No. 13 Oklahoma overcomes strong effort from Texas

6 Comments

The fans gave Texas a standing ovation as they walked off the field in the old Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Longhorns dug deep for a valiant effort against their rivals from Oklahoma, and the fans recognized it and rewarded it appropriately. Despite giving Oklahoma everything it could handle, it was No. 11 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) that escaped state fair with a victory over Texas (2-4, 1-2 Big 12). Thanks to a special teams and a defensive touchdown, Oklahoma avoided a second straight loss in the state of Texas in as many weeks with a 31-26 victory over the Longhorns.

After a tough battle in the first half, Oklahoma came out and flexed its muscle in the second half in building a 31-13 lead a few minutes into the fourth quarter. How they got there was a-typical of what Oklahoma has done this season. The Sooners were without a third-down conversion until the final minutes of the game (0-for-9 before the final possession of the game). Trevor Knight was held to just 12-of-20 passing for 129 yards and a touchdown and the running game managed just 103 yards. Samaje Perine was the leading rusher for Oklahoma, and his 13-yard touchdown run early in the fourth ended up being the game-winning score.

After falling behind by 18 points, Texas could have easily packed it in and let the inevitable result play out. Instead, the Longhorns stormed back and made a run. Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes led the charge on offense with a touchdown pass to John Harris midway through the quarter. After the defense did its job, Swoopes again led the offense downfield, gassing Oklahoma’s defense in the process. After a 12-yard run by Swoopes for a score, Texas scrambled to try to get a two-point conversion attempt put together to make it a three-point game.

The play clock continued to run and Texas was unable to get a play off. Rather than accept a five-yard delay of game penalty, Strong used one of his timeouts to try to get the right play. The decision to use a timeout in that situation might be worth discussion, as the Longhorns likely would have benefitted from having that extra timeout on defense. Texas failed to get the two-points once they did run a play, so the timeout was ultimately wasted. Had Texas just accepted the delay of game penalty, the two-point conversion attempt could still be run with a little more room to spread things out, which seemed to be playing to the advantage of Texas at that point in the game. Texas also would have had one extra timeout to use to save some clock. Instead, Texas ended up running out of timeouts on defense and not getting the football back until 19 seconds remained. Maybe Oklahoma would have won anyway, but this felt like a coaching decision worth taking a harder look at moving forward.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong is not one to take pride in moral victories, but he should be able to take something from this performance against Oklahoma once he allows it to settle in. The Longhorns were called for 11 penalties to Oklahoma’s three. Texas will look to snap a two-game losing skid next week at home against Iowa State. At 2-4, Texas must win four of their final six games to become bowl eligible. That schedule includes games at a ranked Kansas State and Oklahoma State and at home against a ranked TCU squad.

Oklahoma will host Kansas State next weekend. The Sooners also remain in the Big 12 hunt, as TCU and Baylor are underway in Waco to determine who sits in first place. Oklahoma can still have a great chance to win the Big 12, and perhaps even make a push for a College Football Playoff spot, but the Sooners look to have some work to do.

Two-game suspensions for Louisiana Tech’s starting QB, star WR

Getty Images
2 Comments

Suffice to say, Louisiana Tech’s offense will be at less than full strength when it takes the field in Week 12 later on today.

Thursday night, the Tech football program announced that three players, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy, senior outside linebacker James Jackson and quarterback J’Mar Smith, have been suspended for Friday night’s game against Marshall.  Hardy and Smith will also be suspended for next Saturday’s road game against UAB.

Per the school, all three players were slapped with their respective suspensions because of violations of unspecified athletic department policies.

“This matter is being handled internally,” the program said in a statement. “Neither [head football coach Skip] Holtz nor athletic department officials will address this further.”

Smith is in his third season as Tech’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 2,483 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019.  Smith will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Allen, who has thrown nine passes this year and will be making the first start of his collegiate career.

Hardy leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 482 and is second in receptions with 39.

Tech is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting atop the West Division of Conference USA at a perfect 5-0.  Their only loss came in the season opener against No. 19 Texas.

Report: Florida State no longer considers Bob Stoops a candidate

Getty Images
8 Comments

It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.

In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation.  At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”

Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”

With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.  Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.

Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.

Nick Saban says he suspended unnamed Alabama player for Miss. St. game for not going to class

Getty Images
3 Comments

Let the sleuthing and/or Internet message-board speculating commence in earnest.

Thursday night on his weekly radio show, Nick Saban revealed that he had suspended one of his Alabama football players for this Saturday’s game against Mississippi State in Starkville.  The head coach even gave a specific reason for the suspension — the player didn’t go to class.

What Saban didn’t do?  Divulge the name of the player who has been suspended.

Alabama will be looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last weekend against a Mississippi State squad that the Crimson Tide has beaten the last 11 times they have played, with the Bulldogs’ last win coming in 2007.  That, of course, was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.

Robert Mathis, Erik Williams part of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A handful of the greatest Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) players — and an administrator and coach as well — are set to be honored for their collegiate gridiron exploits.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday revealed six individuals who will be a part of its Class of 2020. Four of the inductees are former players — Earl “Air” Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M) and Erik Williams (Central State).

Joe Taylor, a former coach at FAMU, Hampton, Howard and Virginia Union,  ex-MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas will be officially inducted next February.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate the Class of 2020,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee Doug Williams. “Everyone that has vote to determine the next class understands how difficult it is to only choose six. The Class of 2020 is a great representation of the talent that has come from Historically Black Colleges & Universities.”

Williams, a third-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, spent most of his professional career with the Dallas Cowboys, earning first-team All-Pro honors three times as an offensive tackle as well as being a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams.

The year after setting an FCS record with 20 sacks, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his 14 seasons with the Colts, Mathis was named to the Pro Bowl five teams and owns a Super Bowl ring as well.