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

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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.

Starting Tulsa safety Cristian Williams popped for DUI, suspended

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If the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker was still a thing, it’d be a Tulsa football player responsible for setting it back to double zeroes.

According to Tulsa World, Cristian Williams was arrested this past weekend on one count of driving under the influence.  Details of what led up to the arrest and charge have not yet been released.

As a result of the arrest, the Tulsa football program has indefinitely suspended the safety.

The off-field incident has cast somewhat of a shadow on what was a feel-good story for the 2019 season.

Williams returned to the playing field last August after missing most of the 2018 season with what was thought to be a career-ending health issue. The defensive back had been diagnosed with an “Arnold Chiari Type 1 malformation (a fluid-filled cyst commonly known as a syrinx)” in September and moved over to become a student assistant as he dealt with the issue.

In his return to the field, Williams started all 12 games for the Golden Hurricane in 2019.  He has been awarded a sixth season of eligibility, which he’ll be permitted to use in 2020.  Provided there is a season, of course.

During his time with Tulsa football, Williams has started 16 of the 39 games in which he played.

Tulsa is coming off a 4-8 football campaign.  That marked the third straight losing season for the Golden Hurricane since they won 10 games in 2016.  In bringing back Montgomery for a sixth season, though, the program made it clear that it’s a bowl game or bust in 2020.  Whether the pandemic alters that mindset remains to be seen.

Utah QB Jason Shelley transfers to Utah State

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Jason Shelley may have left Utah but, thanks to Utah State, he won’t be leaving the Beehive State to continue his football career.

Way back in early February, Shelley took the first step in leaving the Utes by entering the NCAA transfer database.  More than five months later, Utah State has officially confirmed the quarterback’s addition to the football roster.

As a graduate transfer, Shelley is eligible to play immediately for the Aggies in 2020.  Additionally, the school noted, Shelley will have another year of eligibility to use in 2021 as well.

Shelley was a three-star member of the Utes’ 2017 recruiting class.  The 247Sports.com competitive had the Texas product rated as the No. 17 dual-threat quarterback in the country.

In 19 career games with the Pac-12 program, Shelley started five of those contests.  In that action, Shelley completed 104-of-179 passes for 1,205 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions.  He also ran for 223 yards and another four scores.

The Aggies are coming off a 7-6 record in their second first season under Gary Andersen.  Anderson also served as the USU head coach from 2009-12.  In his final season in Logan, Andersen led Utah State to a school-record 11 wins. That mark was matched six years later by Matt Wells.  That season helped Wells land the Texas Tech job.  And led Andersen back to USU.

Hawaii adds another grad transfer WR, this one from Rice

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Hawaii football has been busy on the portal front.  Especially when it comes to the receiving corps.

In mid-June, Hawaii confirmed the addition of North Texas wide receiver transfer Rico Bussey Jr. to its football roster.  Roughly a month later, Aaron Cephus made his commitment to Hawaii football over the weekend.  The receiver, who began his collegiate career at Rice, made the announcement on his personal Twitter account.

As will be the case with Bussey, Cephus is coming to the Rainbow Warriors as a graduate transfer.  This coming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Coming out of high school in Texas, Cephus was a two-star member of the Class of 2016 for the Owls. His first season at the Conference USA school, Cephus took a redshirt.  The next two, though, the receiver put up impressive numbers.

In 2017, Cephus earned third-team All-Conference USA honors after setting a school record for freshmen with 622 yards.   The following season he led the Owls with five touchdown receptions.  He was also second on the team with 565 yards and third with 40 receptions despite missing the final two games with an injury.

A suspension, however, cost Cephus the entire 2019 season.

All told, Cephus has totaled 1,187 yards and 10 touchdowns on 65 receptions.  The 6-4, 200-pound also averaged 18.3 yards per catch.

Hawaii football is coming off its best season since 2010. Included in a 10-win season was the program’s first appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game.  Of course, that appearance ended in a loss to Boise State.

Ohio State announces resumption of voluntary workouts after COVID-19-related suspension last week

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After a brief hiccup, Ohio State is back to prepping for whatever the 2020 college football season will hold.

July 8, Ohio State announced that it was putting a halt to all voluntary on-campus workouts that had commenced the month before.  The pause was due to “the results of its most recent COVID-19 testing of student-athletes.”

Tuesday, however, Ohio State announced that its student-athletes, including football players, are now permitted to resume the workouts.  The school noted in its release that “[a]ll student-athletes from the seven sports that returned last month to voluntary workouts were tested Monday, and the results were received today.  The last round of testing was July 7 resulting in the suspension July 8.”

The school did not give the specifics of the tests that were most recently taken, citing the individual medical privacy of the athletes.

“Our Buckeyes are excited to be headed into a new school year and were disappointed last week when we had to temporarily suspend training,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “These young people come from across the nation and the world to be part of our Ohio State family, and we do everything we can to create a safe, healthy environment so that they have a chance to study and compete.  Our medical team will continue to evaluate, and we will share our decisions as we move forward.”

Ohio State had been scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against Bowling Green Sept. 5.  However, the Big Ten announced this month that its league members will be going to a conference-only schedule for fall sports.