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Oklahoma routs No. 1 Missouri to win Big 12 title

Dec 2, 2007 - 6:57 AM SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Ticker) -- Chris Brown and Oklahoma once again had Missouri's number. This time, the Sooners cost the Tigers a chance at playing for the national title.

Brown rushed for a pair of touchdowns Saturday night as No. 9 Oklahoma rolled to a 38-17 rout of top-ranked Missouri, winning the Big 12 Conference title and turning the Bowl Championship Series into a complete disaster.

The Tigers (11-2) entered the contest with complete control of their own destiny, needing to beat the Sooners to reach the BCS championship game in the Louisiana Superdome on January 7.

But Missouri fell for a second time this season to Oklahoma (11-2), which rallied for a 41-31 victory over the Tigers in Norman on October 13.

"I would like to think if you're 11-2, it's somewhat of a success," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "Certainly, our players should be disappointed. They're competitors. We'll get over this and learn from it and be a better football team like we've done in the past. You learn from these things, and hopefully next time we're in this type of game, we play better."

Brown rushed for a career-high three TDs in that contest, including the go-ahead score in the third quarter.

Missouri's latest defeat to Oklahoma along with second-ranked West Virginia's shocking 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh leaves Ohio State, which entered with the No. 3 ranking in the BCS, as a likely candidate to play in the national title game.

The Buckeyes have not played since beating rival Michigan on November 17.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops took the opportunity after the game to plead his team's case for a championship bid.

"You all just voted them No. 1 team in the country in the last week of the year, and we beat them on a neutral field by 21 points," he said. ... You want to go back to our losses. We lost a game without a quarterback. And an excuse, yeah, but it's the truth. So who is playing the best right now is what everybody likes to say?

"Well, we just played very well for the second time against the No. 1 team in the country. ... It's who plays the best right now, who is beating who and beating a quality opponent and where did you beat them at."

While Missouri now has to hope for an at-large berth in the BCS, Oklahoma locked up an automatic bid by winning its fifth Big 12 title since 2000.

"It feels great," Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford said. "It was one of our goals at the beginning of the season to come out and play the way we did, a full-team effort. It's an unbelievable feeling. It feels amazing."

Filling in for injured running back DeMarco Murray, Brown and Allen Patrick combined to give Oklahoma a dominant rushing attack.

Brown scored on a pair of three-yard runs in the second quarter and finished with 71 yards on 23 carries. Patrick rushed for 88 yards and ran for a four-yard TD in the third quarter to give the Sooners a 21-14 advantage, a lead they would not relinquish. He set up his own score with a 40-year run during the drive.

"I believe I came out and gave them a spark, a momentum there on that play," Patrick said. "We just kept it up, and we kept on going."

Two plays after Patrick's scoring run, Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Lofton intercepted Heisman Trophy contender Chase Daniel and reeled off a 26-yard return to the Missouri 7.

"We just wanted to come out and play a complete game and be real physical with them and let them know we're a great defense," Lofton said.

The Sooners capitalized two plays later, as Bradford found Jermaine Gresham for a five-yard scoring strike to make it 28-14 with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter.

Bradford also tossed a four-yard TD to Joe Jon Finley to give the Sooners a comfortable 35-17 edge five minutes into the fourth quarter.

"Oklahoma played exceptionally well," Pinkel said. They're a great football team. They obviously caused us a lot of problems. In the red zones, we had three field goals, and when they got in the red zone, they scored (touchdowns) every time. They did all the things that it takes to win in a big game."

Just two weeks after suffering a concussion in a 34-27 loss to Texas Tech, Bradford was efficient in this contest, completing 18-of-26 passes for 209 yards.

"Sam has been fabulous. The poise, the accuracy, everything," Stoops said. "His numbers coming into tonight were every bit as good as everybody in that country that everybody's bragging about."

Conversely, Daniel often looked erratic in a performance which likely ended his Heisman hopes. The junior finished 23-for-39 for 219 yards and did not throw a touchdown for the first time this season.

"It's very disappointing when you practice as well as you do the whole week and go into this game expecting to compete and expecting to win a Big 12 Championship," Daniel said. "Of course it hurts.

"They made plays when we didn't, and that's the bottom line. Inside the red zone, it's usually lights out for us. We're one of the top teams in the nation in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. They stepped up at the time they needed to."

Daniel's one bright spot in the contest came just before the half, when he ran for a four-yard score. Missouri converted the ensuing two-point attempt on a trick play to forge a 14-14 tie heading into the break.