NCAA Football

Alabama vs. Texas A&M: How Crimson Tide's Win Reshapes Playoff Picture

The death of No. 7 Alabama's College Football Playoff hopes were greatly exaggerated. 

A game that has proven unforgettable each of the last two seasons, this year's Texas A&M-Alabama showdown was over before halftime. The Crimson Tide exploded for 45 before halftime and blanked the 21st-ranked Aggies en route to a 59-0 drubbing. 

It was a blowout no matter how you sliced it. The Tide outgained A&M on the ground, 298-31, held a 30-8 advantage in first downs and amassed 602 total yards to the Aggies' 172. 

It's safe to say Nick Saban's crew needed a statement win, if only as a confidence booster. A dark cloud of doubt was cast over Tuscaloosa when the Tide's 23-17 loss at Ole Miss was superseded by an ugly one-point victory at Arkansas, but now the sunshine has returned.

Although, Saturday's eye-popping and jaw-dropping result did a lot more than up the confidence levels. It created a massive wave of those buying back in to Alabama in 2014, when pondering the end of the Saban dynasty was the trendy move over the last two weekends.

As a one-loss team with so many huge games remaining, all Alabama needs to do is win out in order to get back in the CFP picture. But with Baylor's defeat to West Virginia alongside either Florida State or Notre Dame falling Saturday night, the Crimson Tide threaten to move back into the Top Four sooner rather than later.

With only a week separating us from the first polls, it's not surprising to see Saban having his team ready to play, as ESPN's Mitch Sherman noted:

Jim Dunaway of JOXfm.com and Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor gave their endorsement of Alabama entering the CFP after Saturday's results:

Clay Travis of Fox Sports thinks three SEC teams—seemingly Auburn and not Alabama—should crack the CFP, but he added as the score got more lopsided that he may have to reconsider:

Of course, it goes without saying that speculating which SEC teams are in and out is premature at best. While most of them have been able to make statement wins, the meat of the schedule lies ahead with the Egg Bowl and Iron Bowl—among many other showdowns—yet to come. 

However, the questions have pretty much been answered for Texas A&M. After jumping into the Top 10 early in the season, the Aggies have lost three straight by a combined 91 points—a total that could've been worse without late scores against Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

And to make matters even worse, Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde recounted Kevin Sumlin's early-season marquee win over then-No. 9 South Carolina now looks average at best:

A much tougher span of games in hindsight than once thought, the Aggies' last three games have been murderer's row with lopsided defeats to three Top Seven SEC West teams. But after starting the season on the cusp of the Top 25 anyway, Texas A&M is fortunate it took this long to completely fall out of the rankings.

As for Alabama, the CFP debate—at least for this week—is a familiar one. Mississippi State and Ole Miss are safe assuming the Rebels topple Tennessee, and the winner of Florida State and Notre Dame will maintain the third spot. That leaves Alabama and Auburn vying for the fourth spot, after Baylor's loss.

Here's how it should currently shake out:

There's no doubt Alabama looked like Alabama again Saturday, and a similar performance would probably beat any team in the nation. But Auburn's road win over Kansas State now looks much more impressive after the Wildcats beat Oklahoma—one of the last two teams to beat the Tide, in fact.

Regardless, debating which of the two teams has the better CFP resume is a moot point. Until one loses, both Alabama and Auburn will be neck-and-neck before the Iron Bowl decides their fates. 

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Washington vs. Oregon: Live Score and Highlights

Oregon 42, Washington 20—4th Quarter We are underway in Eugene, Oregon as the No. 9 Oregon Ducks host Pac-12 rival Washington. Make sure to stay locked here with us at Bleacher Report for news, notes and analysis throughout the game...

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Washington vs. Oregon: Live Score and Highlights

No. 9 Oregon bounced back from its first loss of the season last week with an impressive win over then-No. 18 UCLA. 

The Ducks return home to Autzen Stadium on Saturday to host Pac-12 rival Washington. 

Both teams enter Saturday's game with identical 5-1 records. The Ducks are 2-1 in conference play, while the Huskies are 1-1. 

The Ducks have won the last 10 meetings.

You can watch Saturday's game live on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, but make sure to stay right here with us at Bleacher Report for news, notes and analysis throughout the game.

You can find the official box score at NCAA.com

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Texas A&M vs. Alabama: Score and Twitter Reaction

No. 21 Texas A&M traveled to Tuscaloosa looking to right the ship after two consecutive losses. But it found a fired up No. 7 Alabama team waiting, and the result was a 59-0 blowout victory by the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban's squad showed what it can do when firing on all cylinders, and the rest of the nation is officially on notice.

Alabama quarterback Blake Sims began his day by completing four straight passes, and following two T.J. Yeldon runs, the Crimson Tide were deep in Aggies territory. The Texas A&M defense held strong, forcing a Adam Griffith 21-yard field goal, but that wouldn't be an ongoing trend.

Following a Texas A&M three-and-out, Sims and Yeldon picked up right where they left off. The Crimson Tide methodically moved down the field, utilizing the running game and short passes to pick apart the Aggies defense. Yeldon capped off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown scamper.

Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com was impressed by the running back's patience:

Another three-and-out by Kenny Hill and Co. gave Alabama the ball once again. Yeldon finished out the quarter with an explosive 31-yard run inside Texas A&M territory. Four plays later, he punched it in for another score on a 4th-and-goal run from the 1-yard line, increasing Alabama's lead to 17-0.

ESPN SEC reflected on the play and tweeted the word of the game—domination:

What followed was the first Texas A&M first down of the game—followed by its third punt. It only took Alabama four plays to extend its lead even further, as Sims rattled off a 43-yard touchdown run, putting the Crimson Tide up 24-0.

Here's a look at the quarterback's ankle-breaking run, via Bleacher Report:

An ominous trend continued for the Texas A&M offense, as Hill and Co. took the field again, gained a first down and then punted soon after. What followed was another methodical Crimson Tide touchdown drive, this time 80 yards on 11 plays. Derrick Henry finished it off with an eight-yard run.

Another quick outing from the Texas A&M offense, followed by a nice punt return by Christion Jones, paved the way for Sims and Co. to take the field again. This time, it only took one play to reach the end zone, as Sims found Amari Cooper for a 24-yard reception.

Even former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel couldn't handle the beatdown, via College Football 24/7:

The Crimson Tide weren't done there. On their next possession, Sims found Henry for a 41-yard catch and run for another score. Now up 45-0 with only seconds remaining in the half, Eye on College Football tweeted Alabama's gaudy numbers:

USA Today Sports tweeted the difference in numbers between the teams' playmakers during the break:

SportsNation followed that up with what the scoreboard probably should have looked like:

Things didn't get any better for the Aggies after the half.

Another three-and-out by the Texas A&M offense kicked off the third quarter, and once again, Alabama wasted little time putting more points on the board. Following two Henry runs, Sims found a wide-open Cooper for a 45-yard touchdown strike.

ESPN SEC tweeted the updated score:

The remainder of the third quarter was a closer contest, as neither offense moved into scoring position. What was the reason for Alabama's sudden decline in production? That would be the entrance of the team's second-string players.

Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News tweeted the switch at quarterback for Alabama:

Starting in the third quarter, Alabama began to give Jake Coker some target practice. In the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide went on a run-heavy drive, but they did mix in a few throws from the backup quarterback. His fourth pass attempt of the drive went to Ty Flournoy-Smith for a 14-yard touchdown.

Coker found his target in the back corner of the end zone with a perfectly thrown ball, and KBTX Sports tweeted the updated score:

Alabama ran down the clock on its next drive, and shortly after, the rout finally came to an end.

ESPN Stats & Info tweeted what the shutout loss means for Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin:

Texas A&M's devastating loss brings up plenty of questions and cause for concern going forward. Over the course of the season, the Aggies have regressed, and this team doesn't at all resemble the Week 1 squad that torched South Carolina for 52 points.

Expect the Aggies to fall out of the Top 25 for Week 9. In fact, this could be the last time we see this team ranked in 2014, as tough contests against Auburn, Missouri and LSU remain on the schedule. Just like that, Texas A&M went from a potential playoff contender to hoping for bowl eligibility.

This enormous win puts Alabama right back in the mix for a potential spot in the first-ever College Football Playoff. The Tide didn't exactly respond well to a loss at the hands of Ole Miss, following it up with a close call against Arkansas—a 14-13 win. However, on Saturday, this team was visibly ready to get back to its previous winning ways.

After No. 4 Baylor's loss to West Virginia, and a clash between No. 2 Florida State and No. 5 Notre Dame set for Saturday night, the Crimson Tide will suddenly be strongly considered for a Top Four ranking once more. The team's remaining schedule isn't easy with contests against Mississippi State and Auburn remaining, but after what we saw on Saturday, Alabama can't be ruled out against any opponent.

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Notre Dame vs. Florida State: Live Score and Highlights

Notre Dame 27, Florida State 31—Late 4th Quarter

For a third straight week, the top game in college football features a pair of undefeated teams.  Tonight, 6-0 Notre Dame heads to Tallahassee to take on 6-0 Florida State, and the College Football Playoff implications in this game could not be overstated.

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Iowa State vs. Texas: Live Score and Highlights

Fresh off a defeat in the Red River Rivalry, the Texas Longhorns look to jump-start a second-half surge when they host the Iowa State Cyclones.

Coverage begins on the Longhorn Network at 8 p.m. ET for those of you lucky enough to have access to the channel. No worries if not, because this page will be updated from pregame to postgame with updates, analysis and highlights.

Follow the box score at NCAA.com, and be sure to check back after the game for the grades for the Longhorns' positional units.

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Ohio State's Evan Spencer Makes Great 1-Handed TD Catch vs. Rutgers

Ohio State is wiping the floor with Rutgers, and receiver Evan Spencer put an exclamation point on the blowout with a great touchdown catch in the third quarter.

Spencer was able to haul in J.T. Barrett's pass with just one hand, never using his left hand at all during the catch. A catch like this is impressive no matter what the score is at the time.

The 11-yard touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 56-10 lead with just more than four minutes to play in the third quarter.

[Eleven Warriors]

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Greg Ward Jr. Breathes New Life into Houston Cougars' 2014 Season

The easiest way to put it is this: Greg Ward Jr. made a bad 2014 Houston offense good again, and a more experienced Ward should only make it better going forward.

“The more he plays, the more comfortable he’s going to get and the more comfortable his 10 teammates around him are going to be around him,” Levine told the media after the sophomore’s second start at quarterback.

The change breathed new life into Houston’s 2014 season.

Down 14 points on the road last week against Memphis, the Cougars appeared to be declawed for the year.

Despite having one of the most opportunistic defenses in the country and talented speedsters on offense who can take the ball to the end zone on any given play, Houston’s hopes appeared to be dashed.

But Ward, making his first start as the signal-caller after taking over for the wildly inconsistent John O’Korn late the previous week, isn’t the type to fret about such things.

Ward is calm under pressure, and when the pocket collapsed around him on first down from his own 36, Ward ducked, dodged and darted out of harm’s way, sprinted through defenders and scampered for a 64-yard touchdown run.

Ward’s run started the comeback, and his teammates responded by rallying around him to drop Memphis on the road 28-24 for their first conference win of the season.

Ward started at quarterback again on Friday night against Temple at TDECU Stadium in Houston, and after a 31-10 win, it’s hard to imagine him taking a backseat to anyone at quarterback ever again.

Ward was brilliant. He finished the outing 29-of-33 for 268 yards and two touchdowns.

Perhaps more importantly, what once appeared to be an anemic Houston offense now looks like a unit that can be both efficient and effective. With Ward taking snaps, Houston can move the ball down the field and score enough touchdowns to be considered a dangerous football team.

How dangerous? Don’t be surprised to see the Coogs win the rest of the their games to finish the season 9-3.

Ward is a playmaker.

His dazzling speed and accurate passing make him hard to handle. No, he does not have the size and stature of O’Korn. But Ward makes plays, and he seems be at his absolute best when he has to be.

But Ward isn’t just fast or a good athlete. He’s a good runner. He knows when to cut. He knows when to spin. He knows when to vary his pace.

He makes people miss—badly.

When the pocket breaks down, he zigzags through defenders like he’s a wide receiver and punt returner. And that’s exactly what he was before he was inserted behind center.

Ward carries a small frame, but he doesn’t run like it. He threw all 178 pounds of it into two Owl defenders at the goal line early in the first quarter to prove it.

Ward didn’t make it into the end zone. His helmet flew off his head to the collective gasp of Cougar fans. But if there were any lingering doubts among fans or players after the Memphis win whether Ward would be the quarterback going forward, that moment should have sealed the deal.  

This is his team now.

Ward gives Houston a pathway to 2014 football relevance. As good as the defense had been this year, Houston’s offense had been worse.

But things are different now.

There’s no indication Houston’s stalwart defense will do anything for the rest of the year but continue to play at an exceptionally high level.

As the Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte pointed out on Friday night, the unit has been as opportunistic as any in the country under Tony Levine:

Houston led the nation in takeaways last year and has forced 23 turnovers in six games in 2014, the second-most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

But Ward’s performance over the last two weeks points toward an offense that will change into something better. With Ward, Houston’s offense should continue to grow and evolve around his considerable skill set.

Fans caught a glimpse of it against Temple. Houston moved the ball down the field, controlled the clock and scored points. The Coogs ran 33 more offensive plays than Temple and held the ball for over 42 minutes.

That’s a winning formula.

Make no mistake. Ward has much to learn. Levine appears reluctant so far to let him chuck it down the field further than 15 yards with any regularity, something probably more attributable to his inexperience than his arm strength.

And he's not faced anyone yet who has forced him to stay in the pocket and pass. 

But Ward is already so much better than his predecessor; that patience won’t be something Cougar fans will need to develop over the rest of the year while they wait for him to improve. 

Because as long as Ward is starting at quarterback, Houston fans can expect their team to have a good chance at winning.

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Johnny Manziel Can Only Laugh at Alabama's Beatdown of Texas A&M

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, like many Aggies fans, is hoping that a mercy rule gets put into effect at some point during Saturday's Texas A&M-Alabama game.

After the Crimson Tide scored a touchdown right before half to go up 45-0 on the Aggies, the former Texas A&M quarterback sent out this tweet:

Manziel quickly deleted the tweet.

No. 7 Alabama outgained No. 21 Texas A&M 449-57 in the first half and scored on all seven of its first-half drives. Given those stats, this "showdown" between ranked teams may actually need a mercy rule, or at least a running clock.

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How Oklahoma, Baylor Losses Shake Up Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 began Saturday afternoon with a pair of legitimate College Football Playoff contenders.

It ended the afternoon with a muddled mess.

West Virginia’s 41-27 upset of No. 4 Baylor and No. 14 Kansas State’s 31-30 victory over No. 11 Oklahoma took down what were believed to be the league’s top two teams and created a logjam atop the Big 12 standings.

It also might have ended the league’s hopes of an entrant in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press shared his thoughts about the Big 12:

At 6-0, Baylor likely needed to run the table against its remaining schedule (which included Top 15 matchups against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas) for serious playoff consideration, given a nonconference schedule that included Buffalo, SMU and FCS Northwestern State.

Oklahoma certainly needed to run the table after a loss two weeks ago at TCU.

Both teams were done in by their own hand on Saturday.

Oklahoma was felled by poor defense against a K-State offense that, led by senior quarterback Jake Waters, was capable but not necessarily explosive. The Sooners allowed more than 30 points for the third time in four Big 12 games.

And don’t forget about kicker Michael Hunnicutt’s struggles. Hunnicutt, Oklahoma’s career scoring leader, suffered a blocked extra point and two missed field goals. That included a stunning 19-yard miss with 3:53 left and OU trailing by a point.

Meanwhile, Baylor simply couldn't contain West Virginia, and unlike last week (when a stunning 21-point fourth-quarter comeback muted the sting of giving up 58 points and 485 yards of total offense to TCU) there was no late-game magic. 

West Virginia’s offense, led by senior quarterback Clint Trickett (322 yards) and dynamic wideout Kevin White, did everything it wanted. On the other side of the ball, the Mountaineers defense consistently harassed Bryce Petty. He completed just 16 of 36 passes for 223 yards and two scores. 

With Oklahoma State and TCU facing off Saturday afternoon, the Big 12 is guaranteed to end Saturday with no unbeaten and three one-loss teams.

That might leave K-State as the league’s best potential College Football Playoff contender.

The Wildcats’ only loss was a hard-fought home defeat to Auburn, and they own a win at Oklahoma with Oklahoma State coming to Manhattan and Baylor and TCU remaining on the schedule.

However, the Wildcats’ playoff candidacy could be a stretch. The Kansas City Star's Kellis Robinett shared a quote from Bill Snyder:

One thing is clear: The top of the Big 12 is muddled, with the top teams apparently all capable of beating one another in any week. Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor or Kansas State could all wind up on top when the dust clears in early December.

The league's full round-robin, nine-game schedule means the likelihood of a true meat grinder in November and early December is high. A clearly dominant team is unlikely to emerge by the end of the regular season. Sportswriter Pat Forde highlighted the Big 12's situation:

That might make for exciting football, but it won’t enrich the league’s coffers when College Football Playoff teams are selected.

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Missouri vs. Florida: Live Score and Highlights

Missouri 14, Florida 0, Early 2nd Quarter

The Missouri Tigers and Florida Gators have started play as both teams look for an important conference win. Georgia and Kentucky lead the way in the SEC East, so the loser of this game could find themselves out of the race for the division title.

You can find the game on ESPN2, but stay right here with us for live updates and analysis.

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Indiana WR Shane Wynn Wildly Breaks Tackles and Scores 75-Yard TD on Reverse

Indiana wide receiver Shane Wynn did everything he could to make sure he scored on this reverse.

After taking the pitch in the backfield, the Hoosiers senior used his speed to pick up some serious yardage. Then, when it looked like three Michigan State defenders were about to take him down, Wynn somehow slipped through the tackles and tightroped down the sideline.

Wynn's great effort resulted in a 75-yard touchdown to pull Indiana back to within one score early in the second quarter.

[YouTube, h/t BroBible]

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Alabama QB Blake Sims Cuts Through Texas A&M Defense for 43-Yard TD

Blake Sims may be a quarterback, but the Alabama signal-caller has moves that would make most running backs envious. 

Sims showed off his silky moves early in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Texas A&M. The dual-threat quarterback cut his way through the Aggies defense, making multiple defenders miss on his way to a 43-yard score.

The touchdown gave the Crimson Tide a 24-0 lead on their way to a crushing 59-0 victory.

[FanSided]

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Baylor vs. WVU: How the Mountaineers' Win Reshapes Playoff Picture

The top college football teams in the nation continue to crumble. This time, the No. 4 Baylor Bears were shocked by the West Virginia Mountaineers, losing by a score of 41-27 and subsequently being removed from the College Football Playoff picture.

With that, CBS Sports tweeted what everyone was thinking:

While a big win by the Mountaineers will surely result in Baylor plummeting down the nation's hierarchy, it also begins a Week 8 whirlwind within the Top Four spots of the rankings. No. 1 Mississippi State is inactive this week, and No. 3 Ole Miss should handle Tennessee without much of an issue. Then there's the case of a Saturday evening contest between No. 2 Florida State and No. 5 Notre Dame.

With all of this in mind, we can ask two questions: How do the standings currently look following Baylor's loss? How will they be reordered after a clash between the Seminoles and Fighting Irish? Let's go ahead and address both of those inquiries.

Baylor's 14-point defeat to an unranked team will send it well out of the nation's Top Four teams. That paves the way for Notre Dame to move up to No. 4. But something has to give when the Seminoles take on the Fighting Irish on Saturday night, right?

Yes. But a loss by either team is not as dire as was once anticipated.

Heading into Week 8, it appeared as though the loser of the Notre Dame and Florida State game would need plenty of help from other teams to creep back into the College Football Playoff picture. Following Baylor's loss, that's no longer the case.

Take a look at the current AP poll and you'll notice one thing: Each of the teams ranked from No. 6 through No. 24 have at least one loss already this season. This means a loss by the Seminoles or Irish on Saturday night doesn't result in disqualification from playoff contention.

The Playoff Guru tweeted this notion following West Virginia's upset victory over Baylor:

So here's what we're looking at following the remainder of Week 8, barring any more completely unexpected results:

Following that Top Four will be Alabama (should it hold on against Texas A&M), Michigan State and Oregon. While those teams have losses this season, they remain in contention to jump into the mix once again with a one-loss No. 4 team in the fold.

A tweet from ESPN Stats & Info relays an interesting fact with a clash between Mississippi State and Ole Miss remaining on this season's slate:

That certainly adds an interesting wrinkle going forward.

Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star tweeted a reminder regarding the madness that ensued after this week during last season:

The college football season remains very fickle on a weekly basis. Baylor's loss to West Virginia reaffirmed that notion Saturday. There's still plenty of time left before the playoffs begin, and a slew of talented teams remain in the mix.

The end result of Week 8 will be a closer playoff race than we originally expected. 

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Watch Kevin White Make an Incredible 1-Handed Go-Ahead Touchdown Catch

West Virginia won in impressive fashion over the Baylor Bears, due in large part to this amazing go-ahead touchdown catch by wide receiver Kevin White.

With the game locked at 27, White hauled in quarterback Clint Trickett's pass with one hand, and the Mountaineers never looked back.

Was this the catch of the day?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Baylor vs. WVU: Score and Twitter Reaction

Another week, another major college football upset.

Unranked West Virginia defeated No. 4-ranked Baylor 41-27 in a back-and-forth Big-12 conference game marred by an excessive amount of penalties for both teams. The upset win is a rare achievement for the West Virginia program, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett overcame a rough start to throw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes that gave his team a 14-point lead they would not relinquish. Wide receiver Kevin White was his favorite target on the day, finishing with eight catches for 122 yards and two scores.

Here is the quarter-by-quarter score from the game:

The Mountaineers came into the game as perhaps one of the most dangerous unranked teams in the nation. They featured a passing attack ranked seventh in the nation in yardage, and held tough in losses to then No. 2 Alabama and then-No. 4 Oklahoma.

Considering Baylor ranked sixth in passing yardage coming into the game, fans might've expected an all-out aerial assault from both teams. However, penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes would make sure that wasn't the case for much of the contest.

The Bears looked like a team unwilling to take chances and hit West Virginia right in the mouth to start the game. Baylor defensive tackled Andrew Billings sacked Trickett deep in his own territory and forced a fumble that Bayl Shawn Oakman did well to recover.

This set up a simple seven-yard scoring pass from star quarterback Bryce Petty to wideout Corey Coleman for the Bears' first score of the ballgame.

The Mountaineers came right back a few minutes later, scoring on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Clint Trickett to White. West Virginia athletics Digital Media Director John Antonik noted that White would torment the Baylor defensive backs all game long:

After an exchange of punts, Baylor took a 10-7 lead on a Chris Callahan field goal and then intercepted Trickett on the ensuing drive for the quarterback's second turnover of the game. Baylor couldn't do much with the ball and had to settle for another Callahan field goal.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was impressed with WVU's ability to bottle up star running back Shock Linwood and get pressure on Petty:

The effort was impressive, considering Baylor came into the game averaging an FBS-best 52.7 points per game. West Virginia took advantage of a Bears' turnover on downs early in the second quarter and engineered a long drive culminating in a one-yard run from Andrew Buie for a 14-13 lead. Penalties killed Baylor in the first half, preventing them from controlling the ballgame after forcing two early turnovers.

ESPN's Travis Haney noted they hit the century mark in penalty yards early in the game, although it wasn't the most surprising development for this team:

Despite a litany of errors, Baylor came right back with a huge scoring play, a 63-yard touchdown toss from Petty to senior wideout Antwan Goodley.

The offense stalled out after that point, and West Virginia turned to running back Dreamius Smith to control the ball and the clock.

Smith gave the Mountaineers a 21-20 lead after scoring from nine yards out. Scout.com's Chip Brown noted they turned to Smith often on that drive:

He was also instrumental on a 10-yard drive that ended with a Josh Lambert field goal as time expired in the first half, affording the Mountaineers a shock 24-20 lead. 

The Mountaineers kept turning the screws and took a 27-20 lead early in the third quarter on another Lambert field goal.

 

The Bears tied the game at 27 apiece on a one-yard run from Linwood with just eight seconds remaining in the third quarter. The officials initially ruled him down short of the end zone, but replays confirmed Linwood kept his balance and the paydirt plunge was valid. This fan was impressed by Linwood's balance on the play:

West Virginia kept Baylor's drive alive with two penalties and were starting to catch up to Baylor in the lack-of-discipline department, per College GameDay:

Rather than wilt under the pressure of trying to upend a top-ranked team, the Mountaineers climbed to even greater heights. They started the fourth quarter with a four-play 68-yard drive that ended in White's second receiving touchdown of the game, a fantastic one-handed catch over a Baylor defender:

 

West Virginia held Baylor to just five plays on the next possession and then officially put the college-football world on notice when Trickett hit Mario Alford for a 39-yard touchdown pass that gave the underdogs a 41-27 lead with just 7:35 left on the clock. ESPN Stats & Info noted Trickett extended his own school record in the fourth quarter:

Baylor's situation was in a desperate situation, but couldn't come up with the big plays to engineer a comeback. After one potential comeback drive ended in a punt, Baylor had a chance to make things a one-score game on their next possession. With fourth-and-goal from the 18-yard line and just over two minutes left in the game, West Virginia got another huge stop.

Petty lofted a ball to wideout Jay Lee in the end zone, but the lanky wideout came down out of bounds, handing the ball to the Mountaineers who would successfully run out the clock. ESPN Stats & Info pointed out that Baylor has hardly fared well when considered one of the top teams in the nation:

The shocking upset throws the Big 12 into chaos. Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor Oklahoma State and now West Virginia all look like legitimate conference-title contenders, but it's difficult to say whether a one or two-loss team from the Big 12 will be able to make the College Football Playoff with two spots likely to go to SEC teams. The loss brings renewed playoff hopes to the likes of Oregon, Michigan State and Alabama, among others.

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Kansas State vs. Oklahoma: How Sooners' Loss Will Shake Up Week 9 Rankings

The No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners fell for the second time in three weeks in a home defeat to No. 14 Kansas State on Saturday. A Top Five school some two weeks ago, the Sooners now face another plummet down the rankings in Week 9, while the Wildcats have suddenly emerged as the Big 12 team to beat.

Saturday's showdown in Norman, Oklahoma, was a shootout both on the ground and through the air. The Sooners had the edge in total yards, amassing 533, while Kansas State had 385 yards total. Both teams rushed for at least 160. 

But Bill Snyder's old-school offense constantly had the Sooners on their heels, and Oklahoma missed two chip-shot field goals—including a 19-yarder to take the lead late—that led to its demise in a 31-30 Kansas State road victory.

After winning at Oklahoma two years ago, Kansas State's victory Saturday made it two in a row there, per ESPN Stats and Info:

This Top 15 matchup figured to have big Top 25 implications just based on the team's rankings, but the way it unfolded should have a far-reaching impact—not only in the Big 12 race, but in the rankings altogether.

Oklahoma's second conference loss all but squashes its already outside hopes of getting into the College Football Playoff or even one of the at-large top-tier bowl games. Even if somehow Baylor, TCU and Kansas State end up with two losses apiece, the Sooners won't hold a tiebreaker over the latter two teams after losing to them. Even so, a two-loss Big 12 champion would need heaven and earth to move for a CFP spot to open up for it. 

As for the implications of Saturday's loss, Oklahoma should fall out of the Top 15 and possibly as far back as No. 18 or 19—depending on how many teams behind them secure big wins later in Saturday's slate.

Kansas State, on the other hand? Saturday's victory has its fans thinking about 2012 all over again, and the parallels are abound, per SB Nation's Matt Hinton:

That season, of course, started out an incredible 10-0 before falling to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. The Wildcats can't hope for an undefeated record this time around after falling to Auburn at home this season, but the luck goes both ways as Braden Gall of Athlon Sports noted:

While in hindsight it's crazy to think about where Kansas State could be with a few altered outcomes, there remains little doubt to many—including David Ubben of Fox Sports—that K-State belongs in the Top 10:

With Baylor losing to West Virginia on Saturday, Kansas State could shockingly be the only Big 12 team with an undefeated conference record by the end of the day. Oklahoma State can stay perfect by beating TCU, but the Wildcats will host the Cowboys at home on Nov. 1. 

Kansas State's Top 10 aspirations are about to become a reality, but its improbable hopes of breaking into the CFP conversation are inching closer to reality as well. 

However, just like many of the nation's most impressive teams, most of the Wildcats' tests are to come. They face Texas at home next week, before facing three Top 15 conference foes—Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor—in the home stretch along with West Virginia.

Oklahoma still has its chances to pick up some morale-boosting victories and fight for one of the top bowl games, with Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State still on the schedule.

But the damage has already been doled out to the Sooners. Kansas State—expected to be in the middle of the pack in the Big 12—has come to play this season, and whoever steps into the Wildcats' path better be ready. 

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Kansas State vs. Oklahoma: Game Grades, Analysis for Wildcats and Sooners

Norman, Oklahoma, might as well be considered home for the Kansas State Wildcats.

For the second-straight year, the Wildcats stormed into the Oklahoma Sooners’ home turf and walked away with victory. This time around, Kansas State relied on the Sooners special teams’ miscues for a 31-30 victory.

Check out the final stats here, and take a look at first- and second-half game grades below.

 

Passing Offense

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight wishes he could have his first incompletion back. Instead, he saw a Kansas State defender take it back for a pick-six. 

However, after that miscue, Knight responded by putting together a two-play touchdown drive backed by two great play-action passes. In total, Knight looked poised and dynamic in the pocket, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-32 passing. Hard to ask for more from a quarterback.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats got a lot from Jake Waters. 

The senior made a lot of great plays both with his arm and his legs. He finished with 225 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-23 passing while adding another 51 yards and a score on the ground.

Waters came to play.

 

Rushing Offense

Oklahoma got off to a slow start running the ball. In the first half, Samaje Perine only went for 19 yards on nine carries.

In the second half, Perine came alive, rushing for 70 of his 89 yards over the final two quarters on 15 carries. However, his performance will mostly be remembered for failing to be able to convert on three rushes from inside the 5-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

Alex Ross also contributed with 75 yards on eight carries.

On the other hand, Kansas State was absolutely shut down on the ground in the first half. Of 15 rushes, the Wildcats only went for 23 yards.

In the second half, Kansas State found more room. The team busted out several big runs, including a 53-yard scamper from Waters. The Wildcats finished with 160 rushes on 32 carries for the day.

 

Pass Defense

The Sooners secondary was almost nonexistent in the first half. Waters and the Kansas State offense picked up first downs with ease and seemed to find anything they wanted downfield. To add to that, Oklahoma couldn't tackle at all. 

In the second half, the unit stepped up, limiting Waters to just 100 yards through the air. However, it came at the cost of the run defense.

For the Wildcats, other than the interception return for a touchdown, the secondary didn't fare too much better.

Sterling Shepard had his way with the Kansas State cornerbacks, finishing with 15 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown. Even when they knew the ball was coming to No. 3, the defenders couldn't stop it.

 

Run Defense

No matter what the Wildcats tried, the Sooners front seven was up for the task. 

Options, quarterback draws, up the middle or tosses to the outside—Oklahoma stopped it all. Kansas State struggled to pass 20 yards on the ground in the first half.

However, due to the inefficiencies of the secondary, the Sooners had to pay more attention to the passing attack. With that, the run defense took a turn for the worse.

The Wildcats began the game pretty solid against the run. However, once Oklahoma moved to an uptempo offense in the second half, the unit was gashed repeatedly.

Whether it was Ross or Perine, both running backs had success on the ground.

 

Special Teams

An area of strength in recent weeks, the Sooners were let down in this category. 

The usually dependent Michael Hunnicutt missed on two chip-shot field goals, including one from the 19-yard line with a little over three minutes remaining. He also had an extra point blocked earlier in the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, Kansas State got a boost from their unit.

Placekicker Matthew McCrane—who has struggled in recent weeks—made his only field goal of the afternoon and connected on all four extra points. Punter Nick Walsh was also excellent, pinning Oklahoma inside its own 10 twice on the day.

 

Coaching

It was another rough day for the Sooners coaching staff.

After becoming a scapegoat in recent weeks, offensive coordinator Josh Heupel really turned things around this week. The Oklahoma offense looked as good as it has in years. Unfortunately, the defense struggled with coverage decisions and poor play-calling. Not to mention, the several timeouts the Sooners burned pointlessly.

Meanwhile, it was a pretty clean game for Kansas State.

One could argue that the team turned down its aggressiveness late in the third quarter and for much of the fourth quarter. But it did enough to get the win on the road.

The defense will have a lot of work to do, though, after being gashed by Oklahoma’s offense for over 530 yards.

 

All stats courtesy of NCAA.com.

For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

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Kansas State vs. Oklahoma: Score and Twitter Reaction

Kansas State and Oklahoma renewed their rivalry in the Big 12 trying to keep pace in the race for the conference title. For the second time in three years, the Wildcats went into Norman and stunned the Sooners with a 31-30 victory. 

The victory pushes Kansas State's record to 5-1 overall (3-0 in the Big 12). The Wildcats figure to get a big boost in the polls with this victory after starting the day ranked 14th in The Associated Press Top 25. Their only loss this season came on a Thursday night against SEC power Auburn, 20-14. 

For the Sooners, this is their second conference loss in three weeks. TCU ruined Oklahoma's shot at a perfect season, while Kansas State effectively ended whatever shot Bob Stoops' team had to get back in the College Football Playoff race. 

As well as Kansas State played throughout the afternoon, this was an ugly game for Oklahoma. Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight threw a horrible pass down by his own goal line that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, via ESPN's College GameDay:

The ugliness continued later in the game on special teams for Oklahoma. After Knight found Durron Neal for a nine-yard touchdown that cut Kansas State's lead to 31-30 with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter, Michael Hunnicutt had his extra-point attempt blocked. 

Stoops' defense did force a three-and-out. Knight and running back Samaje Perine led them down the field to the Wildcats' 2-yard line, but Kansas State's defense tightened up. Hunnicutt came out for a chip shot field goal and hooked it way right. 

As Mark Passwaters of Rivals wrote after Hunnicutt's miss, he might need to find a new place to live as a result of that miss:

Kansas State got the ball back with just under four minutes to play, got a couple of first downs and ran out the clock. 

The fact that the Sooners had a chance to win at the end was shocking. It wouldn't have been a surprise going in if someone told you that the game would be close, as ESPN's College GameDay tweeted out how similar the season stats are between the two schools:

In a losing effort, Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard was a nightmare for Kansas State's defense with 15 receptions and 197 yards, via ESPN's College Football:

The first big scoring play of the game came from Kansas State fullback Glenn Gronkowski, who had a 62-yard touchdown reception to tie the score 7-7. If the name sounds familiar, he's the cousin of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. 

The elder Gronk was particularly impressed by his cousin following the score, tweeting out his excitement:

Bill Snyder remains one of the most underrated coaches in the country, leading Kansas State to prominence year after year without the best recruits. Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt praised the 75-year-old for his efforts after the game:

Also deserving of praise is Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters. He had 225 passing yards, 51 rushing yards and three total touchdowns, including this strike to Tyler Lockett in the second quarter, via ESPN's College Football:

On the final drive to secure the win, Snyder had enough trust in his quarterback to make a throw on 3rd-and-three to put the game away. Waters found Curry Sexton on an out route for a six-yard gain that was all Kansas State needed. 

The Wildcats aren't done yet. They have a matchup with Texas at home on October 25 before back-to-back games against Oklahoma State on November 1 and TCU on November 8. They end the year at Baylor, so the Big 12 champion is still very much up in the air. 

All we know after this week is Kansas State's chances are strong, and Oklahoma will need a lot of help if it wants to get back in the race. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter: @adamwells1985.

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West Virginia's Kevin White Battles Interference, Makes 1-Handed TD Catch

Baylor's Xavien Howard did everything he could to stop West Virginia receiver Kevin White from catching a touchdown pass on him in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, but it still wasn't enough.

Despite getting interfered with, White made a great one-handed catch to put points up on the board. That's just not fair.

The penalty was obviously declined. White's touchdown gave West Virginia a 34-27 lead early in the fourth quarter.

[Vine]

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