Tony Jefferson has led Oklahoma's defense all season long, so it was only fitting that he was in on the play that preserved a 24-17 victory. The win capped a 10-win season for the Sooners, a share of an eighth Big 12 championship under Bob Stoops and possibly a trip to a BCS bowl game.
It didn't come easy for OU in Fort Worth. Oklahoma's defense held the Honed Frogs to less than 80 total yards and a touchdown, that was set up by a Landry Jones interception, in the first half. TCU got things moving in the second half though, scoring on an 80-yard pass and adding a field goal, and were in position to tie the game with less than a minute left.
With thirty-one seconds left on the clock, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin aimed towards the front-left corner of the end zone. Julian Wilson was covering on the play and just as the receiver stretched out to catch the ball, Jefferson was there to break up the pass.
After three weeks of being on their heels and trying to keep up with some of the top offenses in the conference, TCU provided a change of pace for Oklahoma's defense. The Frogs came into the game averaging over 30 points per game but were near the bottom of the conference in offense. Not having the multiple big play threats that OU's last three opponents TCU needed to run the ball to open up the pass. That's exactly what they did in the second half making a third consecutive week than a Sooner football game would come down to the final seconds. However, unlike the first two, it would be the defense making the game saving play this time.
Jefferson recorded a team high eight tackles, followed by fellow defensive backs Demontre Hurst (7 tackles) and Javon Harris (6 tackles) to complete another solid performance by Oklahoma's secondary. In fact, had it not been for the 80-yard score in the third quarter the secondary would have pretty much played the perfect game.
Tom Wort and Frank Shannon combined for nine tackles in somewhat of a return of the linebackers. A few times Oklahoma even lined up in a 4-3 front to try and combat the TCU rushing attack. The certainly weren't faithful to the traditional alignment but they sprinkled it in here and there.
RJ Washington and Chuka Ndulue each recorded sacks and at times the defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.
While we could easily sit around and play, "what if" with this week's defensive performance, the bottom line is that they came up on the positive side of the biggest play of the game, when Jefferson broke up that pass. That play capped off an overall defensive performance that held TCU to just 12 first downs for the game and forced 8 punts. More than than, Oklahoma's defense was huge on third downs. The Horned Frogs converted on just three of fifteen third downs and only had a total of 62 plays for the game.
It wasn't a perfect performance for Oklahoma's defense but it certainly was effective.