College Football Corner: Revenge on menu in Stillwater, as Terps, Hokies, Cavs and Mids digest another sad Saturday

Dave Preston is an AP Top 25 voter. Read his latest rankings here.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables meet before an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala)(AP/Mitch Alcala)
It’s been said that “revenge is a dish best served cold” (although I’m sure that saying originated in the pre-microwave era). On a Saturday when Virginia’s already slim bowl hopes went down in flames and Maryland’s misery became no longer just an October thing, Oklahoma State exacted revenge on an in-state rival that always thought they were better than the Cowboys and was never shy about it.

For years, the Sooners have boasted a history filled with National Championships and Heisman Trophy winners (seven apiece), while the Cowboys have suffered by comparison (Barry Sanders, Jimmy Johnson before he coached Miami and one conference title since 1976).

OU has been the sizzle and the steak, while OSU has been the ground chuck. And, with the Sooners leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the Bedlam Rivalry will take a back seat in college football’s brave new world.

But before Oklahoma officially packs its bags and hands in its keys, Oklahoma State had a parting gift for a school that sits 81 miles away. Saturday’s 27-24 win in Stillwater dropped the Sooners out of contention for the College Football Playoff and was the second win by the Cowboys over their rivals in three meetings (first time that’s happened since 2001-03). Enjoy the SEC, Sooners …

Navy (3-5, 2-3 AAC) stumbled out of the gate against Temple, with its offense gaining 54 yards on 23 first half plays, while the Owls put points on the board the first three times they had the ball.

Even with the opening up of the offense, this is not a team built for rallying from 17-0 deficits. The second half saw a comeback aided by takeaways before the Owls regained their steam, reaching the end zone on consecutive fourth quarter possessions as the Mids came up short 32-18.

Midshipmen Medals: Xavier Arline was a huge part of their second half surge, finishing with 124 yards and a touchdown passing while rushing for 97 yards and a score. The defense led by Colin Ramos’ 12 tackles tallied three takeaways, with Dashaun Peele’s interception setting up the touchdown that pulled the Mids within two points in the fourth quarter.

Jayden Umbarger’s recovery of a muffed punt set up the team’s first touchdown drive, and it goes without saying by now that Riley Riethman’s leg needs a battlefield promotion (averaging 45.9 yards on seven punts).

Midshipmen Miscues: third down was a disaster on both sides of the ball, with the offense converting just 3-15 money downs and the defense allowing 6-9 conversions. That’s winning 6-24 “money moments,” not a recipe for success.

The offense was held to just three yards per carry by an Owls team that was coughing up over 200 yards per game. The Pass defense surrendered 402 yards passing to a rusty E.J. Warner, who was sidelined by an injury over the last month. Seven penalties will not sit well either with the coaches.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on the road against 3-6 UAB.

Virginia (2-7, 1-4 ACC) saw their bowl hopes fade in the Charlottesville sun. Despite an interception on their first possession, the Cavaliers had a chance to take a 10-3 lead over Georgia Tech at the end of the first quarter.

Unfortunately, a missed 48-yard field goal was followed by drives that ended with a lost fumble, plus a pair of three and outs as the Yellow Jackets would reach the end zone three times in the second quarter, taking control in what would wind up being a 45-17 U. Va loss.

Cavalier Congrats: Malik Washington caught 11 passes for 109 yards, passing 1,000 yards for the season and putting him on pace for 105 catches (sadly we can only multiply projections by 12 from here on out). Jonas Barker led the defense with 10 tackles. Daniel Sparks averaged 46.3 yards per punt.

Cavalier Concerns: the defense allowed 305 yards on the ground, including rushes of 33, 34, and 43 yards. The Yellow Jackets also moved the chains on 8-15 attempts. The offense had issues all afternoon, from turning the ball over three times, to posting four three and outs and going 3-12 on third down.

Next: Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. against No. 15 Louisville (8-1).

Maryland (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten) will never be accused of playing it safe or shrinking from the situation. On their first drive of the day, the Terps faced a fourth and one from their 45 and went for the first down as well as the residual momentum.

They got neither and No. 9 Penn State would drive for a touchdown on the ensuing position to take the lead for good in what would turn into a 51-15 Terps loss.

Terrapin Triumphs: Taulia Tagovailoa completed his first 17 passes of the afternoon, finishing with 286 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns. His top target Corey Dyches grabbed a season-high eight catches. Glendon Miller paced the team with eight tackles while breaking up a pass.

Terrapin Troubles: Taulia tossed an interception and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter while getting sacked six times. He also had zero help from his running game that netted -49 yards (-2 when the six sacks are accounted separately) as the running back rotation was held to -4 yards on seven attempts. The defense allowed points the last five times the Nittany Lions had the football.

Next: Saturday at noon (on Peacock) in Lincoln at 5-4 Nebraska.

Virginia Tech (4-5, 3-2 ACC) began the day controlling their potential path to the ACC Championship Game, only to run into No. 15 Louisville. The Cardinals reached the end zone the first two times they had the ball and missed a field goal on their other first half possession before putting the game away, thanks to a pair of third quarter touchdowns.

The 34-3 loss gives Coach Brent Pry and company quite a bit to chew on as a bowl berth remains within reach, but not if they continue to play the way they did Saturday.

Hokie Highlights: Bhayshul Tuten remains an exciting player every time he touches the ball, rushing for 57 yards on 11 carries — all while making three catches. Derrick Canteen led the defense with nine tackles.

Hokie Humblings: the offense managed just five yards on 12 plays over their first three possessions and managed 140 total yards on the day while converting 2-11 third downs. Kyron Drones was held to under six yards per completed pass (69 on 12) and was sacked four times.

The defense coughed up 231 yards rushing (6.1 per carry) and allowed runs of 36, 37 and 39 yards for scores.

Next: Saturday at noon on the road at 6-3 Boston College.

James Madison (9-0, 6-0 Sun Belt) was clinging to a seven-point lead against Georgia State after a first half where they missed a field goal and tossed an interception, making one think the “Cardiac Dukes” (five games decided by one possession this fall) would make another appearance.

But JMU would score four touchdowns on their first four possessions after intermission, blowing out the Panthers 42-14.

Duke Do’s: Jordan McCloud passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns while running for 104 and two more scores. Elijah Sarratt was his top target, making eight receptions for 87 yards. Jalen Walker led the defense with seven tackles and, for once Saturday, a local school dominated third down, moving the chains on 9-13 attempts while holding Georgia State to 3-12 on the day.

Duke Don’ts: tough to find a blemish on such a dominant day, but the first half interception and missed field goal will get extra attention, as will five penalties.

Next: Saturday at 2 p.m. against 1-8 UConn.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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