NCAA Football

Rutgers vs. Ohio State: Game Grades, Analysis for the Buckeyes

Urban Meyer and No. 13 Ohio State continued to roll on Saturday, blasting Rutgers in a 56-17 blowout in Ohio Stadium. 

The Buckeyes continued its surge offensively, piling up 585 yards of total offense. The defense, which is starting to click under new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash, held Gary Nova and a dynamic Rutgers offense to just 348 total yards.

How did Ohio State grade out from the 39-point victory?


Ohio State Buckeyes Grade Analysis

Pass Offense: J.T. Barrett got Ohio State’s passing attack off to a fast start, connecting on his first nine passes to five different receivers. He continued to spread around as nine different pass-catchers hauled in receptions on Saturday. Barrett finished the day completing 19 of 31 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns (against no interceptions).

Run Offense: Ohio State’s offensive line continued to open holes for the running backs, but most of the damage was done by Barrett. The Buckeyes quarterback piled up 107 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground—leading an attack that gained 324 total yards on the day. The Buckeyes averaged 8.1 yards per rush, continuing its surge of solid rushing performances.

Pass Defense: Buckeyes fans were nervous about Ohio State's pass defense after Cincinnati torched the secondary with three long touchdown passes. But since then, the Buckeyes have done a good job locking down opposing quarterbacks. Gary Nova, who was just two weeks removed from throwing for 404 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan, managed just 199 yards and no touchdowns against the Buckeyes. Doran Grant made the play of the game when he picked Nova off in Ohio State's end zone at the end of the second quarter.

Run Defense: After giving up 370 rushing yards to Navy and its vaunted triple-option attack in the season opener, the Buckeyes had been stout against the run, allowing an average of 77 rushing yards to the following four opponents. But Rutgers had success against the Buckeyes as the running backs piled up 170 yards on 31 carries. Desmon Peoples led the way, gaining 83 yards and 5.5 yards per carry while accounting for both of Rutgers’ touchdowns.

Special Teams: With the success of Ohio State's offense, freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger wasn't needed for any field-goal attempts, although he was a perfect eight for eight on extra points. Punter Cameron Johnston only had one punt—a 53-yard boot that pinned Rutgers inside its own 10, which set the defense up for its defensive touchdown midway through the second quarter. 

Coaching: Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman continue to find ways to maximize their bounty of weapons on the perimeter. Jalin Marshall—Dontre Wilson's backup—led the Buckeyes with 58 receiving yards and is emerging as a serious threat. The defense continues to grow under Ash and Luke Fickell, making the Buckeyes a serious threat to Michigan State and the rest of the Big Ten.


All stats via

David Regimbal covers Ohio State football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

Read more College Football news on

Oklahoma State vs. TCU: How Cowboys' Loss Will Shake Up Week 9 Rankings

The process of elimination in the Big 12 has begun.

Trevone Boykin and the electric Josh Doctson did their part to put on a show for fans in attendance in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday. They combined for two scores as the No. 12 TCU Horned Frogs defeated the No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys 42-9. Boykin threw for 410 yards and three touchdowns. Doctson's scores went for 84 and 77 yards, and he had 225 receiving yards on the day.

The duo's efforts coupled with a standout performance from the defense led to the big conference win.

Looks like Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson got what he expected.

The Cowboys likely saw their faint College Football Playoff hopes go by the boards. The result was more of a confirmation than anything. Heading in, the Horned Frogs were obviously ranked higher and playing at home.

For all intents and purposes, they were supposed to win. The win keeps TCU's hopes of rising into the top four by season's end alive, though the Horned Frogs will certainly need some help. No. 11 Oklahoma lost to No. 15 Kansas State earlier in the day, so TCU could presumably move up a spot, but there's also the possibility that K-State will swap places with Oklahoma.

In any case, TCU doesn't stand to make a major power move on Sunday morning with the new rankings.

With only one game remaining against a team that is currently ranked in the AP Top 25, there aren't a great deal of statement-making games on the schedule.

Perhaps adding to the team's uphill battle is the fact that its one loss was made to look a little worse on Saturday. Baylor—the team TCU lost to 58-51 last week—was upset 41-27 by unranked West Virginia. We don't know how far Baylor will drop, but it would be a shock to see the Bears sink below a team they just beat a week ago.

As a one-loss squad, TCU will have to run the table and have multiple teams in front of it pick up a loss the rest of the way to gain strong consideration.

There simply isn't time or opportunity to vault teams on the strength of impressive wins.

As for Oklahoma State, it is probably playing for a berth in the Fiesta or Peach Bowl at this point. Those are likely the highest hopes for at-large bids in NCAA selection committee postseason games. In terms of conference affiliation bowls, the Cactus and Alamo Bowls might be even more realistic options.

Every week it seems another Big 12 team sees its chances of reaching the CFP get weaker. This week it was Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. TCU and Kansas State might be the conference's best bets, but they play each other on Nov. 8 in a game that will likely end one of the team's dreams—if both haven't already lost before the game arrives.

Stay tuned.

Read more College Football news on

Injured Alabama RB Kenyan Drake Made Sure He Had His Snack with Him During Game

Alabama running back Kenyan Drake is out for the season after breaking his leg a few weeks ago, so while he watches his teammates from the sideline, he makes sure he has something to snack on.

Drake carried a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies with him at all times during Saturday's game against Texas A&M. Thankfully, his scooter has a basket for him to put them in.

If these treats served as "touchdown pies," Drake may have needed more than one box. Alabama beat Texas A&M 59-0.

Maybe he kept the cookies with him to keep Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban—who admitted to GQ magazine last year that he eats the snack for breakfast—in a good mood during the game.


Read more College Football news on

Bryce Petty's Quiet Struggles Continue as Baylor Is Upset by West Virginia

In his first 15 meaningful college football games, Bryce Petty completed at least half of his pass attempts. If you want to get frisky and include the 12 meaningless appearances he made spelling Robert Griffin III as a freshman and sophomore, the message still applies.

Over his last three college football games—all very much meaningful—Petty has dropped below the 50 percent market twice. The second of those contests came Saturday, as the Heisman contender completed 16 of 36 passes for 223 yards and looked sloppy throughout Baylor's upset loss to West Virginia.

The Mountaineers put pressure on Petty throughout the contest, sacking him four times and hurrying a number of other throws. The outcome looked nothing like the last two meetings between these Big 12 teams, where Baylor scored a combined 133 points, including 73 in last year's 73-42 shellacking in Waco.

Instead, West Virginia did exactly what it said it'd do coming in: It took college football's highest-powered offense and rendered it fangless. Outside a 63-yard touchdown to Antwan Goodley and a 42-yard completion to Corey Coleman, Baylor's aerial attack never cleared for liftoff.

No other Petty pass went for longer than 14 yards, and the Bears went 3-of-16 on third-down conversions as West Virginia turned them into a dink-and-dunk attack.

"They loaded the box and pressed our receivers," Petty said after the game, per John Raby of The Associated Press. "I've got to get better at it. The (Baylor) defense put us in a lot of good chances to score touchdowns, and on the road you've got to score touchdowns."

It wasn't that sloppiness or uncharacteristic mistakes were confined to the passing game. Running back Shock Linwood had one run of 24 yards in the second quarter and 20 others for 45. With the officials calling the game as closely as I've ever seen, Baylor was whistled for pass interference seven times and committed 18 fouls overall for a Big 12-record 215 yards.

But the buck on any Art Briles-led team stops with the quarterback—especially a fringe first-round pick who was considered a Heisman favorite heading into the season.

We're now at three straight weeks with Petty turning in disconcerting performances. Last week's final line of 510 yards, six touchdowns and a statue-worthy comeback over TCU looks great in retrospect, but it was anything but as the game was ongoing.

Petty's performance fluctuated wildly against the Horned Frogs, ranging from nearly perfect, as the Bears came from 21 down, to cringe-worthy as he misfired wildly and gave the ball up twice.

The game that some were calling Petty's "Heisman moment" was much more uneven watching it on film.(Also uneven is a defense that's giving up 58 points and still expecting to win. But, hey, that's a conversation for another day.)

Over the last three weeks, Petty has completed 51 of his 113 passes (45.13 percent), averaging 7.47 yards per attempt. In his previous 15 starts, Petty completed nearly 63 percent of his passes and was averaging an otherworldly 10.14 yards per attempt. He was averaging an interception roughly once every 100 times he threw the ball.

So...what gives? Did Petty suddenly become terrible at football overnight? Is Briles' up-tempo system getting "exposed," as so many talking heads will tell you over the next 48 hours? Am I asking rhetorical questions simply to answer them all with a resounding "no"?

Yes, yes, I am.

There are a number of relatively simple explanations here, starting with Petty himself. The senior sat out Baylor's second game, a 70-6 romp over Northwestern State, while dealing with two cracks in his transverse processes (bones in the back area).

Petty was back in the lineup a week later and looked fine in wins over Buffalo and Iowa State, but it'd be naive to think he's playing without pain. A simple Google search shows that a typical healing time would be 4-6 weeks for this type of injury—and that is for people who are not getting drilled by 300-pound defensive linemen on a weekly basis. 

And therein may lie the root cause of Baylor's problems. Petty wasn't getting drilled by opposing defensive linemen before his injury or the two weeks after he came back. Baylor's offensive line did not allow a sack the first four weeks of the season due to a combination of talent, a weak schedule and Briles' systematic reliance on quick passes.

In the last three weeks, Petty has been sacked 11 times. For a team that runs as many screens, quick outs and simple throws into the flat, that's an astounding number. Petty was sacked 17 times all of last season. Briles' entire run with the Bears has been defined by his ability to keep his quarterbacks upright, despite a preponderance of passing plays.

Of course, where there are offensive line struggles there are usually offensive line injuries. Such is the case with Baylor. Offensive guard Desmine Hilliard will miss the remainder of the season due to a wrist injury, while David Smoak of ESPN Central Texas reported senior right tackle Troy Baker will be out the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

Although those injuries are recent, they're instructive that perhaps Baylor's offensive inconsistency is here to stay. Petty has not looked good at all with defenders in his face over this recent stretch, which might be of concern to NFL evaluators when they get a chance to look at this tape.

Maybe the back injury is still tender, leading to Petty overcompensating and losing his mechanics. Maybe he's just bad under pressure. Or maybe this is a momentary blip we'll forget about in a couple of weeks.

The Bears have what amounts to a bye against Kansas on Nov. 1 after their actual bye next week, so Briles has time to figure it out. 

But Baylor closes its conference slate with a tough run of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State. If Briles can't find an offensive line that can protect Petty—or if his quarterback can't be better against pressure—Saturday's upset will not be Baylor's last loss.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on

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 and'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. 

Read more College Football news on

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...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

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

Read more College Football news on

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 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.

Read more College Football news on

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.

Read more College Football news on

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, and be sure to check back after the game for the grades for the Longhorns' positional units.

Read more College Football news on

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]

Read more College Football news on

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.

Read more College Football news on

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.

Read more College Football news on

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.

Read more College Football news on

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.

Read more College Football news on

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]

Read more College Football news on

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.


Read more College Football news on

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. 

Read more College Football news on

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!

Read more College Football news on

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.'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.

Read more College Football news on