Behind 672-yard offensive effort, No. 20 OU beats Texas in Red River shootout

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Despite out-gaining Texas by more than 150 yards in the first half, three unseemly turnovers forced Oklahoma to take just a 14-13 lead into the break.

The Sooners got out of their own way in the second half. As did Texas. And in the process No. 20 Oklahoma dropped 672 yards in a 45-40 Red River Showdown win over the reeling Longhorns in Dallas.

The tight first half gave way to an offensive explosion to open the second, as Shane Buechele (245 yards, three touchdowns on an uncharacteristically inaccurate 19-of-36 passing) closed drives with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Duvernay and a 45-yard heave to Dorian Leonard, but those scores proved to be brief respites against a crimson avalanche.

Oklahoma (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) scored on six consecutive possession from the close of the first half and through the entire second half, and each march was a lengthy one: 85 yards in four plays, 79 yards in three plays, 85 yards in seven plays, 76 yards in four plays, 93 yards in 13 plays and a 60-yard field goal march in 14 plays. The Sooners treated a historically porous Texas defense as did California and Oklahoma State, moving the ball through the air and on the ground.

Texas (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) had no answer for Dede Westbrook, who hauled in 10 receptions in 10 targets for a school-record 232 yards and touchdowns of 42, 47 and an Oklahoma series record 71 yards. And when Westbrook wasn’t dancing through a vacant secondary, Samaje Perine was busting up an overmatched burnt orange front. The FBS single-game rushing record holder carried 35 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns, while Baker Mayfield hit 22-of-31 throws for 390 yards and three touchdowns through the air with 20 more yards and an additional score on the ground.

The first two scores in Oklahoma’s run overcame deficits of 10-7 and 20-14, and, after Buechele’s second touchdown pass, turned a 27-21 hole into a 42-27 lead the Sooners held for the rest of the game. Barely.

Texas mounted a comeback effort with a six-play, 67-yard drive capped by Buechele’s third touchdown pass, this one to Armanti Foreman, and, after an Austin Seibert field goal banked in off the right upright pushed the score to 45-34, the ‘Horns moved 69 yards in five snaps on the legs of D'Onta Foreman (25 carries for 159 bruising yards), including a 22-yarder to pull UT within 45-40 with 1:45 to play.

After tight end Mark Andrews, whose earlier drops resulted in an interception and a punt, recovered the ensuing onside kick, Oklahoma attempted to run out the remainder of the clock but, on a 3rd-and-5 at the Texas 39, Mayfield scrambled and lost the ball, briefly alluding Texas the chance to take over around midfield with a minute remaining, but the Sooners hopped on the loose pigskin. Texas could not mount a serious threat with just 24 yards remaining from its own 10-yard line.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger, C Zach Shackelford in concussion protocol

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Texas has lost two straight upset bids in strikingly similar fashion: true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger leads a potential-game winning drive, scrambles, hits his head on the turf and ends the possession in a puzzling throw.

The first came in last week’s loss to No. 10 Oklahoma. Trailing 29-24 late in the fourth quarter, scrambled for two yards to the Texas-48 yard line but hit his head on the Cotton Bowl turf and was forced to leave the game for five plays. Shane Buechele pushed the Longhorns to the Oklahoma 31, but he was replaced after a sack and Ehlinger ended up throwing the ball away on 4th-and-13 from the OU 34 with two minutes to play. That, as they say, was that.

Fast forward to Saturday and Texas was trailing No. 11 Oklahoma State 13-10 in overtime when Ehlinger opened the possession with a scramble that again saw the back of his head bang against the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium turf. He stayed in the game this time, but ended the game on a puzzling (to say the least) interception to absolutely no one on 3rd-and-4 from the OSU 6.

While Ehlinger was not evaluated for a concussion during the game, he did not practice Sunday and head coach Tom Herman said Monday that Ehlinger and center Zach Shackelford are in concussion protocol.

Complicating matters for Texas is that sophomore back-up Shane Buechele is playing on a gimpy ankle that kept him out against San Jose State and Kansas State that Herman said will not improve as the season goes on.

No matter, Texas will face a hungry Baylor team on Saturday (noon ET, ESPNU) that nearly completed a comeback against No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday night.