FIVE QUESTIONS: We've Got Answers

Sooners Illustrated raised five questions we thought would determine the Big XII football championship game. Oklahoma answered those and several others in their 38-17 romp over No. 1 Missouri. Here, we take a look back at those questions, but this time provide the answers.

In previewing the Big XII football championship, Sooners Illustrated raised five questions we thought would be prevalent in the outcome.

That outcome was a 38-17 Oklahoma victory, giving the Sooners their fifth conference crown under head coach Bob Stoops.

Below, we'll revisit those questions, but this time we'll provide the answers as to how Oklahoma came out on top:

1. Can Oklahoma slow down Missouri?

The Sooners did it like nobody's done it all season. Missouri entered the game averaging 42 points a game, but managed only one touchdown against the Sooners. The Tigers had 15 plays inside OU's red zone and gained 15 yards on them. Missouri moved the ball in the first half, but in three trips inside the red zone, had to settle for a pair of field goals and a touchdown. Those field goals hurt. The second half was all Sooners. Missouri only gained 135 yards in the half (317 for the game) and was limited to only a field goal. The answer: Yes.

2. Can the Sooners establish the run game like they did last week against OSU?

The ground game wasn't nearly as dominant as it was against Oklahoma State, but it was very effective. Oklahoma picked up 166 yards on 40 carries, but the Sooners picked up yards when they needed to. It was apparent Oklahoma's offensive line began to wear on the Tiger defensive front. As the game wore on, the holes got bigger and the gains longer. Allen Patrick and Chris Brown each had their moments and it was the effective ground game that opened up some big plays in the passing game. The answer: Yes.

3. Who will win the turnover battle?

This one's easy. Oklahoma had no turnovers, which is huge in any game, especially one of this magnitude. Missouri only coughed it up once – compared to four times in their previous meeting – but Curtis Lofton's interception of Chase Daniel led to an Oklahoma touchdown, one that gave the Sooners a two-touchdown lead in the second half. The answer: Oklahoma.

4. Will there be another Curtis Lofton-like performance this time around?

If you'll remember the first game, Lofton had a career-high 18 tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. It was a game that put Lofton on the national radar. He didn't do too shabby this time around either. Lofton finished with nine tackles, three of them for losses. He also sacked Daniel and it was apparent after the sack that he and the rest of the Sooners were in Daniel's head. Lofton's interception was the only turnover of the game and it set up and Oklahoma touchdown. Was it 18 tackles? No, but it was another impressive showing for the Big XII defensive player of the year. It had Kirk Herbstreit singing his praises afterwards. The answer: Yes, his name is Curtis Lofton.

5. Who wins the fourth quarter?

Entering the game, Oklahoma had proven to be a dominant fourth-quarter team while Missouri was less than stellar in the final 15 minutes. This game followed suit. Oklahoma outscored Missouri 10-3 in the final quarter, but it was the Sooners' ability to control the line of scrimmage and run down the clock that was especially impressive. In fact, it was the entire second half that belonged to Oklahoma as it outscored Missouri 24-3. The answer: Oklahoma.

Prediction (revisited): Bob Stoops can tell you he's not using the perceived lack of respect from Missouri as motivation all he wants, but we're not buying it. Oklahoma's hopes of a national title are dashed, but there's still a title to be won and that's what Stoops preaches at OU. Also, the Sooners are in the rare position of playing spoiler. They've had their dreams spoiled before. Time to turn the tables.

Prediction (reviewed): The Sooners admitted after the game that they were tired of hearing how lucky they were in their Oct. 13 meeting. This time, they proved Missouri might have been the lucky ones to play it as close as they did. Oklahoma definitely played the role of spoiler and dashed Missouri's national title hopes in convincing fashion.

Our pick: Oklahoma 35, Missouri 31

Actual score: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17 – Maybe we didn't give Oklahoma's defense enough credit.

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