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Oklahoma adds grad transfer WR from Marshall

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Oklahoma doesn’t typically need help in its wide receiver room, but help just arrived. Obi Obialo announced on Sunday he is now a Sooner.

Obialo arrives from Marshall, where he caught 79 passes in three seasons. After ranking second on the club with 42 grabs for 505 yards and four touchdowns in 2018, Obialo missed the first nine games of 2019 with a foot injury before snaring 18 balls over the final four, including an 8-catch, 146-yard performance in his Nov. 15 debut in a 31-14 win over Louisiana Tech.

He’ll join UCLA transfer Theo Howard as the second graduate transfer wide receiver on Oklahoma’s 2020 roster. The Sooners will likely turn to rising sophomores Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges to replace CeeDee Lamb‘s 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Howard and Obialo will look to duplicate graduated-senior Nick Basquine and Lee Morris, who combined to catch 37 passes for 605 yards and two touchdowns.

Obialo has now transferred twice in his college career. The Coppell, Texas, walked on at Oklahoma State in 2016 and caught two passes for 11 yards as a true freshman. He could be the first player to wear Cowboy orange and Sooner crimson in a Bedlam game; he did not record a statistic in Oklahoma State’s 38-20 loss on Dec. 3, 2016.

No. 1 LSU advances to New Orleans title game with Peach Bowl pounding of No. 4 OU

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Four times in LSU’s football history have the Tigers played for a national championship. All four happened to be in New Orleans. Make it five.

Joe Burrow needed only 29 minutes to set LSU and College Football Playoff records with seven touchdowns and scored a bowl game record eight total touchdowns, leading No. 1 LSU to a 63-28 Peach Bowl victory over No. 4 Oklahoma and sending the Bengals back to the Bayou to face No. 2 Ohio State or No. 3 Clemson.

Burrow finished the day 29-of-39 for 493 yards and seven touchdowns, while adding 22 yards and a score on the ground. The bulk of his damage went to Justin Jefferson, who hauled in 14 catches for 227 yards and four touchdowns.

The route started from the very first snap.

Oklahoma (12-2) took the ball to start the game, and on 1st and 10 the Sooners went max protect, yet K’Lavon Chaisson sacked Jalen Hurts anyway. Kennedy Brooks ran the ball on second and third down; both carries lost a yard.

After a 25-yard Reeves Mundschau punt gave LSU (14-0) the ball at Oklahoma’s 42-yard line, Burrow went right to work: a 16-yard strike to Thaddeus Moss, a 7-yarder to Terrace Marshall, Jr., and then the first of Jefferson’s four money grabs, a 19-yarder. Pat Fields wrapped Jefferson up at the 5 but the receiver willed the ball into the end zone, giving LSU a 7-0 lead at the 12:03 mark of the first quarter.

Oklahoma’s next possession went better than its first, in relative terms: Mundschau punted on 4th-and-11, not 4th-and-17. CeeDee Lamb false started before the first down snap, Brooks rushed for four yards on 1st-and-15, and Hurts’s first two passes were not close to being complete. However, the Sooner defense forced a three-and-out of its own, and then the Sooner offense arrived. A 12-yard Hurts keeper gave Oklahoma its first first down, and two plays later he found Lamb for a 51-yard bomb to the LSU 3. Brooks tied the game one play later.

It didn’t remain tied long. LSU knifed 75 yards in nine plays, converting the only third down they faced with a thunderous 14-yard Clyde Edwards-Helaire run, then finding the end zone on an 8-yard toss to Marshall, putting LSU back in front 14-7 with 4:24 remaining in the opening frame.

LSU’s defense then forced its third three-and-out in four tries, with some major assistance from the zebras. On a 3rd-and-10 pass toward the Oklahoma sideline, LSU’s Derek Stingley, Jr., all but tackled receiver Jadon Haselwood, yet the officiating crew — apparently the same group that reffed the 2019 NFC Championship — kept their flags in their pockets, despite the protests of the Sooner sideline and every viewer with working eyeballs.

Still, LSU took over at its own 14 after the punt, then converted a 3rd-and-2 when, evading a rush, Burrow rainbowed a 24-yard connection to Marshall, who was pushed out of bounds but, after a review, was deemed eligible to catch the pass. Chris Curry, garnering the start at running back in Edwards-Helaire’s place, charged for 19 yards after the review, then Jefferson dropped a 1st-and-10 pass from the OU 35. He did not drop the next one, a 35-yard strike that marked Burrow’s third touchdown pass of the first quarter and his 51st of the season, giving LSU a 21-7 lead with 1:16 still to play in the first quarter. The Heisman winner threw for 166 yards in the frame, firing as many touchdowns as incompletions (with one drop) over his 14 attempts.

After Oklahoma’s fourth punt of the first 16 minutes, LSU converted a 3rd-and-10 through an all-time bonehead play by Sooner safety Brendan Radley-Hiles, who elected to lay a blindside hit on Edwards-Helaire, allowing Burrow to scramble for the conversion while Radley-Hiles got himself ejected from the game for targeting. Two plays later, Burrow found Jefferson matched up on Radley-Hiles’ replacement, freshman Woodi Washington (who had his redshirt burned thanks to Radley-Hiles), and exploited that mismatch to the tune of a 42-yard touchdown pass, giving LSU a 28-7 lead at the 12:13 mark of the second quarter. That strike pushed Burrow’s numbers to 12-of-18 for 204 yards and all four scores, with six connections to Jefferson to the tune of 136 yards and three scores.

Hurts, meanwhile, was 1-of-9 for three yards outside of the 51-yard strike to Lamb. It would soon get worse. Oklahoma tried a trick play where Hurts tossed to Lamb, who tossed back to Hurts and looked downfield for Nick Basquine, but Kary Vincent, Jr., intercepted the throw. Oklahoma forced LSU into a 3rd-and-18, but that just allowed Biletnikoff Award winner J’Marr Chase to join the game with a 22-yard conversion, taking the ball to the OU 30. And then: Burrow to Jefferson, for a fourth time. This 30-yard score put LSU up 35-7 with 9:17 still left before halftime, and pushed Burrow to 291 yards on 17-of-23 passing, while Jefferson had nine grabs for 186 yards.

Oklahoma responded with a vintage OU drive: 75 yards over 10 plays, scoring on a 2-yard Hurts keeper.

That score pulled the Sooners to within 35-14, but it also sent Burrow and company back on the field. After a 13-yard Curry run, Burrow found a streaking Moss for a 62-yard touchdown. The score, with 4:18 still left in the first half: LSU 42, OU 14, Burrow 353 and six.

After another OU three-and-out and Mundschau’s fifth punt (his season high is six), LSU went 63 yards in five plays, pushing the lead to 49-14 and pushing Burrow over the top with school and Playoff single-game records with his seventh touchdown (a 2-yarder to Marshall), which he needed only 29:10 to break.

As if that wasn’t enough, LSU got the ball to open the second half and scored yet again. This time, the Tigers needed 13 plays and nearly five minutes to march the necessary 75 yards, converting a 4th-and-2 at the OU 17 with a 5-yard Chase run, and then scoring on a 3-yard Burrow sneak, punctuating his record-setting day with his eighth touchdown to put LSU up by 42 points.

The Heisman winner finished 29-of-39 for 493 yards and seven touchdowns while running five times for 22 yards and a score.

Oklahoma responded with two Hurts runs to cap 75- and 71-yard drives, as the Heisman runner-up passed Jack Mildren for OU’s single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,298).

Myles Brennan came in to relieve Burrow after the second of those two scores and led a touchdown drive of his own. He hit all three of his passes for 39 yards, and freshman running back John Emery, Jr. put the Tigers over the 60-point mark. LSU finished the day with 693 yards, the most in a College Football Playoff game.

Halfway home: Joe Burrow’s record seven TDs gives LSU a massive halftime lead over OU

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Joe Burrow has been at his absolute best through the first half of the Peach Bowl, and we’ve yet to find a team that can hang with No. 1 LSU when that’s the case. Thirty minutes in, we know it’s not Oklahoma. The Heisman Trophy winner threw for 403 yards and an LSU and a College Football Playoff single-game record seven touchdowns as the Bayou Bengals lead No. 4 Oklahoma, 49-14.

The route started from the very first snap.

Oklahoma took the ball to start the game, and on 1st and 10 the Sooners went max protect, yet K’Lavon Chaisson sacked Jalen Hurts anyway. Kennedy Brooks ran the ball on second and third down; both carries lost a yard.

After a 25-yard Reeves Mundschau punt gave LSU the ball at Oklahoma’s 42-yard line, Burrow went right to work: a 16-yard strike to Thaddeus Moss, a 7-yarder to Terrace Marshall, Jr., and then a 19-yard touchdown to Justin Jefferson. Pat Fields wrapped Jefferson up at the 5 but the receiver willed the ball into the end zone, giving LSU a 7-0 lead at the 12:03 mark of the first quarter.

Oklahoma’s next possession went better than its first, in relative terms: Mundschau punted on 4th-and-11, not 4th-and-17. CeeDee Lamb false started before the first down snap, Brooks rushed for four yards on 1st-and-15, and Hurts’s first two passes were not close to being complete. However, the Sooner defense forced a three-and-out of its own, and then the Sooner offense arrived. A 12-yard Hurts keeper gave Oklahoma its first first down, and two plays later he found Lamb for a 51-yard bomb to the LSU 3. Brooks tied the game one play later.

It didn’t remain tied long. LSU knifed 75 yards in nine plays, converting the only third down they faced with a thunderous 14-yard Clyde Edwards-Helaire run, then finding the end zone on an 8-yard toss to Marshall, putting LSU back in front 14-7 with 4:24 remaining in the opening frame.

LSU’s defense then forced its third three-and-out in four tries, with some major assistance from the zebras. On a 3rd-and-10 pass toward the Oklahoma sideline, LSU’s Derek Stingley, Jr., all but tackled receiver Jadon Haselwood, yet the officiating crew — apparently the same group that reffed the 2019 NFC Championship — kept their flags in their pockets, despite the protests of the Sooner sideline and every viewer with working eyeballs.

Still, LSU took over at its own 14 after the punt, then converted a 3rd-and-2 when, evading a rush, Burrow rainbowed a 24-yard connection to Marshall, who was pushed out of bounds but, after a review, was deemed eligible to catch the pass. Chris Curry, garnering the start at running back in Edwards-Helaire’s place, charged for 19 yards after the review, then Jefferson dropped a 1st-and-10 pass from the OU 35. He did not drop the next one, a 35-yard strike that marked Burrow’s third touchdown pass of the first quarter and his 51st of the season, giving LSU a 21-7 lead with 1:16 still to play in the first quarter. The Heisman winner threw for 166 yards in the frame, firing as many touchdowns as incompletions (with one drop) over his 14 attempts.

After Oklahoma’s fourth punt of the first 16 minutes, LSU converted a 3rd-and-10 through an all-time bonehead play by Sooner safety Brendan Radley-Hiles, who elected to lay a blindside hit on Edwards-Helaire, allowing Burrow to scramble for the conversion while Radley-Hiles got himself ejected from the game for targeting. Two plays later, Burrow found Jefferson matched up on Radley-Hiles’ replacement, freshman Woodi Washington (who had his redshirt burned thanks to Radley-Hiles), and exploited that mismatch to the tune of a 42-yard touchdown pass, giving LSU a 28-7 lead at the 12:13 mark of the second quarter. That strike pushed Burrow’s numbers to 12-of-18 for 204 yards and all four scores, with six connections to Jefferson to the tune of 136 yards and three scores.

Hurts, meanwhile, was 1-of-9 for three yards outside of the 51-yard strike to Lamb. It would soon get worse. Oklahoma tried a trick play where Hurts tossed to Lamb, who tossed back to Hurts and looked downfield for Nick Basquine, but Kary Vincent, Jr., intercepted the throw. Oklahoma forced LSU into a 3rd-and-18, but that just allowed Biletnikoff Award winner J’Marr Chase to join the game with a 22-yard conversion, taking the ball to the OU 30. And then: Burrow to Jefferson, for a fourth time. This 30-yard score put LSU up 35-7 with 9:17 still left before halftime, and pushed Burrow to 291 yards on 17-of-23 passing, while Jefferson had nine grabs for 186 yards.

Oklahoma responded with a vintage OU drive: 75 yards over 10 plays, scoring on a 2-yard Hurts keeper.

That score pulled the Sooners to within 35-14, but it also sent Burrow and company back on the field. After a 13-yard Curry run, Burrow found a streaking Moss for a 62-yard touchdown. The score, with 4:18 still left in the first half: LSU 42, OU 14, Burrow 353 and six.

After another OU three-and-out and Mundschau’s fifth punt (his season high is six), LSU went 63 yards in five plays, pushing the lead to 49-14 and pushing Burrow over the top with school and Playoff single-game records with his seventh touchdown (a 2-yarder to Marshall), which he needed only 29:10 to break.

Burrow closed the half 21-of-27 for 403 yards with his record seven scores. LSU also ran 13 times for 94 yards (out-rushing OU by 35 yards, on five fewer carries), giving the Tigers a grand total of 497 first-half yards on 40 snaps.

But wait, there’s more: LSU will get the ball to open the second half.

No. 6 Oklahoma hopes 5th straight Big 12 title will be enough for 3rd straight Playoff berth

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In the first four years since his hiring, Oklahoma rode Lincoln Riley‘s offense to four Big 12 championships. The No. 6 Sooners made it a perfect 5-for-5 on Saturday, but this time they overcame their offense and leaned on their defense to hold off a resilient No. 7 Baylor, 30-23 in overtime.

The Sooners blew two 10-point leads, endured two Jalen Hurts turnovers, knocked Baylor’s top two quarterbacks out of the game only to see the third stringer rally the Bears to overtime, but the Sooners’ defense forced three incompletions and a sack in the extra frame to preserve the win.

Oklahoma (12-1, 9-1 Big 12), who has won on a league-best 13 championships — all of them coming in the past 20 seasons — and five consecutive, will now turn its attention to Atlanta, where a No. 2 LSU win over No. 4 Georgia likely sends the crimson and cream to the College Football Playoff for the fourth time in Riley’s five seasons and three consecutive.

But before Oklahoma could think about the Playoff, the Sooners first had to win this game.

After a pair of punts to open the game, CeeDee Lamb — who missed OU’s epic comeback in Waco last month — announced his presence with a 71-yard reception, taking the ball from OU’s 22-yard line to the Baylor 7. Kennedy Brooks provided the Sooners’ only first half touchdown two plays later with a 6-yard rush.

The Sooner defense then forced a three-and-out and again pushed into the Bear red zone, but a third down sack by James Lockhart forced a 44-yard Gabe Brkic field goal.

Baylor’s offense continued struggling after falling behind 10-0, as their next two possessions failed to gain a single yard. However, the Bear defense stiffened, and James Lynch forced a fumble while sacking Jalen Hurts, which BU’s Terrel Bernard recovered at the Oklahoma 29. Baylor again struggled to move forward, gaining just three yards, but the field position allowed John Mayers to get Baylor on the board with a 44-yard field goal at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter.

The Bears then forced a punt on OU’s third consecutive possession, and backup quarterback Gerry Bohanon checked into the game after Charlie Brewer exited to be evaluated for a possible head injury. Bohanon and Jon Lovett combined to register Baylor’s first first down in a quarter and a half, but the Bears gained just one and punted on a 4th-and-14 from the OU 45.

That punt put Baylor’s offense back on the field — its defense. As Hurts threw to Lee Morris, Morris slipped and Jordan Williams snared it for the Bears, returning the ball to the OU 23. After a sack and an incompletion, Bohanon’s stat line read seven total touches for minus-5 yards. So, naturally, he threw a 33-yard strike to Tyquan Thornton on 3rd-and-20 to tie the game with 2:59 left in the first half.

The touchdown was Baylor’s first since the 11:02 mark of the second quarter… of the first Baylor-OU game, ending a streak of 12 straight drives that ended shy of the end zone.

Now facing its own scoring drought, Oklahoma went three-and-out, as its possession was derailed when Lynch again sacked Hurts for a 7-yard loss on 2nd-and-2. A 39-yard punt gave Baylor the ball at its own 47 with 1:22 left in the first half, and Bohanon converted another 3rd-and-long by throwing a 29-yard moonshot to Thornton, turning a 3rd-and-11 at the OU 40 into a 1st-and-10 at the 11 with 29 seconds left, and a 28-yard Mayers field goal gave Baylor, at that point the owner of all of 98 yards of total offense, a 13-10 lead halftime lead.

Oklahoma began the second half much the way it started the first. The defense forced a three-and-out, and the offense went 63 yards to set up a tying 24-yard Brkic field goal. The play before the field goal was one of those you immediately marked with an asterisk: after calling timeout, Riley dialed up a QB draw on 3rd-and-8, which did not achieve the line to gain.

Still, Oklahoma forced yet another three-and-out on Baylor’s next touch, and then the Sooners took the lead at the 7:53 mark of the third quarter with an 18-yard Nick Basquine catch (his first since 2016) to cap an 8-play, 74-yard drive. Yet another Baylor punt later, Oklahoma pushed its lead to 10 with a 24-yard Brkic field goal. With its lead at 23-13 with 10:31 to play in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma had control of the game, but they had not put it away.

Having gained all of 13 second half yards at that point, Baylor pulled Bohanon for third-string quarterback Jacob Zeno, and that move immediately paid off when his first pass found Trestan Ebner for an 81-yard catch-and-run score, bring the Bears back within 23-20 with 9:41 remaining. As fitting with this game’s character, a team that gained 111 yards in the first three quarters out of nowhere connected on the longest touchdown pass in Big 12 Championship history.

Oklahoma moved 31 yards on its next touch but again failed to put the game away, as Riley elected to punt on 4th-and-7 from the Baylor 44 with 6:11 to go. He would immediately regret the decision.

After a Bears offensive lineman was caught downfield, negating an 18-yard connection to Denzel Mims, Zeno hit Chris Platt for a 78-yard catch-and-run, moving the ball from his own 5 to OU’s 17. While Brewer and Bohanon went 7-of-21 for 71 yards, Zeno to that point was 2-of-2 for 159 yards. His third pass, though, sailed wide of Platt on 3rd-and-3, and forcing a 27-yard Mayers field goal.

A game that Oklahoma led 10-0 just over 10 minutes in and 23-13 seven minutes prior was now tied at 23 with 3:25 remaining.

A 31-yard rollout pass to Lamb overcame a holding call and pushed the ball from OU’s 15 to near midfield, but Lamb could not corral a 3rd-and-3 pass with 1:14 to go, and Riley elected to punt rather than risk giving Baylor the ball inside Sooner territory. Reeves Mundschau‘s punt rolled all the way to the Baylor 1 and the game went to overtime.

Baylor won the toss, and Oklahoma scored in three plays. A face mask of Lamb moved the ball to Baylor’s 11, a Hurts run pushed it to the 5, and Rhamondre Stevenson did the rest on a patented OU GT pull.

Oklahoma’s defense dominated the extra frame. After incomplete passes on 1st- and 2nd-and-10, the Sooners sacked Zeno on third down, then forced a hurried incompletion on 4th-and-20 to secure the win.

OU dominated the game everywhere but the scoreboard. The Sooners out-gained Baylor 433-265 and limited the Bears to just eight first downs, 3-of-15 on third down, and its three quarterbacks to just nine completions on 26 attempts. In fact, outside of Zeno’s 81- and 78-yarders and Bohanon’s 33-yarder, Baylor was 6-of-23 for 38 yards through the air. The Bears were also credited with 35 rushing yards on 29 attempts, including sacks. Meaning, outside of those three long completions, Baylor gained 71 yards on 52 plays.

For Oklahoma, Hurts went 17-of-24 for 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing for 38 yards on 23 carries. Brooks rushed for 59 yards on 17 carries and Stevenson totaled 48 yards on eight attempts; both players scored touchdowns. Lamb caught eight passes for 173 yards.

No. 7 OU takes Bedlam for fifth straight year, will play for fifth straight Big 12 title next week vs. No. 9 Baylor

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Oklahoma almost always beats Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys rarely make it easy. It was pretty easy on Saturday night.

After surviving with scares of 62-52 and 48-47 in the past two years, the Sooner defense came to play this time, and as a result No. 7 Oklahoma left Stillwater with a 34-16 win over No. 21 Oklahoma State.

Obviously, disclaimers abound, as Oklahoma State was without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders and All-American wideout Tylan Wallace. This allowed Alex Grinch‘s defense to key on Doak Walker candidate Chuba Hubbard, and the result was predictable. Hubbard carried 24 times for 104 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 13 yards — numbers that were simultaneously admirable considering the circumstances and not nearly to keep up with OU’s attack.

A key moment came right at the end of the first half. Trailing 20-10, Oklahoma State had a chance to pull within three but, with eight seconds remaining and facing a 3rd-and-goal from the OU 7-yard line, the Cowboys had no better option than handing to Hubbard, and the run was stuffed. OSU settled for a 20-13 halftime deficit.

Then, trailing 34-16 with nine minutes to play, Oklahoma State (8-4, 5-4 Big 12) ran Hubbard on a 3rd-and-2 from its own 33 and gained one yard, then called Hubbard’s number again on 4th-and-1 but gained nothing, all but ending the comeback effort before it started.

Making just his second start of the season, graduate transfer Dru Brown started 8-of-9 with a drop but finished 22-of-32 for 207 yards with an interception.

In the meantime, Oklahoma put up Oklahoma numbers without breaking much of a sweat. Jalen Hurts completed 13-of-16 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, rushed 16 times for 61 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 4-yard touchdown pass. Kennedy Brooks added 160 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, allowing the nation’s ninth-ranked rushing offense to top the 200-yard mark (283 on 44 carries) for the 10th time in 12 tries.

On defense, Parnell Motley notched a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception, as a defense that went five straight games without a takeaway has now registered five over its last three games.

The Sooners never trailed, rolling 78 yards in four plays to open the game and then, after an Oklahoma State answer, OU responded with a 42-yard Gabe Brkic field goal and a Nick Basquine Philly Special toss to Hurts to put the Sooners up 17-7 on the first play of the second quarter.

The win gives Oklahoma five straight in this series, seven of the last eight, 15 of the last 17, 44 of the last 52 and 89 total in 114 all-time meetings, the most lopsided of any annual intra-state rivalry in FBS.

The win allows Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) to remain in contention for its third College Football Playoff berth in as many seasons under Lincoln Riley and its fourth in the past five seasons, while next week they’ll play for five Big 12 titles in five seasons since Riley’s hiring and 13 overall.