Another thrilling weekend of College Football is in the books! Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights!
The Hat Goes Back to Norman
The OU flag was firmly planted on the 50, and the Golden Hat made its way back to Norman, but not without a good amount of drama.
On the pregame show, I listed two key things that the Sooners needed to do to win the game: Limit big plays, and win the turnover battle. Well, we really didn’t do either of those things, giving up two TDs over 45 yards and turning the ball over 4 times. That is why the game was as close as it was. If the Sooners would’ve played clean, it would’ve been a blowout.
OU was able to oust the Horns despite making a ton of mistakes and getting some bad breaks. The Sooner defense entered the game down four starters (Dimon, Walker, Evans, Johnson), and by halftime they were down two more (Thomas and Quick). Jordan Wade and Matt Romar also appeared to be hurting throughout the game. At times, there were four guys on the field that DIDN’T EVEN GO TO OU LAST YEAR (Beal, Doucet, Jordan parker, Sylvie), plus a fifth that hasn’t played before (Sunderland). Despite letting up a lot of points, credit has to be given to the coaching staff and to the guys that stepped in and performed pretty well overall considering the circumstances.
Offensively, the Sooners rolled in spite of some early mistakes. Dede Westbrook has emerged as the go-to wideout, and Samaje was a workhorse. I’m a bit biased, but the offensive line deserves some credit. They paved the way for nearly 300 yards rushing, and also didn’t even let up a pressure, much less a sack. This group is improving rapidly, and will be even better once they get Jon Alvarez healthy.
What is remarkable about the Sooners’ offensive dominance is that it happened without impressive performances from probably their two most consistent weapons through the first four games: Mark Andrews and Joe Mixon. Both players made uncharacteristic mistakes, yet the offense was not at all crippled because of it. Look for both guys to bounce back in a big way this week against K-State.
The Sooners are clicking on offense, and the defense is improving, regardless of what the statbook says. The fact that OU was able to beat Texas despite the big plays on defense and the turnovers on offense is an indicator of just how much better the Sooners are than the Horns this year. Going forward, the defense needs to simply get healthy, while the offense must continue to orchestrate a balanced attack and develop more of its undiscovered weapons.
Back to the Palace for an early kickoff vs the Wildcats!
College Gameday ventured down to College Station for the clash between unlikely unbeatens Tennessee and A&M, and what a spectacular game it was! Throughout the year, it has seemed that Tennessee is simply destined to win, despite how poorly they look at times. The Vols fell behind 21-7. They had 7 (SEVEN) turnovers. Jalen Hurd and Jalen Reeves-Maybin didn’t play. And yet, somehow, some way, Josh Dobbs and Co. almost pulled off a wild come-from-behind win…… ALMOST. The Ags survived in large part due to the performance of sensational freshman running back Tray Williams’ 217 yards rushing and Trevor’s 5 total TDs.
One particularly play is worth talking about. Late in the fourth quarter, Tray Williams broke down the sideline for what was almost a 71 yard touchdown run. Just before he crossed the Goal Line, Malik Foreman dove and punched the ball out from behind, forcing a touchback and giving Tennessee a chance to go down and tie the game. Two things stood out to me about this play.
- DETAILS MATTER- Williams had the ball in the wrong arm. It’s a tiny detail, but it almost cost A&M the game.
- Foreman Learned- Last week, Foreman was the corner that gave up the TD that almost cost UT the game after he let up, thinking that UGA QB Hunter Eason was not able to throw the ball that far. This week, it was quite the opposite. Foreman pursued when many others would have thought his effort was pointless, and his unrelenting effort gave Tennessee a chance to win. I love seeing players learn from their mistakes.
What continues to impress me about A&M is HOW they are winning. The Aggies are winning football games by running the football and playing defense. Going into the year with zero experience at RB, an elite wide receiving core, and a defense that was much maligned the past several years, it would be very understandable for someone to have predicted that for the Ags to be 6-0 it would mean that they were outscoring opponents and slinging the ball all over the yard. Not at all. They are winning with smashmouth football, which is how the SEC is won.
Now, they get a much needed bye week before their date with the devil (Saban/Bama). They need to get superstars like Myles Garrett and Ricky Seals-Jones healthy to have any kind of chance at rolling the Tide. If Bama can take care of business in Knoxville this weekend (which is no easy task), then Gameday will be headed to Tuscaloosa as Trevor Knight attempts to dethrone Nick Saban and the Tide once again.
On Friday night, the remote in my hotel room refused to work. But that was just fine with me, because the TV was stuck on the ESPN 30 for 30 Special The U: Pt 2. Watching the piece, I was reminded of how incredible the UM-FSU rivalry was in the early 2000s. I grew up in Florida watching those games, and for a few years, I would’ve even considered Miami my second favorite team (I know this is sacrilege as an OU fan). I loved Dan Morgan, Sean Taylor, Willis McGahee, and Devin Hester. On the first ever NCAA football game that I owned, I played with the Canes and threw jump balls up to Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. When my dad’s team won state in 2001 and team captain Brandon Meriweather signed with UM, I started watching every game. In those days, the caliber of football played in that rivalry game was on the level of the NFL, probably because just about every starter on both teams got drafted and had a successful career in the league.
In recent years, the rivalry has fallen on hard times, with both teams goin through some tough years. The UM-FSU game that used to be circled on everyone’s calendars became just another normal ACC matchup. But then Florida St rebounded and returned to an elite level. Now, under Mark Richt, it appears that the Canes may be able to duplicate the Noles’ resurgence. I enjoyed watching a Florida St-Miami game that was intense, physical, and dramatic for the first time in a long time. It even had some signature kicker drama, but this time the joke was on the Canes, as a blocked XP gave the Seminoles a 20-19 win. For the good of college football, I hope that these teams reignite this rivalry in the coming years, and that Miami in particular rises to prominence once again.