Behind 672-yard offensive effort, No. 20 OU beats Texas in Red River shootout

4 Comments

Despite out-gaining Texas by more than 150 yards in the first half, three unseemly turnovers forced Oklahoma to take just a 14-13 lead into the break.

The Sooners got out of their own way in the second half. As did Texas. And in the process No. 20 Oklahoma dropped 672 yards in a 45-40 Red River Showdown win over the reeling Longhorns in Dallas.

The tight first half gave way to an offensive explosion to open the second, as Shane Buechele (245 yards, three touchdowns on an uncharacteristically inaccurate 19-of-36 passing) closed drives with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Duvernay and a 45-yard heave to Dorian Leonard, but those scores proved to be brief respites against a crimson avalanche.

Oklahoma (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) scored on six consecutive possession from the close of the first half and through the entire second half, and each march was a lengthy one: 85 yards in four plays, 79 yards in three plays, 85 yards in seven plays, 76 yards in four plays, 93 yards in 13 plays and a 60-yard field goal march in 14 plays. The Sooners treated a historically porous Texas defense as did California and Oklahoma State, moving the ball through the air and on the ground.

Texas (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) had no answer for Dede Westbrook, who hauled in 10 receptions in 10 targets for a school-record 232 yards and touchdowns of 42, 47 and an Oklahoma series record 71 yards. And when Westbrook wasn’t dancing through a vacant secondary, Samaje Perine was busting up an overmatched burnt orange front. The FBS single-game rushing record holder carried 35 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns, while Baker Mayfield hit 22-of-31 throws for 390 yards and three touchdowns through the air with 20 more yards and an additional score on the ground.

The first two scores in Oklahoma’s run overcame deficits of 10-7 and 20-14, and, after Buechele’s second touchdown pass, turned a 27-21 hole into a 42-27 lead the Sooners held for the rest of the game. Barely.

Texas mounted a comeback effort with a six-play, 67-yard drive capped by Buechele’s third touchdown pass, this one to Armanti Foreman, and, after an Austin Seibert field goal banked in off the right upright pushed the score to 45-34, the ‘Horns moved 69 yards in five snaps on the legs of D'Onta Foreman (25 carries for 159 bruising yards), including a 22-yarder to pull UT within 45-40 with 1:45 to play.

After tight end Mark Andrews, whose earlier drops resulted in an interception and a punt, recovered the ensuing onside kick, Oklahoma attempted to run out the remainder of the clock but, on a 3rd-and-5 at the Texas 39, Mayfield scrambled and lost the ball, briefly alluding Texas the chance to take over around midfield with a minute remaining, but the Sooners hopped on the loose pigskin. Texas could not mount a serious threat with just 24 yards remaining from its own 10-yard line.

UMass adds Florida State, Pitt, Auburn and others to future schedules beyond 2021

Getty Images
2 Comments

It’s apparently a big week on the schedule front for FBS independents.

While UConn and Maryland announced a new home-and-home series in what is always going to be known as the Randy Edsall bowl, fellow New England independent UMass had a number of dates added to their calendar this week too.

According to the school, the Minutemen have confirmed several dates and games against Power Five opponents as well as a host of other smaller programs being added to the team’s future docket including:

  • at Pitt on Sept. 4, 2021
  • at Florida State on Oct. 23, 2021
  • at Auburn on Sept. 2, 2023

In addition, FCS foes like Merrimack (Nov. 4, 2023) and Wagner (Sept. 21, 2024) were scheduled. Two other contests were moved as well, including a game against Boston College from Sept. 2022 to Sept. 6, 2025. A game against New Mexico State was shifted up into Week 0 and is now set for Aug. 26, 2023 as well.

The moves give UMass five of their 12 games for 2021-2024 while there’s even more work left to be done beyond that.

“We’ve been hard at work over the last nine months building competitive future schedules that will allow our Independent program to grow and be challenged,” AD Ryan Bamford said in a release. “We are pleased with our scheduling progress and ability to secure agreements with a mix of Power Five, Group of Five and regional FCS opponents.”

The Minutemen host Coastal Carolina on Saturday and have notable games coming up against Army, Northwestern and BYU down the stretch in 2019.

Designs released for UAB’s future stadium in downtown Birmingham

Getty Images
3 Comments

It’s truly been remarkable how far UAB has come since the program was shuttered just a few years ago but the next major step in the rebirth of the Blazers came on Wednesday as the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex unveiled the latest plans for the upcoming $175 million football stadium that the CUSA program will soon call home.

You can check out the latest renderings here.

The 45,000 seat venue is designed to host a number of different events once completed in 2021 but the primary purpose each fall will be UAB home games. As you would expect, all the modern design elements for a stadium nowadays are incorporated, such as suites, open concourses, a large press box and a hefty number of restrooms (including nearly double the number for women than men).

The price tag for everything is set at right around $175 million for the project, with bids going out sometime later this fall and an estimated date of completion prior to the 2021 season starting in late August.

The biggest question left about the stadium now might be not whether it will actually get built but what the Blazers will be playing on in terms of the surface. The school has reportedly expressed interest in having turf but the area trying to attract major soccer matchups could mean the venue has a grass field instead.

Either way, UAB remarkable turnaround on the gridiron took another big step this week and is poised to make a giant leap come 2021.

QB Artur Sitkowski to start for Rutgers against Boston College with McLane Carter not cleared from concussion

Getty Images
1 Comment

Boston College’s bid to avoid losing to both Kansas and Rutgers in the same season may have received a slight boost thanks to the quarterback situation this week with the Scarlet Knights.

Speaking to the media on Thursday after practice, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash confirmed that starting signal-caller Carter McLane remains in the school’s concussion protocol and will not play on Saturday against the Eagles. That means the job falls on last year’s starter in Artur Sitkowski for the Scarlet Knights.

“(Carter) is still day-to-day (and) hasn’t practiced so he won’t be cleared to play,” Ash said according to NJ.com. “I’ve got nothing but 100 percent confidence and belief in Art. We talked all through training camp about the battle between the two. There wasn’t a whole lot of difference. The biggest one was just at the moment McLane was a fifth-year player and had a little bit more experience. But Art had a tremendous training camp, and the players, the coaches, everybody has nothing but 100 percent faith and trust in him to go out and lead the team. And we’re excited for him to do that.”

Carter, a grad transfer from Texas Tech, started the opener against UMass but was knocked out of last week’s shutout loss to Iowa after a hard hit in the first half. Sitkowski replaced him the rest of the way and will now make his first start of 2019.

A former four-star out of IMG Academy, Sitkowski was handed the reigns of the team as a true freshman last season and made 11 starts at Rutgers… with things not exactly going well under center considering he threw for just over 1,100 yards with four touchdowns against 18 interceptions. He’ll have a chance for redemption on Saturday against Boston College, which leads the ACC in interceptions but did give up a number of big passing plays in their shocking loss to Kansas last week.

Interestingly enough, the move to elevate Sitkowski in the wake of McLane’s concussion means that former Eagles quarterback Johnny Langan will now be the No. 2 QB for Rutgers in the game against his old team.

Lane Kiffin thinks UCF should be in top 10: ‘They looked just like an ACC or SEC team’

Getty Images
6 Comments

Lane Kiffin is a believer… in a newsworthy in-state rival.

Speaking to Yahoo! Sports, the always talkative Florida Atlantic head coach threw his weight behind UCF being a top 10 team this season and even a College Football Playoff contender had they been starting veteran QB McKenzie Milton. 

“They looked just like an ACC or SEC team,” said Kiffin. “Not Alabama or Clemson, but one of the top teams in both of those conferences. They’ve done an unbelievable job recruiting. They have skill. Normally in the Group of Five they have skill players but not the [size on] the lines, well UCF has long and good-looking linemen.”

Kiffin would know having seen the Knights up close each of the past two seasons, including a 48-14 blowout by the defending AAC champions down in Boca Raton earlier in September. A former offensive coordinator in the SEC, he also got a good look at one of this season’s elite programs too considering FAU opened the year with a 45-21 loss to Ohio State in Columbus.

Though Kiffin doesn’t have a vote in the weekly Coaches Poll, he did add he’d rank UCF as high as No. 5 but certainly in the top 10, blaming the name on the front of the Knights’ jersey as much as anything for why they’re not being taken seriously nationally.