During the offseason, Mike Gundy’s mullet dominated the conversation in Stillwater. Now that the season is officially here for Oklahoma State though, it’s Mason Rudolph’s turn to steal the headlines.
The Cowboys quarterback was nearly perfect in dropping deep pass after deep pass over an exhausted Tulsa secondary on Thursday night and helped tenth-ranked OSU roll to a 59-24 win over their in-state rival in Stillwater. Rudolph didn’t play much in the second half and finished the night with nearly as many incompletions as touchdowns, posting a 20-of-24 stat line for a whopping 303 yards and three scores.
As expected, the high-powered offense relied a lot on what might be the best wide receiving corps in the country. James Washington led the way and showed no signs of pain despite playing with a hernia, catching six passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns (the longest of which checked in at 77 yards). LSU transfer Tyron Johnson had a pretty good debut in orange and white, scoring on a 44 yard touchdown pass from Rudolph.
Despite those pass-happy numbers, OSU was not one-dimensional. Tailback Justice Hill (132 yards, one touchdown) was one of three — count them, three — players with over 90 yards rushing on the night.
The story was not quite the same for the other high-powered offense on the field as head coach Philip Montgomery’s attack had a ton of trouble getting going despite high hopes coming into the season. All-name first-teamer Chad President made his first start at quarterback for the Hurricanes but finished with under 200 yards passing and will need to regroup if the team is to contend for the AAC title as many expect them to in 2017.
Either way, it wasn’t Tulsa’s night. Instead it was a showcase opener for Oklahoma State and their star signal-caller, who will only continue to hear the buzz build about making an early impression in the race for the Heisman Trophy and, possibly, the Big 12 title.
As it turns out, it’ll be a Big 12 school that’s the beneficiary of a high-profile SEC player’s transfer.
On his personal Twitter account Friday afternoon, Tyron Johnson indicated that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma State. The move comes a little over a week after the wide receiver took to the same social media platform to announce his decision to transfer from LSU.
His father subsequently stated that the reason for his son’s departure is that he “wanted to go to a more wide-open offense.”
Johnson was a five-star member of LSU’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 5 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Louisiana; and the No. 27 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board. He was the highest-rated offensive signee in the Tigers’ class last year, and only one other player overall was rated higher (cornerback Kevin Tolliver).
As a true freshman, Johnson caught nine passes for 150 yards in nine games.
Johnson will have to sit out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He’ll then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.
A sextuple-header of post-Christmas bowl games began with Marshall taking the St. Petersburg Bowl in a 16-10 decision over Connecticut Saturday afternoon at a dreary and empty Tropicana Field.
Chase Litton led the Herd by completing 23-of-34 throws for 218 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His 16-yard scoring strike to Ryan Yuracheck opened the scoring at the 8:10 mark of the first quarter. Ron Johnson responded for Connecticut with an eight-yard scoring burst to cap a 75-yard, six-minute scoring march on the ensuing possession.
Neither team would find the end zone for the rest of the game.
Marshall blew a number of chances to put the Huskies away throughout the game. After Johnson’s score tied the game, Marshall mounted drives of 65 and 85 yards, but each ended in short Nick Smith field goals. The Thundering Herd opened the second half with a 58-yard drive that stalled on a 4th-and-2 at the UConn 17. After an interception on the ensuing possession, Smith missed a 43-yard field goal (very, very) wide right.
Leading 13-10 with 8:12 to play in the fourth quarter, Marshall embarked on what could have been a clock-killing, game-ending drive from its own 5-yard line, but the push ended in a 32-yard Smith field goal with 1:44 remaining.
Given one more chance to win the game with a touchdown, Connecticut moved 16 yards to its own 41 before Bryant Shirreffs’ 4th-and-9 toss to Hergy Mayala fell incomplete with 21 seconds remaining.
Shirreffs paced Connecticut by completing 10-of-17 passes for 86 yards with an interception while rushing a team-high 19 times for 75 yards.
Overall, Marshall out-rushed UConn 171-125 and out-gained the Huskies 389-213.
The win gives Marshall (10-3) a double-digit victory total for the third consecutive season, while UConn (6-7) is still in search of its first winning campaign since 2010 and its first bowl victory since 2009.
Is LSU dead? It certainly appears LSU is dead.
The 15th-ranked Tigers have been flattened by No. 22 Ole Miss through one half in Oxford, trailing 24-7.
After a 3-0 first quarter, Ole Miss cranked its offense into gear with two long, consecutive touchdown drives. The first moved 80 yards in eight plays, capped by a two-yard Jaylen Walton plunge at the 12:30 mark of the second quarter. After a three-and-out, the Rebels then marched 70 yards in 10 snaps, ended by a five-yard Chad Kelly jaunt.
LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has been, in a word, inconsistent. He ended the Tigers’ first scoring opportunity when, trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, he airmailed Malachi Dupre for what could have been a clear 10-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-5. Trent Domingue missed the ensuing field goal. Harris then set up the Rebels’ third touchdown when he tossed a midfield interception to Christian Harris, which he returned to the LSU 11. Kelly hit Laquon Treadwell for a touchdown on the following snap.
LSU did respond with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by a busted coverage 39-yard touchdown catch by Tyron Johnson.
For the half, Harris hit 9-of-16 passes for 151 yards with a touchdown, an interception and an end-of-half fumble, while Leonard Fournette has rushed 14 times for a quiet 41 yards.
Kelly completed 11-of-19 throws for 188 yards and a touchdown while rushing eight times for a game-high 59 yards and a touchdown.
LSU will receive to open the second half.