Jalen Reagor

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Oklahoma storms out to 17-0 lead, but TCU chipping away in Big 12 championship game

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The Big 12 Championship Game is finally back, for some reason, and Oklahoma was ready to welcome it back in a big way. The Sooners blew the doors wide open in the first quarter with a 17-0 start, but TCU regained some control of things in the second quarter and we have ourselves a ballgame in Arlington. With the Big 12 title on the line, No. 3 Oklahoma holds a 24-17 lead on No. 11 TCU, setting the stage for a really good second half.

Oklahoma took the game’s opening drive down the field and settled for a field goal to open the scoring. The lead was quickly expanded when Caleb Kelly returned a TCU fumble for a score on the first offensive play for the Horned Frogs.

TCU’s first full offensive possession resulted in a punt, and the Sooners tacked on more points. Baker Mayfield made some plays with his arm and his legs to keep the drive alive and he ended the drive with a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews from five yards out to push Oklahoma out to a 17-0 lead.

TCU finally got things together on offense in the second quarter with Kenny Hill connecting on a 29-yard pass to Jalen Reagor early in the second quarter. Hill again got TCU in the end zone through the air on their next possession with a 12-yard pass to John Diarse. The Sooners responded on the ensuing possession following a solid kickoff return and TCU penalty to work on a shorter field. Mayfield pushed the lead to 24-14 with a six-yard pass to Andrews.

A win for Oklahoma would just about guarantee a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma lead the way when it comes to the 2017 All-Big 12 Football Awards

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To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Big 12 is headlined by Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield when it comes to the conference’s annual regular season awards.

The Sooners star signal-caller (and prohibitive Heisman Trophy favorite) was named the 2017 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year on Thursday according to a release, capturing the honor for the second time in three seasons in Norman. Teammate Ogbonnia Okoronkwo also took home some hefty hardware from the conference, as he was named co-Defensive Player of the Year with Texas’ linebacker Malik Jefferson.

Also notable was the Chuck Neinas Coach of the Year Award winner, which went to Matt Campbell after he took the Cyclones to a 7-5 record (5-4 in conference play).

Other Big 12 honors handed out included:

  • West Virginia QB Will Grier was name Offensive Newcomer of the Year
  • TCU defensive end Ben Banogu was the Defensive Newcomer of the Year
  • Co-Offensive Freshmen of the Year were Baylor QB Charlie Brewer and TCU wideout Jalen Reagor
  • Co-Defensive Freshmen of the Year were Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray and TCU DT Ross Blacklock
  • Special Teams Player of the Year was Texas punter Michael Dickson, an Aussie who won the trophy for the second straight season
  • Offensive Lineman of the Year was Orlando Brown, the Sooners’ left tackle who won for the second year in a row
  • Defensive Lineman of the Year honors went to Texas senior DT Poona Ford

According to the conference, Oklahoma won the most individual awards in the 21-year history of the Big 12 with a whopping 39 after this year’s haul. All the selections were voted on by the league’s coaches, which were not allowed to vote for their own players.

No. 8 TCU survives, advances past No. 23 West Virginia

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The tenor of No. 8 TCU’s game and season changed before the Frogs took the field today. Thanks to No. 3 Oklahoma’s stunning home loss to Iowa State, TCU’s date with No. 23 West Virginia changed from a challenge for a Big 12 College Football Playoff front-runner to a survive-and-advance test for the Big 12 College Football Playoff front-runner.

The Frogs survived, outlasting a physical West Virginia team for a 31-24 win in Fort Worth.

Trailing 3-0 late in the first quarter, TCU booted away its third punt of the day but was gifted the ball right back when a Mountaineer player blocked a TCU defender into West Virginia punt returner Jovanni Stewart, which TCU’s Vernon Scott recovered at the West Virginia 33-yard line. The Frogs punched in their only score of the first half on a 2-yard direct-snap keeper by Sewo Olonilua at the 14:16 mark of the second quarter.

After a field goal of their own to open the third quarter, Nick Orr intercepted a Will Grier overthrow and returned it 34 yards to the West Virginia 45, and Kenny Hill (15-of-28 for 188 yards, seven carries for 28 yards) pushed the lead to 17-3 on a rainbow to Jalen Reagor one play later.

However, two deep strikes from Greer pulled the Mountaineers even. The first one came on a mix-up in the TCU secondary, where Greer hit a wide open David Sills for a 64-yard score. His very next pass found Ka'Raun White for a 76-yard catch-and-dash, and less than five minutes after trailing 17-3 West Virginia had tied the game at 17-17.

TCU answered with its best drive of the game, a 4-play, 75-yard march completed when Hill raced in a 48-yard score on a throwback from KaVontae Turpin, giving the Horned Frogs a 24-17 lead with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

An exchange of punts gave West Virginia the ball at the TCU 49, and a series of Justin Crawford (19 carries for a game-high 111 yards) runs set up Grier’s (25-of-45 for 366 yards) third touchdown pass of the second half, a 4-yarder to Sills, knotting the game at 24-24 with 9:50 remaining.

TCU see-sawed back in front with, if not its best possession of the season, then its most important. The Frogs ate 70 percent of the remaining clock, using six minutes and 57 seconds to travel 65 yards over 13 plays, eight of them runs. The final run came on a 3-yard keeper by Hill, who avoided two blockers to stretch across the goal line on 3rd-and-goal, staking the Frogs to a 31-24 lead with 2:53 to play.

Needing a touchdown to extend the game, West Virginia momentarily advanced near midfield, but an offensive pass interference penalty turned what was a first down completion to Sills into a 1st-and-25 at their own 25. The Mountaineers advanced to the TCU 32 but moved no further, and TCU expired the clock after West Virginia turned it over on downs.

The loss dropped West Virginia to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 play, meaning they will likely fall out of the polls tomorrow even though they showed themselves every bit worthy of their No. 23 ranking in challenging the No. 8 team in their house.

TCU (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) will now rest up from this physical game for another physical test at Kansas State next week.