Football Top 25: Baylor ends Oklahoma State's perfect season
Stillwater, Okla. — Even with its third-string quarterback, Baylor's top-ranked offense moved with its usual efficiency.
Chris Johnson threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, and No. 10 Baylor beat previously unbeaten Oklahoma State 45-35 on Saturday night to climb back into the College Football Playoff picture.
Baylor starter Jarrett Stidham took several hard hits in the first half and did not play after the break. Original starter Seth Russell is out for the season after he fractured a bone in his neck.
Johnson kept the offense moving, passing for 138 yards and running for 42. Baylor coach Art Briles said he expected Johnson to be effective.
"Everything he did was not surprising to us," Briles said. "He is an extremely talented player that just has a gracious attitude about him. He's just a great, great teammate. I'm really happy for him from that standpoint tonight."
Briles said Stidham was in bad shape after the game, and his status at TCU on Friday is uncertain.
"Honestly, he's not very good," Briles said. "We'll have to hustle to see whether he's able to go six days from now. It's his right ankle and hand. He got the hand hit real early in the game.
"It's real puffy, it's swollen up. They don't think there's a break in there. I'm not sure they've X-rayed it. He was having trouble gripping the ball."
The Bears still gained 700 yards and ran 104 plays. They ran for 304 yards and passed for 396. KD Cannon caught five passes for 210 yards to help the Bears bounce back from a 44-34 loss to Oklahoma last week.
"I wouldn't say we were mad," Cannon said. "We were hungry. Everybody was talking down on us once again. We was hungry to show that we can be successful again."
Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 10 CFP) also remained in the mix for the conference title.
Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1, No. 6 CFP), though still a contender in the Big 12, likely is out of playoff conversation. The Cowboys would at worst share the Big 12 championship with a win next Saturday at home against Oklahoma. The Sooners squeaked past TCU 30-29 on Saturday night.
Mason Rudolph passed for 430 yards and three touchdowns, and James Washington and Jalen McCleskey each caught two touchdown passes for the Cowboys, but the Cowboys rushed for 8 yards on 23 carries.
Baylor, which entered Saturday's game leading the nation in yards per game and points per game, set the tone immediately. Corey Coleman caught a 48-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, then Shock Linwood's 5-yard touchdown run put the Bears ahead 56 seconds into the game.
Less than a minute later, Oklahoma State got a scare when Brandon Sheperd was ruled to have fumbled and Baylor took it in for a touchdown. The call was reversed.
Baylor eventually scored anyway after Oklahoma State punted. Stidham threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Cannon to make it 14-0 with 11:56 left in the first quarter.
A 39-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Washington tied it 14.
Baylor went ahead on a 1-yard run by Devin Chafin, and a short field goal put the Bears up 24-14 at halftime. Baylor gained 439 yards and ran 61 plays in the first half, but had two critical fumbles that kept Oklahoma State in the game. It was the fifth time the Cowboys trailed at the half in their past eight games.
Stidham completed 12 of 22 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Johnson threw touchdown passes on his first two possessions of the second half to put the Bears in control.
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(At) No. 1 Clemson 33, Wake Forest 13: Deshaun Watson and Clemson enjoyed another big day and kept on track for the College Football Playoff.
Watson threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth, leading the Tigers (11-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) to their seventh straight game with over 500 yards.
Watson started the scoring with a 3-yard run, then connected on TD passes of 44 yards to Charone Peake, 11 yards to Deon Cain and 47 yards to Germone Hopper.
The Tigers gained 506 yards against a Demon Deacons defense that held Notre Dame to 282 yards a week earlier.
All that stands in the way of a perfect, 12-0 regular season for Clemson is next week’s game at archrival South Carolina, which lost to FCS opponent Citadel earlier Saturday.
Wake Forest (3-8, 1-6), which has lost five straight and seven of its past eight, gained only 152 yards.
(At) No. 3 Alabama 56, Charleston Southern 6: Cyrus Jones returned two punts for touchdowns and Derrick Henry also scored twice in Alabama’s romp.
The Crimson Tide (10-1, No. 2 CFP) led 49-0 by halftime against the Buccaneers (9-2), who are bound for the FCS playoffs. Alabama is hoping to join them in the FBS version and can clinch an SEC West title with a victory next week at Auburn.
Jones scored on returns of 43 and 72 yards. He’s the only Alabama player to score twice on punt returns, according to school records dating to 1944. He’s also the first Tide player to have touchdowns on punt returns in consecutive games.
Henry tied Trent Richardson’s Alabama single-season record of 21 touchdowns before sitting out the second half. He had nine carries for 68 yards.
(At) No. 7 Oklahoma 30, No. 11 TCU 29: Oklahoma’s Steven Parker batted away Bram Kohlhausen’s 2-point conversion attempt with less than a minute left and the Sooners survived a late rally to beat the Horned Frogs.
After trailing 30-13 in the fourth quarter, TCU had a chance to tie the game after Kohlhausen’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Emanuel Porter with 51 seconds remaining. Instead, the Horned Frogs went for the win by attempting the 2-point conversion but were turned away by Parker’s late play.
Samaje Perine ran for 188 yards and a touchdown and Heisman Trophy contender Baker Mayfield completed 9 of 20 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns for Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, No. 7 CFP) before leaving with an apparent head injury after the first half.
Without offensive stars Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson, TCU (9-2, 6-2, No. 18 CFP) turned the ball over four times, leading to 24 Oklahoma points.
(At) No. 8 Florida 20, Florida Atlantic 14 (OT): Treon Harris threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee in overtime to lift the Gators.
Florida (10-1, No. 8 CFP) was favored by more than 30 points, but was sluggish the whole game. In overtime, Florida scored on its third play but the extra point attempt was blocked.
Florida Atlantic (2-9) had a first-and-goal at the 9. A sack and three incompletions in the end zone ended the Owls’ upset bid.
The shaky win enabled Jim McElwain to become the first Florida coach to win 10 games in his first season with the school.
No. 12 North Carolina 30, (at) Virginia Tech 27 (OT): Marquise Williams hit Quinshad Davis with a 5-yard pass in overtime and North Carolina spoiled retiring coach Frank Beamer’s final home game at Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels (10-1, 7-0 ACC, No. 17 CFP) won their 10th in a row and wrapped up the Coastal Division title after blowing a 14-point lead in the final three minutes of regulation.
Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4) tied it on Michael Brewer’s 4-yard, fourth-down pass to Isaiah Ford with 1:07 remaining, but the Hokies had to settle for a field goal to begin the overtime.
(At) No. 15 Stanford 35, California 22: Christian McCaffrey ran around and through the California defense on a 49-yard touchdown catch and also scored on a 98-yard kickoff return to help Stanford clinch a spot in the Pac-12 championship game.
McCaffrey ran for 192 yards and gained a school-record 389 all-purpose yards in another highlight-reel performance that gave the Cardinal (9-2, 8-1, No. 11 CFP) their sixth straight win over the Golden Bears (6-5, 3-5). The Cardinal will play the winner of next week’s game between UCLA and Southern California for the Pac-12 title on Dec. 5 in Santa Clara.
(At) UConn 20, No. 13 Houston 17: Noel Thomas caught two touchdown passes for Connecticut, including a 45-yarder on a trick play in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies held the previously unbeaten Cougars to 318 yards of offense, almost 200 below their season average.
Houston quarterback Kyle Postma, playing in place of Heisman hopeful Greg Ward Jr., threw for 185 yards and a touchdown. Ward came in during Houston’s last drive, but had a pass intercepted by Jamar Summers, and Connecticut (6-5, 4-3 American Athletic) ran out the clock.
Houston (10-1, 6-1, No. 19 CFP) hosts Navy next Saturday for a spot in the Dec. 5 conference championship game.
(At) No. 16 Florida State 52, Chattanooga 13: Sean Maguire threw two touchdown passes and Dalvin Cook had his seventh 100-yard rushing game and added two more scores for Florida State.
Maguire was 12-of-17 for 152 yards in two-plus quarters, while Cook had 15 carries for 106 yards in a game that was more like a warm-up for the Seminoles game next week against No. 8 Florida.
Florida State (9-2, No. 14 CFP) scored on eight straight drives against Chattanooga (8-3), a team that has clinched a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
(At) No. 25 Mississippi 38, No. 17 LSU 17: Chad Kelly threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns and Mississippi gave LSU its first three-game losing streak since 1999.
Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 22 CFP) jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter. Kelly completed 19 of 34 passes and also ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU (7-3, 4-3, No. 15 CFP) rallied in the third quarter to cut it to 24-17, but the Rebels responded with two quick touchdowns. LSU star running back Leonard Fournette had 108 yards on 25 carries.
UCLA 17, (at) No. 18 Utah 9: As if facing USC next week wasn’t already big enough, UCLA is now officially one victory from playing in its first Pac-12 championship game since 2012 after beating Utah.
The Bruins (8-3, 5-3) and crosstown rival USC (7-4, 5-3) will play in a winner-take-all game with the Pac-12 South and the right to play for a conference championship on the line. UCLA hasn’t won a conference title since 1998.
Josh Rosen threw for 220 yards and a touchdown as UCLA ended the Utes’ Pac-12 title hopes.
“I hope we don’t get ranked after this game because for some reason we don’t like playing ahead,” Rosen said. “We like when people doubt us. We just have that kind of fighter mentality; we got a lot of dogs on our team. All we want to do is fight.”
The Bruins seemed all but out of the Pac-12 race after back-to-back conference losses in early October. The Bruins could have been officially eliminated after a loss to Washington State two weeks ago, but losses around the conference kept coach Jim Mora’s team alive.
“That is what we expect,” Mora said. “That is the kind of kids we have. They’re from diverse backgrounds. A lot of these young men could have given up in life a long time ago. But, that’s not their character."
The Bruins scored touchdowns on two long drives to start the first and third quarters and that was enough against the short-handed Utes (8-3, 5-3). Star running back Devontae Booker is out for the remainder of the season after having knee surgery Thursday. The senior suffered a torn meniscus and bone bruise in his left knee last week against Arizona.
No. 19 Navy 44, (at) Tulsa 21: Quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for 81 yards and a touchdown while directing a Navy offense that rolled up 512 yards.
Reynolds, who also threw for a touchdown, became Navy’s career rushing leader with 4,195 yards, breaking Napoleon McCallum’s record of 4,179 yards. He has 82 career touchdowns, one behind the career NCAA touchdown record of 83 set by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.
Navy (9-1, 7-0, No. 16 CFP) will play at Houston (10-1, 6-1) for the American Athletic Conference West Division title Friday and a spot in the league title game.
Tulsa (5-6, 2-5) has a final chance to become bowl eligible Friday at Tulane.
(At) No. 23 Oregon 48, No. 22 Southern California 28: Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns as Oregon took its fifth straight victory.
The Ducks (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12, No. 23 CFP) have not dropped a game since Adams returned from a finger injury he sustained in the season opener against Eastern Washington. It was the third game since coming back that he’s thrown for 300 or more yards and at least four scores.
Royce Freeman rushed for 147 yards in his seventh straight game going above the 100-yard mark.
Cody Kessler completed 30 of 41 passes for 248 yards and two scores for the Trojans (7-4, 5-3, No. 24 CFP), who dropped to 4-2 under interim coach Clay Helton.
(At) No. 24 Washington State 27, Colorado 3: Gabe Marks and Dom Williams both had touchdown receptions as Cougars quarterback Luke Falk was carted off the field with an apparent head injury.
Falk was taken off the field on a backboard with 8:16 left in the third quarter after being sacked by Samson Kafovalu. Falk, whose head slammed against the turf on a below-freezing night on the Palouse, appeared to be knocked out and was tended to on the field for 7 minutes. His facemask was removed and he was immobilized as he was carted away. Falk gave two thumbs up and waved his hands as he left the field.
Falk finished 27 of 35 for 199 yards and one touchdown. The Cougars (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12) have a short turnaround before facing rival Washington in the Apple Cup on Friday.