TCU gave its backup quarterbacks a chance.
One by one, Foster Sawyer and Bram Kohlhausen almost delivered.
Sawyer opened the game with a long touchdown pass, gave way to Kohlhausen in the third quarter, and Kohlhausen almost finished the job.
But a 2-point pass was knocked away, spoiling TCU’s comeback in a 30-29 loss at Oklahoma on Saturday night that had the Sooners gasping for life at the end. Instead, the home team stayed alive in the Big 12 title chase and national championship picture, but barely.
“Our rules, when on the road, go for two for the win,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said after the game.
The Horned Frogs, playing without quarterback Trevone Boykin, receiver Josh Doctson and center Joey Hunt, rallied from a 30-13 deficit. Kohlhausen found KaVontae Turpin for an 86-yard touchdown, Jaden Oberkrom made a 43-yard field goal, and Emanuel Porter caught a 14-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds left in a rally over the final 8:59.
But instead of tying the game,Patterson and the Frogs opted to win. Kohlhausen rolled right, tried to lob a throw to Shaun Nixon in the corner of the end zone, but it was batting away by safety Steven Parker.
The 85,821 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, third largest in stadium history, erupted in relief, and the Sooners ran on to the field.
It was almost a victory out of nothing for TCU, which was eliminated from the Big 12 race.
Sawyer made his first start, was intercepted three times, sacked twice and eventually benched after a hopeful beginning.
The redshirt freshman from Fort Worth All Saints completed 8 of 18 passes for 107 yards. His two biggest plays came on the Frogs’ second possession of the game when he hit Kolby Listenbee on passes of 44 and 37 yards, the latter for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
But after the touchdown, he went 4-for-13 with three interceptions. Twice, he missed his receiver with a deep ball, and twice he was intercepted.
Running back Trevorris Johnson was stripped on a second-quarter carry, accounting for a fourth turnover by the Frogs (9-2, 6-2 Big 12).
Kohlhausen took over at quarterback on the last series of the third quarter, but went three-and-out.
TCU punted seven times in the first three quarters, unable to generate consistent without Boykin, who sat out the game because of an ankle injury suffered last week against Kansas.
Hunt also did not play; he was hurt in practice this week. Doctson, the nation’s leading receiver, was ruled out mid-week.
A window of opportunity opened for the Frogs in the third quarter.
OU punter Austin Seibert had his knee down on a punt, giving TCU a short field that led to Aaron Green’s 26-yard touchdown run. It cut TCU’s deficit to 23-13 with 12:43 left in the third quarter.
A missed field goal gave the Frogs the ball back with another chance to cut into the lead. But that possession went three-and-out.
Still, after an OU punt, Sawyer and the offense got another chance. Green’s 6-yard run and a defensive holding penalty got the ball to the OU 45. But on the next snap, Sawyer looked for Listenbee deep on a double move and missed him.
Ahmad Thomas’ interception at the 8-yard line for OU was followed two plays later by Samaje Perine’s 72-yard touchdown run for a 30-13 lead with 7:55 left in the third quarter.