The moments that define the Big 12's national championships

July, 31, 2009
7/31/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Is there an exact moment that can be pinpointed as the turning point of a national championship season?

My colleagues Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach have done a great job of looking at a special moment that helped turn the season for every national championship team since 1984.

The Big 12 was well represented. No moment was bigger than Oklahoma linebacker Torrance Marshall's key interception at Texas A&M that rescued that game for the Sooners en route to their 2000 national championship.

The Sooners were the country's only unbeaten team when they traveled to Texas A&M with an 8-0 record. After Oklahoma fell behind 31-21, tailback Quentin Griffin scored on a 2-yard run to make it 31-28 with 7 minutes, 43 seconds to play. Twenty-five seconds later, Sooners linebacker Torrance Marshall stepped in front of Mark Farris' pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown and a 35-31 victory. Marshall's first career interception helped the Sooners win in College Station for the first time since 1903.

I still remember covering that game. I don't think I've ever heard Kyle Field as quiet, with the exception of the small collection of Oklahoma fans who were tucked into a corner of that mammoth facility on that day.  

Other key Big 12 moments that were included were Matt Davison's kicked pass reception that helped save Nebraska's season at Missouri in 1997 and Vince Young's late TD pass to Limas Sweed that propelled Texas' key comeback victory at Ohio State in 2005.

Big 12 schools are also represented for their championships claimed before the conference was formed in 1996. Troy Aikman's broken leg that forced Oklahoma back into the wishbone helped turn the Sooners' season in 1985, Colorado's fifth-down victory at Missouri in 1990, Nebraska's Orange Bowl redemption en route to the 1994 title and Tommie Frazier's remarkable 75-yard TD run against Florida the following season are highlighted.

It's great series that has a lot of neat multimedia tricks. Check it out for some good memories about Big 12 championship teams.

And are there any other plays or moments that might help define those Big 12 championship seasons?  

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