Brooks’ 3 TDs push Oklahoma past Oregon 47-32 in Alamo Bowl

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SAN ANTONIO — Bob Stoops and Oklahoma were winners together again, just like old times.

Kennedy Brooks ran for 142 yards and three touchdowns, Caleb Williams passed for three more scores and the 14th-ranked Sooners rode a dominant first half to a 47-32 win over No. 15 Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Wednesday night.

The victory marked a brief and happy reunion for the coach and school he led to a national championship and 10 Big 12 titles from 1999-2016. Stoops was called off a golf course to come out of retirement to coach the bowl game after the abrupt departure of Lincoln Riley for Southern California.

“I’ve been out of it, came back,” Stoops said. “It was fun. More than anything, I appreciate the young people, the guys in the program, embraced me, were all in, and worked hard.”

Stoops earned career win No. 191 and boosted his bowl record to 10-9. Getting the latest victory was maybe the easiest part in all this.

Just as important were the tasks of steadying the program overall after Riley’s bolt west turned the program upside down. And he had to build a stable bridge to the new era under incoming coach Brent Venables, his former Oklahoma assistant who has spent the past nine seasons at Clemson.

“They’re getting a guy with passion, a guy that loves the game,” Stoops said. “A winner.”

And the coach who once earned the nickname Big Game Bob also turned into Big Hug Bob when he got to embrace son and Sooners receiver Drake Stoops after a second-quarter touchdown catch. Drake walked on at Oklahoma in 2018 after Bob had retired.

Oklahoma (11-2) raced out to a 30-3 lead as Brooks and Williams sliced up the Oregon defense. Brooks had 127 yards on just 10 carries in the first half with scoring runs of 16 and 29 yards, and another 40-yard run that set up Williams’ first touchdown pass to Drake Stoops.

Williams’ 55-yard TD pass to Marvin Mims Jr. hit the receiver perfectly in stride behind two Ducks defenders who were two steps late. Brooks then punched in the final score of the half.

The Sooners were so dominant at that point they looked like some of Stoops’ old teams of bulldozing running backs, defense and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks.

But Oregon (10-4) didn’t quit and made a game of it in the second half. The Ducks scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, two coming on long throws by quarterback Anthony Brown, to get within 44-25 by the start of the fourth. Brown finished with 306 yards passing and Travis Dye rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown for Oregon.

Oregon was led by assistant coach Bryan McClendon, elevated to interim head coach for the bowl game after Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Oregon has hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, who will take over the Ducks after the College Football Playoff.

“It hurts,” McClendon said. “As well as we played in the second half, it’s not a consolation prize.”

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: Riley’s sudden departure and several players bolting early for the NFL or transferring had the program’s fan base in a bit of a panic. Venables was at the game and was around the team during bowl practices. He should have a keen handle on where the Sooners are headed next season.

Venables’ biggest job is building a potential future with Williams, who hasn’t said definitively whether he plans to stay with the Sooners next year.

Williams did not settle the issue after the game. He called the last few weeks a “rollercoaster” and said he will be taking a vacation with his family.

“Oklahoma chose the right guy to come in here,” Williams said of Venables.

Oregon: The Ducks put up a fight in the second half but it was too late. Lanning, who will be a first-time head coach when he takes over after the CFP, will at least know he inherits a team that won’t quit. Lanning is leaving a national-title contender and has said Oregon should be one as well. The Ducks have played in the Pac-12 title game the last three seasons.

NO HELMET, NO SCORE

Oklahoma’s Mario Williams was all smiles as he waltzed into the end zone by himself with his helmet off and hair flying in the second quarter. The only problem was, that’s against the rules. Williams was ruled down on the Oregon 33 as soon as Ducks safety Avan Dickerson had grabbed his facemask and pulled the helmet off. The Oklahoma drive instead ended with a 40-yard field gold from Patrick Brkic for a 9-3 Sooners lead.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma opens the 2022 season under Venables against Texas-El Paso on Sept. 3.

Oregon plays its first game with Lanning as head coach Sept. 3 against Georgia.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.

END OF AN ERA

This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.

UP NEXT

Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.