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Perine shines as No. 17 Oklahoma stomps Texas Tech

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A game that was supposed to be about Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield facing his former team for the first time ended up a rout as the Sooners’ one-two punch of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon ran roughshod over an overmatched and undermanned Texas Tech defense. The duo combined for 355 yards and six touchdowns as the 17th-ranked Sooners won, 63-27.

Mixon and Perine staked Oklahoma to a 21-3 early in the second quarter with alternating touchdowns until a pair of turnovers allowed Texas Tech briefly back into the game. Jarvis Baxter coughed up a Mayfield completion at the Texas Tech 29 and Jah’Shawn Johnson raced it 50 yards to the OU 29, setting up a six-yard scoring toss from Patrick Mahomes to Reginald Davis. Mayfield was intercepted on the ensuing possession by Justis Nelson, who raced the pigskin back to the Oklahoma 32. Texas Tech again capitalized, this time on a 13-yard DeAndre Washington run, to pull within 21-17 with 7:05 to go in the second quarter.

Perine answered with his second touchdown of the day, this time from 10 yards out with 3:31 before the break, and Oklahoma intercepted Mahomes for the third time in the first half inside its own end zone with just 10 seconds before the break to kill any semblance of red-and-black momentum.

Oklahoma opened the second half with a four-play, 75-yard drive punctuated by a 13-yard strike from Mayfield to tight end Mark Andrews and, after a 28-yard Red Raiders field goal, added another Perine score with 7:04 to play in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 42-20 and effectively putting the game out of reach.

Mahomes sneaked in from one-yard out on the following possession to bring the score to 42-27, but the Red Raiders did not score again. Mayfield added a 15-yard scoring strike to Durron Neal to close the third quarter, Perine scored his fourth touchdown of the day with 8:18 remaining to put OU in the 50’s for the second straight week, and Alex Ross notched a nine-yard paydirt plunge with 2:26 remaining to close the scoring.

Perine posted his best day since breaking the FBS rushing record against Kansas last season, registering a season-high 201 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. Mixon added a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts. Mayfield added an economical 15-of-22 passing for 212 yards with two touchdowns and a pick.

As a team, Oklahoma pounded out 405 yards and seven touchdowns on 57 carries.

Standout cornerback Zack Sanchez left the game after just one snap with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Mahomes completed 26-of-40 throws for 233 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions, and Washington led the Red Raiders’ ground efforts with 19 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.

For Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1 Big 12), it was a second straight impressive showing as the Sooners look to mount a post-Texas surge and stay in contention for the Big 12 and national championships. Texas Tech drops to 5-3 (2-3 Big 12) on the year with losses to TCU and Baylor in addition to today’s thumping.

Most concerning for Texas Tech – beyond the final score, obviously – was another game in which the defense allowed 600-plus yards and turned the ball over four times. That’s the formula that saw Texas Tech miss a bowl last season and, if not corrected, could end 2015 in a similar fashion.

SEC leads NFL Draft for 11th straight year as Alabama and Michigan set school records

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The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone, and once again it is the SEC claiming another NFL Draft national championship. A grand total of 53 players from the SEC were drafted by NFL teams. It is the 11th straight year the SEC has had the most players drafted by NFL teams.

The ACC ended the draft with 42 players drafted, followed by the Pac-12 (36) and Big Ten (35). The Big 12 ended the draft with just 14 players drafted.

Helping to contribute to the SEC’s NFL Draft total was Alabama setting a school record with 10 players drafted.

Alabama’s nine players drafted in the first 80 picks was also a new Alabama record.

Michigan ended up having more players drafted than any other Big Ten team, slipping past Ohio State by the time the draft closed up shop this year. For the Wolverines, 11 players ended up being drafted. The previous school record for draft picks was 10, set in 1972 and tied in 1974. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get plenty of the praise for developing that many players getting a chance to be drafted, but Brady Hoke should be recognized for recruiting those players as well (and blamed for not developing the talent he brought in).

 

Air Force changes rules for football players with NFL aspirations

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Michael Ciaglo
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One of the top players from Air Force was ineligible to be drafted by the NFL this weekend, and it had nothing to do with NFL rules. It also had nothing to do with NFL teams backing away from a particular player due to off-field concerns. Instead, a policy at Air Force is what is to blame for wide receiver Jalen Robinette not moving on to the NFL at this time.

The U.S. Air Force will not approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty in order to be allowed to play professional football. Just a year ago, the Department of Defense changed the policy to allow for the possibility, which made it possible for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be allowed to play. Reynolds later joined the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds had received a recommendation to be allowed to play by the U.S. Naval Academy.

“The Air Force notified academy leaders [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military commitments for cadet athletes,” a statement from Air Force read. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve, which would allow their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Because of the policy change and confirmation, Robinette was not able to be drafted. He may still have been a long shot to be drafted by an NFL Team, but the policy also means he is unable to be signed as an undrafted free agent as well.

Rawleigh Williams carted off at Arkansas scrimmage

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Any time a player that has previously undergone neck surgery goes down on the field and needs to be carted off is quite the scary moment. On Saturday, the Arkansas football program had that exact scare when Rawleigh Williams went down on the field in pain and ended up having to be carted off the practice field during the Arkansas scrimmage.

Williams was placed on a stretcher and taken out of the facility on a cart to receive medical attention. His legs and arms were moving on the ground, a slight sigh of relief given the hit and his injury history. In 2015, Williams was carted off and had to undergo surgery on his neck. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the injury concern on Saturday was apparently not related to the previous neck injury, which was expected to have a full recovery.

It is an unfortunate ending to the spring for Williams, because all indications seemed to be he was certainly improving running the football. Bielema said earlier in the week Williams was running with more patience, which is always a key for a running back.

Arkansas moved its final scrimmage of the spring indoors due to bad weather rolling through the area.

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

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A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.