Getty Images

On to Atlanta: No. 7 Georgia responds to first loss by running right over Kentucky in SEC rout

Leave a comment

It’s been six days of hearing how they got run over. Six days of hearing how they couldn’t throw the ball. Six days of wondering how their offensive line would bounce back from embarrassment. Seven days after suffering their first loss of the season in humiliating fashion though, No. 7 Georgia bounced back by running right over SEC East rival Kentucky in a 42-13 rout that had the team looking a lot more like the one who was the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff just two weeks ago.

The Bulldogs’ victory was naturally fueled by their ground game, which was bottled up last week at Auburn but returned with a vengeance behind the two senior running backs who said their farewells to the hedges at Sanford Stadium with even more eye-popping numbers for the red and black. Nick Chubb led the way on a day where he also topped the 1,000 yard mark for the season, finishing with 151 yards and two scores — the last of which was a 55-yarder down the sidelines that delighted the crowd and will probably be replayed a few times at next spring’s NFL Draft. His teammate in the backfield, Sony Michel, wasn’t too shabby either with 87 yards and a trio of trips to the end zone as well.

Quarterback Jake Fromm managed to have an efficient outing in the passing game after shaking off an interception on the opening drive of the game. The freshman wound up with 123 yards in the air and threw a beautiful touchdown right into the waiting arms of Javon Wims in the first half. With both phases firing on all cylinders, especially from the second quarter on, Georgia rolled up over 500 yards of offense as afternoon turned into evening in Athens.

The Wildcats looked threatening early after grabbing that initial turnover and were generally hanging around until just before halftime. QB Stephen Johnson likely will spend most of the post-game in the ice tub after numerous hits from that ferocious front seven of the home team, luckily managing only to get sacked three times and throwing for 138 yards. Things were equally difficult for tailback Benny Snell, who was impressive in clawing his way to 94 yards and Kentucky’s only touchdown.

It wasn’t enough in the end however, as Georgia went a perfect 6-0 against the East division and wrapped up regular season play in the SEC with the victory. They’ll head to Atlanta the next weeks as they’ll take on in-state rival Georgia Tech next Saturday before heading to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to meet the winner of the Iron Bowl with a conference title and College Football Playoff spot on the line.

Coaches talk plenty about putting last week behind them and moving forward and it’s safe to say that’s the case for Kirby Smart’s team after another easy romp in conference play.

No. 15 Oklahoma State survives on the road against upstart No. 21 Iowa state

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images
2 Comments

It was another week with a bit of an offensive back-and-forth for No. 15 Oklahoma State (8-2, 5-2 Big 12), and this time they came out on top of a wild one. The Cowboys managed to pull through in the fourth quarter to secure a 49-42 win at No. 21 Iowa State (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive.

The wild fourth quarter began with none other than Allen Lazard coming up with an incredible touchdown catch. As the ball soared to the endzone, Lazard tipped the ball with his left hand with a defender on him, and he caught the ball with his right hand as he fell to the ground for the go-ahead score.

The Lazard touchdown gave Iowa State a 35-31 lead, and Oklahoma State had to settle for a field goal on the ensuing possession to create a one-point game. A little more than a minute later, Iowa State expanded their lead to eight points on a 14-yard run by David Montgomery after a couple of big passes by Zeb Noland to Trever Ryen and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Cowboys moved the ball quickly down the field. Oklahoma State responded once more by orchestrating a 75-yard drive for a touchdown. Mason Rudolph connected in the endzone with Marcell Ateman form 30 yards out on a 3rd and 22. After a couple of holding penalties in the endzone on two-point conversion attempts by the Pokes, Justice Hill powered his way in for a short pick-up to tie the game at 42-42 with just under six minutes to play.

Oklahoma State took the lead on a 19-yard pass from Rudolph to Dillon Stoner with 3:47 to play. Iowa State moved the ball into the red zone in the final minutes, but Oklahoma State picked off a pass in the endzone and had the instant replay booth uphold the call when it appeared there might have been simultaneous possession between Oklahoma State’s A.J. Green and Iowa State receiver Marchie Murdock.

Oklahoma State has already lost games to both Oklahoma and TCU, the frontrunners in the Big 12 championship game hunt. Even though the Sooners and Horned Frogs play today to guarantee one of them loses, Oklahoma State still must keep the pressure on and hope for some help around the conference these next few weeks.

Iowa State might have seen a chance to play for the Big 12 championship fall through the cracks in their home finale. Iowa State will wrap up the season on the road with back-to-back games at Baylor and Kansas State. One win is needed to clinch Iowa State’s first winning season since 2009.

No. 5 Oklahoma moves in position for another Big 12 title after taking Bedlam

Associated Press
Leave a comment

In games where seemingly every other play ends in a touchdown, it’s the plays that take points off the board that matter most. Oklahoma benefitted from of those than Oklahoma State, and the fifth-ranked Sooners outlasted the 11th-ranked Cowboys for a 62-52 win in the highest-scoring Bedlam game ever.

The first of those plays came on the Pokes’ first snap of the game. After A.J. Green intercepted Mayfield on the opening drive of the game, Justice Hill momentarily raced in for a 28-yard touchdown but James Washington was called for holding, and the Oklahoma State drive ended in three points instead of seven.

The sides traded punts on their next possession, and then the track meet began. Oklahoma scored touchdowns on five straight possessions — covering 389 yards over 27 plays — to control most of the first half, but Oklahoma State went on a 4-touchdown streak of its own — moving 300 yards on the nose in 24 plays — to pull within 38-38 at halftime. Oklahoma could have had six straight touchdown drives, but its final possession of the half ended in a field goal after Mayfield was stuffed on a third-and-goal rush from the 1-yard line.

Austin Seibert‘s second field goal put Oklahoma up 41-38 with 4:47 to play in the third quarter, but the Cowboys moved in position to take their first lead since 10-7 in the first quarter when the second of those plays occurred. This time Mason Rudolph was intercepted by Will Johnson on a back-of-his-foot heave into double coverage on 1st-and-goal from the three — all things considered, it will go down as by far the worst pass Rudolph will ever throw in an Oklahoma State uniform — to give OU a third quarter shutout.

Oklahoma took advantage of the opportunity and took advantage quickly, moving 80 yards in just three plays as Rodney Anderson‘s second rushing touchdown gave the Sooners a 48-38 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys’ offense got back on track in the third quarter, putting together 150 yards’ worth of touchdown drives in 16 plays, and its defense made another play on Mayfield on the same goal line as Chad Whitener hauled in an interception and returned it to the 35-yard line, giving Oklahoma State the ball back with a 55-52 deficit with 2:59 to play. The Cowboys moved into Oklahoma territory, but Ogbonnia Okoronkwo sacked Rudolph for a loss of 10 yards, and a pass from Rudolph to Hill bounced off Hill’s face mask and into the arms of  Oklahoma’s Tre Brown. However, a targeting foul on Johnson overturned the interception and gave OSU the ball back with a 1st-and-10 at the Sooners’ 40. However, Oklahoma State gained only two yards on its first three plays and Rudolph’s fourth-and-8 deep ball with a minute to play was overthrown. 

Trey Sermon added the capper with a 53-yard burst with 42 seconds to play.

Mayfield finished the day hitting 24-of-36 passes for a school-record 598 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions (plus a 7-yard rushing touchdown). Marquise Brown was his favorite target, hauling in nine grabs for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Sermon and Anderson combined to rush 31 times for 192 yards and two scores, giving the Sooners 785 yards of total offense and 30 first downs on 76 plays (10.32 per play).

Hill led all rushers with 220 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, while Rudolph hit 28-of-54 throws for 448 yards with five scores against two picks. Washington left the game early due to injury but still hauled in seven grabs for 128 yards and a score.

The win gave Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) three straight victories over its in-state rival, five out of six, 13 out of 15 and 87 wins in 112 all-time meetings. Thanks to Iowa State’s loss to West Virginia earlier of the day, the Sooners regained control of their Big 12 and College Football Playoff destiny ahead of next Saturday’s visit from No. 8 TCU. Oklahoma State (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) would need to benefit from the combination of chaos and tiebreakers to force a rematch at AT&T Stadium in December.

Bedlam a shootout at the OK (State) Corral through one half

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are knotted at 38-38 in what’s shaping up to be a classic Big 12 shootout at the half in Stillwater.

As always in games such as these, perhaps the key play of the game came on a play that took a score off the board. After A.J. Green intercepted Baker Mayfield on the opening drive of the game, Justice Hill appeared to race in for a 28-yard touchdown on Oklahoma State’s first play, but James Washington was called for holding and the Cowboys were forced to settle for a 29-yard Matt Ammendola field goal.

That opening was all the Sooners needed to claim a lead for most of the half. The Sooners went three-and-out on their next possession and then scored touchdowns on their next five touches. Each of the drives covered at least 71 yards and none needed more than nine plays, highlighted by a 1-play drive that consisted of an 84-yard snatch-and-dash connection from Mayfield to Marquise Brown. The Sooners appeared primed for a sixth straight touchdown drive just before the half, moving 75 yards to the OSU 1. But the Oklahoma State defense stiffened and corralled Mayfield on a third down rush, forcing a 20-yard Austin Seibert chip shot with 1:18 left before the break.

That stop allowed Oklahoma State to add the equalizer as Hill raced in from 30 yards out on a 3rd-and-6 play with 33 seconds left before the break.

As the score indicates, Oklahoma State has also gotten what it wanted offensively. The Cowboys put together four 75-yard touchdown drives, three of them needing between four and six plays. James Washington caught a 35-yard touchdown pass, Marcell Ateman snared two touchdowns covering three yards combined, and Hill added a 6-yard rush. Mason Rudolph hit 13-of-24 passes for 258 yards with those three scores and no interceptions, and Hill led all runners with 132 yards and two scores on 16 carries.

Mayfield finished the half with a good game’s worth of numbers: 17-of-25 passing for 387 yards and three touchdowns (with one interception) and a 7-yard touchdown rush. Rodney Anderson led OU with 51 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and Brown caught seven passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.

As a team, Oklahoma State ran 41 plays for 391 yards of total offense, good for 9.54 yards per play, while OU bettered that number by compiling 466 yards on 43 plays, or 10.84 a pop. The FBS record for combined yards of total offense in a game is 1,708, set in last year’s 66-59 Oklahoma win over Texas Tech last season. The clubs are on pace for 1,714.

Oklahoma State will receive to open the second half.

No. 7 Georgia waxes Tennessee in fatal blow for the Butch Jones era

Associated Press
14 Comments

There would be no Hail Mary to bail out the Vols this time.

No. 7 Georgia dominated Tennessee from the opening stop and never let up, cruising to a 41-0 victory that could prove to be the final blow of the Butch Jones era in Knoxville.

The Bulldog domination began literally from the first snap, as Quentin Dormady was intercepted by Tyrique McGhee on the very first play from scrimmage. That pick set up a 38-yard Rodrigo Blankenship to put Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) up for good.

The Vols’ next two possessions went three-and-out, and the second led to a 7-play, 54-yard touchdown march capped by a 12-yard scoring strike from Jake Fromm to Javon Wims. Fromm completed Georgia’s next scoring drive — an 87-yard marathon — on a 9-yard scamper on a 3rd-and-goal, staking the Dogs to a 17-0 lead with 7:13 left before halftime.

Another Dormady interception — though this one ricocheted off the leg of his intended receiver into the hands of Georgia safety J.R. Reed, who returned it 34 yards to the Tennessee 26-yard line — set up Fromm’s second rushing touchdown, a zone-read keeper to bury the Vols at 24-0 just before the half.

Sony Michel added a 31-yard rushing score late in the third quarter. Brian Herrian punched in a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter, and David Martin completed the scoring with a 19-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining.

Georgia’s defense utterly owned Tennessee’s offense, limiting Dormady to 5-of-16 passing for 64 yards with two picks and a fumble before he was pulled for Jarrett Guarantano. Six Vols rushers combined to carry 29 times for just 62 yards. The Bulldogs pounded out 285 rushing yards, led by Nick Chubb‘s 109 yards on 16 attempts. The only drama for Kirby Smart‘s team moving forward is who to play at quarterback. Fromm out-played his stats (7-of-15 for 84 yards with a touchdown and a pick, with two rushing scores) and effectively moved the offense up and down the field. But competition is on the way, as opening day starter Jacob Eason returned to action in mop up duty.

Tennessee is still 3-2 (0-2 SEC) this season with a likely bowl appearance waiting, but patience for the Volunteers’ fifth-year coach was at an all-time low before Saturday’s blowout — and Jones himself knew it, as evidenced by his anti-media rant on Monday. Jones has failed to deliver Tennessee its first SEC East championship since 2007, and Saturday’s loss — coupled with the Hail Mary defeat to Florida two weeks ago — all but guaranteed the streak of title-less seasons will stretch to 11. Jones blew golden opportunities to win the division in 2015 and ’16, with Florida and Georgia clearly down but obviously retooling, and the frustration over his failure to cash in was exacerbated by his everything-is-fine-here demeanor — as if he was hired to go 18-8 over the 2-season stretch and nothing more, while conveniently ignoring Tennessee’s 9-7 SEC mark over that span, including an inexcusable 4-4 mark last season despite beating both the Gators and the Bulldogs.

This loss will likely make a comeback effort for Jones impossible, whether or not his official dismissal comes later this weekend or at a to-be-determined date in the fall. Georgia’s players were more talented and executed better than Tennessee’s but, worse than anything for Jones, they simply tried harder than the Vols. CBS cameras captured shot after shot after shot of Georgia players refusing to be tackled, and found none of the the opposite. And when Tennessee did fight as hard as, a 44-yard completion to John Kelly, it still ended in a fumble.