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Oklahoma's Balance on Offense Keeps Sooners Dangerous in Big 12 Race

If Oklahoma's offense was dead and buried against Texas, these last two weeks have been one incredible resurrection.

One week after putting up its best offensive performance of the season in a 55-0 road destruction over what was a good Kansas State team, Oklahoma stepped up its production Saturday in a 63-27 home rout of Texas Tech.

Oklahoma recorded 617 yards of total offense against the Red Raiders and broke the 60-point mark for the first time since its 2012 win over Texas.

Sure, Saturday's outburst came against the Texas Tech defense—which entered Week 8 at 123rd nationally in total yards allowed per game—but the timing of Oklahoma's big performances is what is most important right now for the Sooners.

Since Texas held Oklahoma to 278 yards and 17 points in their annual-rivalry showdown, the Sooners have put up their best offensive numbers of the season against Power Five competition in back-to-back weeks.

They'll have great chances to make it a possible four straight games over the next couple of weeks as they face Kansas and Iowa State. Then it's off to the treacherous three-game run of currently undefeated squads Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State.

Simply put, Oklahoma's offense is heating up at the right time, and it may reach nuclear levels by the time it visits Baylor for what could be a shootout for the ages.

One major reason behind this offensive resurrection has been the revitalization of the running game.

While much of the pregame focus was on starting quarterback Baker Mayfield's first game against his old team, Oklahoma ran wild on Texas Tech, posting a season-high 405 yards on the ground.

Samaje Perine had his best game since his all-time record-breaking performance against Kansas last season, recording 201 yards and four touchdowns on just 21 carries.

Joe Mixon chipped in an impressive 156 yards and two touchdowns of his own, and third-stringer Alex Ross recorded his first career touchdown to wrap up the beatdown of Texas Tech.

It seems first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is finding the perfect formula between his Air Raid assault and a talented rushing attack that had plenty of success before he arrived in Norman.

Oklahoma hadn't averaged more than 3.5 yards per carry against a single Power Five opponent heading into the Kansas State game, and the Sooners only had 67 yards on 37 carries against Texas.

Now Oklahoma has rushed for almost as many yards in the last two games as it had through its first five contests of the 2015 season.

As Joshua Friemel of the Dallas Morning News noted, Oklahoma's combination of Perine and Mixon is proving that it can lead the way and give the Sooners something Baylor and TCU don't quite have on offense:

The two showed that they're able to carry the load for the Sooners. The passing game this year has been adequate, but nothing outstanding. Mayfield to Sterling Shepard or Durron Neal isn't as electric as Seth Russell to Corey Coleman or Trevone Boykin to Josh Doctson. Those guys have dominant passing attacks. But both Baylor and TCU don't have two backs that can be as dominant as Perine and Mixon were today.  

That newfound balance is extremely important for this Oklahoma offense as it heads into a November that will decide a wild Big 12 race.

Baylor allowed 232 yards on the ground Saturday against Iowa State without top defensive tackle Andrew Billings.

TCU's banged-up defense has allowed 18 rushing touchdowns on the season, which was tied for seventh-most in college football heading into Saturday.

And considering Oklahoma State has the nation's 22nd-best pass defense—which has more interceptions than allowed touchdowns this season—running the ball could be the key to success in Bedlam this season.

Oklahoma's recent success on the ground has generated more points on the scoreboard and opened things up even more for Mayfield, who only threw seven incompletions in a two-touchdown performance Saturday.

"It makes my job easy," Mayfield said after the game, per Oklahoma's official Twitter account. "That means I can check to run plays whenever we need. If we get that going and score 60 points per game, I'm happy."

By maintaining its same amount of explosion with more balance in the play-calling, Oklahoma should have plenty of offensive momentum heading into matchups against some of the nation's best offenses at the end of the regular season.

The Texas loss might have taken a lot of life out of Oklahoma's playoff push, but the Sooners have shown they're very much alive on offense and in the Big 12 championship race. 

 

Game statistics courtesy of StatBroadcast. Unless otherwise noted, other statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Map of Japan Randomly Pops Up During Western Kentucky-LSU Replay

Nothing goes together like geography and football, eh?

Well, maybe not. But while the announcers attempted to break down a previous play during Saturday’s Western Kentucky-LSU game, a random map of Japan appeared on the screen.

The announcers were trying to analyze the play using the telestrator, so perhaps they hit the wrong button.

Maybe it’s time to stop putting the “yellow line” and “Japanese map” buttons right next to each other.

[Vine, h/t Lost Lettermen]

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Is Michigan State QB Connor Cook a Legit Heisman Contender?

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook is a Heisman contender, even if his stats suggest otherwise.

He reinforced that point in a 52-26 win over Indiana, completing 30 of 52 passes for 398 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on the heels of a superb game at Michigan.

The strong-armed senior quarterback made NFL throw after NFL throw against the Hoosiers, dropping dimes on touch passes and firing balls into tight windows.

Here's a nice example of that first type:

And here's a nice example of the second:

The Spartans advanced to 8-0 and are five wins from making the College Football Playoff.

They've made it this far despite an offensive line, special teams unit and secondary that are falling apart at the seams week by week.

Cook is the thread that has kept those seams from splitting. He was up-and-down to start the year but has stepped up in Big Ten play.

On Saturday, he thrived despite unfamiliar responsibilities and packages. An offense missing multiple starting linemen and running back Madre London found little success on the ground, which forced the staff to adjust and run a pass-heavy look.

"Michigan State looks like Texas Tech," Ed Cunningham remarked on the TV broadcast, referring to the Spartans' spread concepts and absent running game.

That statement was only slightly hyperbolic.

Before padding stats with a double-digit lead at the end, MSU gained 71 yards on 39 carries. A 1.8-yard rushing average forced Cook to throw 52 passes, but despite that he looked comfortable throughout.

If he threw this often weekly, Cook might boast the numbers of a traditional Heisman candidate. But because MSU runs a typically conservative game plan, his current stats make him look like a long shot.

He's on pace to finish with 3,105 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns over 12 games. Compare that with the past two Heisman winners:

By and large, quarterback wins are an overrated stat. It's reductive to credit one player—even one who touches the ball on every play—with victories and losses. Football is a team sport, and wins should be attributed accordingly.

But Cook is the exception to the rule. Quarterback wins are the only way to describe his performance. He lacks the scheme and supporting cast to match former Heisman winners' numbers, but so far he's been every bit as special.

According to the Heisman Trust's website, the trophy should be awarded to "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity."

"Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work," the mission statement continues.

If he drags the battered husk of MSU's depth chart to the Big Ten Championship Game, Cook will fit those descriptors better than any other player in America.

LSU running back Leonard Fournette has more talent, and TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin posts bigger stats, but carrying such a flawed team to a 12-0 record—a feat that would include beating No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus—would in every way epitomize "great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work."

"I could throw for 15 yards and if we win, I'll still be happy," Cook said after the game, per Matt Mika of Impact 89 FM. "All I care about is if we win."

If Sparty ends the season 12-0, they should carve that quote on the Trophy beneath Cook's name.

 

Brian Leigh covers college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @BLeigh35

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Alabama Continues Tradition of Smoking Cigars After Beating Tennessee

When Alabama beats Tennessee, cigars are smoked.

It’s tradition.

On Saturday, things were no different when the Crimson Tide slugged out a 19-14 win over the Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

Behind two touchdowns from running back Derrick Henry, Alabama moved to 7-1 on the year and celebrated accordingly:

[h/t CollegeSpun, Twitter]

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Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma: Game Grades, Analysis for Red Raiders and Sooners

The Oklahoma Sooners, fresh off their 55-0 shutout of the Kansas State Wildcats on the road last week, laid waste to the Texas Tech Red Raiders at home 63-27 Saturday afternoon. 

The two-headed monster rushing attack of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon was in full force, and Baker Mayfield was efficient throughout the day as well, as Texas Tech's defense had no answers. 

With that, let's check out the game grades for both squads' positional units. 

Oklahoma Sooners

Rush Offense: A+ Samaje Perine racked up 201 yards and four scores, Joe Mixon added 154 yards and two more touchdowns, and the Sooners totaled 405 yards and seven touchdowns via the running game. Texas Tech had no answers, and the Sooners just rammed it up the middle all afternoon. 

Pass Offense: A- Baker Mayfield was undoubtedly efficient. His numbers weren't gaudy, as he went 15-of-22 for two touchdowns, one pick and 212 yards. But with the running game working as well as it did, Mayfield was the perfect complement that kept the Red Raiders honest. 

Rush Defense: B- The Sooners kept the Red Raiders, who are not known for a perennial rushing attack per se, to 173 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Those numbers dissolve a bit considering how many plays the Red Raiders usually get. It wasn't a fantastic effort, but the defense has to be just good, not great, when the offense hangs 63 points on the board. 

Pass Defense: B+ Patrick Mahomes is one of the best signal-callers in the Big 12. On Saturday, while he did have 233 yards and a better performance in the second half, the Sooners forced four interceptions that stymied much of Texas Tech's rally attempts. 

Special Teams: C When you win by nearly 40 points, special teams rarely have a big impact on the game, so the "C" grade shouldn't be worrisome. Austin Seibert missed his only field-goal attempt, a 32-yarder, but converted all nine of his PATs. 

Coaching: A After being upset by the Texas Longhorns, Bob Stoops has rallied his troops to the tune of two straight blowout wins. Oklahoma appears to be back on track; now it's just a matter of how the Sooners stack up against TCU and Baylor down the stretch. 

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Rush Offense: B- DeAndre Washington didn't have a terrible game by any means, rushing for 94 yards and a touchdown. But he never broke off a big play and was ultimately just the second option to Mahomes' arm. 

Pass Offense: C+ Mahomes is a good gunslinger. He just wasn't consistent Saturday, as his four picks swung the game way in Oklahoma's favor.  

Rush Defense: F There's nothing to say. Oklahoma ran it right at Texas Tech, which looked like perhaps the most maneuverable revolving door ever engineered. 

Pass Defense: C- The secondary wasn't tasked with defending the pass much, yet somehow Mayfield still had an excellent day with 212 yards and two touchdowns through the air. 

Special Teams: A No gripes here. Clayton Hatfield was 2-of-2 on short field-goal attempts and made all three of his PATs. Punter Michael Barden averaged 49.3 yards per punt. 

Coaching: D Oklahoma is a great team, and good coaches can lose to Bob Stoops and Co. Just look at what happened to Bill Snyder last week. But Texas Tech made it easy for Oklahoma, as Kliff Kingsbury couldn't even scheme a halfway suitable rush defense. 

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College Football Scores 2015: Final Results, Box Scores for Week 8 Top 25 Games

The Baylor Bears (7-0) continue to make their charge, but a key injury may have an impact on their national championship dreams.

Quarterback Seth Russell threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with a fractured bone in his neck. Russell will see a specialist for the injury next week, according to ESPN. 

The second-ranked Bears figured to have an easy time at home against Iowa State (2-5), and the 45-27 final score indicates that Baylor had a bit more trouble than they should have.

The win was the 20th consecutive victory at home for the Bears, and they built a 35-0 second quarter lead before Iowa State started to make the score look somewhat respectable.

Baylor ended the competitive aspect of this game fairly quickly as they had no problems running the ball up and down the field against the Cyclones.

Running back Shock Linwood was just too much for Iowa State to handle as he carried 27 times for 171 yards while rushing for one touchdown. Linwood also caught a touchdown pass.

The Bears also received an excellent contribution from wide receiver Corey Coleman. He had six receptions for 85 yards and two scores.

"It was kind of tough catching the ball," Coleman said after the game (h/t ESPN.com). "It's kind of hard to play when the ball's waterlogged and [for Russell] to try to throw the ball like a shot put. ... It was an ugly win, but we got it."

 

Stars of the Week

RB Kenneth Farrow, Houston

The surging Houston Cougars had no trouble going on the road and pounding UCF (0-8) by a 59-10 margin.

The Cougars (7-0), ranked 21st heading into action this week, were able to use a third-quarter 28-0 blitz to put the game away. Running back Kenneth Farrow had a remarkable day, carrying the ball 13 times for 167 yards and rushing for three touchdowns.

The 5'10", 218-pound Farrow averaged 12.8 yards per carry and was a breakaway threat every time he touched the ball. Farrow has rushed for 669 yards this season and he has eight touchdowns.

 

QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson

It didn't look good for Miami (FL) at the start of the day when Clemson arrived in South Florida as an undefeated team, but it was far worse than most Miami fans could have imagined.

The sixth-ranked Tigers (7-0) laid a 58-0 blowout on the Hurricanes (4-3), handing head coach Al Golden's team the largest margin of defeat in the school's history. Prior to the loss to Clemson, the worst defeat had been a 70-14 loss to Texas A&M in 1944.

While it was a nightmarish day for Miami, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was on top of his game. He completed 15-of-19 passes for 143 yards with a touchdown and he also ran eight times for 98 yards, which included a 63-yard run.

 

QB Connor Cook, Michigan State

A week after Michigan State needed a shocking special teams play to beat Michigan, the Spartans (8-0) used a more conventional route to register a 52-26 victory over Indiana (4-4).

The Spartans relied on the accurate passing of quarterback Connor Cook to key the victory. Cook was pushed hard by the high-scoring Hoosiers, and he responded by completing 30-of-52 passes for 398 yards and four TD passes.

Cook, a 6'4", 220-pound senior, has been razor-sharp this season. He has thrown 17 TD passes this year and just two interceptions. He has a chance to go to New York as a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tennessee Shows It's on the Right Track in Close Loss to Alabama

If you were to ask Tennessee head coach Butch Jones if he would have been happy to have the ball with 2:24 to play and two timeouts in hand at Alabama with a chance to win the game, he'd have probably taken it.

He would have shaken your hand, jumped for joy and belted out a couple verses of "Rocky Top," too.

That's exactly where he found himself on Saturday, but the strength of the Alabama defense shined through when it mattered most.

Jonathan Allen came barreling through the middle of the young Tennessee offensive line, which started two true freshmen, to sack quarterback Joshua Dobbs on the Vols' final drive of the game, putting the Vols behind the sticks.

Then in an obvious passing down on 2nd-and-24 with 1:18 to play, Ryan Anderson came in hot off of the right side, sacked Dobbs, caused a fumble that A'Shawn Robinson recovered and closed the door on a classic showdown between two SEC rivals in Tuscaloosa.

Moral victory? Jones did his best to downplay the moral-victory talk after the game, according to Tennessee's official Twitter account.

Except the Vols have plenty to be proud of, and this was absolutely a moral victory.

This wasn't a case of Tennessee laying an egg against a team it had on the ropes. It was the one backing the opponent into a corner. 

The Vols went cruising down the field on a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 12-yard Jalen Hurd touchdown run with 5:49 to take a 14-13 lead and silence the crimson and white crowd.

Tennessee wasn't the bully in the game. In fact, that was the first lead Tennessee had held on the Crimson Tide since 2011. But it wasn't the overmatched lightweight either. For the first since the 2009 game in Tuscaloosa that ended with a blocked field goal by Alabama's Terrence Cody, Tennessee belonged.

As Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network noted on Twitter, it was equally as impressive for Tennessee as it was for Alabama, which was more than a two-touchdown favorite according to OddsShark.com.

It wasn't the second-straight signature win for Tennessee, which came back from a three-score deficit two weeks ago to stun Georgia. But it was validation.

Validation that Jones has this program going on the right track.

After all, the Vols could have packed it in and looked forward to the offseason after starting 2-3, losing two touchdown leads in all three losses and working through key injuries, including one to stud defensive end/linebacker Curt Maggitt, two key members of the secondary and several in the wide receiving corps.

They didn't.

They fought back when everybody counted them out against Georgia last time out, and then went toe-to-toe with Alabama—the gold standard of the SEC—in front of a hostile crowd.

It was no fluke that Tennessee gave Alabama a game. The Vols held the Crimson Tide offense to just 364 total yards on the night, just 2.8 yards per rush, and harassed quarterback Jake Coker early and often.

We found out on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa that there is such a thing as a moral victory.

Tennessee earned one against Alabama.

That's big moving forward.

While the SEC East is Florida's to lose, Jones and the Vols have learned valuable lessons during the first two months of the season. 

Jones learned not to coach scared after three horrible losses, Dobbs learned to trust himself in the passing game when he was forced to air things out down three touchdowns against Georgia and the entire program learned it can be a top-tier SEC program on Saturday afternoon.

The next step is becoming one of the first teams mentioned in that conversation.

That might not happen this year. With Kentucky, South Carolina, North Texas, Missouri and Vanderbilt left on the schedule, the Vols shouldn't lose another game before bowl season, nor should they be talked about all that much if they run the table.

They're on the right track, though.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Tennessee vs. Alabama: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

In a low-scoring, defensive clash, the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide outlasted the SEC rival Tennessee Volunteers, 19-14, on Saturday to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive and well.

It wasn't a vintage performance for the 7-1 Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but the defense came through in a big way. Also, running back Derrick Henry once again spearheaded the offense with 28 rushes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with two minutes, 24 seconds remaining.

Tennessee will be left to wonder what could have been as kicker Aaron Medley missed three field goals in what ended up being a five-point loss.

Nevertheless, Alabama came away with its ninth consecutive victory over the Vols.

Despite the result, Tennessee's offense looked solid out of the gates. A missed 43-yard field goal by Medley on the opening drive of the game gave the Tide solid field position on their first drive, though.

Bama took advantage of that as Henry rumbled for a 20-yard touchdown about midway through the first quarter, as seen in this video, courtesy of CBS Sports:

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Henry improved upon his school record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown and closed in on an even more impressive mark as well:

While Alabama seemed poised to run the Vols out of the stadium, Tennessee had an answer on its ensuing drive, as quarterback Joshua Dobbs capped a 10-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Josh Smith.

The junior signal-caller may have been inspired by the fact that current Denver Broncos and former Volunteers quarterback Peyton Manning was present on the sidelines, as seen in this photo, courtesy of Tennessee Football on Twitter:

The offense dried up for both teams from that point forward, although Tennessee had an opportunity to seize the lead entering halftime.

Medley missed his second field goal of the day from 51 yards out, however, which left the score deadlocked at 7-7.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Saturday was another example of Alabama's first-half struggles in home SEC encounters this season:

Per ESPN College Football, head coach Nick Saban isn't accustomed to playing such tightly contested games against the Vols:

Saban was visibly miffed by his team's first-half performance and made it clear that it needed to improve significantly in the second half, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy:

The Tide took Saban's words to heart, as they came out of the locker room firing with a 12-play, 73-yard drive. They sputtered at the 2-yard line, though, and were forced to settle for a field goal.

Tennessee had a chance to answer with a field goal of its own early in the fourth quarter, but Medley was wide again on a 51-yard try.

That gave the Crimson Tide a chance to put the Volunteers on the ropes, but they were once again unable to punch it into the end zone. Adam Griffith converted a 28-yard field goal to put Alabama up, 13-7, with just over seven minutes left in the contest.

Despite Tennessee's offensive struggles, Alabama left the door open for the Vols to potentially take the lead.

That is precisely what happened as Dobbs completed passes of 27 yards and 34 yards to Smith and Josh Malone, respectively, before Jalen Hurd ran for a 12-yard touchdown. Medley tacked on the extra point, and Tennessee shockingly led, 14-13, with 5:49 remaining:

Per Josh Ward of WNML in Knoxville, Tennessee, that play remarkably gave the Volunteers their first lead over Alabama since 2011.

Tennessee's mettle and ability to convert on third downs drew praise from Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:

That put Alabama in a pressure-packed situation, but Saban's team responded as it so often has over the years.

Quarterback Jake Coker wasn't having a great game prior to that drive, but he came through with key completions to ArDarius Stewart and Calvin Ridley to keep the chains moving. It was Bama's workhorse who finished the job, though, as Henry went nearly untouched for a score from 14 yards out:

The Tide's two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, which made the score 19-14 with 2:24 left and gave the Vols one last chance to steal the game.

Tennessee couldn't repeat its previous drive, though, as linebacker Ryan Anderson strip-sacked Dobbs. Alabama recovered the ball and took a series of knees to close it out.

Manning's face said it all, courtesy of SEC on CBS:

As pointed out by Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports 1, it was yet another disappointment for the Volunteers considering how hard they fought in a hostile environment:

Simply getting a win was huge from Alabama's perspective, but there are several issues that must be ironed out before playing No. 5 LSU in two weeks.

In addition to making few big plays in the passing game, the Crimson Tide's pass protection was suspect, as Tennessee pressured Coker often and sacked him five times.

Alabama is still in a good position to win the SEC and make the CFP, but it won't get there if it performs like it did Saturday against a higher level of competition.

 

Postgame Reaction

Alabama was able to escape with a much-needed win Saturday, but it was clear that the Crimson Tide were far from their best against a gritty Tennessee squad.

Saban didn't hesitate to acknowledge that following the contest as he mentioned his team's lack of explosiveness, according to Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News:

Because of that, Saban admitted that he is looking forward to his team getting a week off before a huge meeting with LSU:

Despite the fact that Bama wasn't at its best, Saban was still complimentary of his team's ability to come through with a win.

Per Bleacher Report's Christopher Walsh, Saban gave his players a lot of credit for battling back when things looked dire:

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones was proud of his team as well and insisted that improvements are being made, according to WATE Sports:

While Henry and the defense figure to receive most of the credit for Alabama improving to 7-1, Saban made sure to mention an unsung hero.

It isn't often that quarterbacks fly under the radar, but Coker's 21-of-27 passing performance did to some degree. It didn't go unnoticed from Saban's perspective, however, as he liked what he saw out of his signal-caller, per Marq Burnett of the Anniston Star:

When Alabama plays next, there is little doubt that much of the focus will be on the battle between Henry and LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

That is understandable since both are Heisman Trophy candidates, but the Tide will likely need Coker to make some timely plays like he did Saturday.

Saban is seemingly fully cognizant of the fact that Alabama has a long way to go before it can be crowned SEC champ and CFP participant, but it got the job done against Tennessee and now has an extra week to prepare for the Tigers.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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D.D. Bowie Flips Commitment from Alabama to Ole Miss: Latest Details, Reaction

Four-star athlete D.D. Bowie will be playing in the SEC in 2017, but it'll be for a different school.

Bowie, who committed to Alabama's class of 2017 back in June, has flipped his decision and will enroll at Ole Miss, according to Varsity Preps Player Evaluator Demetric Warren.

Chris Kirschner of SECCountry.com reported Bowie is on an unofficial visit in Oxford and is the first recruit in the '17 class for Ole Miss.

Bowie is a 6-foot-1, 197-pound wide receiver/cornerback from Morton High School in Morton, Mississippi. The junior has had a stellar 2015-16 season for Morton. Although listed as a wide receiver, Bowie has run for 676 yards and 13 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps

He's also caught 21 passes for 704 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games this year. Bowie is on pace to best his sophomore season numbers, in which he caught 41 passes for 945 yards in 2014-15.

If these averages are any indication, Ole Miss has a star receiver in the making to take over the production created by Laquon Treadwell.

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Seth Russell Injury: Updates on Baylor QB's Neck and Return

Baylor University quarterback Seth Russell has a fracture in one of the bones in his neck, according to the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton.  

Continue for updates.

Russell to See a Specialist Next Week Saturday, Oct. 24

Following Baylor's 45-27 win over Iowa State, head coach Art Briles told reporters Russell had suffered a neck strain, per Carlton. However, X-rays and a CT scan revealed the fracture. Carlton added "no timeline" has been announced regarding Russell's injury. 

Taking over as the full-time starter at Baylor in his junior season, Russell has been a touchdown-producing machine, throwing for 29 touchdowns in his first seven games of the season. 

Russell was breaking records and gaining plenty of silverware in the process, especially after his Week 7 performance against West Virginia:

He's led a potent Baylor offense that hasn't scored fewer than 45 points in a game in 2015 on its way to a No. 2 ranking in the national polls. 

Baylor's man under center wasn't just getting it done through the air. A bruising runner for a quarterback, Russell has rushed for an additional 402 yards this year: 

With Russell out, the only other Baylor quarterback to attempt a pass this season is freshman Jarrett Stidham, who has been given reps in garbage time of some of the Bears' biggest blowouts of the season. 

He's been plenty accurate, completing 23 of 27 passes, but he'll now have to lead a high-powered offense full-time as they enter the meat of the Big 12 schedule. If they want to keep their playoff hopes alive, Stidham will have to keep playing at that kind of efficient level and keep the well-oiled machine that is the Bears rolling. 

 

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com

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Ohio State vs. Rutgers: Live Score and Highlights

Ohio State 21, Rutgers 0 — Late 2nd quarter 

Game action is now underway between No. 1 Ohio State (7-0) and Rutgers (3-3). ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 are televising the matchup regionally from Piscataway, New Jersey.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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Utah vs. USC: Live Score and Highlights

USC 28, Utah 17—Halftime

The USC Trojans are attempting to knock off the third-ranked Utah Utes during a Pac-12 matchup on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Fox is televising the conference matchup. Bleacher Report is providing scoring updates, highlights and analysis. Feel free to join the conversation in the comments.

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Utah vs. USC: Live Score and Highlights

USC 28, Utah 17—Early 3rd Quarter The USC Trojans are attempting to knock off the third-ranked Utah Utes during a Pac-12 matchup on Saturday in Los Angeles. Fox is televising the conference matchup...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss: Live Score and Highlights

Ole Miss 16, Texas A&M 3 - Early Third Quarter

Stay tuned for breaking news, commentary and analysis throughout this SEC West clash on ESPN, as the Aggies and Rebels fight it out for an edge within the conference standings. 

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Texas on the Right Track but Making a Bowl Game Won't Be Easy

Three weeks ago, the knives were out in Austin. An extremely ugly 50-7 loss to TCU dropped Texas to 1-4 in Charlie Strong’ second season, and it was fair to wonder if Strong would make it to a third season, much less postseason play this winter.

Since then, Strong has done plenty to right the Longhorns’ listing ship. A 24-17 Red River Rivalry win over Oklahoma was perhaps the most important of his career, and following an open date, the Longhorns ground out a rain-soaked 23-9 win over Kansas State.

At 3-4, talking about a bowl game is once again permissible for those in burnt orange. But the hole that Texas dug itself in the season’s first half won’t be easy to dig out of. Scratching out another bowl trip is possible for Strong, but it’s far from probable.

Let’s get it out of the way. The next two weeks should be easy for the Longhorns. Iowa State can be feisty at times, especially in Ames, but the Cyclones simply don’t have the talent to compete with the Big 12’s upper echelon. And they certainly won’t catch Texas off guard after pushing the ‘Horns hard in a 48-45 loss in Austin last year.

Nov. 7 brings a visit from Kansas, which is perhaps the worst Power Five program and a serious threat to go 0-12 this season. Unless something goes seriously wrong, Strong and Co. will be 5-4 in early November, needing just one win in their final three games to make a bowl game.

That’s where things get dicey. Those three games? At West Virginia, vs. Texas Tech and at Baylor. In other words, much, much tougher. Texas routed the Mountaineers and Red Raiders last season, but the Red Raiders are much improved.

Even before Saturday’s game against Oklahoma, Kliff Kingsbury’s team had already surpassed its win total from 2014’s 4-8 season and averaged 49 points per game, which ranked No. 3 nationally.

West Virginia is struggling at 3-3, but the Mountaineers still possess a potent offense that averages 36 points per game, No. 25 nationally.

And Baylor just keeps rolling at 7-0, with the nation’s top scoring offense (averaging 63.8 points per game entering Saturday).

That’s a problem for Strong’s group. Texas has scored more than 27 points in a game just twice this season, beating Rice and falling to Cal. Saturday, the Horns struggled to put away K-State, outgaining the Wildcats, 373-274.

Quarterback Jerrod Heard passed for just 99 yards on 15 attempts, but backup Tyrone Swoopes did score three rushing touchdowns in short-yardage situations. As a team, Texas rushed for 313 yards, its most since 2013.

If the Longhorns can control the clock with a ground-based offense, they’ll have a chance to slow down the more potent offenses ahead. But it won’t be easy. To lock down a bowl game, they’ll have to score more points.

The most important game? The Nov. 14 trip to West Virginia, which could lock down a crucial sixth win and a postseason trip. Beyond that, making postseason play will be difficult without some serious, sudden offensive improvement. 

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Florida State vs. Georgia Tech: Live Score and Highlights

The Florida State Seminoles and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will square off inside Bobby Dodd Stadium at 7 p.m. ET, and it's a game that Georgia Tech desperately needs to win. 

The Yellow Jackets (2-5, 0-4 ACC) have dropped five games in a row and are still looking for their first ACC win this season. Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) will look to stay in contention for the College Football Playoff and come out of a tough environment in Atlanta, Georgia with a win. 

The game can be found on ESPN2, but follow the live blog here for updates and analysis. 

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