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No. 5 Oklahoma rallies but falls short on the road at Kansas State

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There is one less undefeated team in FBS college football after No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) saw a fourth-quarter rally against Kansas State (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) come up just short. An onside kick after cutting Kansas State’s lead to 48-41 was illegally touched by an Oklahoma player, and the Wildcats were able to go into a victory formation to close out the Sooners.

Kansas State held a 48-23 lead on the Sooners early in the fourth quarter after James Gilbert finished off a 10-play drive with a short touchdown run. But as so many teams trying to pull off a major upset have seen before, closing the door is often a difficult task, especially against a team with the potential to score at any moment like Oklahoma. Jalen Hurts (19/26, 395 yards, 1 TD, 96 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD) completed a pass to CeeDee Lamb on the first play from scrimmage after the Kansas State touchdown, and Lamb finished off a quick 70-play touchdown strike to keep hope alive. Oklahoma forced Kansas State to punt on their next two possessions, with a 90-yard touchdown drive in between.

Kansas State quarterback Skyler Thompson had a big day in a game that was supposed to star Hurts. Thompson passed for 213 yards and rushed for four touchdowns to help the Wildcats score their first win against a top 5 team since 2006.

So, what does this all mean for the Sooners? A season with a chance to defend their Big 12 title is still in the mix, and a spot in the College Football Playoff is certainly a bit more difficult to reach but not at all out of the question. Oklahoma still must respond to this loss with authority and take care of their schedule the rest of the way. A 1-loss Big 12 champion would still have a shot to gain a playoff spot. What is unknown is just how much additional help Oklahoma would potentially need. But that’s something to worry about later on if the Sooners remain in play.

The good news for Oklahoma, is there is such a thing, is this loss is not the kind of ugly loss that dooms them without question. Kansas State is on its way to a likely winning season, and the Sooners did claw back with a big game in the box score by their top Heisman Trophy candidate.

Oklahoma will get an extra week to stew over this one, as their next game will be played in two weeks at home against No. 23 Iowa State. Kansas State will look to follow-up this win with one next week on the road at Kansas. A win against the Jayhawks would make Kansas State bowl-eligible.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.