No. 14 Kansas State enters playoff conversation following win at No. 11 Oklahoma

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Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt was unable to get an extra point attempt off on a botched play that would have tied Kansas State in the fourth quarter, and he later missed a short 19-yard field goal that could have given the Sooners a win. As a result, No. 14 Kansas State (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) remained perfect in Big 12 play after knocking off No. 11 Oklahoma (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) in Norman by a slim margin of 31-30.

Following the missed field goal try, Kansas State looked to kill the rest fo the clock after taking over with 3:53 to play. A pair of runs by Jake Waters followed by a complete pass to Curry Sexton did the trick. Oklahoma was forced to burn its final timeout and the Sooners were unable to get the ball back.

Kansas State allowed 544 yards of offense to Oklahoma, but Kansas State forced two turnovers and protected the ball on offense to help get out of town with the win. Waters had a huge impact on the game as well, completing 15 of 23 passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns and adding another 51 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to his stat line. Kansas State averaged 5.0 yards per rushing attempt, and the Wildcats were disciplined from start to finish. Kansas State was called for just two penalties in the game.

Oklahoma had chances to grab this one though. Questionable play calling hurt Oklahoma a couple of times inside the red zone. On a 3rd and goal from the one-yard line, Oklahoma ran a formation out of the shotgun with a delayed handoff. This proved costly on the final offensive possession the Sooners would have, as Kansas State broke through the line and stuffed the play. This was followed by the missed field goal. Earlier in the second half, Oklahoma got a little cute on a play that ended up with receiver Durron Neal being intercepted in the end zone.

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight left the game in the first half, but he returned. He ended the day with three touchdowns thrown and 318 passing yards. Sterling Shepard was a monster in the receiving game with a game-high 197 receiving yards and a touchdown. His 15 receptions tied a school record for a single game.

This result could have a significant impact on the Big 12 moving forward as well. With two losses, Oklahoma could have a very difficult time getting back into the playoff conversation, and even the Big 12 could be difficult to grab now as well with losses to Kansas State and TCU. Kansas State is now 3-0 in the Big 12. At the time of this posting, Baylor was in some trouble at West Virginia as well, but with plenty of time to play. Kansas State could sneak into the top 10 of the polls on Sunday, but regardless of what happens it looks as though the Wildcats will start to receive some playoff contender recognition. The only loss this season was at home, but it was against Auburn.

Kansas State returns home next weekend to host the Texas Longhorns. The Wildcats have some more notable Big 12 games coming after that as well, with a home game against Oklahoma State and then a road game at TCU the following week before getting a bye week.

Oklahoma will be off next week, but the Sooners resume play on the road on November 1 at Iowa State. A still potentially pivotal home game against Baylor will be played the next week.

Jerry Jeudy, AJ Dillon, Eno Benjamin and more set for State Farm All-Star Football Challenge

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It may fly under the radar for most, but the 22nd annual State Farm All-Star Football Challenge is set to take place on Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The skills competition will pit 24 college football stars in a team event. Among those participating in this year’s challenge will be Boston College running back AJ Dillon, Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Five teams representing each of the power five conferences will consist of players from those respective conferences: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. A sixth team of “wild card” players will be comprised of players from the Group of Five or below. This year’s wild card players will come from the Mountain West Conference (Utah State QB Jordan Love, Boise State DE Curtis Weaver), Conference USA (FAU TE Harrison Bryant) and the South Atlantic Conference of Division 2 (Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger).

The individual events included in the competition are a quarterback accuracy contest, obstacle course, strength challenge, and a hands competition. A team event will complete the overall event.

TEAM ACC
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

TEAM BIG TEN
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

TEAM BIG 12
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Carter Stanley, QB, Kansas

TEAM PAC-12
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

TEAM SEC
Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt

TEAM WILD CARD
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

TE Jordan Wilson to transfer from UCLA

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UCLA redshirt junior Jordan Wilson has announced he is leaving the Bruins. In a post on his Twitter account on Friday afternoon, Wilson announced he is entering the transfer portal with the intent of finishing up his collegiate career with some other program.

“[I’d] like to announce that I will be entering the transfer portal, graduating at the end of the Spring quarter, and playing my final year of eligibility somewhere else,” Wilson announced in a statement on his Twitter account.

The decision of Wilson to leave UCLA comes at an unfortunate time for the Bruins. Wilson was likely to be a starter at tight end for UCLA in the fall. Wilson is the third tight end to leave UCLA this offseason. Devin Asiasi previously made the decision to declare for the NFL draft a year early. Matt Lynch also stepped into the transfer portal. Now, UCLA has a wide-open competition for playing time at the tight end spot beginning this spring.

Wilson caught seven passes for 72 yards for UCLA in 2019. He will leave UCLA having caught 25 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the past three seasons. As a graduate transfer, Wilson will be eligible to play his final year of eligibility anywhere he ends up this fall.

USC nabs Todd Orlando from Texas Tech

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USC has a new defensive coordinator. The Trojans announced on Friday the school has officially hired Todd Orlando to fill the role of defensive coordinator. Orlando joins USC after coaching the past three seasons at Texas.

Orlando actually joined the Texas Tech program after being let go by Texas following staff changes with the Longhorns. Despite landing a job with the Red Raiders, Orlando remained a top target for USC head coach Clay Helton.

“We are excited to have Todd join our Trojan football program,” Helton said in a released statement. “He is an experienced and successful defensive coordinator who has made an impact everywhere he has coached. He brings a passion, energy, toughness and discipline to his coaching and those characteristics were evident in our discussions. His defensive system poses an extreme challenge to offenses.”

Orlando replaces Clancy Pendergast, who was let go by Helton amid USC’s own staff changes after a down 2019 season. As previously mentioned (HERE), Orlando actually had worse defensive numbers compared to what Pendergast coached with USC last season. However, a contrast of playing styles and offensive outputs between the schedule Texas faced in 2019 (including games against LSU and Oklahoma) and what USC faced could lead to some skewed figures.

Orlando’s first test as a defensive coordinator will be a monster. USC opens the 2020 season in Arlington, Texas against Alabama.

Cal loses assistant Gerald Alexander to NFL job

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Cal assistant coach Gerald Alexander is leaving to coach with the Miami Dolphins. Alexander confirmed in a message posted on his Twitter account he is heading to the NFL for a coaching opportunity. Multiple reports have confirmed it will be with the Miami Dolphins.

Alexander thanked Cal head coach Justin Wilcox for the opportunity to be a part of Wilcox’s first coaching staff at Cal.

Alexander joined the Cal program in 2017 and spent the past three seasons as a defensive backs coach for the program. He has played a role in helping to coach one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12. He previously coached at Montana State, Indiana State and with Chris Peterssen at Washington. Alexander played for Petersen at Boise State.

This will mark a return to the NFL for Alexander. He previously played in the league for five seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and, appropriately enough, the Miami Dolphins. Alexander was a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2007.