Big 12 championship: Oklahoma jumps ahead early, holds off Iowa State

USA TODAY Sports Network

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The numbers say it all.

Oklahoma, which started the Big 12 season 0-2, used three interceptions, the final with 1:05 remaining, to hold off Iowa State and win its sixth consecutive conference championship 27-21 Saturday.

The Cyclones were playing for a conference championship in the modern football era for the first time. But they never got their offense rolling as they had during the regular season. Star running back Breece Hall rushed 23 times for a season-low 79 yards.

Then their last chance ended in a ball of confusion. On a third-and-11, some kind of miscommunication on the Iowa State sideline and in the huddle led the Cyclones to running to the line of scrimmage with less than 10 seconds remaining on the play clock.

Oklahoma wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (11) secures a catch while being hit by Iowa State defensive back Lawrence White IV (11) and linebacker Jake Hummel (35) during the first half of the the Big 12 Conference championship game Saturday.

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Instead of using a final timeout, quarterback Brock Purdy snapped the ball and was forced to roll out to his right. Under duress, he lofted a looping pass and was hit as he threw. The ball fluttered in the air, making for an easy interception by Oklahoma's Tre Brown inside the Sooners' 10.

Oklahoma had led 24-7 at halftime.

Now, the 8-2 Sooners and 8-3 Cyclones await their bowl fate Sunday.

The Sooners figure to be in the Cotton Bowl — right back at AT&T Stadium — against an SEC opponent, on Dec. 30.

For Iowa State, the what-might-have-been will linger from a game in which it outgained Oklahoma in total yardage and had a chance to score a touchdown to win a title, but instead turned it over three times on the day and fell just a single score short of reaching the highest peak in program history.

Contributing: Daily Oklahoman, Des Moines Register