Quarterback Trevone Boykin ran 12 yards for what looked like the game-tying touchdown with 38 seconds left.
Amon G. Carter Stadium exploded with cheers and screams, but a yellow flag near the line of scrimmage cut through the cheers like a knife through butter.
Offensive guard Blaize Foltz was called for a holding penalty, the only holding call of the game.
Boykin and the Frogs were faced with a fourth-and-18 and one last chance. One last chance to tie the game at 24 and force overtime.
The pass to wide receiver Josh Boyce fell incomplete and the Oklahoma Sooners left Fort Worth with a 24-17 win.
“I’m not upset with them [the Frogs],” head coach Gary Patterson said. “This has been a long season. Like I said before earlier in the week, this has been like a 13-0 season, what these kids have gone through, what they’ve put up with."
The Frogs (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) failed to win a conference home game for the first time under Patterson.
“I feel we didn’t make enough plays at home,” safety Sam Carter said. “The plays we made on the road, when we came here we didn’t make.”
TCU never took the lead against Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1), who took a 7-0 lead with 36 seconds left in the first quarter. The Sooners started the drive at the TCU 44-yard line and went deep on the first play, getting a pass interference call for 15 yards. Quarterback Landry Jones found running back Damie Williams for an 11-yard score five plays later.
The Frogs tied the game on a six-yard run by Boykin that was set up by Carter’s 44-yard interception return. The Sooners took a 14-7 lead with 53 seconds in the half on a 24-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Jalen Saunders.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” Carter said. “Same thing everytime we lose. It’s either you make plays or the other team makes plays. The play right before halftime was a big play.”
Patterson said giving up the touchdown right before the half on third-and-23 “broke their [the Frogs] back” and things like that shouldn’t happen.
The touchdown to Saunders was Jones’ longest pass of the game. He finished with 244 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 22-of-40 passing.
On the Sooners' first drive of the second half, Williams broke a 66-yard touchdown run to put the Sooners up 21-7.
Boykin had 231 yards on 17-of-31 passing, but most of his yards came on a 80-yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Carter to cut the lead to 21-14 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.
The Frogs’ offense was 3-of-15 on third down conversions and had 11 first downs compared to 22 for the Sooners.
Patterson said Boykin has taken steps forward and backward this season and needs to learn to take what the defense gives him to avoid third-and-long situations.
“Like I told Andy [Dalton] five or six years ago when he was a freshman, fun is not about yardage,” Patterson said. “Fun is w-i-n. Period. When you’re that guy, that’s the only thing that counts.”
The Frogs deserved credit for the work they have done this season and the way they have grown over the course of the season, Patterson said.
“They fought their tails off,” Patterson said. “A lot of these kids are gonna be around here another three years. They’ve learned some valuable lessons in tough situations on the road and at home, how to play these kinds of games.”
TCU will learn its bowl fate Sunday afternoon.
“We got to keep growing up, got to keep working hard,” Patterson said. “We’re going to play probably a Big Ten team in some bowl game and we need to find a way to get to eight wins.”