SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The championship dream finally died for No. 1 Missouri. The Oklahoma Sooners showed the Tigers just what it takes to win a title: defense and a bruising running game near the goal line.
The No. 9 Sooners rushed for three touchdowns, quarterback Sam Bradford threw for two more and Oklahoma coolly captured its fifth Big 12 title since 2000 by upending the upstart Tigers 38-17 Saturday night in the conference championship game in the Alamodome.
Now that the Tigers are out of the Bowl Championship Series title game, the question is "Who's in?"
With No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia both losing Saturday, No. 3 Ohio State gets a boost into the Jan. 7 title game in New Orleans. Sunday's BCS rankings will decide what opponent gets an unexpected chance to play for the national championship.
Maybe it should have been Missouri, but it isn't.
The Sooners contained the Tigers' Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Chase Daniel and three times forced one of the nation's best offenses to settle for short field goals instead of touchdowns. It was the first time this season Missouri was held under 30 points.
When given the chance, the Sooners pounded the Tigers with short-yardage rushing TDs. Chris Brown scored twice and Allen Patrick added another. Bradford's TD passes in the second half pulled the Sooners away from a 14-14 halftime tie and wrapped up a berth in the Fiesta Bowl for the second straight year.
Daniel, who needed a big game and most importantly a win to boost his Heisman chances, was 23-of-39 for 219 yards and no touchdowns. He ran for the Tigers' only TD in the second quarter.
One of his incompletions was a tipped pass that was intercepted by OU linebacker Curtis Lofton that set up Bradford's first touchdown pass and a 28-14 Sooners lead in the third quarter.
Bradford was 18 of 26 for 209 yards. Patrick and Brown combined to rush for 159 yards for the Sooners.