COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) _ Oklahoma is still OK, but just barely.
Torrence Marshall kept the Sooners national championship drive alive when he scored on a 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to rally No. 1 Oklahoma to a 35-31 victory over No. 23 Texas A&M on Saturday.
Marshall's first career interception came with 7:18 left in the game, completing a comeback from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit that allowed the Sooners (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) to remain the nation's only major team with a perfect record.
With a Kyle Field attendance of 87,188 _ the largest crowd to see a football game in the state of Texas_ roaring from the outset, Sooners quarterback Josh Heupel finally got the Sooners going.
With Texas A&M ahead 31-21, Heupel _ just 2-for-8 on third-down conversions at the time _ made three straight third-down plays leading to a 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Quentin Griffin with 7:43 left.
Moments later, Marshall gave the Sooners the lead when he stepped in front of a pass by A&M's Mark Farris and weaved his way into the end zone to give Oklahoma its first victory in College Station since 1903.
The Aggies had a final chance to win the game when they took over on the Sooners 44 with 1:33 left, but Farris' fourth-down pass completion fell five yards short of a first down and Oklahoma took over with 36 seconds left. The Sooners ran out the clock and breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Oklahoma should remain first in next week's Bowl Championship Series standings, which determine who plays in the BCS' national title game in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
The Sooners still have games remaining against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State before a likely spot in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 2.
After coming so agonizingly close to victory, the Aggies (7-3, 5-2) dropped to 0-9 against No. 1 ranked teams. The last time A&M played a No. 1 team was 1977 when it lost to Texas 57-28.
A&M hadn't even made it close against the top ranked teams until Saturday, losing the eight games by an average score of 41-12.
Big plays by Texas A&M's defense, including two interceptions off Heupel, helped the Aggies to their 31-21 lead. Heupel finished by completing 28 of 42 passes for 263 yards.
The Aggies capitalized on a blocked punt, interception and fumble to set up three scoring plays for a 17-10 halftime lead, marking the first time this season that Oklahoma had trailed at the half.
It looked even bleaker for the Sooners when the the Aggies went ahead 24-10 with nine minutes to play in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Ja'Mar Toombs, which followed Heupel's second interception of the game.
But Oklahoma finally got a break when Sooners cornerback Michael Thompson intercepted a pass by Mark Farris, leading to a 27-yard field goal by Tim Duncan following a holding penalty by OU lineman Frank Romero that wiped out a 4-yard TD run by Josh Norman.
A short 42-yard drive took only three plays to make it even tighter as Griffin scored on a bull-like 21-yard run up the middle and Heupel passed to tight end Matt Anderson for the 2-point conversion and the Sooners trailed 24-21 with 14:46 to play.
Toombs kept the Aggies ahead when he broke off four players and carried three defenders into the end zone on his 27-yard TD run that put the Aggies ahead 31-21.
With the score tied 10-all, Jonte Buel stripped Sooners receiver Andre Woolfolk of the ball and safety Michael Jameson recovered at the Oklahoma 39, setting up a 4-yard touchdown pass from Farris to Robert Ferguson.
Ferguson caught the ball in the end zone behind Thompson, who also had two first half pass interference calls that helped the Aggies. Ferguson caught eight passes for 105 yards.
The Aggies got the first break when Jay Brooks broke through and blocked Oklahoma's first punt of the game, his career fourth block, giving A&M a first down at the Sooner 12-yard line.
An 11-yard pass interference gave the Aggies a first at the 2, setting up Farris' 2-yard touchdown keeper with 9:14 to go in the first quarter.
|Quarter ||1st||2nd ||3rd||4th||Final|
|Team||Score Time||Summary||Running Score|
|Texa A&M||9:14 1stQ||Mark Farris 2 yd run (kick good)||TAMU 7-0|
|Oklahoma||7:39 1stQ||Tim Duncan 31 yd FG||TAMU 7-3|
|Oklahoma||12:48 2ndQ||Curtis Fagan 7 yd rec from Josh Heupel (kick good)||OU 10-7|
|Texas A&M||2:04 2ndQ||Terrence Kitchens 37 yd FG||Tied 10-10|
|Texas A&M||:19 2ndQ||Robert Ferguson 4 yd rec from Mark Farris (kick good)||TAMU 17-10|
|Texas A&M||9:00 3rdQ||Jamaar Toombs 1 yd run (kick good)||TAMU 24-10|
|Oklahoma||1:46 3rdQ||Tim Duncan 27 yd FG||TAMU 24-13|
|Oklahoma||14:46 4thQ||Quenton Griffin 20 yd run (2-pt conv good)||TAMU 24-21|
|Texas A&M||13:36 4thQ||Toombs 27 yd FG (kick good)||TAMU 31-21|
|Oklahoma||7:43 4thQ||Griffin 2 yd run (kick good)||TAMU 31-28|
|Oklahoma||7:18 4thQ||Torrance Marshall 41 yd int ret (kick good)||OU 35-31|
RUSHING_Oklahoma, Griffin 17-70, Heupel 8-26, Fagan 1-13, team 2-(minus 4). Texas A&M, Toombs 18-72, Whitaker 5-17, Goynes 2-9, Weber 3-3, Taylor 1-2, Farris 8-(minus 6).
PASSING_Oklahoma, Heupel 28-42-2-263. Texas A&M, Farris 18-37-2-219.
RECEIVING_Oklahoma, Savage 8-76, Fagan 6-42, Griffin 3-42, Smith 3-18, Woolfolk 3-16, Norman 2-57, Mackey 2-2, Anderson 1-10. Texas A&M, Ferguson 8-105, Porter 3-47, Johnson 2-37, Taylor 2-16, Whitaker 2-13, Madison 1-1.