Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams enters portal, says Sooners an option

Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network
0 Comments

Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams is entering his name in the transfer portal so he can speak with other schools.

The freshman added he had not ruled out staying with the Sooners, but within hours of Williams’ announcement, Oklahoma might have found his replacement.

Former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who had committed to transfer to UCLA last month, posted on Twitter that he was instead planning to go to Oklahoma.

Williams, a former five-star recruit from Washington, D.C., who was recruited to Oklahoma by then-head coach Lincoln Riley, revealed his intentions on social media.

Riley left Oklahoma to become coach at Southern California the day after the Sooners ended their regular season with a loss to Oklahoma State. Former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was hired to replace Riley.

“I think we all come to college to find our path and prepare for the future. I came to Oklahoma with a plan, but with all the recent changes, I need to figure out what is the right path for me moving forward,” Williams tweeted.

Williams would be one of the most sought-after transfers in college football.

He passed for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns and ran for 435 yards and six scores in 2020, taking over the starting job from preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler midway through the season.

Rattler already has transferred to South Carolina.

Williams led the Sooners (11-2) to a victory last week against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

“Proud of what we did this whole season but especially that last four weeks,” Williams said.

To be recruited and contacted by other schools within NCAA rules, Williams had to enter his name into the transfer portal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is transferring.

“Staying at OU will definitely be an option as I begin this process,” Williams said.

Venables and Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione released a statement saying they would “continue to be engaged” with Williams.

“While we believe OU provides Caleb the best opportunity to develop as a player and realize his goals for college and beyond, we respect his right to explore his options following key staffing changes here,” they said.

Venables hired Jeff Lebby away from Mississippi to be Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator. Lebby spent the last two season working with quarterback Matt Corral, who is projected to be a potential first-round pick in the next NFL draft.

Lebby also spent two seasons at UCF, one coaching Gabriel in 2019.

In five years with the Sooners, Riley coached two Heisman winners and first overall draft picks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. He also had Jalen Hurts, who transferred from Alabama and became a Heisman finalist and second-round draft pick at Oklahoma.

At USC, Jaxson Dart started much of last season as a freshman and is likely to be at the top of the depth chart again after former starter Kedon Slovis transferred to Pittsburgh.

Finn, Stuart lead Toledo to first MAC title since 2017

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

DETROIT – Dequan Finn passed for a touchdown and rushed for 86 yards on 18 carries as Toledo captured its first Mid-American Conference championship since 2017 by defeating Ohio 17-7 on Saturday afternoon.

Finn completed 16 of 25 passes for 154 yards. Jacquez Stuart rushed for 93 yards on nine carries, including a 29-yard touchdown. Micah Kelly added 53 rushing yards for the Rockets (8-5), who lost their last two conference games.

“We’ve been through a lot the whole year,” Finn said. “It’s been a rollercoaster for us. Up and down, fought through adversity and had some rough patches. But ultimately, we stayed together as one.”

Toledo is headed to a bowl game but since the MAC doesn’t have a postseason pecking order, its destination is unknown. The Arizona, Idaho Potato and Quick Lane bowls — the latter also at Detroit’s Ford Field — are the most likely possibilities.

“This is everybody’s goal,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said of the conference championship. “This is what everybody wants to do. This is where everybody says they’re going to be. It’s one thing to get there. It’s another to win it.”

Sieh Bangura rushed for 56 yards on 20 carries and the lone touchdown for the Bobcats (9-4), whose seven-game winning streak was snapped. CJ Harris completed 17 of 31 passes for 163 yards and was intercepted once.

Harris was making his second start since MAC Player of the Year Kurtis Rourke suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Ohio is 0-5 in the MAC title game.

“My heart hurts for our football team,” coach Tim Albin said. “This has been about our journey, not a destination. I boldly said on MAC (preseason) media day I thought we could make a championship run. That’s what we did and we came up short.”

The Rockets led 10-7 at halftime.

They drove 75 yards after the opening kickoff with Stuart scoring on his 29-yard run up the middle.

“Very efficient,” Candle said of first possession. “That kind of built some confidence to play efficient offense the rest of the way.”

Ohio tied it on Bangura’s 2-yard run midway through the second quarter, finishing off an 84-yard drive.

Toledo’s Thomas Cluckey kicked a 44-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the half.

The Rockets drove to the Bobcats’ 10 midway through the third quarter but passed up a field goal attempt and turned the ball over on downs.

Finn’s 16-yard scoring pass to DeMeer Blankumsee completed a methodical 16-play, 90-yard drive that gave Toledo a 17-7 lead with 10:36 remaining.

Ohio was limited to 262 yards of total offense.

“Their front seven controlled it, particularly in the second half,” Albin said. “We had trouble running the ball in between the tackles and it made us one-dimensional.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Toledo is now 4-3 in the MAC title game, with its previous championships coming in 2001, ’04 and ’17. Ohio’s long drought without a conference championship continued. The Bobcats haven’t won a MAC championship since 1968.

UP NEXT

Both teams are headed to bowl games TBD on Sunday. Toledo is bowl eligible for the 13th straight season.

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

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

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.”