Oklahoma's Gavin Sawchuk has sparked a two-game winning streak to keep the Sooners in the New Year's Six conversation.

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Significant stakes usher Oklahoma, TCU into regular-season finale

A lot of on the line in Norman, Okla., on Friday in the regular-season finale between Oklahoma and TCU.

The Sooners need a win to keep their hopes of making the Big 12 championship game alive and stay in the hunt for a New Year’s Six bowl berth.

College Football Playoff national championship runner-up in January, the Horned Frogs need a win over the Sooners to secure bowl eligibility with a sixth win.

There are bad memories lingering from last season’s game for the Sooners.

Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel went down with a concussion, hastening the Sooners’ struggles in TCU’s 55-24 shellacking of the Sooners in the Big 12 opener and showed the Horned Frogs were legitimate Big 12 contenders.

There are questions at quarterback for OU this time, too. Gabriel suffered a head injury late in the first half of Saturday’s win at BYU and missed the rest of the game. Gabriel was replaced by freshman Jackson Arnold. Sooners’ wide receiver Jalil Farooq was banged up late in the game, too.

“Dillon and Jalil, I feel like both of those guys, if they continue to progress throughout the week, they’ll be available this weekend,” Sooners coach Brent Venables said.

Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) comes into the game on a two-game winning streak after dropping consecutive games, and recent success mirrors the emergence of running back Gavin Sawchuk.

After rushing for just 127 yards on 34 carries in the season’s first eight games, Sawchuk has 49 carries for 353 yards over the last three – reaching the 100-yard mark each time out.

“He’s done a really good job of just being back in playing shape,” offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said. “He is playing his best football and proud of him for, man, just staying the course. Look forward to continuing to lean on him when we need him.”

TCU (5-6, 3-5) is coming off a 42-17 win over Baylor that snapped a three-game losing streak and kept their bowl hopes alive.

The Horned Frogs’ passing game has come on strong of late, with Josh Hoover throwing for an average of more than 355 yards per game over the last three.

“He gets better every game,” Horned Frogs’ head coach Sonny Dykes said of his redshirt freshman quarterback. “He’s more comfortable and makes better decisions. That’s what young quarterbacks are supposed to do.”

Tight end Jared Wiley was his favorite target against Baylor, with seven catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

The game will be the final Big 12 regular-season game for the Sooners, who were original members of the conference in 1996 and will make the jump to the SEC next season.

Oklahoma has dominated the conference, going 175-60 in regular-season conference play during that era, 19 more wins than second-place Texas.

The Sooners have won 14 Big 12 titles while no other program has more than three.

Before last season’s TCU victory, Oklahoma had won eight consecutive meetings between the programs. The Sooners have won all five meetings between the teams in Norman since the Horned Frogs joined the conference in 2012.

An Oklahoma win would be the program’s nation-leading 700th in college football’s modern era (marked by the end of World War II). Alabama is next at 667 victories.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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