Defensive stop seals OU win
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 02, 2012
12/02/12 at 6:18 AM
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FORT WORTH - R.J. Washington had a happy homecoming on Saturday afternoon.
The Fort Worth native celebrated heartily with his defensive teammates following a last-minute pass breakup that secured the Sooners' 24-17 victory over TCU.
"I was elated. I was ecstatic. I don't even have any words," Washington said after the contest. "I didn't have words to say at the time it happened; I just took off running. It was great to come back home, finish up my career where it started."
The senior defensive end was part of a defense under the microscope following lackluster performances against Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops could finally smile following a tension-filled victory that sealed a share of the Big 12 Conference championship.
The game was clinched when the final pass by TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was knocked down in the end zone.
"We've matured and grew and I think that's the key for us. We're a team and you have to protect each other in a lot of situations," Mike Stoops said.
It was a last-minute defensive stop following two consecutive fourth-down touchdowns by OU's offense against the Mountaineers and Cowboys led to wins.
"The offense has carried us the last couple of weeks and we wanted to make sure after the Oklahoma State and West Virginia game that we came in and played and played good defense.
"You have to play good defense if you want to win a championship. There's no other way around it."
The total effort was just what the Sooners wanted going into the bowl game.
"We needed something that we could build upon," OU defensive end David King said. "It was a big-time performance. The guys played great.
"If you take care of business up front, you are going to win the game 95 percent of the time and we took care of business up front, especially the two inside guys."
Oklahoma only allowed 17 points, the lowest total in the team's final six games. TCU only managed 11 first downs and 350 yards, with 126 of that coming on two pass plays.
At halftime, the Frogs only had 78 yards of offense and two first downs.
TCU's style of play was a welcome relief following the spread attacks of OSU and West Virginia.
"We got to get back and play defense comfortable instead of being stressed all the time," King said. "West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Baylor put a lot of pressure on us. We didn't respond well to it, and the last three weeks have been embarrassing with the way defense has been played."
Bob Stoops had not lost faith in his defense this season, despite recent sketchy performances.
"I'm very aware we haven't played any defense the last couple weeks like we want to," said Stoops, his shirt soaked with Gatorade. "But we've had some decent defensive performances through the year.
"I thought we made some good corrections in the last week. I felt it would probably be like this. I could have anticipated this."
Oklahoma's defense bent but didn't break. That last-second stop will forever be etched in Washington's mind.
"These last couple weeks, offense has been, for the most part, bailing us out," Washington said. "We felt like we needed to pull our own weight.
"For the defense to come up with a last-second stop - last play of the game is on us - I wouldn't have it any other way."
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
OU's R.J. Washington celebrates after beating TCU on Saturday. His last-minute pass breakup helped secure the Sooners' win. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World