Oklahoma football: Historically, Sooners peak when Big 12 title is at stake

NORMAN, Okla. — When it comes to Big 12 Championship Games, no team matches Oklahoma’s history. The Sooners have more title-game victories than anyone else has appearances.

“That’s one of the reasons I chose to come here. They play championship football here, and that’s something I want to be a part of,” wide receiver Marquise Brown said.

The third-ranked Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) will try to win their eighth Big 12 title game Saturday when they face No. 11 TCU (10-2, 7-2) at 12:30 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Historically, the bigger the stakes, the better the Sooners seem to play. They’re 7-1 in Big 12 title games. The wins came in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Two of those victories advanced Oklahoma to the national title game. The lone loss — to Kansas State in 2003 — didn’t stop the Sooners from playing for that season’s national championship.

Here’s a look back at Oklahoma’s Big 12 title game history.

2000: No. 1 Oklahoma 27, No. 8 Kansas State 24

In a rematch of an October meeting at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., quarterback Josh Heupel threw 2 touchdown passes and ran for another. Kicker Tim Duncan hit a season-long 46-yard field goal with less than 2 minutes to play to seal the victory and send the undefeated Sooners to the national championship game.

2002: No. 8 Oklahoma 29, No. 12 Colorado 7

In another rematch of the regular season, this one played out in nearly identical fashion at NRG Stadium in Houston. Running back Quentin Griffin rushed for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Nate Hybl threw 2 more touchdowns. The star was the Sooners’ defense. It held the Buffaloes to 193 yards and 9 first downs.

2003: No. 13 Kansas State 35, No. 1 Oklahoma 7

The computers were the dominating factor in picking national title game participants. Oklahoma knew before the game kicked off it could fall no further than No. 2 even with a loss at Arrowhead Stadium. The Sooners played like a team with nothing to win. Kansas State running back Darren Sproles rushed for 235 yards and caught passes for 88 to key the upset.

2004: No. 2 Oklahoma 42, Colorado 3

The Sooners capped an undefeated regular season and advanced to the national championship by dominating the Buffaloes from start to finish. Jason White threw 3 touchdown passes and Adrian Peterson rushed for 3 more en route to 172 rushing yards at Arrowhead Stadium.

2006: No. 8 Oklahoma 21, No. 19 Nebraska 7

There were no national title implications in this one. But this was the first Big 12 title game between the longtime rivals. Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly caught 2 touchdown passes from quarterback Paul Thompson, giving the Sooners the edge in the defensive struggle at Arrowhead Stadium.

2007: No. 9 Oklahoma 38, No. 1 Missouri 17

The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas was the site for Oklahoma’s only title game appearance as the lower-ranked team. Missouri, which lost to the Sooners during the regular season, needed a win to play for the national title. Instead, Oklahoma rolled in the second half. Sam Bradford threw 2 touchdown passes and the Sooners held Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel to 219 passing yards.

2008: No. 4 Oklahoma 62, No. 19 Missouri 21

The Sooners needed a convincing win to rise in the final BCS rankings and they got one in the final Big 12 title game at Arrowhead Stadium. Sam Bradford capped his Heisman Trophy campaign with 384 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Running backs Chris Brown and Mossis Madu both rushed for more than 100 yards and scored 3 touchdowns apiece.

2010: No. 10 Oklahoma 23, No. 13 Nebraska 20

Nebraska’s last football game as Big 12 member was a heartbreaking night at AT&T Stadium. Not only did it end one of the most historic rivalries in sports, but Nebraska’s 17-0 second quarter lead evaporated, as well. Landry Jones threw for 342 yards and 1 touchdown. Kicker Jimmy Stevens connected on 3 field goals.

Times have changed for Oklahoma

The wins and Big 12 title game experience retired when former coach Bob Stoops stepped down in June. Lincoln Riley will coach in one for the first time on Saturday.

The 34-year-old coach’s demeanor exhibited confidence throughout the regular season, much like Stoops. In a way, it’s like nothing has changed. The focus has been on the next game with the understanding the stakes rise with each victory.

What separated Oklahoma from the pack under Stoops was the conference title game stage was never too big.

“It’s going to be a lot more challenging playing a team like TCU, as well coached as they are,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “They’re going to be very ready to play us. We get everybody’s best shot, but their best shot is pretty good. It’s going to be a great challenge and so that’s the way we like it. We like playing in big games. I think we’re made for this stage.”

The post Oklahoma football: Historically, Sooners peak when Big 12 title is at stake appeared first on Diehards.

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