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College football notebook

Nothing can keep Kansas State from shocking Oklahoma for second year in a row

Kansas State's Thomas Grayson (20) celebrates a blocked punk, a key play in the Wildcats' upset win over Oklahoma.
Kansas State's Thomas Grayson (20) celebrates a blocked punk, a key play in the Wildcats' upset win over Oklahoma.Ian Maule/Associated Press

A Kansas State squad that lost its opener to Arkansas State two weeks ago, had its roster depleted by COVID-19, and entered Saturday’s game against No. 3 Oklahoma as a four-touchdown road underdog overcame it all to pull off one of the biggest stunners of the season.

Skylar Thompson passed for 334 yards and ran for three touchdowns, and the Wildcats rallied from 21 points down to beat the third-ranked Sooners, 38-35, a 50-yard field goal by Blake Lynch with 4:32 remaining providing the margin of victory.

Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said he didn’t know until Friday if he’d have enough players available at all position groups to play the game.

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Freshman Deuce Vaughn caught four passes for 129 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Wildcats. It was Kansas State’s first road win against a top-three team in the AP poll.

Kansas State upset Oklahoma ,48-41, in Manhattan, Kan., last year, making the loss especially disappointing for the Sooners. Oklahoma outgained the Wildcats, 517-400, but had four turnovers to none for Kansas State.

Oklahoma freshman Spencer Rattler passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions.

Kansas State’s Jahron McPherson intercepted Rattler in the final minute to help close out the win.

“For me, I dream about this all the time,” McPherson said. “For me, I was just so happy and happy for my team. I do everything for my team. I was just happy for all of us.”

In the opening moments of the second quarter, Rattler threw into traffic and found Drake Stoops for a 32-yard touchdown. It was the first career score for the son of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and it gave the Sooners a 14-0 lead.

Rattler’s 53-yard pass to Stoops led to Seth McGowan’s 5-yard touchdown run and gave the Sooners a 35-14 lead late in the third quarter.

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Costello throws for 623 to drop LSU

New Mississippi State coach Mike Leach put his “Air Raid” offense in the hands of a transfer quarterback who showed up over the summer and the results were like nothing defending national champion LSU or the Southeastern Conference has ever seen.

K.J. Costello passed for an SEC-record 623 yards and five touchdowns and the visiting Bulldogs knocked off sixth-ranked LSU, 44-34.

“I don’t know if any individual could visualize this taking place,” said Costello, who was Stanford’s starter in 2017 and 2018 before head and hand injuries sidelined him last season. “I wasn’t visualizing sitting here breaking records.”

Costello’s passing yardage eclipsed the record of 544 yards Georgia’s Eric Zeier had against Southern Mississippi in 1993.

And Costello needed most of it to make up for his two interceptions and two lost fumbles, which helped LSU rally to tie the game at 34 before he engineered two late scoring drives.

LSU quarterback Myles Brennan intermittently showed promise in his debut as starter in place of 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and top NFL draft choice Joe Burrow. But Brennan’s 345 yards and three touchdowns passing could not make up for the trouble the Tigers' inexperienced defense had in new coordinator Bo Pelini’s scheme.

“We couldn’t stay with those guys,” Orgeron said. “Too many missed assignments. Too many guys running free, getting beat one-on-one. We have to look at whether or not we can cover man to man. If we can’t, we are going to have to play more zone.”

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Four of Costello’s touchdown passes covered between 24 and 75 yards. The longest came on Kylin Hill’s catch and run in which the running back slipped safety Todd Harris’s tackle along the sideline. Osirus Mitchell caught touchdown passes of 43 and 24 yards, the second putting the Bulldogs back up by two scores with 3:39 left.

Syracuse passes tests, then KO’s Georgia Tech

Tommy DeVito threw for two scores, freshman Sean Tucker ran for two others, and host Syracuse broke out of its offensive doldrums to defeat Georgia Tech, 37-20, for its first win in three tries.

The game was delayed more than 30 minutes while Syracuse players were retested for COVID-19.

The Orange scored 17 points off Georgia Tech turnovers.

DeVito was 13 of 24 for 192 yards. Tucker had 111 yards on 22 carries and touchdown runs of 38 and 4 yards. Nykiem Johnson had four receptions for 84 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown, while Taj Harris had three catches for 64 yards, including a 46-yard pass play.

Jeff Sims completed 13 of 28 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown for the Yellow Jackets but had four interceptions. Sims has been picked off eight times in three games.

Pitt’s sack attack catches up to Louisville

Patrick Jones II collected three of Pitt’s seven sacks, helping the host Panthers beat No. 24 Louisville, 23-20. The win pushed Pitt (3-0, 2-0 ACC) to its best start since 2014.

The Panthers held the Cardinals to 223 yards — less than half of what they had been averaging coming in — and never let Malik Cunningham get comfortable.

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Cunningham completed just 9 of 21 passes for 107 yards with a touchdown and three picks, the last a fourth-down interception by Pitt’s Jason Pinnock with 1:19 remaining. Cunningham ended up leaving on a stretcher after the play with an undisclosed injury. Coach Scott Satterfield said the junior had feeling in all his extremities and was being evaluated.

Louisville struggled to generate much of anything offensively thanks to the relentless pursuit of Pitt’s defensive front.

“We’ve played some good D lines, but they were different,” Satterfield said. “They played fast, they played physical.”

Three times Louisville had the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead. The drives ended with interception, punt, interception.

TE Pitts’s 4 TDs powers Florida

Tight end Kyle Pitts caught four of Kyle Trask’s six touchdown passes and No. 5 Florida spoiled the head coaching debut of Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin with a 51-35 victory in Oxford, Miss.

Trask completed 30 of 42 passes for 416 yards including touchdown passes of 1, 16, 71, and 17 yards to Pitts. The star tight end had 170 yards receiving on eight catches.

Trask modestly chose to deflect the attention to 6-foot-6, 240-pound Pitts, who consistently found seams in the Ole Miss secondary.

“He is a match-up nightmare for defenses,” Trask said. “He’s too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers, so it gives defenses lots of trouble and that’s what you like to see.”

Kiffin, the former Tennessee and USC head coach who came to Ole Miss from FAU, had the Rebels' offense humming with Matt Corral at quarterback.

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Corral completed 22 of 31 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns passes, two to Dontario Drummond.

Before the opening kick, players from each team took a knee to acknowledge racial injustice in the United States. Both teams put out statements on social media right before the game started.

“As members of the Florida and Ole Miss football teams, we recognize the impact of our personal platforms and are choosing to amplify the issues that directly impact us. Together we have chosen to take the opening series of today’s competition to acknowledge the unrest in our country surrounding the treatment of African Americans. We will continue to support social justice efforts as members of the Southeastern Conference and members of our respective communities.”

Texas escapes in OT

Texas was trailing host Texas Tech by 15 points with just more than three minutes to play when Sam Ehlinger walked over to his coach and delivered a message.

The No. 8 Longhorns weren’t out of it, the senior quarterback said. Far from it. Texas would leave the field a winner.

“[He] looked at me and said, ‘They left us too much time. We’re going to tie this thing up and win in overtime,’ ” Herman said. “And I believed him.”

So did the rest of the Longhorns.

Ehlinger delivered on his promise, rallying Texas from a 56-41 deficit in the final 3:13 with touchdown passes to Brennan Eagles and Joshua Moore to force overtime, then finding Moore for another touchdown in a wild 63-56 victory.

“That’s the Tom Brady of college football,” Texas defensive tackle Keondre Coburn said. “That’s the leader we have.”

Texas Tech thought it had the game put away late behind a diving touchdown catch by T.J. Vasher and a 75-yard touchdown run by SaRodorick Thompson Jr.

Ehlinger just looked at the clock and did his thing with a brilliant finish.

Ehlinger first connected with Eagles for a touchdown and the Longhorns snagged the onside kick when the ball bounced high and slipped through the hands of a Red Raiders player. After finding Moore for another score to get within 56-54, Ehlinger passed to Eagles again for the 2-point conversion.

Texas got the ball first in overtime and the Ehlinger-to-Moore connection did it again. Texas Tech’s only possession ended with Alan Bowman forced to scramble before his pass was intercepted by Caden Sterns on fourth down.

Nix, Auburn find range

Bo Nix threw for 233 yards and three second-half touchdowns, including a pair to Seth Williams, and No. 8 Auburn scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from No. 23 Kentucky for a 29-13 victory.

The Tigers turned a three-quarter scare into a comfortable win by capitalizing on a late turnover and Kentucky’s failed fake punt in the lone Top 25 matchup of the SEC’s opening weekend.

Kentucky still hasn’t beaten a top-10 SEC team on the road since topping No. 1 Mississippi in 1964.

The game was played before a COVID-19-limited crowd of 17,000-plus — mostly Auburn students — and the most electric moment for the sparse in-person audience was a 100-yard interception return called back by targeting just before halftime. That came right after replay officials upheld the call that Chris Rodriguez was down inside the 1.

“He was clearly in,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “I really can’t give a good explanation. I really didn’t get good explanations all day. I don’t know if us wearing these masks and all that. I don’t know. That was tough. That was a big swing.”