College Rewind

Saturday NCAA football recap: Blowout loss for TCU; major victories for Georgia, USC, Clemson, Ohio State

Baker Mayfield is an unstoppable force right now. Brett Deering/Getty Images

Taking a look back at the weekend in college football:

Oklahoma 41, TCU 17

Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield led the Sooners to a blowout victory over TCU, throwing four touchdown passes in Saturday’s game. The Horned Frogs were unable to get their offense moving in the first quarter and were subsequently shut out the entire second half of the game. Kenny Hill threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter, leaving the score at 24-17 at the half, but the Sooners sealed their fate in the second half. The 41 points for Oklahoma are the most TCU has allowed all season. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said, "I'm really proud of our group for not listening to the entire narrative across the country that we shouldn't be playing this championship game and all that mess." The the Big 12 champions wait to learn who their opponent will be and in which national semi-final game.

USC 31, Stanford 28

The Pac-12 championship game was nothing short of a battle at Levi’s stadium on Friday. USC sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. made seven receptions and one score for 146 yards, including a 54-yard pass from Sam Darnold who paved the way to a championship win for the Trojans. The sophomore quarterback was 17 of 24 for 325 yards, completing scoring passes to both Pittman and Tyler Vaughns. Stanford coach David Shaw said “The bottom line is we had opportunities and we didn't make enough plays.” Both teams await their bowl bids on Sunday.

Clemson 38, Miami 3

Kelly Bryant left it all on the field in Saturday’s ACC championship matchup against Miami. Bryant set a championship game record by completing his first 15 passes, forcing aside concerns that he could not live up to the standard set by Clemson icon Deshaun Watson. Bryant was 23 of 29 for 252 yards, with one touchdown pass and one running score. With their choice of bowl game sites, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney left no doubt about his choice. “Get ready, Sugar Bowl,” he yelled. “Here we come.”

Georgia 28, Auburn 7

Just three weeks after an embarrassing loss to Auburn, Georgia handed out a brutal beating of their own on Saturday, winning the Southeastern Conference championship in a blowout 28-7 game. With this victory Georgia claimed its first SEC title since 2005. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was 16 of 22 with 183 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs. Auburn scored once in the first quarter before being completely shut out the remainder of the game.

Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 21

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett dazzled in Saturday’s Big Ten championship matchup against Wisconsin. Just six days after surgery, Barrett threw two touchdown passes, ran for another and led the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten title since 2014. Ohio State coach, Urban Meyer said, “We have two wins over two

top-four teams and another one over a team ranked 12th or 13th. We're a conference champion and we deserve a shot.” The Buckeyes find out where they’re headed next on Sunday.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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