For the first time since November of 1998, someone other than Bob Stoops was the winning coach for an Oklahoma football team.
Behind the right arm of 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist Baker Mayfield, No. 7 OU had little problem in dispatching UTEP as the Sooners cruised to a 56-7 win over the Miners. It was the first win in the head-coaching career for Lincoln Riley, who took over for Stoops in the offseason when the longtime coach abruptly and unexpectedly retired.
Riley is the first coach not named Stoops to win a game for the Sooners since John Blake in November of 1998.
Mayfield began the game by completing his first 16 passes, and didn’t throw his first incompletion until less than three minutes were remaining in the second quarter. In just one half of work — he was replaced by backup Kyler Murray at the start of the third quarter — Mayfield completed 19-of-20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns.
His 19 completions went to 10 different Sooners, with Mark Andrews on the receiving end of seven of them for 134 yards and a touchdown. Having to replace the one-two combination of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, the Sooners were led in rushing Abdul Adams’ 53 yards, all of which came in the first half as well. For the game, OU ran for 180 yards on 38 carries.
Murray kept up OU’s passing accuracy on the day as he went 10-11 for 149 yards and a touchdown. All told, 14 different player caught passes from the two quarterbacks.
OU held UTEP, which is coming off a four-win 2016 season, to just 165 yards of offense — 73 rushing, 94 passing.
With what was essentially a preseason game out of the way, OU will truly kick off its 2017 season with a road trip to Columbus for a matchup with No. 2 Ohio State. The Sooners will be looking to avenge a 45-24 loss to the Buckeyes in Norman last season.
UCF has won all 12 games they have played this season because they have a distinct advantage with the talent on the roster. At 12-0 with an American Athletic Conference championship, the Knights are heading to the Peach Bowl to take on SEC West Division champion Auburn. When the two collide, UCF running back Adrian Killins will hope to back up his words with his performance on the field.
Speaking to the media this week, Killins said Auburn has not seen speed like the kind UCF will bring to the game in Atlanta on January 1. Defying the popular narrative over the years about how much speed the SEC has, Killins does not seem to be too impressed.
“SEC football, they don’t have a lot of speed, honestly,” Killins told The Orlando Sentinel. “So, Auburn hasn’t seen any speed like we have here.”
It’s worth noting that Auburn has faced Clemson this season. Just to throw that out there. But that said, is the SEC speed narrative a thing of the past? Killins suggests the SEC is more about being physical and not so much looking to strike quickly. But the SEC has had some fast-moving offenses, including this season with Missouri and, of course, Auburn. But in terms of raw speed from the players, maybe that is where UCF will look to create an advantage against the Tigers.
“I will say they’re in for a rude awakening, because UCF football, we’re UCF fast and UCF fierce,” Killins said.
And with that, Killins has just given Auburn’s defense some good bulletin board material ahead of the Peach Bowl.
The attorney for Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson labeled the allegations against his client “patently false.” A few days later, the Sooners football player has been vindicated.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Cleveland County (Okla.) District Attorney Greg Mashburn announced that his office would not pursue charges against Anderson. The decision came after the prosecutor met with a Norman Police Department detective Tuesday afternoon and again Thursday morning.
Earlier this month, a woman filed for an emergency order of protection against Anderson; additional details subsequently emerged, with the woman describing the player in a written statement to the court as the “alleged rapist” and herself as the “victim of rape.” A hearing on the protective order had been scheduled for Dec. 18.
The alleged assault occurred Nov. 16, with the alleged victim claiming that she began recalling details of the alleged attack the weekend of Dec. 2 as she was speaking to a friend.
Late last week, it was reported that Anderson passed a three-hour lie detector test administered to him this past week by a retired FBI polygraph examiner. Bill Brown, the retired FBI investigator who has reportedly performed in excess of 3,500 such polygraph exams, was hired by Derek Chance, Anderson’s attorney, to administer the test. That attorney claimed that the accuser only went to the authorities with her claims after Anderson had rejected several of her advances.
Anderson currently leads the Sooners with 960 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He’s also caught 16 passes for 283 yards and another five touchdowns coming out of the backfield.
No. 2 Oklahoma is set to face No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl New Year’s Day, with the winner facing the Clemson-Alabama winner for the right to play for the 2017 College Football Playoff championship.
For the second time since the regular season ended, Scott Frost is on the receiving end of some coaching hardware.
For his work at UCF, the Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday that Frost has been named as the recipient of the 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Frost, who was named as the new head coach at Nebraska upon the completion of the regular season, was also honored as the Home Depot Coach of the Year last week.
“Scott Frost is one of the up-and-coming coaches in college football,” said FWAA president Dave Jones in a statement. “What he did at UCF was nothing short of remarkable in just two seasons.”
Taking over a team that went 0-12 in 2015, Frost coached UCF to a 6-7 record last season. This season, Frost has the 12th-ranked Knights sitting at 12-0 after winning the football program’s second outright AAC championship and earning the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl bid.
After some initial uncertainty, it was confirmed earlier this week that Frost will coach UCF in its Peach Bowl matchup with Auburn.
There were seven other finalists for this year’s Robinson Award, including Bill Clark, UAB; Lane Kiffin, FAU; Jeff Monken, Army; Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Jeff Tedford, Fresno State. Riley, Smart and Swinney all led their respective teams to this year’s College Football Playoff.
Just a little more than halfway through his original deal, Mike Bobo is getting a contractual attaboy.
Colorado State announced Thursday that Bobo has signed a three-year contract extension with the university. Bobo’s original’s deal was set to run through the 2020 season; this new deal extends him out through the 2022 season.
Under the extension, Bobo’s pay for the 2018 season will increase from $1.65 million to $1.8 million. For the remainder of the contract, he’ll be due raises of $100,000 annually.
“Mike Bobo has developed a strong foundation for our football program,” a statement from athletic director Joe Parker began. “His leadership and focus on creating an environment where young people can grow in their academic and athletic pursuits is the essence of intercollegiate athletics. We have shared championship aspirations for our program and continuity is an extremely important element to chartering the path toward achieving those aspirations.”
Through nearly three full seasons at CSU, Bobo has guided the Rams to seven wins each season, with this year’s bowl game still to be played. He is the first head coach in the football program’s history to reach a bowl game in each of his first three seasons.
The legendary Sonny Lubick is the only other CSU coach to lead the Rams to bowl games three seasons in a row.
“I am very grateful for the confidence shown in me by both Joe Parker and Tony Frank,” the former Georgia offensive coordinator said. “It is humbling and gratifying to be able to show my commitment to Colorado State University with the signing of this extension. I’m thankful for the terrific support of our fans and alumni, and the Fort Collins community that has welcomed my family and me, and has made us feel at home here. I would also like to thank the outstanding student-athletes and coaches in our program, as well as the university community for all of their hard work, support and investment in our football program. To see our new on-campus stadium become a reality is something we all are very proud of.”