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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, No. 5 Oklahoma keep rolling with comfortable win over No. 6 TCU

Associated Press
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Oklahoma did not drop 60 points on TCU’s top-10 defense Saturday night. But its defense didn’t surrender anywhere near 50, either, and the fifth-ranked Sooners took another step closer to a third straight Big 12 championship with a 38-20 win over No. 6 TCU Saturday night in Norman.

The combination of Baker Mayfield and running back Rodney Anderson was simply too much for TCU. Anderson posted a career-high four touchdowns, all in the first half. His 15-yard run at the 8:41 mark of the first quarter gave Oklahoma a 10-7 advantage, a lead the Sooners would not relinquish. After Mayfield hit Grant Calcaterra for a 13-yard strike to put OU up 17-7 at the close of the first quarter, Anderson effectively put the game out of reach with a 24-yard rush at the 11:45 mark of the second quarter.

TCU pulled within 24-14 on a 1-yard Kenny Hill rush on the next possession, but Oklahoma immediately answered with a 14-yard pass to Anderson with 5:29 left before halftime. The pair hooked up again with just seven seconds left before halftime for a 33-yard touchdown, giving Oklahoma 38 first-half points for the second consecutive game.

The Sooners did not score in the second half but still were not seriously threatened thanks to a defense that significantly improved from its 661-yard, 52-point effort in Stillwater a week ago. Oklahoma limited Hill to 13 completions on 28 attempts and just 155 rushing yards on 32 carries. The Frogs scored only once in the second half, and did not mount a serious comeback threat despite Oklahoma’s offense taking its foot off the gas.

Mayfield continued his runaway Heisman Trophy lead by completing 18-of-27 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, and Anderson posted a career night of 23 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns plus a game-high five grabs for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Thanks to losses by No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Notre Dame — and No. 13 Ohio State’s dominant win over No. 12 Michigan State doesn’t hurt, either — Oklahoma should move comfortably inside the CFP top four on Tuesday night. But in the immediate term, Oklahoma moved a step closer to reaching the revived Big 12 Championship against… TCU. No. 15 Oklahoma State’s defeat of No. 21 Iowa State cleared a path for TCU to earn a rematch against the Sooners, provided the Frogs defeat Texas Tech and Baylor to close the season. Oklahoma closes the regular season with a visit to Kansas and a home game against West Virginia, needing only one victory to reach the Big 12 title game.

But, of course, Oklahoma has much bigger goals on its mind than simply playing for another conference championship. More defensive performances like this one will help the Sooners get there.

Oklahoma offense rolling all over TCU through one half

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Oklahoma’s offense picked up where it left off from last week’s shootout win in Stillwater, and it’s defense has played an improved brand of football. That’s bad news for the rest of college football and, for tonight, it’s bad news for TCU as the Sooners hold a 38-14 lead at the break in Norman.

Oklahoma forced a three-and-out to open the game and got great field position thanks to a 17-yard punt return by CeeDee Lamb, but the drive stalled and Austin Seibert knocked in a career-long 49-yard field goal to get the Sooners on the board first.

The Frogs struck back quickly, though, as Kyle Hicks caught a 62-yard wheel rout and Darius Anderson raced in from 13 yards out. Oklahoma responded with a 6-play, 79-yard drive, capped by a 15-yard Rodney Anderson rush, to give OU a 10-7 edge at the 8:41 mark of the first quarter.

TCU again moved into scoring position, but could not convert a 3rd-and-5 at the OU 10-yard line and a false start penalty negated Ryan Graf‘s 25-yard field goal. Graf, who was not listed on the Frogs’ roster in replacing an apparently injured Jonathan Song, missed from 30 yards.

Oklahoma needed only five plays to travel 80 yards and open up the lead to 10 points as Baker Mayfield found Grant Calcaterra in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard score. After three straight possessions ended in punts, Anderson single-handedly stretched the OU lead to 24-7 with consecutive rushes of 30 and 24 yards.

KaVontae Turpin jump-started a struggling TCU offense with a 56-yard kickoff return, and Kenny Hill managed most of the ensuing drive himself, rushing for 27 of the required 44 yards, including a 1-yard sneak to pull the Frogs within 24-14 with 8:32 left in the second quarter.

Mayfield and Anderson continued to be too much for TCU’s defense, as Mayfield hit Anderson for a 24-yard connection to take the ball to the Frogs’ 45, and then again for a 14-yard score two plays later, giving Anderson the first 3-touchdown game of his career.

Anderson would add one more before the half, a 33-yard catch with seven seconds left before the half. He closed the half with a game-high nine rushes for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and a game-high four grabs for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Mayfield hit 15-of-21 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns, and as a team Oklahoma ran 36 plays for 395 yards — 10.97 a play — with 16 first downs.

Hill completed 7-of-13 passes for 129 yards and rushed five times for 27 yards and a score. Anderson led the Frogs with seven carries for 42 yards and a score, but left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury and did not return.

Oklahoma will receive to open the second half.

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

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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

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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.