Texas overwhelms Oklahoma in Red River blowout; more early Week 7 Snap Judgments
• Texas 36, No. 12 Oklahoma 20: Raise your hand if you saw this result coming. All right, put them down, liars.
A crowd of 92,500 gathered for a game that was billed as Longhorns coach Mack Brown’s last stand. Instead, fans got their first glimpse of the team that was so hyped during the preseason. Texas played great defense (who knew?), quarterback Case McCoy showed excellent touch (unheard of) and the ‘Horns shocked the nation by routing Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.
For the first time, there were signs that Brown's move to switch defensive coordinators midseason -- ditching Manny Diaz in favor of Greg Robinson -- might pay dividends. Robinson’s emphasis on physicality led to a rejuvenated front seven, and his diverse blitzes confused Sooners quarterback Blake Bell into two interceptions.
In fact, a defensive stunt helped Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley pull down a pick late in the first quarter. The former running back rumbled 31 yards to break a 3-3 tie, the last time Oklahoma came close to sharing the lead.
Bell’s second pick of the day -- he had yet to throw one entering Saturday -- also produced Texas points. After Duke Thomas corralled an errant Bell throw in the third quarter, McCoy threw a beautiful 38-yard toss to Mike Davis to extend the lead to 36-13 and effectively put the game out of reach.
McCoy’s statline was hardly dazzling: He went 13-of-21 for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. However, the backup, filling in for the injured David Ash, came through when it mattered. McCoy showed touch and timing and ran the offense efficiently.
Texas did most of its damage on the ground, as tailbacks Johnathan Gray and Malcom Brown combined for 243 yards on 52 carries. By halftime, the Longhorns had already gained 303 yards, 40 more than Oklahoma amassed all game. The ‘Horns were especially good on third down. They converted 13-of-20 attempts, a far cry from their lackluster effort in last year’s 63-21 defeat.
Even Texas’ special teams got in on the fun, as Daje Johnson returned a punt 85 yards to paydirt in the third quarter. Brown’s job appears safe -- for one more week, at least.
• No. 24 Virginia Tech 19, Pittsburgh 9: Virginia Tech continued to stake its claim to the nation’s best defense, as the Hokies completely shut down Pitt, holding the Panthers to 210 yards and one meaningless touchdown (it came with two minutes remained and the outcome already secure). Virginia Tech forced five straight drives ending in punts to open the game.
Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas provided just enough offense, connecting with Kalvin Cline for a 27-yard score and finishing 19-of-34 for 239 yards. Virginia Tech is now bowl eligible at 6-1, and the road ahead seems manageable: Only one of its final five opponents (Miami on Nov. 13) is currently ranked. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 20 Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 35: It’s not getting any easier for Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. His Cyclones came up short once again, this time against Texas Tech and backup quarterback Davis Webb. Filling in for Baker Mayfield, who twisted his knee last week, Webb went 35-of-56 for 415 yards and three scores. Tight end Jace Amaro was the primary target, catching nine balls for 143 yards, while Jakeem Grant, Eric Ward and DeAndre Washington hauled in the touchdown receptions.
Iowa State had limited offensive success, but took advantage of three Red Raiders turnovers and a 95-yard kick return touchdown from Jarvis West -- the first non-onside kick returned for a touchdown for Iowa State since 1994 -- to hang around late. [RECAP l BOX]
• Michigan State 42, Indiana 28: Remember when Michigan State was a defensive-minded team that couldn’t score? Well, maybe first impressions aren’t always accurate.
The Spartans scored six touchdowns -- while giving up a season-high 28 points -- to win their second Big Ten game of the season. Quarterback Connor Cook continued his improvement, going 22-of-31 for 235 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Jeremy Langford and Delton Williams powered the running game with 201 combined yards on 35 carries.
• Nebraska 44, Purdue 7: Maybe Nebraska’s defense has improved from the unit that gave up six yards per carry to FCS South Dakota State. Then again, maybe Purdue is just that bad. The Boilermakers gained a paltry 32 yards on 25 carries and lost a fumble on Saturday.
Nebraska’s offense rolled without quarterback Taylor Martinez, gaining 251 yards on the ground. Ron Kellogg III fared better than Tommy Armstrong Jr. Kellogg went 10-of-13 for 141 yards and a touchdown. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 14 South Carolina 52, Arkansas 7: Arkansas opened the scoring with a six-yard Alex Collins touchdown, but it never mustered points again, as the Razorbacks showed little resistance before dropping to 0-3 in the SEC for the first time since 2007. Not a good start for first-year coach Bret Bielema.
Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw tossed three touchdowns before leaving the game, while tailback Mike Davis picked up 128 yards on the ground. Jadeveon Clowney had a minimal impact, making just one tackle in the game.