don’t know, they know now,” Boykin said when asked if the win cleared up doubts about the Horned Frogs. “They’ll soon find out, if we ever get a chance to play. They’ll soon find out what TCU is all about.”

Forgive the Frogs. It was that big of a win.

 

Another Top-10 falls

TCU improved to 7-7 against Top-10 teams under Gary Patterson:

Date Result
Oct. 4, 2014 No. 25 TCU 37, No. 4 Oklahoma 33
Nov. 13, 2013 No. 9 Baylor 41, TCU 38
Nov. 10, 2012 No. 3 Kansas State 23, TCU 10
Nov. 12, 2011 TCU 36, No. 5 Boise State 35
Jan. 1, 2011 No. 3 TCU 21, No. 4 Wisconsin 19*
Nov. 6, 2010 No. 4 TCU 47, No. 6 Utah 7
Jan. 4, 2010 No 6 Boise State 17, No. 3 TCU 10**
Dec. 23, 2008 No. 11 TCU 17, No. 9 Boise State 16***
Nov. 6, 2008 No. 10 Utah 13, No. 11 TCU 10
Oct. 16, 2008 TCU 32, No. 9 BYU 7
Sept. 27, 2008 No. 2 Oklahoma 35, No. 24 TCU 10
Sept. 8, 2007 No. 7 Texas 34, No. 19 TCU 13
Sept. 3, 2005 TCU 17, No. 7 Oklahoma 10
Aug. 25, 2001 No. 4 Nebraska 21, TCU 7

*Rose Bowl  **Fiesta Bowl ***Poinsettia Bowl

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