NCAA Football News

Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State: How Bulldogs' Win Reshapes Playoff Picture

In what was supposed to be an epic battle between two of the best teams in the SEC, Mississippi State solidified its standing as one of the best teams in the country and a true threat for the College Football Playoff with a dominating victory over Texas A&M that wasn't as close as the 48-31 score indicates. 

The Aggies high-powered offensive attack was held in check all day by a swarming Bulldogs defense that got helped out by a lot of drops by Texas A&M wide receivers. Kenny Hill was charged with 25 incompletions, but ESPN Stats & Info noted that at least eight of them were balls that should have been caught:

If there was any doubt about whether Mississippi State was legitimate, especially after entering this season outside the Top 25 in both major polls, they have been quieted. As NFL.com's Gil Brandt noted, this marks the school's second consecutive win against a Top-10 team:

While there is still a lot of time for things to be put into place, no other school that entered the week ranked ahead of Mississippi State can match that resume. Florida State has only played one game against a team in the Top 25 at the time of the matchup. Alabama has a chance to, but a few things must fall into place later in the year. 

It's safe to assume that the Bulldogs have just vaulted into the top five with wins over LSU and Texas A&M. They might even climb higher than that by virtue or Oregon's loss against Arizona, though they don't need anyone's help to show how good they are. 

It was also a momentous win for the school, as ESPN's College Gameday tweeted that this is the first time Mississippi State has defeated two teams in The Associated Press Top 10:

Hill, who entered the game as a Heisman contender with 17 touchdowns, three interceptions and just four sacks, was destroyed by Dan Mullen's defense. Richie Brown had three interceptions on his own for Mississippi State. 

That's relevant to the discussion of getting into the College Football Playoff because the teams that play for the title are going to be decided by people this year. Any positive impression you can leave on the selection committee is going to help you. 

Holding one of the best offensive teams in the country to 17 points and intercepting a legitimate star quarterback three times is going to stick in your mind. 

Mullen actually admitted during the SEC Media Days in July that he had some reservations about the process of selecting teams for the playoffs by saying that he just hoped college football ends a season the right way, via Mike Herndon of AL.com:

"The key is you want to look back after a season and say, college football got it right," Mullen said. "The champion is the best team in the country."

Life in the SEC West is not easy. The Bulldogs still have games against Auburn next week, Alabama on November 15 and Mississippi in the regular season finale on November 29. No one is going to come out of the conference unbeaten, but when you lose is almost as important as who you lose to. 

On the other side, Texas A&M would have remained in the picture for the College Football Playoff with a close loss. No one is going to severely penalize a team for losing on the road against a team ranked No. 12 in the country. 

However, when you get blown out in the way the Aggies did, with the defense allowing nearly 559 yards of offense and receiving corps that was struggling to catch anything all game, they need a lot of things to go right over the next two months to even have a chance. 

Even though the official rankings for the College Football Playoff don't come out until October 28, it's safe to assume right now that Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Auburn would be the top four in whatever order. 

With its last two wins, one on the road against LSU and a dominant home effort against Texas A&M, Mississippi State has a great argument to be made as the fifth team. Nothing that Baylor, UCLA, Notre Dame or Michigan State is as impressive. 

Mississippi can get in that mix as well with a game against Alabama later on Saturday, but right now the Bulldogs look like a true championship contender. 

 

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

 

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Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State: Score and Twitter Reaction

No. 12 Mississippi State made a major statement Saturday afternoon at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi, as the Bulldogs upset No. 6 Texas A&M, 48-31.

Mississippi State handed the Aggies their first loss of the season, while the Bulldogs improved their record to 5-0. Quarterback Dak Prescott proved to be the difference, as he outplayed Texas A&M signal-caller Kenny Hill and possibly leapfrogged him in the Heisman Trophy race.

Prescott ended the game with 259 passing yards, 77 rushing yards and five total touchdowns in the greatest performance of his career to date.

On the heels of their win over LSU two weeks ago, the Bulldogs made history by defeating the Aggies, according to ESPN College GameDay:

There was plenty riding on this game, as both teams entered with perfect records. The Aggies and Bulldogs each had SEC title and College Football Playoff aspirations and knew full well that a loss could crush those dreams.

Texas A&M was shorthanded entering the game, as a shoulder injury suffered during last week's come-from-behind win over Arkansas forced leading receiver Malcome Kennedy to sit out.

Even without his No. 1 target, Hill had no trouble marching down the field on the Aggies' opening drive. As Bill Bender of Sporting News noted, Hill was able to take advantage of the great weapons still at his disposal:

On that opening drive, Hill threw for 65 yards and tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds to put Texas A&M on top 7-0 in the early going. As the game progressed, however, Kennedy's absence would certainly come to loom large, with the Aggies offense struggling.

Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle had more on the Aggies' receiving woes with Kennedy out:

Unfazed by the early 7-0 deficit, the Bulldogs marched right down the field on their opening drive. A 49-yard run from junior running back Josh Robinson eventually set up a one-yard plunge by Robinson to tie the game less than five minutes in. A personal foul call against Texas A&M defensive end Qualen Cunningham helped shrink the field for Mississippi State in the red zone.

After a high hit on Prescott, Cunningham was ejected from the game for targeting, per ESPN Texas A&M:

Due to a miscommunication regarding the jersey number, the officials nearly made a mistake, according to NFL.com's Chase Goodbread:

After a three-and-out series, the Aggies gained new life when Bulldogs return man Jamoral Graham muffed a punt. The coverage got extremely close, but Texas A&M didn't get flagged on the play, per Zack McMillin of The Commercial Appeal:

The Bulldogs were fortunate to avoid further damage, however, as they made a crucial stop on 4th-and-1 at their own 17-yard line and regained possession of the ball.

Both teams traded possessions for the remainder of the first quarter until Mississippi State gained some momentum late in the frame. Prescott was especially effective on the drive, as he completed a pair of 22-yard passes and ran the ball with purpose as well.

Prescott was even starting to outshine Hill, which impressed many, including Kedrick Storey of the Southern Sentinel:

A short Robinson touchdown run on the final play of the first quarter once again finished off the drive, which gave the Bulldogs a 14-7 advantage.

As seen in this graphic, courtesy of MSU Football on Twitter, Mississippi State's offense was far more efficient than that of Kevin Sumlin's heralded squad:

Texas A&M once again failed to get anything going on offense early in the second, which gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to extend their lead. They did precisely that with an 11-play, 87-yard drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock.

Prescott was once again on fire; he ran or passed on all but one play during the drive. The junior signal-caller found pay dirt with a tough, second-effort run, giving Mississippi State a commanding 21-7 lead.

The run was reminiscent of former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, one NFL general manager has already drawn a favorable comparison between Prescott and the former Gator:

With Prescott running roughshod over the Aggies, Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press endorsed the big signal-caller as a true player in the Heisman race:

The Aggies started to drive on the following possession, but Bulldogs linebacker Richie Brown prematurely ended the drive by picking off Hill. It was a fortuitous bounce for Mississippi State, as the ball popped out of the hands of wide receiver Boone Niederhofer.

While Niederhofer could have done better, Alex Brown of Optimum Scouting critiqued Hill, as the ball was thrown well behind his receiver:

Robinson fumbled the ball back to Texas A&M two plays later, but Hill's nightmarish half continued. He threw yet another interception, with Brown coming away with the ball for the second time in five plays.

The pair of picks shocked the Aggies, especially since Hill had thrown just two interceptions all season entering the contest.

With the Aggies in disarray, Prescott went to work and orchestrated another masterful drive. The do-everything quarterback even caught a pass for 11 yards before firing a nine-yard strike to De'Runnya Wilson, which made it 28-7 in favor of Mississippi State.

Texas A&M was able to salvage something at the end of the half by hitting a 27-yard field goal, but the Bulldogs had to be content to enter halftime up 28-10.

As seen in this tweet courtesy of ESPN's College GameDay, Prescott definitely won the battle of quarterbacks in the opening half:

The Bulldogs had a chance to cancel out Texas A&M's late field goal early in the third quarter, but kicker Evan Sobiesk brutally missed a 42-yard attempt short.

Much like in the first half, though, the Aggies offense couldn't capitalize. On Mississippi State's third drive of the half, it managed to essentially bury Texas A&M and put the game out of reach. A 51-yard romp by running back Brandon Holloway set the stage for Prescott's second short touchdown of the day.

The Texas A&M defensive line was no match for Prescott on the sneak as he muscled his way past the goal line, ESPN's Rece Davis noted:

The Bulldogs' extra point attempt was blocked, though, making the score 34-10. Texas A&M desperately needed a touchdown, and it was finally able to get one on the next drive. Hill led his team on a 78-yard drive, culminating in a touchdown pass to freshman Speedy Noil.

Noil turned in a spectacular effort as he caught the ball near the end zone and somehow managed to extend the ball over the pylon while falling backward out of bounds.

Dan Wolken of USA Today was among those taken aback by the athletic move:

Just when it seemed like the Aggies were gaining momentum, the Bulldogs answered back almost immediately. Prescott found Fred Brown for a 51-yard touchdown to go back up by 24 points, 41-17.

With time running out for the Aggies, the Bulldogs managed to get in yet another body blow. Hill threw an interception to Brown for the third time in the game. That pick gave Brown the team lead on the season, according to Bob Carskadon of HailState.com:

To add insult to injury, Mississippi State took advantage of the turnover, as Prescott rushed for his third touchdown of the day. That put the Bulldogs on top 48-17 and further bolstered Dak's Heisman resume, per the AP's David Brandt:

The Aggies were able to make a cosmetic improvement to the score with a touchdown from Hill to Noil with just under two-and-a-half minutes remaining, followed by another scoring toss from Hill to Reynolds a little more than a minute later.

The game was already out of hand by that time, though, and Mississippi State was able to seal the victory.

While this is a huge win for the Bulldogs, especially on the heels of a victory over LSU, things won't get any easier. Mississippi State will host No. 5 Auburn next week in yet another game with huge College Football Playoff implications.

The Tigers will be a major challenge for Mississippi's State's offense, due largely to the dual-threat nature of quarterback Nick Marshall. If the Bulldogs can win that game, though, nobody will be able to deny their status as legitimate national title contenders.

Texas A&M isn't technically out of it yet, but it will likely have to win out in order to vie for the national championship. With games against No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 3 Alabama over the next two weeks, this season has the potential to get out of hand quickly if the Aggies defense can't get straightened out.

There is no question that the Texas A&M fanbase has to be disappointed with Saturday's effort, but Mississippi State essentially played a perfect game on both sides of the ball.

If the Bulldogs are able to maintain this form moving forward, there may not be a team in the nation they can't beat.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Watch as Oklahoma State Recovers One of the Most Ridiculous Onside Kicks Ever

Sometimes in football, you don't even have to draw up a play to get the result you want. That was the case when the Oklahoma State Cowboys recovered a 54-yard, unintentional onside kick. 

After Oklahoma State tied things up late in the first half against Iowa State in Week 6, Kip Smith let loose a high-flying kick that was not caught by any of the Hawkeyes players. That left a window for the Cowboys' Elliott Jeffcoat to recover, putting a cap on one of the most ridiculous onside kicks in recent memory.

Where does this onside kick rank? Watch the video, and let us know!

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Lou Holtz Refers to Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah as 'Mohammed'

Given how talented he is, most college football fans know Ameer Abdullah's name. ESPN analyst Lou Holtz made it clear Saturday that he does not.

While watching highlights of the Nebraska running back in preparation for a Week 6 game between the Cornhuskers and Michigan State, Holtz repeatedly called Abdullah "Mohammed."

That's not even close.

[Deadspin]

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Tommy Kraemer to Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Land 5-Star 2016 OL Prospect

The Notre Dame offensive line scored another quality piece for the future Saturday with 5-star offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer announcing his commitment to the program.

The No. 1 prospect in the state of Ohio in the 2016 class made his decision thanks to help from Notre Dame Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, as captured by Tom Loy of 247Sports.com:

It's hard to put into words how important Coach Hiestand is. He's the best at what he does. All of his players have told me that. He made me a better player every time we sat down and talked about everything. He was pretty important and I know that I'll get the best coaching under him.

Kraemer himself took to Twitter to celebrate the news:

As Tom VanHaaren of ESPNRecruitingNation.com notes, Kraemer is merely the latest top linemen to join Notre Dame in recent years:

Standing at 6'5" and 305 pounds, the Elder high school tackle not only ranks as the top prospect from his state, but the No. 18 recruit nationally and the No. 4 player at his position overall. 

Kramer chose the Fighting Irish over other top schools such as Ohio State, Boston College and Duke, among a host of others.

Outside of routinely keeping the jersey of his quarterback clean and being highly coveted by a number of top programs around the nation, Kraemer will partake in the 2016 Army All-American Bowl before officially joining Notre Dame to act as a foundation in the offensive trenches.

Expect Kraemer to contribute right away for the Fighting Irish in some capacity, as his transition to the collegiate level figures to be a smooth one. No matter who resides under center in the coming years in South Bend, their lives surely just became a tad easier.

 

Note: All recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings unless otherwise stated.

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Texas A&M's Speedy Noil Makes Great Catch and Stretch for 23-Yard TD

Texas A&M was down big to Mississippi State late in the third quarter on Saturday, but Aggies receiver Speedy Noil did everything he could to chip away at the deficit.

Noil made a nice play near the sideline to catch a Kenny Hill pass. Then, the 5'11" wideout capped off the athletic play by reaching the ball across the goal line for the touchdown.

The 23-yard touchdown cut the Bulldogs lead down to 34-17.

[gifdsports]

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Bettor Wins $2,000 on $20 Parlay Bet After Picking Arizona to Upset No. 2 Oregon

One college football bettor decided to make a modest bet on on Thursday, and it paid off in a big way.

The bettor decided to make a $20 parlay bet. In order to cash in, the bettor needed Florida International to beat Florida Atlantic, Central Florida to beat Houston and Arizona to beat No. 2 Oregon.

Florida International took care of business, and Central Florida hung on to win at Houston. With nearly $2,000 on the line, the bettor needed the Wildcats to upset the Ducks at Autzen Stadium. That's exactly what happened.

Winning that much money on a small bet has to make for a good night.

[Darren Rovell]

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Wake Forest vs. Florida State: Live Score and Highlights

Florida State 30, Wake Forest 3 -- Late 3rd

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Texas A&M Backup QB Kyle Allen Chats Up Young Woman on Sideline During Game

Texas A&M backup quarterback Kyle Allen isn't one to let losing keep him from having a good time.

With his team down 28-7 late in the first half against No. 12 Mississippi State on Saturday, Allen was spotted chatting up a young woman on the sideline. 

This flirtatious moment was smooth enough to get the Barry White treatment.

[Vine, Saturday Down South]

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Stanford vs. Notre Dame: Live Score and Highlights

Stanford 7, Notre Dame 7—Late 3rd Quarter

Notre Dame is back in the Top 10, and that means the Fighting Irish are back in the national championship conversation.  Stanford, despite losing to USC earlier this season, presents the Irish with their stiffest test thus far in 2014.

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Oklahoma vs. TCU: Live Score and Highlights

The No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners and No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs battle it out in a key Big 12 battle. The Horned Frogs will look to earn their first conference win while the Sooners will look to move to 2-0 in the Big 12.

The game is at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox, and B/R will be following along. Keep it locked here for up-to-date analysis and commentary throughout the game. 

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Ole Miss vs. Alabama: Live Score and Highlights

A massive game in the SEC West takes place this afternoon as the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels host the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide. 

The Crimson Tide's explosive offense begins and ends with Amari Cooper. The elite wide receiver is one of the most talented players in the country, regardless of position. 

This is a significant contest for head coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebs. A win here could truly catapult Ole Miss into the upper crust of the SEC. A potential victory also could act as a galvanizing force on the recruiting trail. 

The contest begins at 3:30 p.m. ET. It can be seen on CBS. 

Odds Shark has Alabama as a 4.5-point favorite. A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com

 

Bleacher Report appreciates you tuning in with us today. Stay here for score updates, analysis, social media and much more! 

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Iowa State Lets Kickoff Go Right Through Team, Oklahoma State Recovers

Iowa State picked a really bad time to not field a kickoff.

With the score tied, 6-6, in the final minute of the first half of Saturday's game, Oklahoma State decided to kick the ball short. It worked out better than the Cowboys could have ever hoped.

The ball bounced right past a few Cyclones players, allowing a Cowboy to get down the field and recover the loose ball. 

It turned out to be a costly mistake for Iowa State. With great field position, Oklahoma State scored a late touchdown to take a 13-6 lead into halftime.

[@cjzero, Vine]

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LSU vs. Auburn: Live Score and Highlights

LSU is looking to win its first conference game of the year when it travels to Auburn to face the Tigers. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. EDT, and it will air on ESPN.

LSU was able to handle New Mexico State last week, but the Tigers are 0-1 in conference play after losing to Mississippi State two weeks ago. LSU will look to get a boost with quarterback Brandon Harris, as he will take the place of Anthony Jennings.

LSU is facing an Auburn team that is undefeated but has not played in an SEC game since taking down Arkansas in the season opener. And this game for Auburn is the start of a stretch where it will face five teams ranked in the top 15.

Be sure to come back to this blog as soon as the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates and highlights. 

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Ohio State-Maryland Referee Gets Destroyed by Terrapins Running Back

Anyone who gets in Maryland running back Jacquille Veii's way will get run over. It doesn't matter who it is.

The umpire of Week 6's Ohio State-Maryland game on Saturday found that out the hard way. 

Give the referee credit, though—he popped right back up and appeared to be fine.

[SB Nation]

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Katy Perry Tells Oklahoma's Trevor Knight to Call Her During 'College GameDay'

Katy Perry had a wild appearance on ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday, with the highlight of it coming when she told Oklahoma's Trevor Knight to call her.

That probably made Knight's day. Heck, that probably made his year.

[Vine]

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BYU's Loss to Utah State Ends the Dream of Any Team Crashing the Playoff

For more than a month, BYU carried the banner for the little guy in the College Football Playoff.

The Cougars had cracked the Top 20. They were 5-0. They had solid wins over Texas and Virginia.

They had one of the most electric quarterbacks in the nation in junior Taysom Hill.

They were the only non-power-five team with a chance at crashing the Playoff party.

Friday night, those hopes and dreams came crashing down to earth in one fell swoop.

No. 18 BYU's 35-20 loss to in-state rival Utah State was doubly damaging. The Cougars lost for the first time this season. They also lost Hill for the rest of the season with a fractured left leg suffered late in the first half.

As expected, the College Football Playoff will be the playground of the big boys, the best of the best in the power-five conferences. BYU was the only non-power-five team with any kind of legitimate shot at making a run; Marshall is unbeaten and could easily make a run through Conference USA undefeated, but the Thundering Herd is unlikely to even play a Top 25 team the rest of the way.

The most interesting group-of-five team is now East Carolina, and while the Pirates (victors over ACC foes North Carolina and Virginia Tech) are interesting to watch, they've also lost to South Carolina and have no shot at Playoff contention.

It's kind of a coincidence that BYU even had the chance to make a run this fall. The Cougars were the last "little guy" to win a national title.

Playing in the out-of-the-way Western Athletic Conference in 1984, BYU, led by quarterback Robbie Bosco, went 13-0 en route to a national title. The Cougars did so out of the spotlight. They didn't play a New Year's Day bowl, finishing up by beating Michigan in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 21.

As an Independent, BYU is not even eligible for the group-of-five spot in the suite of games associated with the College Football Playoff that goes to the top non-power-five conference team.

Instead, the Cougars are all but locked into the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl against an American Athletic Conference foe.

That's a tough fate for a team that looked like a legit College Football Playoff party crasher.

The party ended when Hill suffered a fractured leg after a two-yard run late in the second quarter. Backup Christian Stewart led BYU to only six points the rest of the way, completing nine of 29 passes for 172 yards.

"Of course it's a big loss for us," wide receiver Jordan Leslie told Jeff Call of the Deseret News. "It knocks the wind out of us. He's a leader, he's a great athlete."

With games against Boise State, Central Florida and Cal left on the schedule, BYU would have been, at the very least, an interesting case for the College Football Playoff selection committee had it remained unbeaten.

Instead, the Playoff will be full of big names with no true underdog stories.

The Deseret News reported that Hill would undergo surgery Saturday morning and be sidelined three to four months. One night changed the trajectory of BYU's season dramatically, and that's tough for the Cougars, as well as fans of the underdog, to take.

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Ohio State's Michael Thomas Makes TD Catch over Defender in Back of End Zone

With very little space in the back of the end zone and a Maryland defender interfering, Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas still managed to find a way to haul in a 25-yard touchdown on this play.

Thomas—the nephew of former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson—did a great job of going up to get the ball and getting his feet down in the end zone. He did all of that while having a defender, who was called for defensive pass interference on the play, all over him.

After review, the call on the field stood. The touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter.

[Cork Gaines]

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Tennessee Fans Create Checkerboard Pattern at Neyland Stadium for Florida Game

The Tennessee Volunteers are hosting the Florida Gators on Saturday, and Neyland Stadium was ready for the big game.

The fans in the stands created Tennessee's iconic checkerboard pattern. As cool as "whiteouts" and "blackouts" are, this trumps them all.

[College GameDay]

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Texas A&M-Mississippi State Referee Forgets Where Camera Is, Gets Upset

Referees have a lot to keep track of during games, so every now and then, they may forget the simplest of things.

During the Texas A&M-Mississippi State game Saturday, referee Ken Williamson lost track of where the camera was. Once he realized his mistake, he wasn't too happy with himself.

Hopefully Williamson is able to shake off the embarrassing moment and stay focused throughout the rest of the big SEC showdown.

[Cork Gaines]

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