Associated Press

Red River Thriller: No. 19 Texas takes major step with win over No. 7 Oklahoma

2 Comments

Kyler Murray nearly led No. 7 Oklahoma back from a three touchdown, fourth quarter deficit, but Cameron Dicker‘s 40-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining allowed No. 19 Texas to hang on for a crucial 48-45 win at the Red River Showdown.

Oklahoma trailed 45-24 with 13 minutes remaining, but Oklahoma needed only 10 minutes to come back and tie the game. Needing its own rally, Texas turned to the stellar Sam Ehlinger, who guided Texas 52 crucial yards to set up Dicker’s winning kick, handing Texas (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) its first win over Oklahoma as a ranked team since Colt McCoy did so in 2009.

Ehlinger out-dueled the elder Murray, completing 24-of-35 passes for 314 yards with two touchdowns while rushing for three more — the most scores by a single player in a Red River game since Sam Bradford did so in 2008.

Murray dazzled as well, throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 92 yards and another score — but his two turnovers accounted for 10 crucial Texas points.

Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) accepted the ball to open the game and faced zero resistance on its opening drive. The Sooners moved 65 yards in six plays, a drive in which the shortest gain was the scoring play — a 4-year toss from Murray to Marquise Brown.

Texas answered by turning to its big outside threats. Ehlinger hit Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 29-yard gain on the Longhorns’ second play, and then a 36-yard gainer to Collin Johnson one snap later. Texas notched an early equalizer with a 3-yard jump pass from Humphrey to Johnson.

On the ensuing possession, Murray made his first mistake of the day, firing an interception to Texas safety Brandon Jones, who returned the ball to the OU 45, and a personal foul staked Texas deep in Sooner territory. But the OU defense stiffened, and Texas took a 10-7 lead on a 44-yard Cameron Dicker field goal.

Oklahoma then forged the game’s second tie with a 32-yard Austin Seibert field goal on the opening play of the second quarter.

Texas rolled down the field on the ensuing possession until a holding call on center Zach Shackelford turned a 2nd-and-1 at the OU 30 into a 1st-and-20 at the 49. But a 19-yard completion on Andrew Beck gave Texas a 4th-and-1 situation, which graduate transfer running back Tre Watson converted on a 3-yard swing pass. One play later, Watson broke free on a wheel route and Ehlinger dropped in a perfect 28-yard touchdown pass, putting Texas up 17-10 with 10:18 left in the first half.

After the touchdown, the Texas defense immediately forced a three-and-out, keyed by a 10-yard sack of Murray by defensive end Charles Omenihu. Given a chance to take control of the first half, the Texas offense took advantage, moving 75 yards in eight plays — 48 of them on the ground, including a 9-yard keeper by Ehlinger to, putting Texas up 24-10 with 5:12 left before the break.

Texas had a chance to seize complete control of the game when Oklahoma went for a 4th-and-3 at the Texas 29, but Murray hit CeeDee Lamb for a 12-yard gain, then hit him again for a 5-yard touchdown four plays later, pulling the Sooners back within a touchdown with 28 seconds left in the half.

Texas opened the second half the same way it finished the first — by churning the Oklahoma defense. The Longhorns rolled 75 yards in 11 plays, scoring on another 5-yard Ehlinger keeper.

Facing its second two touchdown deficit of the game, Oklahoma seized momentum, first when Murray nailed Brown for a 77-yard touchdown, and then when its defense forced its first punt of the game — on a three-and-out, no less.

That momentum was short lived, though.

Murray fumbled the ball on Oklahoma’s next play, handing Texas the ball at the Sooners’ 23. Ehlinger hit Johnson for a 10-yard gain on a 3rd-and-4, and the quarterback covered the rest himself over two plays. A 2-yard keeper gave Ehlinger his third rushing touchdown of the game and UT its third 14-point lead of the game, at 38-24 with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

Facing another 3rd-and-3 in his own territory, Murray put another deep throw right on the money — but Lee Morris dropped it. After a punt, Texas pummeled an overmatched and exhausted defense, coasting 82 yards down the field in nine plays to push the lead to 45-24 with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. Ehlinger notched his fifth touchdown of the day, hitting Humphrey on a 15-yard strike.

Texas forced another OU punt after B.J. Foster sacked Murray on a 3rd-and-14, and Texas took the ball deep in its own end with a 21-point lead and 13:33 to kill. Oklahoma made it difficult.

Two straight holding penalties killed the Texas possession, and OU scored in six plays to pull the game within 45-31 on an 18-yard pass from Murray to Morris with 8:28 to play.

Texas killed three minutes of clock after that, but the Longhorns punted and Murray needed only one play — a bobbing and weaving 67-yard run — to pull the Sooners within 45-38 with 5:11 still to play.

Another holding penalty killed another Texas drive before it began, and all of a sudden, after being dead to rights 10 minutes of clock prior, Oklahoma took the field with a chance to tie the game at its own 43.

The Sooners had 3:34 to work with, but the needed only 56 seconds. Trey Sermon covered all 57 yards himself — 35 on a screen pass, and then 22 on a pair of runs, tying the game with 2:38 left in the game.

Texas mounted one more drive it when it needed it, though, setting up a possible new dimension in this storied rivalry: a Red River Rematch in the Big 12 Championship on Dec. 1 at AT&T Stadium.

Ex-Rice football player pleads guilty in death of former teammate Blain Padgett

Rice football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A former Rice football player has acknowledged his role in the death of an ex-teammate.

In early March of 2018, Rice football player Blain Padgett was found dead in his apartment after he failed to show for a football workout and a wellness check was performed. In late June, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the 21-year-old defensive end’s death was caused by the toxic effects of carfentanil, which was described as being designed originally as an elephant tranquilizer.

Seven months later, former Owls defensive lineman Stuart Mouchantaf was charged with manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance in connection to Padgett’s death.  Authorities allege that it was Mouchantaf who sold Padgett the pills that directly led to his death.  That charge was a second-degree felony that carries a penalty ranging from five years to 99 years or life in prison.

Thursday, however, Mouchantaf pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute causing death and possession with the intent to distribute causing death.  Mouchantaf will be sentenced May 14.  He is facing 20 years-to-life and a fine of up to $1 million.

The 27-year-old Mouchantaf was a defensive tackle at Rice from 2012-15 after beginning his collegiate career at Blinn College.

In 2016, the 6-5, 250-pound Padgett was second on the team in tackles for loss with 5½ and led all Owls defensive linemen with 41 tackles.  He played in just three games in 2017 before going down with a shoulder injury. He also played in eight games as a true freshman in 2015, Mouchantaf’s last season with the Owls.

“You’ve got to remember he played football with Blain for one year, so we saw him on the football field,” Wyndi Marsh-Padgett, Blain’s mother, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’d be different if we didn’t know him at all. It’s hard to see him and think about. He has family. …

“We just miss [Blain] terribly. Miss him every day.”

Four-star 2020 recruit and Florida commit Marc Britt flips to Ole Miss

Ole Miss football
Getty Images
3 Comments

Just a couple of months into his tenure as the Ole Miss football head coach, Lane Kiffin is already leaving his recruiting mark.

In November of last year, Marc Britt committed to play his college football at Florida.  The Early Signing Period came and went without the four-star 2020 prospect signing with the Gators.  On National Signing Day earlier this month, Britt didn’t put his Herbie Hancock on a National Letter of Intent with UF either.

A little over two weeks later, at a signing ceremony at his Miami high school, though, Britt confirmed that he had flipped his commitment to Ole Miss football.

Ole Miss football has not yet confirmed Britt’s signing.  Kiffin, though, has been retweeting reports of Britt’s flip on his personal Twitter account as well as the recruit’s own tweets.

Britt is a four-star 2020 recruit.  Coming out of high school in Miami, he’s rated as the No. 44 player regardless of position in the state of Florida.  247Sports.com’s composite has him listed as the No. 9 athlete in the country. Only two signees in the Rebels’ class this year are rated higher than Britt.

At this point, it’s unclear whether Britt will start his collegiate career as a wide receiver or a defensive back.

Ole Miss football currently has the No. 34 recruiting class in the country.  That would also be 12th in the 14-team SEC.

Re-Buff’d? Eric Bieniemy reportedly pulls name from Colorado search

Colorado football
Getty Images
2 Comments

We don’t know yet who will be the next Colorado football head coach.  We do know (again), though, who it won’t be.

When Mel Tucker left for the Michigan State head job earlier this month, it triggered an unexpected coaching search at Colorado.  Current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and former Colorado football Eric Bieniemy was immediately considered the front-runner, although speculation of late had him staying in the NFL.

Overnight, Mike Klis of the NBC affiliate in Denver reported that Bieniemy “notified his alma mater Wednesday night he would no longer seek the job.” ESPN‘s Adam Schefter subsequently confirmed that Bieniemy has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Klis wrote that, “[a]lthough Bieniemy never formally interviewed for the CU head job, he and school officials stayed in contact either personally or through his agent, even while he and his family kept a long-scheduled, 5-day vacation.”

The 50-year-old Bieniemy was a running back with the Buffaloes in the late eighties, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior season.  He began his coaching career at his alma mater as running backs coach in 2001-02.  He returned to Colorado football in 2011-12 as offensive coordinator.

Since 2013, Bieniemy has been a member of the Chiefs coaching staff.

So, to where does Colorado football now turn?  Air Force’s Troy Calhoun has seemingly taken the front-runner mantle in some corners — he interviewed for the CU job this week — while former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema is in the mix as well.  Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian also interviewed for the job this week.  Like Bieniemy, the former USC and Washington head coach has opted to remain in his current job.

Since being rebuffed by both Sarkisian and Bieniemy, it’s believed that Colorado has decided to expand its search for the next head football coach.  That, of course, would mean the search could drag on into next week.

Brady Hoke adds nephew to San Diego State coaching staff

San Diego State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brady Hoke‘s second first coaching staff with the San Diego State football program will have a familial feeling to it.

Thursday, San Diego State announced that Kyle Hoke has been hired as a defensive assistant for the Aztecs. Specifically, Kyle Hoke will coach SDSU’s safeties.

The newest assistant is the nephew of the first-year San Diego State football head coach. This will mark the younger Hoke’s second on-field job at the FBS level.

Kyle Hoke spent the 2019 season as the safeties coach at FCS Indiana State. The year before that, he manned the same position at Texas State.

In 2017, Hoke was the defensive coordinator at Div. III John Carroll. From 2015-16, Hoke was a graduate assistant at South Carolina. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Western Michigan (2012-13).

Kyle Hoke played his college football at Ball State. His head coach his true freshman season? His uncle, who then left for his first stint as the San Diego State football head coach.

In early January, Rocky Long stepped down as SDSU’s head coach. Hoke, the defensive line coach for the Aztecs in 2019, was immediately named as Long’s replacement.

During his first go-round at the Mountain West Conference school, Hoke posted a 13-12 record before leaving for the Michigan job.

San Diego State has won at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons, including 10 in 2019.  Prior to that strecth, the Aztecs won double-digit games in a season just four times total in the program’s FBS history.