On to the playoffs? (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

Oklahoma knew it had to come out swinging against TCU on Saturday in the Big 12 championship game. Over their past seven games, the Horned Frogs had allowed a grand total of six points in the second half, at one point shutting out five consecutive opponents after halftime. With a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line, the third-ranked Sooners couldn’t take any chances

And so Oklahoma scored 10 points in a span of nine seconds early in the first quarter, jumping out to a lead it would not relinquish in a 41-17 win over TCU that almost certainly will result in a playoff berth for the second time in three seasons.

The Sooners (12-1) took the opening kickoff and had little trouble marching down the field, but the drive stalled and they were forced to settle for Austin Seibert’s 41 yard field goal. Then, on TCU’s first play from scrimmage, Kyle Hicks’s fumble was returned 18 yards by Caleb Kelly for a touchdown. With 10:21 remaining in the first quarter, Oklahoma was rolling.

TCU (10-3) would win the second quarter and trailed just 24-17 at halftime, with Kenny Hill throwing two touchdown passes. But Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes in about a four-minute span of the third quarter, both of them longer than 50 yards, and the rout was on. Saturday, the Horned Frogs would be the team that failed to score after halftime.

Mayfield completed 15 of 23 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Mark Andrews caught two of them.

The Sooners won the Big 12 title for the 11th time in the conference’s 22-year history. No other program has more than three. Oklahoma also earned its seventh victory in the Big 12 title game, which was played this year for the first time since 2010 to give the conference’s teams one last chance to impress the playoff selection committee.

Presumably, the Sooners did.

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