Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is dunked with sports drink by linebacker James Skalski (47) and linebacker Baylon Spector (10) with corner back Mario Goodrich (31) after the game at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 27, 2021.  Clemson won 30-0.

Clemson U Of Sc Football In Columbia

Report: Clemson DC Brent Venables, Oklahoma nearing deal

Oklahoma is closing in on a deal to hire Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as its head football coach, ESPN reported.

His hiring could become official as early as Sunday, per the report. He would replace Lincoln Riley, who accepted the head coaching job at Southern California.

Venables has been mentioned as a candidate for previous plum head coaching jobs, including at Florida State and Auburn, but declined to pursue them. Instead, he chose to remain at Clemson, which won national championships in 2016 and ’18 and where his two sons are on the roster.

But Venables has ties to Oklahoma, which could have convinced him now is the time to move on. He was the co-defensive coordinator from 1999-2003 and the DC from 2004-11. The Sooners’ most recent national championship came in 2000.

Venables, who turns 51 this month, won the Broyles Award in 2016 as the nation’s top assistant coach.

He began his coaching career as linebackers coach at his alma mater Kansas State in 1996.

Entering the 2021 season, Venables had been part of a team with a winning record each season and had coached in 29 bowl games. Clemson finished this season 9-3 (6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) and is awaiting its bowl invitation.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley reacts during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Oklahoma commit Makai Lemon switches to USC

Lincoln Riley has persuaded yet another top recruit to follow him from Oklahoma to USC.

On Friday, five-star wide receiver Makai Lemon announced that he was changing his commitment from the Sooners to the Trojans. Lemon became the third five-star recruit to flip his commitment after USC hired Riley away from Oklahoma last weekend.

Quarterback Malachi Nelson and running back Raleek Brown also switched their commitments to USC earlier this week.

Lemon will play much closer to home because of his change in plans. The Los Alamitos, Calif., standout is ranked as the No. 27 player in the nation based on the 247Sports Composite rankings.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley (left) and Southern California Trojans athletic director Mike Bohn shake hands during a press conference to introduce Riley as USC head coach at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5-star RB Raleek Brown commits to USC

Five-star running back Raleek Brown committed to Southern California and new coach Lincoln Riley on Thursday, a day after decommitting from Oklahoma.

Brown, who plays at powerhouse Mater Dei in nearby Santa Ana, Calif., committed to Riley and the Sooners on Feb. 5. But Riley’s decision over the weekend to leave Oklahoma for USC gave Brown second thoughts about the Sooners.

“Momma I’m Staying Home… Los Angeles let’s turn it up a lil #FightOn #GoTrojans,” the 5-foot-8 back tweeted Thursday afternoon.

The 247Sports composite lists Brown as the No. 2 running back and No. 34 player nationally in the Class of 2022.

Brown told 247Sports that Riley’s move to USC cemented his decision.

“Lincoln Riley, that’s my guy,” Brown said. “… I was shocked he was leaving, but then excited he was coming to USC.

“I’ve been up to USC a ton of times, since before I even got to high school, and I’m super familiar with it there. I have a strong comfort level at the school and a lot of family nearby, so it’s honestly a great situation for me.”

Brown becomes the second former player previously committed to Riley and Oklahoma to choose USC.

On Tuesday, 2023 quarterback Malachi Nelson committed to the Trojans. From Los Alamitos High School, about 30 miles from USC, Nelson is the No. 2-ranked quarterback and player in the 2023 class behind Arch Manning, nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning.

Since Riley announced his departure, eight players combined have decommitted from Oklahoma’s 2022 and ’23 classes.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; USC Trojans helmets sit during a game against the Washington State Cougars in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

5-star QB Malachi Nelson follows Lincoln Riley to USC

Five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson, committed to the University of Oklahoma since July, will follow former Sooners coach Lincoln Riley to the University of Southern California.

Nelson, from Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School, switched his verbal commitment less than 24 hours after Riley was announced as USC’s new coach. Nelson made his decision known by tweeting a graphic of himself in a Trojan uniform and the words, “Yeah, this feels right.”

Ranked by 247 Sports Composite Rankings as the No. 2 quarterback in the class of 2023, Nelson is one of seven commits who have indicated they will leave Oklahoma. Nelson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound dual-threat passer, is the first of those players to pledge to USC.

Riley may yet lure other Oklahoma commits to USC. Makai Lemon and DeAndre Moore Jr., both wide receivers and Los Alamitos High teammates of Nelson, pledged to Oklahoma. Lemon decommitted when Riley made his move to USC but has not announced his plans.

A high school player’s verbal commitment to a school is non-binding, so Nelson can change his mind by December 2022. However, the quarterback’s speedy decision to follow Riley to USC and his ties to California indicate he probably will sign with the Trojans next year.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma's Jadon Haselwood (11) before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

Ou Vc Texas Tech

Oklahoma WRs Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease enter transfer portal

Two of Oklahoma’s most productive wide receivers — Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease — both five-star prospects coming out of high school, have entered the transfer portal.

Their moves came after coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for Southern California. Quarterback Spencer Rattler also entered the portal on Monday.

In addition, since Riley’s departure was announced Sunday, at least six high school players who had pledged to the Sooners have decommitted.

Haselwood led the Sooners with 39 receptions and six touchdowns this season, and has 62 receptions for 736 yards and seven TDs in 28 career games. He was the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 4 overall player in the Class of 2019, as ranked by the 247Sports composite.

Wease was the No. 3 receiver and No. 21 player in the same class, and after he tied for the team lead with 37 receptions for 530 yards and four touchdowns last season, he missed the 2021 campaign with a lower leg injury. He has 45 receptions for 666 yards and six touchdowns in 24 career games.

Rattler’s decision was not a surprise, insofar as he started the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate but by midseason had lost the starting quarterback job to freshman Caleb Williams.

But Haselwood and Wease are top talents in the OU receiver room and have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) talks with head coach Lincoln Riley before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler leaving, 6 commits change mind

Quarterback Spencer Rattler said Monday he’s transferring from Oklahoma, and six high school recruits also have decommitted from the program since head coach Lincoln Riley announced he accepted the same job at Southern California.

The announcement from Rattler — who opened the season as the Heisman Trophy favorite and later was benched — was not unexpected. But now, just 16 days before the early national signing period begins, Oklahoma finds itself down three commits from the 2022 class and three more from 2023.

Bowing out of their 2022 commitments are linebacker Kobie McKinzie and offensive lineman Demetrius Hunter, both from Texas, as well as defensive lineman Derrick Moore from Baltimore. The 247Sports composite ranks all three in the top 20 at their positions.

The hits are even more significant in the 2023 class for the Sooners.

Quarterback Malachi Nelson, the No. 2 quarterback and No. 2 player in the nation, decommitted and could follow Riley to USC. He’s a local product from Los Alamitos, Calif., and behind only Arch Manning — nephew of Peyton and Eli — in the player rankings.

Also backing off the pledge to Oklahoma were a pair of Floridians — Brandon Inniss, the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 9 player in the 2023 class, and running back Treyaun Webb, who is ranked No. 5 at his position and No. 96 overall.

“In light of the recent events and changes, my family and I believe it’s best if I de-commit from OU at this time,” Nelson posted to Twitter. “I want to thank all the Sooner fans for the relentless love and support they’ve shown.”

In his statement posted to Twitter, Rattler made no specific mention of Riley, instead simply stating he’d be entering the transfer portal to pursue his academic and athletic career elsewhere.

“Sooner Nation: Thank you for allowing me to be a student-athlete at this prestigious institution,” he wrote while briefly thanking teammates and coaches. “We won several games together and made memories that I will cherish forever.”

“Thank you again, Oklahoma,” he ended his statement. “I will miss you.”

Rattler, an Arizona native, started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2020 and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He threw for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

In the Oct. 9 game against Texas, however, he was benched and never regained his starting job.

He will have three years of eligibility remaining, though he also is eligible to enter the NFL draft in 2022.

–Field Level Media

OU coach Lincoln Riley says he was out Tuesday dealing with a personal matter.

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Southern Cal hires Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma

Lincoln Riley, the accomplished head coach at the University of Oklahoma, is leaving the Sooners to become the next head coach at Southern California, per multiple media reports.

Riley informed his staff Sunday.

Riley, 38, excelled as an assistant coach at Texas Tech and East Carolina before being hired as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 2015. He inherited the top job at the Oklahoma program when former coach Bob Stoops retired in June 2017.

The Sooners rolled to a 12-2 record and the College Football Playoff in his first season, losing to Georgia in the semifinals at the Rose Bowl 54-48 in double overtime.

Oklahoma made two more playoff appearances during his tenure and won four straight Big 12 championships, as Riley accumulated a 55-10 record in five seasons.

Riley led the Sooners to a 10-2 record and third-place finish in the Big 12 in 2020.

The Trojans job came open when USC athletic director Mike Bohn fired Clay Helton on Sept. 13, two days after Southern Cal was wrecked 42-28 by Stanford, which is now 3-9.

Helton went 46-24 at USC, with multiple seasons of double-digit wins, but the program had slipped in recent years. USC is just 4-7 this year.

The move comes as a bombshell in the sport, not only because of its high-profile nature, but also because Riley had cut off questioning about a potential move to LSU Saturday night by saying in part, “I’m not going to be the next coach at LSU. Next question.”

Those LSU rumors ended up being a smokescreen for this move, with USC not being listed as a likely destination for Riley during its own head coaching search.

ESPN is reporting that Oklahoma will pursue Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury for its vacancy.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) passes the ball against the Oklahoma Sooners during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 Oklahoma State holds on to defeat No. 10 Oklahoma

Spencer Sanders threw for 214 yards and a touchdown and ran for 93 yards and another score to lift No. 7 Oklahoma State to a 37-33 win over No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.

The Cowboys (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) will face Baylor in next week’s Big 12 Championship Game, ending the Sooners’ streak of six consecutive conference titles.

The Cowboys’ defense struggled through much of the first half but came up big after halftime – even after the offense and special teams put them in a tough spot. Oklahoma State allowed just 180 yards of offense after the break — only 48 through the air.

A big chunk of those came on Caleb Williams’ 56-yard run in the final minute to give the Sooners the ball inside the Oklahoma State 25.

But once again, the Cowboys’ defense came up big, forcing three consecutive incompletions before Collin Oliver sacked Williams on fourth down to put the game away and snap the Sooners’ six-game Bedlam winning streak.

Williams threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns but was just 6 of 18 after halftime and 20 of 39 overall.

Kennedy Brooks ran for 139 yards for Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2).

The Cowboys lost the momentum with a special teams miscue early in the third quarter, then regained it with a similar error by the Sooners. Eric Gray muffed a punt early in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys’ Demarco Jones recovered at the Sooners’ 5.

Three plays later, Jaylen Warren’s 1-yard touchdown run put the Cowboys ahead for good. They had clawed back into it about five minutes earlier on Sanders’ 37-yard touchdown run.

The Sooners built momentum early in the second half with a pair of non-offensive scores.

First, defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey popped the ball free from Cowboys running back Dominic Richardson, knocking it into the end zone.

Oklahoma State left tackle Cole Birmingham was able to jump on the ball, but the safety gave Oklahoma their first lead.

After the Sooners’ ensuing drive went nowhere, Brennan Presley couldn’t hang onto the punt, and Justin Broiles was there to recover the muffed punt in the end zone to put the Sooners ahead 33-24.

The Cowboys hadn’t given up more than 24 points all season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  The Oklahoma State Cowboys huddle before a game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Bedlam stakes high for No. 7 Oklahoma State, No. 10 Oklahoma

Oklahoma State wide receiver Tay Martin isn’t backing down from Oklahoma.

“I would expect to whoop their a–, honestly,” Martin said of Saturday’s meeting with the Sooners. “I don’t go into a game thinking otherwise. So, as long as we just do what we have to do, you know, take care of the little things, not try to do too much, do what we did to get here, honestly, we’ll be fine.”

The Sooners have long dominated Bedlam, leading the all-time series 90-18-7. Oklahoma has won the last six meetings between the programs and 16 of the last 18.

Heading into Saturday’s meeting in Stillwater, Okla., the No. 7 Cowboys are looking to escape the shadow of the No. 10 Sooners.

The Cowboys have already clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship game, their first appearance in the game.

An Oklahoma State win and a Baylor win over Texas Tech on Saturday would end the Sooners’ six-year run of conference titles.

An Oklahoma win or a Baylor loss would set up back-to-back Bedlam matchups for the Big 12 title. By the time the game kicks off, the road to the title game figures to be even clearer, with the Baylor-Texas Tech game kicking off more than seven hours before kickoff in Stillwater.

“The potential is unique, but it’s on us to win,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said. “I approach this like every other one, even when we’ve had games before in the regular season where we’ve already clinched it. We’ve been in that position and knowing we’re going to the Big 12 title game and you don’t hold back.

“We don’t get 50 of these things. We don’t get 60 of these things. You only get so many.”

Both teams are still in the thick of a race for a College Football Playoff berth, with the Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) in better position to make a leap into the top four.

Oklahoma State is in that position thanks in large part to its defense.

The Cowboys are allowing 267.5 total yards and 85.5 rushing yards per game.

“They don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Riley said of Oklahoma State’s defense. “There’s not a lot of gimmes where they busted and just gave the offense something. You just don’t see that much. They’re experienced, they’re well-coached, and it’s kinda what you’d expect. We need to play the same way.”

Since its Oct. 23 loss at Iowa State, Oklahoma State has outscored opponents 165-23.

While the Cowboys have been at their best lately, Oklahoma remains up and down.

The Sooners (10-1, 7-1) are coming off a 28-21 win over Iowa State where their defense dominated but the offense was held under 100 yards passing for the first time since 2014.

Even with his recent struggles, Oklahoma freshman quarterback Caleb Williams always has to be accounted for, coach Mike Gundy said.

“He’s a special talent,” Gundy said. “He can run around and throw the ball. It’s kind of like Nolan Ryan in football — he can fire it down the field from about any release. He’s very agile and elusive, faster than what he looks because he takes big strides, and he’s willing to just chunk it down the field and try to make plays.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Brian Asamoah (24) causes Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) to fumble during the second quarter at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 Oklahoma shuts down Iowa State, 28-21

Kennedy Brooks ran for 115 yards, combining with a strong defensive performance as the No. 13 Sooners beat Iowa State 28-21 on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.

The Sooners won despite throwing for just 96 yards, their fewest since 2014.

Oklahoma’s defense made life difficult for Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy for much of the day, racking up a season-high seven sacks.

But still, Iowa State had a chance to tie or win in the closing moments before Pat Fields’ interception with 15 seconds left ended it.

The Sooners (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) won by seven or fewer points for the sixth time this season.

Purdy zeroed in on Charlie Kolar on the last two drives, hitting him for eight passes during that span. The Norman native finished with 12 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Purdy finished 30 of 41 for 281 yards and a touchdown and an interception for the Cyclones (6-5, 4-4).

Iowa State got back in the game in the fourth quarter thanks to a 29-yard run on a fake punt by Andrew Mevis, followed five plays later by Hunter Dekkers’ 12-yard touchdown pass to Chase Allen to cut the Sooners’ lead to 21-14.

The Sooners stretched the lead to 14 again with about five minutes to play, but the Cyclones once again answered with a score of their own.

The teams started off trading touchdowns on their first drives.

Iowa State scored a play after a review turned what was initially an incompletion into a catch and a fumble, with Oklahoma cornerback D.J. Graham knocking the ball free. But Graham was out of bounds when he forced the fumble, giving the Cyclones the ball at the spot of the fumble — inside the Sooners’ 1.

Oklahoma scored on Caleb Williams’ 74-yard touchdown run on the second play of the next drive.

From there, the defenses took over.

Iowa State did it by not only containing Williams’ ability to run but also in limiting his options down the field, sacking WIlliams several times as he waited in the pocket for options to open up deep.

The Sooners’ defense got after Purdy from the start, sacking him five times in the first half, including a pair by Isaiah Thomas.

In the final seconds of the second quarter, cornerback Key Lawrence crashed down to hit the ball away from Purdy, sending it bounding down the field, where Jalen Redmond picked it up for a 42-yard touchdown to give Oklahoma a 14-7 lead at halftime.

Purdy left the game in the third quarter after a hard hit by Delarrin Turner-Yell but returned after two drives.

–Field Level Media