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Oklahoma Statement: No. 14 Pokes thrash No. 8 TCU

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Who among us woke up this morning skeptical of Oklahoma State’s place among the Big 12 championship and College Football Playoff contenders? (Raises both hands and feet.) The Cowboys entered Saturday’s date with No. 8 TCU at the back of the line in the Big 12 and nationally, and with good reason: they needed significant help from the zebras to beat Texas and Kansas State, and needed overtime to dispatch a West Virginia team Baylor, Oklahoma and these Frogs crushed.

But Oklahoma State won those games, and Saturday they won another that announced themselves as serious contenders for the Big 12 championship and beyond. The 14th-ranked Cowboys jumped on the favored Frogs and never let up, stomping their way to a dominant 49-29 win.

Though Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson garnered most of the hype entering the game, it was the connection between Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and James Washington that proved unstoppable. Rudolph opened the scoring four minutes in with a 48-yard connection to Washington and, after a one-yard Boykin touchdown run, encored with a 50-yard score two plays later to push the Pokes’ lead to 14-6 with 6:02 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Jaden Oberkrom field goal pulled the Frogs within 14-9 to close the first quarter, Rudolph again tossed a pair of scoring strikes to give Oklahoma State complete control of the game. The first came on a 12-yard catch-and-dash to Jeff Carr with 13:37 to go before the half, and the second was an 82-yard bomb to Marcell Ateman with 7:57 remaining in the frame.

At the time of the Ateman touchdown, Rudolph had completed 9-of-13 throws for 231 yards and four touchdowns. But he didn’t stop there. Rudolph effectively closed his day – and the game – with another long distance gift to Washington, this time from 74 yards out to give the Cowboys a 42-16 lead with 8:07 remaining in the third quarter. The sophomore finished with 352 yards and five touchdowns (with no interceptions) on 16-of-24 passing, while Washington corralled five of those throws for 184 yards and three scores.

Thanks to a ball-hawking defense and a quick strike offense, Oklahoma State’s six touchdown drives covered a total of 332 yards and needed only 16 snaps to do so.

Boykin racked up his customary numbers (445 passing yards, 73 rushing, three total touchdowns), but he was just as much a help as a hindrance to the Frogs’ efforts. He tossed four interceptions on the day: the first led to Oklahoma State’s first touchdown, Chad Whitener returned the second to the 1-yard line (setting up a one-yard J.W. Walsh run), and Whitener finished the job on Boykin’s fourth pick, slamming the door with a pick six with just 44 seconds remaining. Boykin also saw two scoring chances end on failed fourth down conversions deep in Cowboy territory; the first on an incomplete pass to Kolby Listenbee from the OSU 14 with the score 21-9 in the second quarter, the second on a rush for no gain from the OSU 1 that ended any realistic comeback chance with 5:21 remaining.

Worst of all for TCU, Doctson (six grabs for 64 yards) left the game after injuring his left wrist securing a 12-yard reception late in the second quarter and did not return.

And that leads to the larger theme of the game: Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) and TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) effectively switched places in the Big 12’s round-robin title race. The Cowboys – this ferocious Cowboys team – jumps to the front of the line of contenders thanks to a schedule that sees Baylor visit Stillwater on Nov. 21 and Oklahoma follow a week after.

TCU will lick its wounds against Kansas next week in Fort Worth before again crossing the Red River to face Oklahoma on Nov. 21 before hosting Baylor six days later.

 

Shoulder injury leaves status of Texas QB Sam Ehlinger up in the air

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In a victory over Iowa State on Saturday night to put Texas in a good spot to clinch a berth in the Big 12 championship game, starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury. With one game left to play in the regular season against Kansas, it is unknown if Ehlinger will be ready to play this weekend.

Texas head coach Tom Herman said Ehlinger has aggravated his AC joint in his right shoulder, his throwing shoulder that was hurt earlier this season. Herman told reporters Ehlinger would not throw on Monday but the head coach of the Longhorns noted he was hopeful to see Ehlinger be able to do so again on Tuesday as practices resume in preparation for Kansas this week.

The good news appears to be no serious damage was discovered in an MRI Ehlinger underwent. Texas may be fortunate to have a game against Kansas on the schedule this week, as the Longhorns should still be a solid favorite to come out of this game with a win. A win would guarantee a spot for Texas in the Big 12 championship game, which would result in a rematch with either Oklahoma or West Virginia (the winner of this week’s Oklahoma-West Virginia game heads to the Big 12 championship game; Texas is in regardless of who wins that game as long as the Longhorns beat Kansas).

If Ehlinger is unable to play, Texas will continue to roll with Shane Buechele at quarterback. Ehlinger’s status will be monitored throughout the week before any official decision is made.

Virginia Tech will pay Marshall regardless if they play or not

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On Sunday, Virginia Tech announced a tentative plan to play one final home game this season against Marshall in an attempt to keep Virginia Tech’s bowl streak alive. But if the game is not played, Marshall is still going to get paid.

According to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report, Virginia Tech has agreed to compensate Marshall whether they play a game or not. If the game is played, Virginia Tech will pay Marshall $300,000 for the late regular season matchup. If the game is not played, Virginia Tech will pay Marshall $100,000 for their troubles. That’s a win-win for Marshall.

As previously announced by Virginia Tech, the tentative game against Marshall will take place in the event Virginia Tech beats Virginia this week to give the Hokies a fifth win this season. The final game against Marshall would then be played on Dec. 1 to give the Hokies a chance to reach six wins and qualify for a bowl game for a 26th straight season. Because the game would not be needed in the event Virginia Tech loses to Virginia, the game against Marshall would be scrapped entirely.

In addition to the late plans to play a potential 12th game this season if needed, the Richmond Times-Dispatch also reports a future home-and-home series between the two schools has been agreed upon, although the details of a potential future home-and-home series have yet to be detailed.

Virginia Tech’s non-conference schedule is booked through 2030 though so it would be a while before that home-and-home deal sees the football field unless any adjustments to Virginia Tech’s schedule are made to accommodate an earlier meeting between the Hokies and Thundering Herd.

Alabama remains unanimous No. 1 in Super 16 Poll; UCF cracks top 10

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After a somewhat quiet week of college football for the top teams in the Super 16 poll, there was minimal change to the top 10 this week. The Super 16 Poll from the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation once again sees Alabama claiming the top spot with all 51 first-place votes from the collective voters this week.

Alabama is followed by the same teams in the same order they were last week with Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma not moving this week. At No. 7, Washington State moved up one spot. West Virginia fell from the seventh spot down to No. 11 after a road loss at Oklahoma State last weekend. The Mountaineers dropping allowed No. 8 LSU and No. 9 UCF to move up two spots. No. 10 Ohio State dropped one spot after having to survive an overtime shootout at Maryland over the weekend.

No. 16 Washington returned to the Super 16 this week to round out the poll. The Huskies trail Texas, Florida, and Penn State, who all moved up this week. No. 15 Utah State fell one spot after escaping an upset bid at Colorado State on a Hail Mary that didn’t count because the receiver stepped out of bounds on the final play of the game.

Here is this week’s full Super 16 Poll, with first-place votes noted.

  1. Alabama (51)
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Michigan
  5. Georgia
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Washington State
  8. LSU
  9. UCF
  10. Ohio State
  11. West Virginia
  12. Texas
  13. Florida
  14. Penn State
  15. Utah State
  16. Washington

As a regular disclaimer, three contributors to College Football Talk are Super 16 voters; Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, and myself (Kevin McGuire).

Charlotte relieves Brad Lambert, will look for second coach in program history

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The only man to fill the role of head coach of the Charlotte 49ers football program will not return to coach the 49ers after the 2018 season. Brad Lambert will not be retained by the university, a statement from Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill said on Sunday. A national search for a new head coach is now underway for the young Charlotte program.

“We’ve decided to make a change in our football program,” Hill said in a released statement. “It is a decision I made after an opportunity to assess my first football season here. It’s about the trajectory of the program and putting us in the best position for the future. We elected to make this decision now so that we could begin the search immediately.”

A former assistant with Georgia and Wake Forest, Lambert was hired to be the head coach of the new Charlotte program in 2011, two years before the football program officially stepped foot on a football field for a game. Lambert coached Charlotte to back-to-back years with 5-6 records in the FCS for the first two years of the program’s existence. Charlotte moved up to the FBS in 2015 as a member of Conference USA but the program has yet to record a winning season. Charlotte has gone 21-48 under Lambert since 2013, and the 49ers will once again finish below .500 this week regardless of the outcome of a final regular season game against Florida Atlantic.

Lambert will coach Charlotte’s final game of the season this weekend against FAU.