Red River Shootout Decided by Defense
How about that Oklahoma defense? They had some good performances this year, albeit against sub-.500 teams such as Houston, UCLA, and Kansas, but they took a huge step in the right direction against in the Sooners 34-27 win over rivals Texas. Alex Grinch has done some amazing work with a defense that ranked 101st last season in giving up 33 points a game, and it showed in the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma ran through Texas’ offensive line all game, sacking Longhorn QB Sam Ehlinger nine times in the game and also having 15 total tackles for loss, compared to just one sack and three TFLs in the RRR last year in a game that led to the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners held Texas to just 83 yards in the first half, and could have put the game out of reach if not for two turnovers by Jalen Hurts. It seems Oklahoma finally has a good defense to go with their explosive offense, and that could make the difference as they go for their first win in the College Football Playoff.
The Longhorns were able to stick around for most of the game, but some shoddy tackling, particularly on CeeDee Lamb’s second touchdown of the game, prevented them from ever being able to take a lead. Injuries haven’t helped, but the Longhorns will need to perform better in order to make the Big 12 Championship Game for the second straight season.
LSU Strengthens Their Playoff Push
The day didn’t start off great for the SEC with preseason CFP favorite Georgia getting upset 20-17 by South Carolina, becoming the first real contender to take a loss this season. But the conference recovered at night, with perhaps a new favorite emerging.
It was easy not to take the LSU offense very seriously even after they put up 45 or more points on Georgia Southern, Vanderbilt, and even Texas. But once they put up 42 on a top-10 Florida defense, it’s time to call this offense legit. Their 511 total yards was their second-lowest total on the season, but Tigers QB Joe Burrow was extremely efficient going 21/24 with 293 yards and three touchdowns against a defense that had decimated Auburn’s Bo Nix just one week ago. The Gators were allowing an average of 9.3 points per game heading into Saturday night in Death Valley, but the LSU offense proved to be too much to handle. Burrow also became the only QB to complete 70 percent of his passes and account for three touchdowns and 300 total yards against Florida in the past decade.
LSU is now leading the nation in scoring offense with 52.5 points per and sit in second in passing yards and total yards per game. The defense may need some work with games against Auburn and Alabama coming up in the next month, even if the offense can keep the Tigers in any game. Head Coach Ed Orgeron deserves a ton of credit for becoming a big game coach, his LSU teams are now 5-1 against top-10 teams since the start season, with seven wins against AP top-10 opposition since 2016; only Nick Saban and Urban Meyer have more. Orgeron’s willingness to change the LSU offensive tradition from a run-first offense to a high powered passing offense has worked and could help push the Tigers towards their first-ever CFP birth. They already have the most impressive pair of wins so far this year with this win over Florida coupled with a Week 2 road victory against Texas.
Top Games of Week 8
(17) Arizona State at (14) Utah
(2) Clemson at Louisville
(12) Oregon at Washington
Kansas at (15) Texas
(16) Michigan at (7) Penn State
Tennessee at (1) Alabama
Three Stars of Week 7
1) Israel Mukuamu, DB, South Carolina
11 Total Tackles, 3 INT, TD
Georgia QB Jake Fromm had yet to throw an interception on the season heading into the game against South Carolina, Mukuamu ended that streak by picking Fromm off three times, the first of which he returned for a 53-yard touchdown. His other two interceptions came in the fourth quarter and first overtime period of the Gamecocks 20-17 win, their first win over a ranked opponent since 2016. The 6’4″ Mukuamu also contributed 11 tackles to his teams’ effort. We’ll see if Mukuamu can repeat his performance next week when South Carolina faces another top-10 opponent in Florida.
2) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
10 Rec, 171 Yds, 3 TD
The picture seen above where Lamb is surrounded by four standing defenders, and another who he juked out of his shoes?
He turned that into a touchdown.
Lamb ran all over the Texas defense and caught all three of Jalen Hurts touchdown passes in the Sooners Red River Shootout win. He has caught a touchdown in every game this season, and this was his second three-touchdown game of the year. Oklahoma plays West Virginia in Norman next week, so Lamb is a good bet to catch another score.
3) Jack Abraham, QB, Southern Miss
29/36, 421 Yds, 4 TD(1 Rush)
Abraham has quietly been one of the better quarterbacks in the C-USA this season, and he had another great game in the Golden Eagles 45-27 victory over North Texas. He completed passes to seven different receivers and had his second straight game with three touchdown passes. The nations fourth leading passer and Southern Miss travel to Louisiana Tech next week in a game that could help decide the C-USA West.
Lynn Bowden Jr, QB/WR, Kentucky: 7/11, 78 Yds, TD; 24 Att, 196 Yds, 2 TD, Former HS QB made his first college start
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State: 44/64, 466 Yds, 3 TD
Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State: 26/36, 363 Yds, 3 TD; 10 Att, 23 Yds, TD
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma: 16/28, 235 Yds, 3 TD, INT; 17 Att, 131 Yds, TD
Jack Plummer, QB, Purdue: 33/41, 420 Yds, 3 TD
Jordan Cronkrite, RB, USF: 26 Att, 158 Yds, 2 TD
Kobe Lewis/Jonathan Ward, RBs, Central Michigan: Combined 41 Att, 292 Yds, 3 TD
Zack Moss, RB, Utah: 5 Att, 121 Yds, 2 TD
Bryson Carroll, RB, New Mexico: 26 Att, 193 Yds, TD
Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest: 12 Rec, 196 Yds, 3 TD
Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss: 8 Rec, 198 Yds, TD
Austin Watkins, WR, UAB: 6 Rec, 167 Yds, TD
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: 7 Rec, 196 Yds, 3 TD
Warren Jackson, WR, Colorado State: 9 Rec, 214 Yds, 2 TD
Image Credit: KHOU-11