NORMAN, Okla. A matchup between two of the nation's top passers came down to who could run the ball down the stretch. Chris Brown proved to be the man for Oklahoma.
Brown ran for three second-half touchdowns, Curtis Lofton returned a fumble for a score and the No. 6 Sooners knocked No. 11 Missouri from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 41-31 victory Saturday night.
"The fourth quarter, that's all we preach around here," said Brown, Oklahoma's third-leading rusher behind DeMarco Murray and Allen Patrick. "The difference from this year and last year, we're more of a fourth quarter team. We can go the distance and get the job done."
Brown put the Sooners (6-1, 2-1 Big 12) ahead to stay with his 1-yard touchdown run with 12:26 remaining, and Lofton scooped up a botched handoff and returned it 15 yards for a score 46 seconds later as Oklahoma kept the Tigers from entering the national title picture.
Brown, who finished with 67 yards on 13 carries, sealed the win with a 23-yard TD run with 2:39 remaining.
"I thought Chris Brown was sensational in the fourth quarter," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "Everybody has their opinions on who should be playing. I think Chris showed tonight why he deserves his snaps as well."
Missouri (5-1, 1-1) had lost 16 straight games in Norman dating back to 1966 but put up a fight in this one.
Quarterback Chase Daniel, who ranks third in the nation in total offense with a 380-yard average, was equally good as a setup man for the Tigers. He delivered key blocks on both touchdown runs by NCAA all-purpose yardage leader Jeremy Maclin, and then pitched the ball to Jimmy Jackson on a 4-yard option run that put Missouri up 24-23 late in the third quarter.
After that, Brown and Oklahoma's running game which had totaled only 40 yards in the first three quarters took over. Brown finished the ensuing drive with three rushes for 23 yards and the go-ahead score.
"It just shows a lot about our offensive linemen and our running backs. It just shows that they're willing to go after it for four quarters," said Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, who came in as the nation's top-rated passer. "I think eventually we may have wore them down a little bit just getting after them, and it just got going in the fourth quarter."
Daniel botched a handoff to Maclin on Missouri's second play from scrimmage after Brown's score, and it resulted in disaster for the Tigers, looking for their fifth 6-0 start in school history.