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Texas Tech, TCU reinstating ‘Saddle Trophy’ for annual rivalry game

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Texas Tech and TCU are getting back in the saddle again. Literally.

The two Lone Star State rivals announced this week that they are reinstating and reviving the ‘Saddle Trophy’ for their annual meeting on the football field, with the winner taking home a newly crafted monument to victory that they’ll have to find some place in the football facility to store.

The Red Raiders and Horned Frogs used to compete for the Saddle Trophy from 1961 until 1970 when the two were both in the Southwest Conference. Somewhere along the way the original trophy was lost and, because both schools have bigger rivals in the state and in the conference, they seemingly decided to do away with lugging the massive saddle between Forth Worth and Lubbock every year. Until now that is.

The newly inspired trophy was made special for the occasion by M.L. Leddy’s Boots & Saddlery of Fort Worth according to a release and features both school logos as well as the scores of the 59 previous meetings between the two teams. It is a sight to behold — and perhaps that’s a good thing only if you’re an actual cowboy.

While the Big 12 isn’t known for having the rivalry trophies like the Big Ten and others are, it is kind of cool to see schools try and juice up what are normally just another conference game into something a little more. And if this latest stunt leads to a 300 pound lineman taking the trophy and riding it off to the sunset? Well even better.

Tom Herman compares Will Grier to Baker Mayfield and Kenny Hill

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Texas visits West Virginia on Saturday, and ‘Horns head coach Tom Herman showered his opposing quarterback with the highest of high praise.

According to the Austin American-Statesman‘s Kirk Bohls, Herman said West Virginia quarterback Will Grier is the best quarterback in the Big 12. And he didn’t forget about Baker Mayfield, either.

(Update: We got our hands on Herman’s full quote and the context shows Herman wasn’t digging Mayfield at all. Full quote below.)

Yeah, he’s the fourth leading passer in the country. And he’s got some pretty talented guys around him. He’s got the Sills kid who is leading the country in touchdown catches. He’s got a couple other receivers that are very high up in some categories. So I think what he presents might be — well, no, there is a kid in Norman that’s pretty good too, and in Fort Worth. 

But he’s along the lines of Mayfield and Hill in terms of he’s really, really accurate throwing the football. He’s a tremendous passer. But he can make you pay with his feet too. He’s as good as we’ve played, and we’ve played some really, really good ones. 

For what it’s worth, Mayfield leads the Big 12 (and the FBS record books) in passing efficiency and yards per attempt, and ranks second in total passing. Grier is third, behind Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, in efficiency, yards per attempt and total passing.

Mayfield torched the Longhorns for 302 yards and two touchdowns (with one pick) on 17-of-27 passing in a 29-24 win last month. Texas is playing without top corner Holton Hill, who was suspended for the year for a violation of team rules last week, and West Virginia boasts the nation’s top touchdown-maker in David Sills V (18 touchdowns on 55 receptions), so Grier may be in for a big night as well.

Nation’s leading receivers named among 10 Biletnikoff Award semifinalists

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The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation has trimmed down the list of the nation’s top receivers to 10 semifinalists for this year’s Biletnikoff Award. The award doesn’t necessarily have to go to a wide receiver, but this year’s award will maintain that tradition with 10 semifinalists all playing the wide receiver position.

Among the semifinalists are the nation’s leading receiver, Colorado State’s Michael Gallup (1,298 yards), the nation’s leader in receiving touchdowns, West Virginia’s David Sills V (18 touchdowns), and the nation’s leader in receptions per game, SMU’s Trey Quinn (9.6 receptions per game). The semifinalist list also includes key players on conference contenders like Deontay Burnett of USC and James Washington of Oklahoma State.

A Big 12 receiver has won the award each of the past two seasons, so that may be good news for one of the three semifinalists from the Big 12 this season. Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook won the award a year ago, preceded by Baylor’s Corey Coleman in 2015.A Big 12 player has won the award a total of six times since 2007, with Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon each winning the award twice.

2017 Biletnikoff Semifinalists

  • Darren Andrews, UCLA
  • A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
  • Deontay Burnett, USC
  • Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
  • Michael Gallup, Colorado State
  • Steve Ishmael, Syracuse
  • Anthony Miller, Memphis
  • Trey Quinn, SMU
  • David Sills, West Virginia
  • James Washington, Oklahoma State

Baker Mayfield guides No. 10 Oklahoma to another shootout win over Texas Tech

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We all know Baker Mayfield used to play quarterback for Texas Tech. And we all know how it ended. Mayfield remembers, and he made sure his former team did, too.

In two previous games against the Red Raiders, Mayfield led Oklahoma to a 63-27 win in 2015 in which he averaged 9.6 yards per attempt, and a 545-yard, 7-touchdown effort in a 66-59 track meet victory in Lubbock last season. In his swan song against Texas Tech, Mayfield on Saturday night completed a ho-hum (for him) 22-of-34 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in a 49-27 win.

The game started similar to how last season’s finished: all offense, all the time. The teams both scored touchdowns on their first three possessions, and only a missed extra point provided the difference to give No. 10 Oklahoma a 21-20 lead early in the second quarter.

But the defenses bowed up to close the half, forcing scoreless possessions on seven of eight touches to close the half. A 5-yard Rodney Anderson run gave Oklahoma a 28-20 advantage at the break, and 1-yard Mayfield run to open the second half provided some cushion for the Sooners.

Texas Tech answered with Nic Shimonek‘s fourth touchdown pass of the night, but the Red Raiders would not score again. Mayfield found Mark Andrews for a 7-yard score to push the lead back to two touchdowns, then hit CeeDee Lamb for a 14-yard strike at the end of the third quarter to close the scoring for the night.

A last-gasp, 14-play drive for Texas Tech ended in a turnover on downs at the Oklahoma 2-yard line with 11:16 left, and the Red Raiders did not get the ball back. Oklahoma moved 65 yards in 18 plays, eating every one of the 676 remaining seconds to secure the win. Led by Anderson’s 181 yards, Oklahoma rushed 47 times for 336 yards on the evening.

Shimonek completed 22-of-36 throws for 322 yards with four scores and an interception, and Tre King led the Red Raiders on the ground with 113 yards on 24 carries.

The win pushed OU to 7-1 on the year and allowed them to keep pace with Big 12 leader Iowa State ahead of next week’s Bedlam showdown with No. 11 Oklahoma State. Texas Tech (4-4, 1-4 Big 12) has now completely whittled away a 4-1 start with only one obvious win (vs. Baylor on Nov. 11) remaining on the schedule.

Oklahoma and Texas Tech locked in another shootout

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The last time Oklahoma and Texas Tech played ended in a 66-59 Sooners win. Tonight’s edition appeared headed that direction through one quarter, but the defenses dominated the second quarter to create a 28-20 Oklahoma lead at the break in Norman.

The first six drives ended in touchdowns, where only a missed extra point broke serve as Oklahoma grabbed a 21-20 lead by the 13:45 mark of the second quarter.

But the defenses rose up from there as eight of the next nine possessions ended without a score. Caleb Kelly intercepted Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek at the Oklahoma 46 at the 8:46 mark of the second quarter, and Rodney Anderson raced in from five yards out to give OU a 28-20 edge with 7:04 to go before the break.

Baker Mayfield closed the half hitting 11-of-19 throws for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The Sooners have cobbled together 18 carries for 170 yards and two more scores.

Shimonek completed 13-of-21 passes for 195 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, and Tre King added 83 yards on 17 carries.