Texas stomps Sooners in statement game

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The Texas Longhorns played as if head coach Mack Brown‘s job was on the line. If that was the case, then Brown should be pretty secure as the head coach for at least one more week. Texas snapped a dismal three-game losing streak to Oklahoma with a 36-20 victory in the Red River Rivalry, giving the Longhorns even more momentum in Big 12 play. The Longhorns are now 3-0 in Big 12 play and have control of their path to a Big 12 title. Not so long ago that felt like more of a dream than a reality.

Texas executed a game plan that worked very well against Oklahoma, and perhaps having extra time to prepare for it benefitted Texas. Texas played last Thursday night at Iowa State while Oklahoma played last Saturday. Texas put up 444 yards of offense, including 254 rushing yards and the Longhorns thrived on third down conversions, ending the day with 13 third downs conversions in big spots. The defense allowed just 263 yards to the Sooners, just the first time Texas held their opponent to fewer than 346 yards this season. The team was disciplined as well, getting called for just three penalties for 15 yards compared to eight Oklahoma penalties for 63 yards.

This was exactly the game Texas needed, and not just for Brown’s job security. Few believed Texas had what it took to beat Oklahoma. Few believed Texas should even enter this weekend with a perfect Big 12 mark, considering the controversial call that went in their favor against Iowa State. A win against Kansas State meant far less than it would have a year ago, and the images of BYU gashing Texas on defense still linger. But all of that is behind them now, because Texas played well on offense,defense and special teams. The coaching was brilliant on this afternoon, a welcomed change for Longhorn fans suffering from past editions of the Red River Rivalry.

There are still some questions about this team moving forward, but slowly but surely Texas may be answering them as this season unfolds. As you might expect, Brown is not worried about what this game means for his future.

“I’m not worried about that, we’ll worry about TCU,” Brown said in a postgame interview.

Texas visits TCU next weekend to get their second half of the season underway. The second half includes three road games, highlighted by the season finale at Baylor on December 7. After next weekend’s game against the Horned Frogs, Texas may get their toughest challenges before Baylor at home, with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech visiting Austin in November. Entering this weekend, the Cowboys and Red Raiders were ranked in the top 25.

Time will tell how this season continues to develop for the Longhorns, but for one afternoon at the Texas State Fair, all was good and that’s all that matters.

Last year’s winner Ed Oliver one of eight semifinalists for Outland Trophy

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Another day (hour?), another award paring down its field of players eligible to win this year’s honor.

The latest to do as much is the Outland Trophy, with the award that is handed out annually to the nation’s top interior lineman on either side of the ball announcing the eight semifinalists for this year’s honor.  Headlining the most recent group is Houston’s Ed Oliver, who was the 2017 Outland winner.

Top-ranked Alabama (offensive tackle Jonah Williams, nose guard Quinnen Williams) and second-ranked Clemson (offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins) accounted for half of the eight semifinalists.  The other three semifinalists not already mentioned are North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury, Wisconsin guard Michael Deiter and Oklahoma guard Ben Powers.

Next week, this group of eight semifinalists will be pared down to three finalists.  The winner of the 2018 Outland Trophy will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN in early December.

Ohio State LB Baron Browning ruled out for Maryland game

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For the second straight week, Ohio State will be down a man in its linebacking corps.

Earlier this week, Urban Meyer listed Baron Browning as probable for Saturday’s game against Maryland.  Wednesday night after practice, however, the head coach confirmed that the linebacker will not play against the Terrapins.

Browning is dealing with an unspecified injury that sidelined the sophomore linebacker for the win over Michigan State this past Saturday.

Through eight games in 2018, Browning has been credited with 22 tackles, 3½ tackles for loss and a sack.  As noted by ElevenWarriors.com, Browning has been rotating in with Tuf Borland at the middle linebacker spot throughout the season.

A five-star 2017 signee, Browning played in a dozen games as a true freshman last year.

Western Michigan announces firing of DC Tim Daoust

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Tuesday night, Western Michigan was officially removed from MAC West contention.  Less than 24 hours later, WMU removed one of its top assistants.

Wednesday night, the Broncos announced that they have “parted ways” with defensive coordinator Tim Daoust.  The move comes after WMU gave up 42 points in a loss to a three-win Ball State team that came into the game 99th in the country in scoring (24.5 points per game).

All told, the Broncos gave up 51, 59 and 42 points in three straight losses that knocked them out of the West race and handed the division title to Northern Illinois.

“I appreciate Tim and his family’s dedication to the Bronco football family these past two seasons,” head coach Tim Lester said in a statement. “At this time I felt we needed to go in a different direction.”

This was Daoust’s second stint in Kalamazoo as he was an assistant with the Broncos from 2006-09.  Prior to this two-year stint at WMU, Daoust was the coordinator at Ball State.

Daoust will be replaced for the remainder of the year by defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Lou Esposito.  WMU, which is bowl-eligible for a school-record fifth-straight year, will close out the 2018 regular season against West champion NIU next Tuesday.

SEC lands three of five Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists

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A conference known for its defense is front and center for an award that honors that side of the ball.

Of the five finalists for the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy announced Wednesday by the Football Writers Association of America, three of them hail from the SEC — Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, LSU safety Grant Delpit and Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams.  The other two –Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins — come from teams which are ranked in the top four of the most recent College Football Playoff rankings.

North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb was the 2017 winner of the Nagurski.  Houston’s Ed Oliver was a finalist for that award and was eligible again this year, but a knee injury has sidelined him for the last three games and will likely keep him out for a fourth — if not longer.

The 2018 winner will be honored at a Dec. 3 ceremony in Charlotte.