Ex-Oklahoma QB Thompson’s son leads Texas into rivalry game

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NORMAN, Okla. —  Former Oklahoma quarterback Charles Thompson never imagined he’d even consider putting up the “Hook `em Horns” hand gesture.

He’s done it now, and for good reason. His son, Casey, will start at quarterback for No. 21 Texas (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) against No. 6 Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) in the annual rivalry game.

It’s a strange situation for the elder Thompson, who lives in Moore, Oklahoma – a short drive from Oklahoma’s campus. Charles ran the wishbone offense for coach Barry Switzer, playing a significant role in Sooner victories over Texas in 1987 and 1988.

“I’ve been an OU fan since I was six,” Charles, a native of Lawton, Oklahoma, said. “Every year, this time of year, I’ve always rooted against Texas. Even the last few years with Casey on the team, I still kind of quietly wanted Oklahoma to win — kind of a win/win situation for me. This will be the first year that honestly, I’m really rooting for Texas.”

Charles said he catches some grief from his old teammates with his son playing for Oklahoma’s biggest rival.

“I mean, there’s surely some joking, kind of messing around a little bit, but I think all of them are kind of in support of him,” he said. “They certainly want Casey to have a great game, but want Oklahoma to win.

“I get a mulligan. I want Casey to win.”

Charles won’t go so far as to wear Texas’ burnt orange, and he said if you gut him open, he’ll bleed Oklahoma crimson. He’ll wear a custom-made black Texas shirt when he sits with the other parents.

“Well, I’ve never put on burnt orange,” he said defiantly.

The situation has provided an opportunity for Charles to learn a few things about the rivalry from the Texas side.

“All my life, I’ve always called it the OU-Texas game,” he said. “Ask anybody from Oklahoma, they’ll say OU-Texas. I got sort of harassed a little bit in Austin because they say Texas-OU. They want Texas first.”

Casey is in an odd situation, too. He wore Oklahoma’s crimson and cream until his high school days. Another of Charles’ sons, Kendal, played for the Sooners, further strengthening the bond between the family and the school.

Casey played high school football at Southmoore High School in Moore before playing his senior season at Newcastle High School in Newcastle, Oklahoma.

As he became a major prospect, his loyalty to Oklahoma waned. Former Texas coach Tom Herman recruited Thompson back when Herman was the head coach at Houston, and Tim Beck had recruited him when he was an assistant at Ohio State. When Herman took over at Texas and Beck became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas, it made sense for Casey to take a look. He attended the 2017 Red River rivalry game as Longhorns prospect.

Naturally, the locals objected when Texas entered the picture.

“I remember even in high school when I was getting recruited, some of my teachers and best friends were like, `If you go to that school, I’ll never root for you, never cheer for you,”‘ Casey said. “But I’m really not worried about people who are hating. I’m trying to focus on this team and the people who care about me and love and support me.”

Though he was highly recruited, his journey hasn’t been easy. Even after he stepped in for the injured Sam Ehlinger and threw four touchdown passes in the 55-23 Alamo Bowl win over Colorado, he didn’t secure the starting job. Freshman Hudson Card won the spot in the summer and started the first two games.

Casey has taken over and completed 71% of his passes. He has thrown nine touchdown passes and just three interceptions. Now, he has the Cotton Bowl stage.

“It’s a dream come true for me to start in this game,” he said. “But I don’t really think that I’ll be nervous or anxious or uptight. I’m excited to play.”

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has followed Casey throughout the years and has a good relationship with the family. He’s glad to see Casey succeed.

“Here from game three on he has played at a high level, has done some really good things — moving around, throwing the ball well like he does,” Riley said. “I don’t wish him success on Saturday. We’re going to get out there and compete against each other. But I’m happy for him. I’m glad he’s having success. And I’m not surprised.”

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.