The Texas Longhorns entered today’s edition of the Red River Rivalry ranked 69th in the country in third down conversion success. You would not know that by watching the Longhorns today. You also may not realize Oklahoma’s defense is ranked 11th in the nation in third down defense.
Texas is leading Oklahoma at halftime, 23-10, and has the success on third down to thank for it. The Longhorns converted nine out of 12 third down attempts, a 75 percent success rate. The Longhorns had entered today converting on just 40.26 percent of their third down attempts, so clearly Bob Stoops and his defense have something to review at the half. If Texas continues to extend drives with that kind of success, Texas could very well wear down Oklahoma on their way to their first win in the Red River Rivalry since 2009.
The Texas game plan has been incredibly solid and focusing on the running game. Johnathan Gray leads all players with 82 yards and Case McCoy has been dependable with 125 passing yards and a touchdown, a 59 yard strike down the right sideline to Marcus Johnson on a wild third down conversion. The offense has been efficient, but the defense has done their part as well. Defensive lineman Chris Whaley intercepted a pass from Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell and returned it for a touchdown in the first quarter to give Texas a 10-3 lead. Oklahoma’s only touchdown of the half was set up by a long kickoff return by Roy Finch. Damien Williams rushed in for a short touchdown run to get the Sooners on the board and cut the Texas lead to 20-10. Had the score stayed that way who knows if Oklahoma could have built off of that momentum at the break. Instead, Texas made the most of their short time until halftime and tacked on three more points with a 43-yard field goal from Anthony Fera. Before Oklahoma had that long kickoff return, Fera had kicked a 50-yard field goal.
Can Texas keep it going in the second half, or will Oklahoma battle back?
I guess that’s what happens when the school to which you moved has produced back-to-back Heisman winners at the position you play, eh?
In mid-January, as he was in the midst of transferring from Alabama, Jalen Hurts was listed by BetOnline.ag as a 9/1 shot to stake his claim as the winner of the 2019 Heisman Trophy. Very shortly thereafter, Hurts’ move to Oklahoma was confirmed; a month later, in the latest odds released by the same online sportsbook, Hurts now sits at 13/2 to win this year’s version of the most storied trophy in college sports.
As was the case a month ago, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the way-too-early 2019 Heisman favorite at 7/2, although those odds have lengthened a bit from the initial 3/1. The quarterback whose play on the field pushed Hurts out in Tuscaloosa, 2018 Heisman runnerup Tua Tagovailoa, also saw his odds lengthen a smidge from 4/1 to 5/1.
Most of the other odds remained relatively steady from that initial release, although USC quarterback JT Daniels and Clemson-to-Missouri transfer Kelly Bryant did both make a move from off the board to part of a mini-pack at 25/1.
For perspective given the fact that we’re still nearly seven months from the 2019 season kicking off, the 2018 Heisman winner, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, wasn’t among the two dozen or so college football players listed wagering-wise as potential winners around this time a year ago. The top three Heisman odds at this time last year? Stanford running back Bryce Love, Wisconsin running back Johnathan Taylor and Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, none of whom were finalists for the trophy won by Murray.
Never mind, I guess.
Earlier this month, Derek Green, a member of Oklahoma’s 2019 recruiting class, revealed that he would be pursuing a career in the military instead of a career in college football.
“I don’t want to waste anybody’s time,” Green said at the time, “because Oklahoma has a great group of guys on that defense that’s there and coming in and I want them to be successful and they can spend more time developing them while I try to serve my country.”
Green also confirmed at the time that he would be placing his name into the NCAA transfer database, although “that’s just in case I want to go back to it later, but as of right now I’m going to serve my country.”
Fast-forward a few days, and Green announced via Twitter that he will be putting his military career on hold and transferring to a football program other than the one with which he signed back in December.
Green was a consensus three-star signee for the Sooners who enrolled in classes at the university earlier this month. He was the only signee listed as a defensive tackle in OU’s class this year.
For the third time this offseason, first-year head coach Mike Locksley has pulled in a Power Five transfer to his Maryland program.
On his personal Twitter account Monday night, Josh Jackson announced that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career for Locksley at Maryland. Nearly four weeks ago, it was confirmed that Jackson would be leaving Virginia Tech as the quarterback had placed his name into the NCAA transfer database.
As Jackson is expected to graduate from Tech in May, he would be eligible to play for Maryland this coming season. Not only that, but he will have another year of eligibility he can use in College Park in 2020 as well.
After going through a tumultuous offseason, Jackson began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury in mid-September.
As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Jackson started all 13 games for the 9-4 Hokies. He passed for 2,991 yards and ran for another 324 yards while accounting for 26 touchdowns — 20 passing, six rushing. The passing yards were the most for an FBS freshman that season, while the touchdowns passes were the second-most at this level.
Given the fact that he’ll be immediately eligible, Jackson will head into summer camp as the favorite to lay claim to the Terrapins’ starting job under center.
In addition to Jackson, Maryland has landed transfers from wide receiver Sean Savoy and linebacker Keandre Jones. The former comes to College Park from Virginia Tech, the latter from Ohio State.
Not long after declaring he was looking to transfer, ex-Arizona State linebacker Jalen Bates has found his landing spot. Bates is heading to Colorado State.
On Monday, Bates announced to his Twitter followers he is a Ram. The message was posted with a Photoshopped image showing him in a Colorado State football uniform. Bates started 10 games for Arizona State last season, and he has appeared in 18 games during his college career with the Sun Devils. That’s a nice addition for the Rams.
Having already earned his degree from Arizona State, Bates will be eligible to p[lay right away for the Rams this fall.