Jalen Hurts

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Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts among finalists for Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts have been named finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The Golden Arm Foundation revealed its list of five finalists for the award for the nation’s top fourth or fifth-year quarterback on Friday. Not surprisingly, two Heisman Trophy candidates, Burrow and Hurts, were included in the list of finalists for this year’s award.

Three other quarterbacks also were named finalists; Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Utah’s Tyler Huntley, and Brady White of Memphis. The award is based on player performance on and off the field. Only players in their fourth or fifth year of college football are eligible for the award.

No player from LSU has won the Golden Arm Award, so Burrow will be looking to claim the first for the school. Hurts would join Jason White as the second player from Oklahoma to take home the award. Utah and Memphis have never had a Golden Arm Award winner, but Oregon has with Marcus Mariota.

This year’s Golden Arm Award winner will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 11 in Baltimore, MD.

Gardner Minshew of Washington State (and now in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars) won the award for the 2018 season. Other past winners include Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Andrew Luck (Stanford), Eli Manning (Ole Miss), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame) and Matt Ryan (Boston College).

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.

Jalen Hurts has 5 touchdown afternoon as No. 5 Oklahoma rolls over West Virginia

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There was little reason to believe the Sooner Schooner flipping over on the field would be a signal of bad things to come for No. 5 Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) on Saturday afternoon in Norman, Oklahoma. The 52-14 victory over West Virginia (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) was fueled by five total touchdowns by Heisman Trophy candidate Jalen Hurts and the Sooners continue to roll through the big 12 on a mission for another conference championship and a return trip to the College Football Playoff.

Hurts completed 16 of his 17 pass attempts for 316 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Charleston Rambo, Lee Morris and Jeremiah Hall each caught one touchdown pass from. CeeDee Lamb, among the best receivers in the nation, had a relatively quiet afternoon with three catches for 71 yards without a score. Hurts also led a dominant ground attack against the Mountaineers by rushing for a game-high 75 yards and two additional touchdowns. Kennedy Brooks complimented the rushing attack with 70 yards on 10 carries with one more touchdown.

The return of former Sooners quarterback Austin Kendall had a couple of highlights for the West Virginia quarterback making his return to Norman. Kendall had two touchdown passes but completed just 15 of his 31 attempts in a sizable mismatch across the field. But after the game, there were plenty of warm embraces with his former teammates.

Next up for Oklahoma is a road trip to Kansas State. The biggest challenge left for Oklahoma before the Big 12 Championship Game appears to be a road trip to Waco to face Baylor (who is playing at Oklahoma State today). But from here on out, the schedule is very favorable to the Sooners for a Big 12 title shot, and perhaps something more. But if Illinois can beat Wisconsin, then the Sooners cannot afford to take any game for granted.

Speaking of the Balor Bears, West Virginia will take on Baylor on the road next week.

Sooner Schooner crashes, but No. 5 Oklahoma leads West Virginia

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Jalen Hurts has passed for two touchdowns and run for one more as No. 5 Oklahoma is already pulling away from West Virginia in an early afternoon Big 12 contest in Norman. The Sooners lead the Mountaineers 28-14 at halftime, giving former Sooner and current WVU starting quarterback Austin Kendall a not-so-warm homecoming.

Kendall has completed 13 of 23 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but there is still an uphill climb on a revitalized Oklahoma defense coming up in the second half. West Virginia has gone 2-for-9 on third down, but the Mountaineers have converted each of their two fourth-down attempts. Still, yardage comes at a premium for the visitors while Hurts and Oklahoma are racking up the yardage.

Four different Oklahoma players have taken the ball into the end zone (Hurts, running back Kennedy Brooks, wide receivers Charleston Rambo and Jeremiah Hall). Hurts completed his first 11 attempts before having a pass fall incomplete late in the second quarter.

There was a bit of a scary scene following Oklahoma’s fourth touchdown of the game when the iconic Sooner Schooner flipped over.

Fortunately, nobody was reported to be seriously injured, but the Sooner Schooner may be out for the rest of the game at this point.

No. 6 Oklahoma gets big games from Jalen Hurts, CeeDee Lamb in rout of Texas Tech

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It was just another day at the office for Jalen Hurts and No. 6 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 big 12). The Sooners won their conference opener against Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) the way that has come to be expected, with big numbers on offense. Hurts passed for 415 yards and three touchdowns and CeeDee Lamb was responsible for 185 receiving yards and all three of the touchdowns thrown by Hurts.

If there is a better quarterback-receiver combo in the country, they may be playing in the NFL. Hurts and Lamb were essentially unflappable against a Texas Tech team that had their defensive unit abused from start to finish. Poor tackling led to big plays, and Lamb getting space to hit fifth gear was lethal for the Red Raiders as well.

Hurts has now thrown for 1,295 yards this season with 12 touchdown passes. After just four games in an Oklahoma uniform, Hurts is easily on pace to have a career season. His career-high for season passing yards is 2,780 yards at Alabama in 2016, which is also when he threw career-high 23 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide. Hurts may pass that touchdown total in the next 3-4 games, and the season-high passing mark could be passed by the end of October too.

Oklahoma’s offense put up 644 yards in the game, more than doubling the offensive output by the Red Raiders. Texas Tech clearly has a different offensive approach under new head coach Matt Wells. The Red Raiders rushed for 192 yards in an attempt to have the clock work in their favor, but Oklahoma’s offense was too explosive to allow for that gameplan to work out in Texas Tech’s favor.

The win moves Oklahoma into the 900-win club in college football. Nebraska joined the elite club last week, and Notre Dame can rejoin the club this afternoon with a win over Virginia. The Sooners are the second Big 12 school with 900 all-time wins. Texas (911 all-time wins) got there first.

Oklahoma will look to go 2-0 in Big 12 play next week when they head to Kansas. Texas Tech will look to regroup next week at home against Oklahoma State.