Oklahoma stops late 2-point try, tops Oklahoma State 48-47
By Cliff Brunt
AP Sports Writer
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma escaped again.
And in what the Sooners call “Championship November,” nothing is more important.
Kyler Murray passed for 349 yards and ran for 66 and No. 6 Oklahoma survived a late two-point conversion attempt to beat Oklahoma State 48-47 on Saturday. The Sooners continued their push for a Big 12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff by winning their 15th consecutive November game dating to 2014.
It was another close call — the victory came a week after Oklahoma edged Texas Tech 51-46. The Sooners will take the shootouts as long as they keep getting the best of them.
“As bad as we played on defense, coming out with a ‘W’ is all that matters,” Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Bolton said. “You can play good defense and lose a game, and it doesn’t matter that you played good defense. It matters that you lost the game. So even if you’re playing bad defense, we played good when it counted and came out with a ‘W,’ and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.”
Oklahoma nearly saw its chances of reaching its goals vanish. Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius connected with Tylan Wallace on a 24-yard touchdown pass to cut Oklahoma’s lead to one with 1:03 to play. Oklahoma State went for two, but Cornelius threw short and into coverage, Oklahoma’s Tre Brown got his hand on the ball and the pass fell incomplete.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was confident in his decision to go for two.
“As the game was going back and forth, on the road, struggling stopping them — probably the best thing,” he said. “Had a shot at it, just didn’t make a good throw.”
Oklahoma recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
That’s why they call it Bedlam,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “It lived up to the name, lived up to the rivalry. Tremendous game.”
Kennedy Brooks ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns, Trey Sermon ran for 124 yards and two scores and Marquise Brown caught eight passes for 142 yards and a score for the Sooners (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 6 CFP).
Cornelius passed for a career-high 501 yards and three touchdowns for the Cowboys (5-5, 2-5). Wallace caught 10 passes for 220 yards and two scores. Chuba Hubbard ran for 104 yards and three scores, but he lost a critical fumble in the fourth quarter.
In all, Oklahoma State gained 640 yards in a rough outing for Oklahoma interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill’s unit.
“Were we at our best tonight? No,” Riley said. “Especially in the first half. Especially there. We did miss more tackles than we have been missing. It’s something that we’re going to have to do better.”
Oklahoma State took a 35-34 lead in the third quarter on Hubbard’s 2-yard run, but the Sooners responded quickly. Brooks had a 5-yard touchdown on the last play of the third quarter to give Oklahoma a 41-35 lead.
Hubbard scored again with 12:20 to play, but Oklahoma State kicker Matt Ammendola missed the extra point, leaving the score tied at 41.
With Oklahoma State driving for the lead, Hubbard fumbled, and Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray recovered with 6:09 to play. Oklahoma took advantage when Trey Sermon powered in from the 1 with 3:29 left, setting up Oklahoma State’s final drive.
For all that Cornelius accomplished — he produced the third-highest passing yardage total in Oklahoma State history — he missed the pass he needed most.
“Sometimes in life, things don’t always go your way,” Gundy said. “But I told the team I couldn’t be any more proud of them. Came to the fight, stood tall and said, ‘Here I am.’ That’s what we asked them to do, and that’s what they did.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have an offense that can compete with any team in the Big 12, but the defense gave up 702 yards. Oklahoma State has allowed at least 30 points in five straight games.
Oklahoma: The Sooners continue to score almost at will, but their defense, though showing signs of improvement, continues to struggle.
No. 14 Utah State 62, SJSU 24
LOGAN, Utah (AP) — A record-setting performance moved Utah State one step closer to playing for the Mountain West Conference championship.
The 14th-ranked Aggies totaled 804 yards of offense and 33 first downs on their way to a 62-24 win over San Jose State on Saturday. They broke a school record for yardage and became just the 17th team in NCAA history to gain at least 800 total yards in a game.
It gave Utah State (9-1, 6-0 MW) a ninth straight victory. The Aggies are the only team undefeated in Mountain West play.
“We want to be on a collision course for the Mountain West championship,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said. “Our goals are consistent around here. I’ve said that since when I got hired.”
Jordan Love threw for a career-high 491 yards and five touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing in just three quarters to lead the Aggies. Love’s 491 passing yards were the third-highest single game total for a Utah State quarterback.
Darwin Thompson had 140 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries along with 115 yards and a pair of scores on four receptions for the Aggies.
Utah State was equally impressive on the other side of the ball. The Aggies held San Jose State to 56 rushing yards and forced three turnovers.
“We literally talked about things we wanted to do in January and we’re watching it happen now,” senior safety Jontrell Rocquemore said. “It’s probably one of the best feelings I can describe to be able to do it.”
Josh Love threw for 210 yards and a touchdown, along with a pair of interceptions, to lead San Jose State. Tre Walker added a career-high 209 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches for the Spartans (1-9, 1-5 MW), who lost their second straight game.
Utah State shook off a slow start and quickly buried San Jose State before halftime. The Aggies piled up 453 total yards and 22 first downs in the first half. Jordan Love passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns before halftime.
“Their quarterback is brilliant,” Spartans coach Brent Brennan said. “Obviously, his ability to deliver the ball accurately while under duress is amazing.”
The Spartans initially seized a 7-0 lead after capitalizing on a special-teams mistake by the Aggies. Utah State punter Taylor Hintze tried to get off a punt after fielding a low snap. The ball sailed right into the arms of Tre Jenkins at the line of scrimmage, and Jenkins returned the punt 41 yards for a touchdown.
Utah State evened the score on a 42-yard catch by Jordan Nathan that capped off the team’s second drive. Then, in the second quarter, the Aggies took over.
Gerold Bright took a screen pass and raced 24 yards to break a 10-10 tie in the first of four consecutive drives that ended in touchdowns. Jordan Love punched one in on a 1-yard keeper. Bright got his second touchdown on a 29-yard run that Tipa Galeai set up when he tipped a pass to himself for an interception at the Spartans’ 29. Thompson finished it off by hauling in a 7-yard pass from Love to give USU a 38-10 halftime lead.
Love threw his final two touchdown passes in the third quarter — a 37-yard strike to Jalen Greene and an 88-yarder to Thompson — to extend Utah State’s lead to 59-17 with 4:33 left in the quarter.
No. 12 Kentucky 7
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee spoiled this Kentucky team’s streak-busting reputation and maintained its home domination of the rivalry.
Jarrett Guarantano threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway on the final play of the first half and Darrell Taylor recorded four sacks as Tennessee trounced No. 12 Kentucky 24-7 on Saturday. Tennessee has won its last 17 home games against Kentucky, which hasn’t beaten the Volunteers at Neyland Stadium since 1984.
“I think the whole team felt very confident going into this game,” Guarantano said. “I know we were struggling last week (a 14-3 victory over Charlotte), but this week was different.”
Tennessee (5-5, 2-4 SEC) has reason to feel confident whenever it hosts Kentucky (7-3, 5-3, No. 11 College Football Playoff).
Kentucky had ended one long run of futility earlier this season when it won 27-16 at Florida to snap a 31-game skid in that series. But the Wildcats couldn’t reverse their history of frustration in Knoxville.
“I didn’t know nothing about the streak until yesterday,” Kentucky defensive end/outside linebacker Josh Allen said. “I wasn’t worried about no streak. I was worried about getting our next win and just go from there.”
Tennessee broke the game open by scoring two touchdowns in the last three minutes of the second quarter.
After Tim Jordan’s 3-yard TD run gave Tennessee a 10-0 lead with 2:56 left before halftime, the Vols forced a punt and got the ball back at their own 28-yard line with a minute remaining.
Tennessee initially appeared intent on running out the clock, but the Vols called a timeout after Ty Chandler’s 14-yard carry with 13 seconds left. Guarantano threw a 17-yard completion to Callaway that put Tennessee on Kentucky’s 39 with 6 seconds remaining.
Rather than trying a short, quick pass to set up a long field-goal attempt, Guarantano threw deep. Callaway was at the front of a crowd in the right side of the end zone when he snared the ball to give Tennessee a 17-0 halftime advantage.
“We were a little bit out of field-goal range, so we took a shot in the end zone,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “I thought Jarrett did a good job evading a little bit of rush there, stepped up in the pocket and made a good throw to give us a chance, and Marquez went up and got it.”
Guarantano went 12 of 20 for 197 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Dominick Wood-Anderson that extended Tennessee’s advantage to 24-0 in the third quarter. That lead proved insurmountable against a dispirited Kentucky squad.
Kentucky’s hopes for its first SEC championship game appearance had disappeared with a 34-17 loss to No. 5 Georgia (No. 5 CFP) last week, but the Wildcats still were in position for a potential New Year’s Six bowl appearance if they had won their final three-regular season games.
The Wildcats now likely must settle for a less prestigious bowl. Tennessee is one victory away from bowl eligibility after going winless in SEC competition last year.
“I thought we were very prepared going into the game, but it showed on the field that we weren’t,” Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad said. “They were more hungry than us tonight for whatever reason.”
Kentucky’s only points came on Terry Wilson’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Conrad with 1:56 left in the third quarter.
No. 4 Michigan 42,
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Shea Patterson has stamped Michigan a national title contender.
Patterson threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns, Karan Higdon ran for a pair of 1-yard scores and the fourth-ranked Wolverines routed Rutgers 42-7 on Saturday for their ninth straight win.
Patterson threw darts in swirling winds in front of thousands of fans bundled in Michigan colors. Up ahead, another week with national title hopes in the Big House.
“The one thing I think we do a really good job of is not getting distracted by where we are now,” Patterson said, “and don’t let that distract us from where we want to be.”
The Wolverines (9-1, 7-0, No. 4 CFP) remain in first place in the Big Ten’s East Division. They have a final tuneup against Indiana next weekend before closing the regular season at No. 8 Ohio State.
Michigan hasn’t lost since the season opener against No. 3 Notre Dame and would have to beat the Buckeyes for just the second time in 15 years to keep any hope at a national title alive.
Patterson kept his focus and Michigan reaped the rewards.
The Wolverines showed no signs of any slipup against lowly Rutgers (1-9, 0-7), holding the Scarlet Knights without a yard passing on the stat sheet until the third quarter. The Wolverines took the field on a chilly night in front of thousands of fans in blue-and-maize winter hats and jackets who turned Rutgers into a Big House East.
Michigan’s win was never in doubt — it was a 38 1/2-point favorite and had outscored Rutgers 162-30 over their last three meetings. Michigan’s 78-0 win two years ago in Piscataway was perhaps the most horrifying defeat of Rutgers’ 149 seasons.
The only upset Saturday came in the total time it took Michigan to score. The Wolverines didn’t take the lead until Higdon’s 1-yard run with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
Rutgers tied it at 7 when Isaih Pacheco took off for an 80-yard TD run, the longest rushing score for a freshman in program history. He finished with 142 yards on 16 carries.
A few thousand Rutgers fans were suddenly pumped, but the threat of a monster upset was quickly wiped out. Higdon gave Michigan a 14-7 lead on a 1-yard run, and Patterson hit Collins for a 36-yard score. Collins was comically open — the Rutgers students in the end-zone seats were closer to him than any defender — and it was clear at that point the Wolverines were rolling.
Patterson continued to play like the quarterback the Wolverines have been missing in search of a national title for the Jim Harbaugh era. Patterson, named a finalist this week for the Davey O’Brien award, is on the board at Las Vegas with the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy. He didn’t necessarily play like the best player in college football against Rutgers, but the Mississippi transfer didn’t have to be at his best.
Patterson has thrown a touchdown pass to seven receivers this season and No. 7 was Oliver Martin in the third quarter. Martin’s 16-yard haul was his first career touchdown.
Patterson had his fifth three-touchdown game of the season when he found Collins again for a 10-yard score and a 35-7 lead.