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No. 3 Oklahoma looks playoff-ready after shutting down No. 11 TCU in Big 12 championship

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Whoever is up next for the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1), they have their work cut out for them. After slamming the door shut on No. 11 TCU (10-3) in the revived Big 12 championship game on Saturday afternoon, Baker Mayfield and the Sooners should be rolling into the College Football Playoff, and they look as strong as any potential playoff participant may be going in.

Oklahoma’s 41-17 victory over the Horned Frogs was fueled by a fast start in the first quarter and pure dominance in the second half. Mayfield put a cherry on top of his Heisman Trophy campaign with four touchdowns, 243 yards and 65 rushing yards against TCU to lead Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship, the first for Lincoln Riley as a head coach. Rodney Anderson led the ground game with 93 rushing yards on 24 carries and Marquise Brown and Mykel Jones played key roles in the receiving game,. Tight end Mark Andrews was reliable in the red zone as well with a pair of touchdown receptions.

Oklahoma’s defense was the key in the second half, however. TCU was forced to punt four times and had one turnover on downs. Kenny Kill was also picked off in the second half as the Oklahoma defense pitched a shutout after halftime. Hill passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 51 yards in the loss.

Oklahoma will now wait to see what seed they will have in the College Football Playoff. Entering the week No. 3 in the eyes of the selection committee, the Sooners could potentially have made a loud enough statement to be considered for the No. 1 seed, depending on the results in the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten championship games. Regardless of the seeding, it would be highly unlikely for the Sooners to fall out of the top four after a blowout victory in the Big 12 championship game. So Oklahoma fans can start scouting hotels in Pasadena and New Orleans to get prepared for all of their options.

TCU could still manage to get into a New Years Six bowl game, but a 24-point loss for the third loss of the season puts TCU in a tough spot considering some of the other options in play for the New Years Six lineup. For TCU, the Big 12 championship game could hurt their chances of going to a New Years Six bowl game.

Wendy Anderson, wife of Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson, loses two-year battle with breast cancer

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The heartbreak that is cancer has, once again, impacted the world of college football.

Arkansas State announced Monday that Blake Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years.  Tuesday morning, Anderson posted that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight last night “with me laying right beside her.”

Wendy Anderson was 49.

Wendy Anderson was initially diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017.  In August of that year, Anderson had tweeted that his wife was cancer-free.  Sadly, cancer returned a few months later.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Anderson for his loss.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as interim head coach during Anderson’s indefinite leave of absence.  Arkansas State will open the 2019 season against SMU Aug. 31.

Arkansas loses starting WR to torn ACL

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Entering summer camp, Deon Stewart was the most senior member of a very young receiving corps. Unfortunately for all involved, Stewart will exit camp on the sidelines and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Multiple media outlets in the area initially reported that Stewart suffered a torn ACL during Arkansas’ scrimmage this past Saturday; Monday, head coach Chad Morris confirmed the initial reports, saying that an MRI showed a tear in the ligament.

Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior, who posted an ominous one-word tweet over the weekend portending the development, will miss the entire 2019 season.

Morris also confirmed that Stewart will pursue a sixth season of eligibility.

Stewart played in 36 games the past three seasons, starting 14 of those contests in 2017 (six) and 2018 (eight). This past season, Stewart was fourth on the Razorbacks in receptions (22) and sixth in yards (178).

Of the 17 receivers listed on the Razorbacks’ preseason roster, 13 of them are either freshmen or sophomores. Stewart is one of two seniors at the position, the other being Jimmie Stoudemire, who didn’t catch a pass during his first season in Fayetteville after transferring in from a California junior college.

Iowa confirmed Jayden McDonald cannonballed into transfer portal

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Pardon me while I clean up a bit of personnel news from late last week during these early-morning hours.

Early last week, speculation was making the rounds that Jayden McDonald was considering a transfer away from Iowa. Friday evening, the speculation became a reality as the football program confirmed in a press release that the redshirt freshman linebacker has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

It’s at this point in the program where we remind our readers that entering a name into the portal doesn’t guarantee a departure, even as it allows other programs to contact the player without receiving permission from his current school. McDonald could also reverse course, pull his name from the database and return to the Hawkeyes.

Conversely, the university can take away McDonald’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

After originally committing to Rutgers, McDonald signed with Iowa as a three-star recruit in 2018. The Georgia high schooler opted for Iowa over Kansas State, Ole Miss and Purdue.

McDonald didn’t see the field as a true freshman and, with the Hawkeyes moving to a 4-2-5 base defense this season, he saw his opportunities for playing time in Iowa City narrowed even further.

Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson takes leave of absence as wife fights cancer

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With his wife fighting cancer, Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson is stepping away from the football part of his life temporarily to be with his family. Arkansas State announced the news Monday evening. Defensive coordinator David Duggan will take over as the interim head coach until Anderson is ready to return to the team.

“Coach Anderson has decided to take a leave of absence during this difficult time to be with his wife, Wendy, and his family,” a statement from Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir said in a released statement. “We will continue to pray for peace for his family and provide assistance any way we can.”

Anderson has been dividing his time between football and being with his wife, but there comes a time when you have to realize there is much more to focus on than football. This is certainly one of those times, and good for Arkansas State to allow their head coach to do what he needs to do during this troubling time for his family.

Cancer sucks, plain and simple.