Tulsa tops ECU with late touchdown drive
Tulsa (3-1, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) recovered from an offensively anemic first half and a 17-3 halftime deficit to take, surrender, and ultimately retake the lead in the fourth quarter.
Golden Hurricane quarterback Zach Smith threw two interceptions in the first half but regrouped for second-half scoring strikes of 25 yards to Keylon Stokes and 39 yards to JuanCarlos Santana.
Smith's most important completion may have been a 13-yarder on the winning drive to Josh Johnson, whose sliding reception on fourth-and-5 was upheld upon review. The make-or-break play led to an 18-yard Wilkerson run, setting himself up for his second touchdown run of the night on the ensuing, goal-line snap with 29 seconds to go.
Wilkerson finished with 89 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his return to the lineup after he missed the Golden Hurricane's Oct. 24 rout of South Florida.
East Carolina (1-4, 1-3) overwhelmed Tulsa in the first half to hold the Golden Hurricane to 133 yards by halftime. Warren Saba and Shawn Dourseau intercepted Smith passes, and a fourth-down stop gave the Pirates' offense room to operate.
Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers threw two of his three touchdown passes in the first half, finding Tyler Snead from 16 yards out and C.J. Johnson from 25 yards.
Ahlers -- who finished with 330 yards on 38-of-50 passing with one interception -- threw his third score on a fourth-down play late in the fourth quarter. He found Rahjai Harris on a 4-yard rollout to answer Santana's high-stepping score on the previous drive, which had given Tulsa its first lead of the night.
Harris' TD put the Pirates up 30-27 with 4:24 to play.
Tulsa scored efficiently in the second half, consuming just 1:37, 2:56 and 3:20 on its first three touchdown drives. In contrast, East Carolina's scoring drives included possessions of 4:18, 4:08 and 4:50.
East Carolina managed just six total points in the second half on three drives stifled at the Tulsa 5-, 4- and 11-yard lines.
Noyer wins Colorado's QB job
Noyer, a graduate senior, won the role over junior Tyler Lytle.
"Sam got the nod, but we are really, really impressed with what Tyler has done this camp and ... he's going to get a chance to play some," Dorrell said.
Noyer served as a backup quarterback for two years before then-coach Mel Tucker shifted him to safety in 2019. After graduating in the spring, Noyer put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, but after Tucker exited for Michigan State and Dorrell took over, the new coach convinced him to stay and battle for the quarterback job.
Then-senior Steven Montez was Colorado's starting quarterback last season as the team went 5-7. Montez completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,808 yards with 17 touchdown tosses and 10 interceptions.
Noyer, who is from Beaverton, Ore., played 10 games on defense last season but produced just one tackle. The previous two years, he saw spot duty at quarterback, hitting on 21 of 41 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Noyer said of getting word that he won the starting job, "Obviously I was excited and happy to hear that, definitely high emotions. I celebrated for a couple hours and then went back to work. My mindset has shifted toward UCLA now. We have been going in camp mode, going against our ones, and now we're getting into scout (team work).
"I didn't know I was going to be a Buff again. There was a time I didn't think this was possible. I am just glad I made the decision to come back here and things worked out. Now, I have to go prove it."
Lytle, from Redondo Beach, Calif., completed 4 of 6 passes for 55 yards and an interception over the past two seasons.
"He has got to be ready," Noyer said of Lytle. "We are breaking film down together all the time. I wouldn't say anything was awkward. He took it like a man and he is preparing like he is going to be the guy. I want that.
"I want competition throughout the season. I want to have him push me to get better and to be ready to go come game one, game two, game three and so on."
Terrapins shock Minnesota in overtime thriller
The sophomore quarterback was 26-of-35 passing, and his 2-yard run in the first overtime put the Terrapins (1-1, 1-1), who overcame a 17-point second-half deficit, ahead 45-38. Minnesota (0-2, 0-2) answered with Seth Green's 2-yard run but kicker Brock Walker pushed the extra point wide right to allow Maryland to snap an eight-game losing streak dating to last season.
Baltimore native Mohamed Ibrahim had career highs of 41 rushing attempts for 207 yards and he tied the school record with four touchdowns in a game. He looked like the game's big hero as he helped Minnesota rally from two touchdowns behind in the first half.
The two teams combined for 1,126 total yards, 675 by the Terrapins, including a career-high 221 yards rushing from redshirt senior Jake Funk on 21 rushes. Funk missed all of last season with a torn ACL. His 19-yard scoring run with just 3:38 to play capped the Terrapins' improbable comeback after Minnesota scored 31 unanswered points.
The Gophers trailed 21-7 following Tagovailoa's 76-yard touchdown pass to Jeshuan Jones at 2:24 of the first quarter, but Minnesota rattled off the next 21 points to lead 28-21 at the half, Ibrahim slamming in from one yard at 2:46 to provide that margin. It was 21-14 when defensive tackle DeAngelo Carter intercepted a deflected pass to set up Ibrahim's third short scoring run.
For the second straight game, Maryland drove for a score on the opening drive, this time Tagovailoa cashing in on an 8-yard pass to Funk for a 7-0 lead at 10:07, the culmination of an 11-play march. Tagovailoa escaped trouble in the backfield and dashed 39 yards for another score on the next possession. The sophomore quarterback rushed for 59 yards in addition to becoming Maryland's first 300-yard passer in a game since 2013.
It's the beginning of a big weeked for the Taovailoas with older brother Tua scheduled to make his first NFL start Sunday for the Miami Dolphins.
Tanner Morgan was an efficient 10-of-15 for 189 yards for Minnesota, including a 39-yard touchdown to Chris Autman-Bell to make it 35-21 at 11:54 of the third period.
Dontay Demus was Tagovailoa's top target with seven receptions for 101 yards, including a 25-yard score at 13:14 of the fourth quarter to make it 38-28, and start the comeback, the third largest in the fourth quarter (17 points) in the Big Ten since 2004.
Maryland travels to Penn State next Saturday, looking to snap a five-game losing streak to their nearest Big Ten brethren. Minnesota is at Illinois before the Gophers host back-to-back home contest against
Adjusted bowl season to kick off Dec. 19
The bowl season kicks off Dec. 19 with the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl at Frisco, Texas, and the run of 37 games will almost all be played in a two-week stretch that ends Jan. 2 with four games: TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and the Capital One Orange Bowl.
The CFP National Championship will take place outside that window on Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The Montgomery Bowl at Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 23 and the LA Bowl at Inglewood, Calif., on Dec. 30 will make their debuts this year. The LA Bowl is set for the new $5 billion SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area that is home to both the NFL's Rams and Chargers.
The Fenway Bowl at Boston was also supposed to debut in 2020 but will not take place.
Bowls that will not be played this time around, as a concession to the COVID-19, pandemic are the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, the RedBox Bowl in San Francisco, the Bahamas Bowl and the Hawaii Bowl. The decisions not to play those games had been previously announced.
The busiest day for bowl games is Dec. 26 with a schedule that includes the Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.), Cure Bowl (Orlando, Fla.), First Responder Bowl (Dallas), LendingTree Bowl (Mobile, Ala) and the Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Phoenix).
The CPF semifinal games both will be on New Year's Day, with those final four teams getting spots in the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.) and the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans).
Lawrence's COVID-19 test triggers ripple effect on odds
Lawrence will miss at least this week's game against Boston College, which led to SportsBetting.com shortening the Tigers' odds for Saturday's game to -24.5. The Eagles had been as much as 30.5-point underdogs at the sportsbook this week, but the spread had been bet down to 23.5 by midday Friday.
The Tigers were also bet down to -24 at PointsBet and -23.5 at FanDuel, where the over/under on the game is now 56.5.
SportsBetting.com was one of several books to temporarily remove odds involving Clemson. When they reopened, the Tigers' remained the national title favorites, but their odds lengthened from +120 to +150.
Clemson is +180 at FanDuel, narrowly ahead of Ohio State at +200, while PointsBet was offering the Tigers at +150 and the Buckeyes at +275 ahead of Alabama (+325).
CFP title odds (SportsBetting.com)
Ohio State +300
Notre Dame +4500
Texas A&M +5000
Oklahoma State +8000
Sportsbook.com's Heisman Trophy odds remained closed Friday. Lawrence had been a -130 favorite, but the book said the odds "will remain closed until his playing status becomes clearer."
Lawrence remained a -105 favorite at FanDuel, followed by Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+260) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (+360). No other player is lower than +2400 at the book (Alabama running back Najee Harris).
QB Lawrence positive for COVID-19, out for No. 1 Clemson
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney revealed the news Thursday.
"Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation," Swinney said in a statement. "He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week's game against Boston College.
"While we certainly will miss Trevor, this is an opportunity for other guys to step up and we're excited about competing against a very good BC team on Saturday. Go Tigers."
Per the Atlantic Coast Conference's guidelines for players who test positive for coronavirus, Lawrence is required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days before being allowed to return to practice, barring any other lingering symptoms. The school's announcement of Lawrence's positive test comes nine days before Clemson's game at No. 4 Notre Dame on Nov. 7, although the statement did not say specifically when Lawrence's positive test was taken.
The rules set forth by the ACC's Medical Advisory Group require anyone testing positive for COVID-19 to isolate for at least 10 days after the test before returning to practice, assuming they are no longer showing symptoms.
Lawrence has started every game for Clemson since arriving on campus as a freshman in 2018, when he led the Tigers to a national championship. Clemson's record under Lawrence is 35-1.
Now a junior, Lawrence has continued his dominant play on the field this season. The right-handed thrower has completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,833 yards (fifth in the FBS) with 17 touchdown passes (tied for 2nd) and just two interceptions.
Behind Lawrence on the depth chart is true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, who has completed 12 of 19 passes for 102 yards in mop-up duty this season.
ACC sets Dec. 19 as date for championship game
The conference opted for a later date after being forced to shift three games to the prior weekend due to COVID-19 postponements.
The title game will feature the league's top two teams based on highest winning percentage in conference games. Heading into this weekend's game, Clemson is 5-0 in ACC play (6-0 overall) and Notre Dame is 4-0 (5-0 overall), with Miami (5-1 overall) and North Carolina both with 4-1 conference records.
Clemson was No. 1 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, with Notre Dame at No. 4, Miami ranked No. 12 and North Carolina at No. 15.
Notre Dame is scheduled to host Clemson on Nov. 7. Miami plays North Carolina on Dec. 5.
The Irish had their game vs. Wake Forest moved to Dec. 12 because of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame, an independent in football, is playing as part of the ACC this season because of the pandemic. The school's men's and women's basketball teams are permanent members of the conference.
Big Ten denies Nebraska replacement game vs. Chattanooga
Nebraska senior athletics director Dr. Jay Blackman confirmed the decision to ESPN, as did Chattanooga AD Mark Wharton to CBS Sports.
"We knew at the beginning of the conversations that it was going to be a long shot," Blackman told ESPN. "We were trying to do things to get ready. People were excited."
The Big Ten shot down Nebraska's request, in part because it doesn't want teams outside of the conference -- and its COVID testing protocols -- to play Big Ten teams, USA Today reported. The Big Ten voted to play a conference-only slate.
Chattanooga tested all of its players on Wednesday with the results coming back negative on all, per the reports. Testing was scheduled to be done Thursday and again Friday once the team landed in Lincoln, Neb.
Nebraska paid for the testing and guaranteed Chattanooga $200K-250K for the game, ESPN reported.
Chattanooga, an FCS team in the Southern Conference, played its lone game of the fall last week, losing to Western Kentucky. That conference voted to play its season in the spring, with the Mocs scheduled to play VMI on Feb. 20.
Nebraska lost its season-opener at Ohio State last week. Per Big Ten protocols, any game not played because of COVID-19 will go down as a "no contest," not to be made up.
Top recruit in 2022 QB Ewers decommits from Texas
In a post on his Twitter account, the Southland, Texas, native explained his decision
"Recently, as I've competed alongside my teammates during my junior season at Southlake Carroll, I've also taken some time to think about my future," Ewers wrote. "Given the COVID-19 pandemic facing us, this has been a challenging year for all students like myself. With the support of my family, I tried to navigate the recruiting process the best way I could.
"With the process being abnormal this season, I tried my best to keep an open mind to all possibilities."
The loss of the in-state talent Ewers, listed as 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, for the Longhorns is a recruiting blow. Several outlets rate the teen in the top 10 overall prospects for his grade, with ESPN touting him as the best among all positions.
Ewers originally committed to Texas in August, but he was recruited hard by Ohio State as well. After Ewers' post, recruiting outlet 247sports.com designated the Buckeyes as the most likely to land the quarterback.
According to Rivals, Ewers' departure leaves coach Tom Herman's Longhorns down to a pair of four-star commitments in 2022: wide receiver Phaizon Wilson and defensive back Jaylon Guilbeau.
Coastal Carolina hoping QB McCall can play Saturday
McCall, a redshirt freshman, missed last week's 28-14 victory over Georgia Southern with what the team said was an upper-body injury.
Chadwell said he is "cautiously optimistic" McCall will be available. If not, junior Fred Payton will draw his second straight start for Coastal Carolina (5-0).
"(McCall) has still not been able to practice in a full capacity yet so we're cautiously optimistic that's going to happen but also preparing like it's not," Chadwell told reporters. "Whoever plays will be ready to go this Saturday."
Payton passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Southern. However, he also threw two interceptions.
McCall has been superb for the Chanticleers, passing for 930 yards and 11 touchdowns against one interception.
Miss. St. exodus continues as three more players leave
Junior wide receiver Tyrell Shavers, junior defensive end Tre Lawson and freshman Jamari Stewart are the most recent defectors from the program. In all, that makes seven players to leave the Bulldogs in two weeks, joining sophomore quarterbacks Garrett Shrader and Jalen Mayden, freshman offensive lineman Nick Pendley and senior running back Kareem Walker, 247Sports reported.
That does not include running back Kylin Hill, the third-leading rusher in the Southeastern Conference last year, who is rumored to be on his way out of Starkville.
Leach said Wednesday that he believes Hill plans to leave Mississippi State to get ready for the 2021 NFL Draft.
"We wish him the best," said Leach, who is in his first season leading the Bulldogs.
In three games this season, Hill has 15 carries for 58 yards. He also caught 23 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He did not play in the team's most recent game, a 28-14 home loss to Texas A&M.
Mississippi is 1-3 on the year and is scheduled to play at Alabama on Saturday. Leach said on Wednesday's coaches teleconference that he would "be surprised if we don't lose more."
Mississippi State won its first game, a 44-34 defeat of LSU, but has lost the past three. Leach said after an embarrassing 24-2 loss to Kentucky on Oct. 10 that a roster overhaul could be coming.
"I think we're going to have to kind of check some of our group and figure out who really wants to play here," Leach said. "Any malcontents, we're going to have to purge a couple of those."
Wisconsin coach tests positive; Badgers cancel Saturday game
The No. 9 Badgers will not play Saturday's game at Nebraska and the Big Ten said the game will not be rescheduled.
"We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said. "Over the past several days we have seen a rising number of student-athletes and staff contract the virus. The responsible thing for us to do is to pause football-related activities for at least seven days."
Under Big Ten rules for the coronavirus pandemic, all players and personnel testing positive are mandated to miss 21 days and test negative for COVID-19 before returning to the team. Two of the team's three quarterbacks tested positive this week.
Several tests are pending, the program said in a statement. As of Wednesday morning, six players and six personnel were confirmed positive.
The state of Wisconsin is experiencing a surge in positive cases.
"We thank and appreciate our athletic trainers, doctors and public health staff who are supporting the health and safety of our student-athletes and program," said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.
Chryst is the second Big Ten football coach to test positive for COVID-19. Purdue's Jeff Brohm has been quarantined following a positive test.
"This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday," Chryst said. "I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home. I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning.
"I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week. But the safety of everyone in our program has to be our top priority and I support the decision made to pause our team activities."
The status of Wisconsin's next scheduled game, at home against Purdue on Nov. 7, will not be determined until next week.
Ole Miss looks to rebound against winless Vanderbilt
Ole Miss (1-4, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) leads the overall series 50-40-2, but the teams have traded victories beginning in 2015, and each has won eight of the past 16 meetings.
However, there was nothing close about their previous meeting. The Rebels rushed for 413 yards and 9.4 yards per carry in walloping the Commodores 31-6 in Oxford, Miss., a season ago.
The Ole Miss offense is under different management this year in coach Lane Kiffin, and the Rebels are averaging 34.8 points and 521 yards per game. They racked up 462 yards in a 35-28 loss to Auburn last week.
"Very disappointing game," Kiffin said this week, referring to the defeat. "Really slow start, offensively especially. Screwed up a ton of things ourselves, and some freak things happened, too."
Kiffin was particularly unhappy with starting quarterback Matt Corral, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. He also had 10 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
"It was a bad film," Kiffin said of Corral's performance. "Sometimes you just get bad luck, balls are tipped and things like that. This was just -- he played really poorly.
"They did a great job reading his eyes, and he was trying to do no-look passes where he's holding one guy off. The problem is, he can't see the other guy while he's doing that."
The Rebels' biggest problem, however, is a defense that allows 44.6 points and 556 yards per game. The test gets much easier this week: Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-3) has scored just 26 points this season and averages 257 yards per game. Neither Vanderbilt's leading rusher nor leading receiver has a total of 150 yards.
The Commodores are happy just to be preparing for a game.
Vanderbilt has not played since getting routed 41-7 by South Carolina on Oct. 10. A COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the postponement of the Missouri game, which had been set for Oct. 17 and has been rescheduled for Dec. 12.
The Commodores now face seven consecutive games without a bye week.
Coach Derek Mason used the time off to get some reps for inexperienced players, as a number of starters missed practice time due to quarantine or injuries. He is hoping to se a stronger squad as a result.
"Our football team is slowly but surely starting to look the part," Mason said Tuesday.
Vanderbilt pins its hopes on a defense that forced three turnovers against Texas A&M in the season opener on Sept. 26, a 17-12 road loss. However, the Commodores haven't been competitive since, falling 41-7 to LSU the next week.
Vanderbilt's best chance may be getting defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo (2.5 sacks, six hurries) and edge rusher Andre Mintze (one sack, two hurries) to Corral, who has been intercepted nine times this season.
Ole Miss has lost on each of its past two visits to Nashville.
Coming off big win, Northwestern visits Iowa
The 15 matchups between the two men is the most for a pair of head coaches this century.
While historically Iowa (0-1, 0-1 Big Ten) has the edge in the matchup, Northwestern (1-0, 1-0) has seen recent success in what has slowly become a rivalry game between the two West Division foes. Fitzgerald is 8-6 in games against the Hawkeyes while Ferentz is 9-10 versus the Wildcats.
"Any time you play Northwestern, you know it is going to be a tough, competitive football game," Ferentz said.
Northwestern is coming off a terrific season debut, a 43-3 rout of visiting Maryland.
The Wildcats' new offense, led by Indiana graduate transfer Peyton Ramsey, scored five touchdowns and racked up 537 yards off offense in offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian's first game in the role.
"We needed to get off to a fast start with the offense to gain confidence," Fitzgerald said. "Everybody from our players, our staff, our support staff handled it really well on the offensive side of the ball."
Ramsey was 23 of 30 for 212 yards in the game while the team averaged more than 6 yards per rush.
The Northwestern defense held the Terrapins to 207 total yards in part by forcing transfer quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa into three interceptions.
"We only had three interceptions as a secondary last year, and now to have that in one game is great," Wildcats junior defensive back Cam Ruiz said.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes led in the fourth quarter against Purdue on Saturday before giving up 10 unanswered points to lose 24-14.
Iowa did almost all of its damage in the second quarter. On three of its four possessions in the period, the Hawkeyes scored points with 1-yard touchdown runs from Spencer Petras and Mekhi Sargent plus a 27-yard field goal by Keith Duncan.
On Iowa's nine other possessions, the team managed only another field goal from Duncan. Despite outgaining Purdue by 74 yards, the Hawkeyes punted six times, lost two fumbles and ended with a turnover on downs.
Petras, a redshirt sophomore quarterback starting making his first start, was solid for Iowa. He finished with 265 yards on 22-of-39 passing.
"I think Spencer, for the first time out, we had a lot of first-time players, but for the quarterback position ... I thought he did a lot of good things," Ferentz said. "Lot of things he'll get better, but really impressed with his poise and his control."
In 2018, when Northwestern last traveled to Iowa City, the Wildcats upset the Hawkeyes 14-10 behind a diving 32-yard touchdown grab from Bennett Skowronek in the fourth quarter. With the victory, Northwestern clinched its first Big Ten West title.
The win was the third in a row for the Wildcats against the Hawkeyes. However, the streak was broken last October in Evanston, Ill., when Iowa shut out Northwestern 20-0.
No. 23 Iowa State eyes consistency against Kansas
Nonetheless, coach Matt Campbell specified that the Cyclones (3-2, 3-1 Big 12) must develop more consistency if they are to remain in the conference chase, beginning with a game Saturday at Kansas (0-5, 0-4).
Campbell's comments came during a review of last week's 24-21 loss to Oklahoma State.
"There's moments of outstanding (play), and there's lulls,'' Campbell said. "The reality for the entirety of the team is you can't have lulls and so, offense, defense, special teams, everybody included, looks exactly the same. We have to iron out our team if we want to become our best.''
Two missed field goals, nine penalties and a handful of defensive breakdowns contributed to a defeat that dropped Iowa State six spots in the rankings.
Four consecutive three-and-outs in the second half kept the Cyclones from attacking and exposed vulnerabilities in a diverse offense that previously flourished behind quarterback Brock Purdy.
Breece Hall, the nation's leading rusher with a 143.2-yard average, continues to sizzle after gaining a career-high 185 yards on 20 carries against Oklahoma State.
"His ability to create big plays is outstanding,'' Campbell said. "The bigger thing for me is just the consistency of running the football wasn't as good as what we've had at times. We've just got to figure that out.''
The potential to perform at a high level certainly exists. Charlie Kolar, a veteran who is part of a highly-valued trio of rangy tight ends, was among those who had uncharacteristic drops in the Oklahoma State defeat. Campbell, however, pointed to that problem as a collective effort.
Whatever issues the Cyclones encountered while falling from the Big 12 lead can certainly be repaired Saturday. Kansas has lost nine straight dating to last season and has been outscored by an average margin of 30 points this year.
"Their players are on scholarship. They're here just like we are. You can't take them as a joke or anything like that,'' said Hall, who is from Wichita, Kan.
While Hall maintains respect for the sagging Jayhawks, the challenge facing second-year coach Les Miles never seems to get any easier. Kansas allowed two punt returns for touchdowns last week, including one on the final play of the first half, and was outclassed in a 55-14 loss at Kansas State.
At least one affirmative move came out of that debacle. True freshman Jalon Daniels will remain the starting quarterback after Kansas tested three starters in that spot in its first four games.
"The opportunity for him to get the majority of the snaps in practice is going to happen anyway,'' said Miles, "so we might as well.''
Daniels appears to be recovered from a foot injury he suffered earlier this month, which caused him to miss two games. Despite heavy pressure that resulted in four sacks, Daniels passed for 207 yards and added 27 yards rushing. He did, however, throw a pick-six.
Texas Tech set to tangle with Rattler, No. 24 Oklahoma
"Arm talent, sick," Wells said. "I mean, the guy flips his wrist and the ball flies. He's very accurate, he can throw it on the run, he runs well in the pocket. ... He has got big-time arm talent."
Wells and the Red Raiders will get an up-close familiarity with Rattler on Saturday when Texas Tech hosts No. 24 Oklahoma.
The Red Raiders (2-3, 1-3 Big 12) are coming off a 34-27 win over West Virginia.
In that game, which snapped a three-game losing streak, Wells went with quarterback Henry Colombi, a Utah State transfer, after Alan Bowman started the first four games of the season.
Colombi earned another shot after completing 22 of his 28 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown against the Mountaineers. He also rushed for 40 yards and a score.
"It's been interesting to see with the new guy," Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said of Colombi and Texas Tech's offense. "I would think they continue to gain some confidence in him and continue to open it for him.
"But they're doing a lot of good things, and they've always been creative offensively and do a good job of mixing tempo and different formations and challenging you in different ways."
On the other side, Rattler has had a strong beginning to his career, throwing for 1,518 yards and 15 touchdowns with five interceptions through his first five games as a starter.
Rattler has been especially good since he was benched briefly in the second quarter against Texas on Oct. 10, an eventual 53-45 win after four overtimes.
"Coming out and being a starting quarterback at this level -- especially at a school like this -- you have to experience it," Riley said.
"As much as you can mentally prepare guys and do everything you can to get them ready and talk to them and have guys who have been in that same position talk to them, it's just experiencing it is another thing. I think he's getting more used to the emotions, the ups and downs and just what it feels like."
The Sooners have won eight consecutive games in the series against the Red Raiders, averaging just over 50 points per game and never scoring fewer than 38 during that streak.
Of course, Oklahoma's offense has put up a ton of points on everybody in recent years, scoring at least 28 points in a school-record 57 consecutive games. Alabama is a distant second with an active streak of 18 such games.
The Sooners (3-2, 2-2) could have a couple key players back on Saturday.
Wide receiver Trejan Bridges, defensive end Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson were suspended before last season's bowl game after reportedly failing an NCAA drug test, and they haven't played since.
Barring further complications, Bridges and Stevenson figure to be available against Texas Tech. The situation is a bit more unclear regarding Perkins, because there were snags after he had a chance to be reinstated earlier in the month, the Tulsa World reported.
No. 22 SMU, Navy look to bounce back after losses
One loss is survivable. Two can spoil the season.
That's the perch Navy and SMU sit on as they match up this week in what has become a competitive AAC rivalry. The Midshipmen visit the 22nd-ranked Mustangs on Saturday evening.
Both teams lost last week, wrecking any plans for a smooth path to the AAC championship game. Getting back on the right track is on top of the to-do list for both.
For the Mustangs (5-1, 2-1 AAC), that means continuing to evolve with a reshuffled deck on offense. They are expected to again be without receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. and tailback TJ McDaniel, both of whom were hurt in a win against Memphis on Oct. 3.
Without those two and against a Cincinnati defense that is as stingy as any in the AAC, SMU managed only 290 yards last week -- its lowest total since the second game of 2018 -- during a 42-13 defeat.
SMU coach Sonny Dykes didn't mince words about his team's performance and what the Mustangs must do to avoid a repeat.
"I was disappointed with the way that we played," Dykes said. "We just didn't do the routine things that we typically do that would've given us a chance to be at least in the game.
"I think we have to regroup, and we're going to have to play better against Navy or the same thing will happen."
The Midshipmen (3-3, 3-1) can relate.
In a 37-21 loss to Houston, the Cougars' fast-paced offense exposed some defensive problems for Navy. Houston junior quarterback Clayton Tune peppered the Midshipmen defense for 316 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Now the Midshipmen have to brace for a better passing attack engineered by a veteran quarterback who has been with his coaching staff longer.
SMU senior Shane Buechele, the 2019 All-AAC quarterback, has thrown for 1,926 yards and 13 touchdowns this season despite playing without Roberson the past two games.
Their struggles against Cincinnati notwithstanding, the Mustangs rank 11th nationally in total offense (517.7 yards per game) and are churning out 37.7 points a game.
"It helps when you have a veteran quarterback that is very steady and knows what's going on," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "He's very accurate and as good as any quarterback we've seen in years."
As much as the Midshipmen have their hands full with Buechele and company, there remains a pressing need for them to get their offense going.
Navy has generated only 288.2 total yards a game and its flexbone running game ranks just 31st nationally. Houston limited the Midshipmen to 166 yards on the ground, the fourth game this season in which Navy failed to top 204.
"We have to continue to get better offensively," Niumatalolo said. "We have to find a way to get better quickly."
If Navy can do that and manage to keep the game close, that bodes well. The Midshipmen's three victories this season have come by a total of nine points.
Book, No. 4 Notre Dame face Sims, Georgia Tech
Notre Dame leads the all-time series 28-6-1, the last meeting a 30-22 Irish win in South Bend, Ind., in 2015. Georgia Tech's last victory over the Irish came in a 33-3 decision in 2007, also at South Bend.
This year's game was originally scheduled to be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, but it was shifted to the campus site after COVID-19 forced the Atlantic Coast Conference to reshuffle its schedule.
Notre Dame (5-0, 4-0 ACC) recovered from a narrow 12-7 win over Louisville on Oct. 17 to thump Pitt 45-3 last Saturday. It was the largest margin of victory over a Power Five conference opponent since Brian Kelly became head coach.
The Fighting Irish have won 11 consecutive games, the longest active winning streak among FBS teams.
"We have to elevate our play if we have any chance to get to our goal, which is to win a championship," Kelly said.
Georgia Tech (2-4, 2-3) lost 48-27 at Boston College last week, its second straight defeat. The Yellow Jackets' average margin of defeat in their four losses is 33 points.
That number is misleading, according to coach Geoff Collins.
"A lot of people just look at the results," said Collins, who is in the middle of his second season. "They don't want to look at the steps we're taking and the progress we're making in his journey. Every single day, we're building something that's very, very special."
This week's game will feature a pair of playmaking quarterbacks, a veteran, Notre Dame's Ian Book, and a newcomer, Georgia Tech freshman Jeff Sims.
Book, a graduate senior, is 25-3 as a starter, tied for the third-most wins among active FBS quarterbacks. He threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns last week against Pitt and was named ACC Quarterback of the Week.
Book has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,026 yards and six touchdowns and has rushed for 166 yards and five touchdowns. He was added to the Davey O'Brien Great 8 list this week.
He will face a Georgia Tech defense that is allowing 41.2 points, 198.7 yards rushing and 280.5 yards passing per game. The Yellow Jackets have a talented secondary but have failed all season to get pressure on the quarterback.
Sims will face a tougher task going against the Notre Dame defense, which has yielded just 9.8 points per game. Sims has been productive, having thrown for 1,196 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns, but he has thrown 10 interceptions and has had issues with ball security.
Sims was yanked in the fourth quarter against Boston College and replaced by James Graham, last year's starter. It was Graham's first action this season, and he threw for 85 yards and ran for 21. Sims is expected to start, but his leash is getting shorter.
"Sims is a talent," Kelly said. "He's got arm talent, he's got the ability to extend plays and he's very dangerous with the ball in his hands."
FIU postpones game vs. No. 19 Marshall due to outbreak
FIU posted a statement on its website Tuesday that read, in part, "Due to FIU football's lack of available scholarship student-athletes, the Oct. 30 game against Marshall will be postponed to a later date.
"The action follows Conference USA COVID-19 guidelines, which require a threshold for the game to be played safely. The shortage is due to quarantining of COVID-19 positive tests and contact tracing, as well as injuries."
The Panthers got the season off to a late start when the school postponed its full fall sports calendar until late September, citing an "abundance of caution" surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The scheduled game against Jacksonville State (home opener on Sept. 3) was pushed back to last Friday, when FIU lost 19-10, and a scheduled Sept. 12 contest at UCF was canceled.
FIU (0-3, 0-1 C-USA) subsequently postponed its scheduled Oct. 17 game at Charlotte due to COVID-19 issues.
Both the Charlotte and Marshall games might be made up the first two weekends of December, with the C-USA championship game scheduled for Dec. 18.
Marshall (5-0, 3-0) is coming off a 20-9 home win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday. All five wins have been by double digits.
No. 8 Texas A&M eager to welcome Arkansas
The Aggies (3-1, 3-1 SEC) have not hosted the annual rivalry game on campus since 2012, and the past six meetings have been played at Arlington, Texas. The Aggies prevailed 45-33 at Fayetteville, Ark., in 2013.
Texas A&M, ranked No. 8, has won the past eight meetings and enters its 77th matchup against Arkansas (2-2, 2-2) facing a team on the upswing. The Razorbacks have won two conference games after two straight winless seasons in SEC play.
"It's like somebody at the park, that guy that beats your brains in every day and he's kicking your tail and you learn how to compete against him, you learn what he does, how to beat him," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Arkansas and A&M have played for so many years, they know each other so well, and it means a lot to the alums and everybody else that it becomes that game."
Arkansas' defense is allowing 25.5 points per game (fourth in the SEC) and the Razorbacks are also tied with LSU for the best turnover margin in the SEC (plus-6). Arkansas has recorded a conference-best 10 interceptions, led by freshman Hudson Clark (3 INTs).
"I think they play really well together and ... within the scheme they do and they execute really well so it's definitely going to take a full game for us and a big-time week of game-planning to go in and, you know, play a big-time game in the SEC," Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond said.
The Razorbacks' secondary took a hit this week though when cornerback Jerry Jacobs opted out of the season's remaining six games and declared for the NFL draft. Jacobs became the fourth Arkansas player to opt out, joining defensive back Jarques McClellion, offensive lineman Chibueze Nwanna and receiver Shamar Nash.
Arkansas hopes to have cornerback Montaric Brown back in its lineup as well as defensive end Dorian Gerald, who has been out since the season opener.
"We still have a couple of guys who are still on the iffy side," Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. "Maybe they'll be ready, but we're certainly -- besides the guys who had season-ending injuries -- we're certainly going to be as healthy as we've been since the first game."
Both quarterbacks in this matchup have put up comparable numbers through their first four games. Mond has thrown for 984 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions while Arkansas' Feleipe Franks has 974 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
Franks' top target is sophomore wide receiver Treylon Burks, who is averaging 83 receiving yards per game. The running game is led by backs Trelon Smith and Rakeem Boyd.
The Aggies' passing game may get a boost if wide receiver Hezekiah Jones is cleared to play. Jones missed all of last season and has not played yet this season coming off Achilles surgery.
Texas A&M's offensive line has allowed only one sack and the Aggies rank third in the SEC in rushing yards per game (172.25). Running back Isaiah Spiller ranks second in the SEC in rushing yards per game (107.5) and leads in yards per carry (6.72).
Texas A&M's defense is led by senior Micheal Clemons (three sacks) and is allowing 354.5 total yards per game, which ranks third in the SEC.
"They're big and their front guys are quick," Pittman said. "They're playing with a lot of confidence and have been doing a good job."