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    stormstopper last won the day on October 18

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    About stormstopper

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      Tigerslayer, Duck Hunter
    • Birthday 06/05/1993

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      Duke Blue Devils

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    1. Bengals Sold to First-Time Owner

      Storm Stopper, Chicago Tribune. What motivated you to pursue this opportunity, particularly so soon after joining the Falcons?
    2. [2021] Pre-Season Sign Ups [OWNERS]

      Chicago Bears: vs. Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City vs. Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
    3. [2021] 1st Round Rookie Salary Negotiations

      QB Mohammed Foster 6-0 194 R West Virginia [Scrambling] 82 4 years // 22.0 million // 71.59% Guaranteed G//5.5//4.0//3.5//2.75//Total:15.75 $//0.0//1.5//2.0//2.75//Total:6.25 Total//5.5//5.5//5.5//5.5//Total:22.0 Value//11.4495182609
    4. [2021] It's Mo Time

      IT'S MO TIME Bears select Mohammed Foster with #5 Overall Pick The scene moments before the announcement that would change the course of the franchise--for better or for worse CHICAGO - From the Morgantown mountains to the prairies of Illinois, the country roads will take Mohammed Foster to a new home. In a surprise move, the Chicago Bears selected the sensational scrambler from West Virginia with the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NFLHC Draft. After much speculation that the Bears would beef up the offensive line with Oklahoma State's Beckett Miller (drafted 3rd by the Cardinals) or Auburn center Dean Strauss (still available at #5), the move to take a quarterback signals a seismic shift in direction for a franchise that has yet to make the playoffs since its inception. It also casts a dark cloud over the future of fifth-year incumbent starter Norris Brooksheer. "Mo is a pure playmaker, plain and simple," said general manager stormstopper. "A big arm, a pair of quick feet, a good head on his shoulders, a really big arm--we're very, very excited about the future of this franchise with Mohammed Foster." The Connecticut native made a dramatic first impression against Kansas in his debut in 2018: 418 yards through the air, 145 on the ground, 6 total touchdowns, and 45 total points...in a loss. Up-and-down that season as a true freshman with a 55.8% completion percentage and 11 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, his year-over-year improvement was dramatic. As a sophomore, he jumped to 61.8% passing with 26 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. Then, came his junior year. "There were two quarterbacks putting up video game numbers all year," adds the GM. "I think they're both going to be special players in the league. If you watched Mohammed play at all this year, the only reasonable reaction was 'Wow, this kid can play.'" Foster rewrote the record book in his final year at West Virginia, throwing for 4697 yards and 41 touchdowns against 6 interceptions while rushing for nearly 700 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games en route to winning the Heisman trophy. He completed more than 72% of his passes and had a passer rating of 181.75. The elephant in the room: those latter two stats broke the Big XII record previously held by now-teammate Norris Brooksheer. The move seems somewhat unlikely to soothe tensions that reportedly developed between Brooksheer--who is in the final year of his rookie contract after the Bears picked up his option--and the Chicago front office. Brooksheer's agent answered the Tribune's request for comment with a "What do you think?" before hanging up. Team sources are adamant that the battle for the starting job will be won over the course of the offseason. But other sources within the league are adamant that Brooksheer has played his last game in a Bears uniform. All agree that it's a question of when, not if, the Mohammed Foster era starts. Perhaps no one is more ready for that day than West Virginia head coach smckenz3, who told the Tribune: "I'm excited to see Foster in Chicago. His hard work paid off, and he's going to fit in nicely with their skill players. He's going to help them make noise in their division!" Noise is a virtual guarantee, given that this is the highest-risk highest-reward move the Bears have made in four seasons and five offseasons. Whether that noise is cheers during a playoff game in January or boos in November, only time will tell. For now, we begin the countdown to Mo Time.
    5. [2020] Awards

      Congratulations to Noah Hills, Kansas's third All-American and our first since James Otero and Ricky Rose in 2014! And, of course, congratulations to J.C. Weldon, Solomon McLaughlin, Beckett Miller, Hudson Adam, and most especially Heisman winner Mohammed Foster--I couldn't ask for better representatives for the nation's most exciting conference.
    6. [2020] Bowl Betting Bonanza

      $750 - National Championship Game: Penn State (-3)
    7. It's rare that a fanbase looks back on a loss with fondness and reverence. It's rarer still that a loss feels like the moment that a program's rise to prominence began. But it's with good reason that TCU's 27-24 loss to Georgia back in the 2016 season fits both of those descriptors: it was much closer than the 58-7 beatdown the Horned Frogs suffered the year before, and they used the momentum from the season-opening near-miss to catapult themselves to an 8-game winning streak, a bowl bid, and success year after year. Now, these two teams face each other again, and TCU wants to upgrade that moral victory to an actual victory. If you're a fan of classic, hard-nosed, defensive football, this is the game for you. Both teams are led by the strength of their respective defenses. TCU allows a bit under 25.5 points per game in the high-scoring Big XII; when adjusting for their schedule, they're top-30 at holding opponents below their season averages. Georgia does them a bit better: they rank 12th in the country in raw points allowed per game at 18.3, though that dips to "only" 17th when adjusting for their opponents. The two defenses ooze with talent, particularly in the secondary--where they combine for perhaps 9 players who will play on Sundays eventually. Let's break them down. We'll start with the less familiar Georgia Bulldogs. Throwing on the Dawgs has generally been a mistake this year: they give up just 180.9 yards per game through the air, allowing opponents to complete 60.7% of their passes and giving up just 13 touchdown passes against 9 interceptions. Adrian Goldson (308 yards) is the only quarterback to get past 250 yards against this defense. Sophomore Dominique Dawkins (6 INT) is a stud at cornerback, and avoiding him to throw at any of the other defensive backs won't help you out at all. Even Marcus Black, Tucker Dowden, and Elias Allen-Hollis managed 229, 190, and 200, respectively. But the defense can be cracked on the ground--which makes sense, given that their defensive front is not nearly as ruthlessly loaded. Don't underestimate mike linebacker Alex Felder (85 tackles, 2.0 sacks), and be aware of Lese Mauiliu (9.5 sacks, 34 tackles) coming off the edge, but a good offensive line can poke holes in the Georgia defense and open up running lanes. Georgia's 4.2 yards allowed per carry is somewhat misleading--they massacred the worst rushing attacks they faced, but teams like Auburn, Mississippi State, Florida, Missouri, and even South Carolina ran the ball successfully. Whether TCU can match that success on the ground or not is an important question. Unless Sam Milner (15 TD to 14 INT, 54.9% passing, 159.6 yards per game) has a revelation during bowl practice, the TCU offense is going to depend on the ability of Milner and Shamar Burroughs to earn their yardage the hard way. Burroughs has shown some sparks at times, but ultimately has averaged 95.2 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry. Milner's mostly been a nonfactor on the ground (and has in fact lost net yards in each of his past two games), but he can't be discounted as a goal line threat. But again, Burroughs is the man to watch here. If Plan B doesn't work out for TCU, they can always go back to Plan A: whack the opponent with their defense and take as much of the load off of the offense as possible. TCU's been successful at just about everything on that side of the ball efficiency-wise: they give up under 7 yards per pass attempt and under 4.2 yards per carry--and they lead the Big XII in both categories. They don't force a ton of turnovers, though their 12 picks is more than Georgia's defense had. They do excel, though, at getting after quarterbacks. Their 25 sacks led the Big XII entering bowl season, and they can bring pressure from just about anywhere--they had seven different players record a sack this season. Elliot McElmore (51 tackles, 3 INT, 1.0 sack, 1 FF) has been the focal point of the defense, but there isn't really a weak spot in it. Safeties Matthew Dyson and Christopher Malone are not going to let much past them. Corners Roman Blackmon and William Cooper are young studs. And again, the defensive front is fierce. But we'll see just how fierce it is, because Georgia's best weapon on offense is its run game. The powerful Isaac Wilson rushed for 1475 yards and 22 touchdowns on nearly 5.3 yards per carry, including a red-hot finish to the regular season: 166 yards and 3 touchdowns against Missouri, followed by 176 yards and 2 touchdowns against rival Georgia Tech. He is priority number one for the TCU defense to stop, and given the prowess of the Georgia line that won't be an easy task. However, succeeding there puts a lot more pressure on quarterback Salvatore Tanner, who's never really wowed audiences this season. The senior completed 61.4% of his passes, throwing for 17 touchdowns and 6 interceptions and maintaining a 135.2 passer rating. In SEC play, he throw just 8 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. He did score 6 touchdowns as a secondary running threat, but his passing leaves much to be desired. He relied heavily on #1 receiver Ja'Wuan Howard, who comes into the Sugar Bowl with an impressive 75 receptions for 1152 yards and 13 touchdowns. He'll be the only priority for the TCU secondary, but the shallowness of the Georgia receiving corps means that TCU can focus on stopping him without really diverting from their primary goal of stopping the run. TCU's defense will give them a fighting chance in this one. If they can limit Wilson and Tanner on the ground, then all that needs to happen for TCU to win is for the offense to find just one player to step up and make plays down the stretch. That kinda sorta has to be Shamar Burroughs, but unfortunately for the Frogs it's been hard to predict which games he'd be able to make an impact in. Sure, Georgia's defense is vulnerable on the ground--but is TCU the team that can take advantage of it? I think it's possible. But I don't think it's likely. I'll take Georgia in a closely fought, low-scoring rockfight. #14 Georgia 16, TCU 13
    8. [2020] Bowl Games - Day #12

      Final season stats for selected players: Christian Graham, Kansas: 228-369 for 2,828 yards, 24 TD, 16 INT (61.79%, 7.66 YPA, 138.96 passer rating) Graham set the Big XII freshman record with 24 touchdown passes, and moved to second place on the Kansas career passing touchdowns list His 2,828 yards are the 2nd-most by a Big XII freshman quarterback, trailing Mohammed Foster's 2,868 in 2018. His 16 interceptions, however, tied the Big XII record set this season by Rahim Murrell and Chester Brenner. His 138.96 passer rating ranked 4th among full seasons by Kansas quarterbacks--Eric Jennings's sophomore and senior seasons and Christopher Brooks's senior seasons outranked it, though he beat both seasons of DeAndre Jackson and Eric Jennings's junior year. Rod Fulton, Kansas: 268 carries for 1214 yards, 11 TD Only note here is that this is the most rushing yards by a Kansas player in a single season since James Otero in 2014, which is more of a commentary on Paul Gibbs and Jalen Clayton than anything else. Eric Pope, Oklahoma: 150-246 for 1829 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT (60.98%, 7.43 YPA, 135.18 passer rating); 67 for 409 yards, 5 TD, 2/2 F/L Eric Pope tied the Oklahoma freshman record for passing touchdowns with 13 (with Graham Burnett) and broke the school record for total touchdowns accounted for by a freshman quarterback with 18. Maurice White, Oklahoma: 338 carries for 1638 yards, 17 TD, 2/2 F/L White's 1638 yards rank 2nd in a single season in Oklahoma history, trailing Greg Hadnot in the national championship season. Hadnot had three extra games to get the last 45 yards. White set a school record with 129.46 rushing yards per game, beating out 2018 Sean Egloff by more than 7 yards per game. His 338 carries also set a school record, but he did so while averaging 4.98 yards per carry--the highest by any Big XII runningback this season. Jamari Callahan, Kansas: 48 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 safety Callahan set a Kansas single-season record for sacks--by any player, not just by a freshman. He also finishes his true freshman leader in second place on the Kansas career sack list. (Amir Ransom leads with 14.) Callahan's 11.5 single-season sacks are the fifth-most by any player in Big XII history. It is a conference freshman record, and the most by an underclassman since sophomore Anthony Ortiz recorded 12 in 2015. Final career stats for selected players: Malcolm Davis, Kansas: 297 receptions for 4316 yards, 37 TD Davis finished his Kansas career with the school record in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He was the second 4000-yard receiver in Big XII history, finishing second in yardage to Raheem Robinson. He also finished second in receiving touchdowns to Robinson. Davis finished 3rd in receptions, trailing both Raheem Robinson and Todd Sykes. He appeared on 50 statsheets, which is second in Big XII history to...actually, not Raheem Robinson. It was Texas's Jacky Walters, who had 51. He is one of 8 Big XII receivers to average at least 14.5 yards per reception (min. 100 career receptions). Noah Hills, Kansas: 134 receptions for 1906 yards, 21 TD The early declaree finished third in Kansas history in receptions and receiving yardage (10 behind senior Timmy Sutton in both categories) and second in touchdown receptions. He is second to Steven Maloney in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end in Big XII history. He and Hastin Rider finish tied for second in Big XII history for receptions by a tight end, also behind Maloney.
    9. It's tricky to stop a guy (or slow a guy) who throws on time like Trickett. The redshirt junior signal-caller for USC has put together an incredible season that's flown under the radar thanks in part to three upset losses and a number of games taking place after east coasters had turned off their TVs for the night. In 13 games for the Trojans, Luke Trickett has gone 340-488 for 4200 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions through the air, and he's added 471 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground (albeit with 2 fumbles lost). From an efficiency standpoint, that's a completion percentage of 69.7%, a passer rating of 167.2, and nearly 6.4 yards per carry. All that's to say that Trickett is one of the two best quarterbacks Kansas will have seen this year, and the other one's team scored 51 on them. And that's just the introduction. USC's had a strange season. When they're on, they're on; when they're off, they are perplexing. They finished 4th in the country with 37.0 points per game, and their 19.4 points allowed ranked 17th. Their 10 wins came by an average of 25.5 points. They routed Wisconsin on the road, knocked off Washington State at home, and won the Pac-12 South by four full games. But they also lost to a mercurial Notre Dame in week 2, blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead at home in a loss to Stanford, and no-showed the Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon. This would seem like a prime opportunity for Kansas if not for the fact that the Jayhawks have been even less consistent this season. The route to 7-5 was marked by peaks and valleys and a whole bunch of Houdini acts. After starting 2-3, the Jayhawks scored 16 defensive points to upset Oklahoma State. After falling to 4-5, they rallied from 31-20 down to stun Oklahoma in Norman, followed it up by rallying from 34-14 down at the half to shock Texas, and closed the regular season by winning without scoring a touchdown against Kansas State. The decidedly rollercoaster-like nature of the Kansas season can be attributed to a whole bunch of different things, but it boils down to a high-risk high-reward defense and a redshirt freshman quarterback. Let's start with the defense, and how it matches up with USC's offense. Kansas has relied on outsized contributions from three players: Bradley Spurlock (6 INT, 3 TD), Kameron Reaves (45 tackles, 1 sack), and true freshman Jamari Callahan--who won Big XII Defensive Player of the Year with 44 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, and a safety forced. As a whole, the unit struggled. Kansas has given up a school-record 29.3 points per game, including five different 40-point efforts. But the defense also makes big plays. They've recorded 22 quarterback sacks, forced 17 turnovers, and scored 37 points on defense. Against a USC offense that absolutely oozes talent, though, relying on the big play is extremely risky. If they can't stop Samuel Gulla (1235 yards, 13 TD) and Sean Waller (989 yards, 15 TD) from doing whatever they want, whenever they want, then the mere idea of holding USC under 40 is a lost cause. The Jayhawks will be looking at the Oregon blueprint--the Ducks sacked Trickett three times and intercepted him twice in the conference championship game--but there's a stark difference between using a blueprint and replicating what made it successful. The other small matter is that USC's defense is an elite unit in its own right. But this is an area where Kansas feels like they're on somewhat less disadvantageous footing. The Jayhawks score 28.1 points per game, and they've cracked 40 points four times. As you recall from earlier, that offense has bailed Kansas out from significant deficits. The Jayhawks in fact have a winning record (3-2) when their defense allows 40 points or more. In order to get any kind of offense going, Kansas needs balance--and it has to be earned balance. Christian Graham's going to get his reps, but Kansas is at its best when Rod Fulton's a running threat that takes some of the heat off of Graham. The junior college transfer at tailback finished the year with 1150 yards and 11 touchdowns, but four of his five 100-yard efforts came in games where Kansas scored 40 or more points. He's been a complement to redshirt freshman quarterback Christian Graham, who cooled down against Kansas State after a scintillating two-game stretch against Oklahoma and Texas. For the season, Graham is a 61.8% passer with 23 touchdown throws to 15 interceptions; he has thrown for 2658 yards and maintains a 139.7 passer rating. With receivers like Malcolm Davis (912 yards, 14 TD) and tight end Noah Hills (609 yards, 5 TD), Graham has help. But USC's pass defense is a bunch of man-eaters. They've allowed opponents to complete just 56.9% of their attempts, allowed 194.5 yards per game, and intercepted 20 passes while allowing just 17 touchdowns through the air. Until the Pac-12 title game, they'd picked off at least one pass in each game this season. In more than half of their games, they've picked off two. That means that Kansas absolutely has to run the ball successfully if they want to have a chance. The Trojans have had surprisingly mixed results against the run: opponents earn close to 4.6 yards per carry against them despite the fact that USC didn't really face a great set of runningbacks. Kalei Keil and Owen Sorenson of Notre Dame combined for 211 yards in their upset win; Trevon Yeldon and Jason Baum put up 159 in their title win. Even Noel Mason and Parker Townsend of Arizona State ran for 131 yards on 27 carries in a loss. To USC's credit, they bottled up Jamal Trufant; however, that merely serves to underscore why it's so important that Kansas can't let Fulton suffer the same fate. It'll be a matter of whether the Jayhawk tackles can keep Ilan Kuhn and Nasir Womack--human pincers with 21 combined sacks masquerading as defensive ends--from crashing in and blowing up the run before it can get started. It'll depend on whether Fulton can beat Louis Landry (57 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 INT) to the edge. It'll be a matter of whether Graham can take care of the ball against a ferocious defensive backfield. It'll depend on a lot of things, but pretty much everything has to go right in order for Kansas to win. USC's inconsistencies have been more high-profile, but that's only because they're the better team. Kansas has had a great relationship with the Alamo Bowl with two wins here, but a third one here does not seem to be on the horizon. Give me USC--by a lot. #13 USC 42, Kansas 27
    10. Neither of these teams was supposed to be here. And yet, here they are. Oklahoma's been on this stage before, but after Graham Burnett's early departure their chances of returning were in doubt. When a brutal early schedule knocked them back time and time again en route to a school-worst 0-5 start, the season looked over. Things changed in the Red River Shootout: Oklahoma changed up their defensive philosophy, upset the Longhorns, and springboarded to a rip-roaring 6-1 finish capped off by a stunning 31-26 win over Oklahoma State with their backs against the wall to finish 6-6. Sure they've been here before, but this one's special. Duke's story is pretty much the exact opposite. After years of alternating between close and not-so-close calls, the Blue Devils blazed through the 2020 season. They signaled their arrival with a 34-31 upset of Florida State--though, in retrospect, their week 2 double-overtime win over eventual MAC champion and playoff representative Western Michigan ended up being their best win of the year. Duke started 5-0, bounced back from a loss to Virginia to earn bowl eligibility against Miami, and still found time to win three more games for a school-record 9-3 season. But why stop there? A matchup with a former national champion with a 10th win on the line is an opportunity to plant a flag on their turf in the college football world. In Orlando, you have two teams with two different types of styles on hand. Oklahoma has been a primarily run-first team, with Maurice White steaming his way to 1554 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Eric Pope hasn't been shy about calling his own number, rushing for 334 yards and 4 scores of his own and averaging nearly 6.2 yards per carry. While Oklahoma State might object to the characterization (Pope attempted a career-high 39 passes against them), this is a running team. That creates an interesting matchup against Duke, who runs something between a 4-3 and a 4-2-5 by dropping safety Jordan Reeves down to the linebacker level. Reeves has excelled in the "strike" role, leading the team with 4 interceptions and finishing 2nd on the team with 42 tackles. However, that tackling ability is going to be what matters in this one. He and Ahmed Mark (49 tackles) have to be responsible for keeping the explosive White contained, or it'll be a long day. For the most part, Duke's defense has done so this season: they give up fewer than 4.1 yards per carry and just 93.0 yards per game, but the only above-average rushing offense they've faced all season was Western Michigan's. That's probably a tradeoff Duke is fine with: the pass-heavy offenses have been the ones to gain the most on them and score the most on them. Passing plays have accounted for 68.2% of the yards Duke has allowed despite accounting for less than 55.5% of the plays run against them. The Duke defensive line can get enough pressure to give their playmakers some opportunities, but those playmakers will have to make plays. Oklahoma's defense, meanwhile, faces off against a familiarly vexing foe: a mobile quarterback. Bryce Thompson has been one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the country, throwing for 2704 yards and 21 touchdowns against 9 interceptions on 61.4% passing, and rushing for another 9 touchdowns. There are a lot of times when he'll look like a freshman. There are other times when he looks like an absolute stud. Sometimes, those happen back-to-back: he obliterated Georgia Tech to the tune of 400 yards and 6 touchdowns, then followed it up by getting picked off twice in a loss to North Carolina. The offense lives and dies with the passing game because Christian Collins (4.1 YPC) was at most a complementary threat, but Thompson doesn't lack for options. Junior Sean Spaczek leads the team with 846 yards and 9 touchdowns, senior tight end Owen Workman's next with 768 and 7, and you'll see a bit of Kaden Lloyd and Amari Nicholson in the mix too. That essentially means that a lot of this game is going to come down to Oklahoma's pass defense. Their season-long numbers quite frankly don't look good. But a large part of that was due to an historically bad start, and their past seven games have brought them somewhere between average and somewhat above-average. Starting with that Texas win, they've given up 221.7 yards per game through the air on 61.6% passing, along with 11 touchdowns to 6 interceptions and a passer rating of 132.3. That's been enough to get the job done, and it's also reasonably close to Thompson's own average statline. As important as the matchup between Maurice White and the Duke linebackers is on one end, the matchup between the Devils' receivers and the Sooner's defensive backs might be even more crucial. Sean Spaczek is a dangerous receiver. Whoever covers him has to be aware of where he is, and in any zone coverage they'll need to be just as cognizant. I tend to think Oklahoma has the advantage on offense, but Duke has the advantage on defense. I think Duke's advantage on defense is bigger, though. The one time their run defense was truly tested, they kept DeSean Madison in check. Oklahoma was tested a lot through the air, and they gave up yards in bundles against both Christian Graham and Chester Brenner during their final two true tests. I think the Devils bounce back from the Carolina loss and close their season out on the right note. #22 Duke 37, Oklahoma 28
    11. [2020] Bowl Games - Day #9

      Luke Cobb, talk about going out with a bang
    12. [2020] Bowl Games - Day #8

      Chester Brenner's college career comes to an end on a strange note from the department of obscure statistics: he became the first Big XII quarterback to throw for 300 yards in two bowl games without winning either. But on a more positive note: Brenner also became the first Big XII quarterback to throw 4 touchdown passes in multiple bowl games. His 2020 statline: 311-469 for 3753 yards, 38 TD, 16 INT, 66.3% completion percentage, 8.0 yards per attempt, 153.4 passer rating His 38 touchdowns would have broken Christian Barkley's single-season Big XII record if Mohammed Foster (41) hadn't already broken it. It is a school record. On the flipside, his 16 interceptions would have broken the record shared by multiple quarterbacks if Rahim Murrell (also 16) hadn't already broken it. It is also a school record. His 3,753 passing yards is the 2nd-highest total in Oklahoma State single-season history, after his own school record of 4,132 yards set last year. His career statline: 662-1066 for 7885 yards, 69 TD (nice), 29 INT, 62.1% completion percentage, 7.4 YPA, and a 140.2 passer rating The previous school record for career passing yards belonged to Wayne Schmidt at 7873. Chester Brenner now holds the record by just 12 yards. (Schmidt played in 37 games to Brenner's 26.) Brenner finishes 10th on the Big XII career passing yardage list. Brenner also set the Oklahoma State record for career touchdown passes with 69, tied with Brad Davis for 6th in Big XII history Last but not least, Brenner (69 TD) beats out Graham Burnett (62 TD) for the most touchdown passes by a quarterback that ChicagoTed1 recruited to Oklahoma.
    13. [2020] Bowl Betting Bonanza

      $50 - Heart of Dallas Bowl: BYU (-4) $20 - Music City Bowl: Louisville (+5) $100 - Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State (+4.5)
    14. The midpoint of the Big XII bowl season looks to be one of the highlights of the year for the nation's most exciting conference. Oklahoma State takes on Missouri in a battle of teams that have had ups and downs and fits and starts, but throughout the season they've both had one thing stay mostly consistent: offense. The Tigers rank 13th in the country in scoring offense at 32.8 points per game; the Cowboys are one of the few teams to top them, ranking 10th with 34.5 per game. What's more is that neither team's been great on defense. Missouri gives up 26.4 (66th) and the Cowboys give up 28.3 (83rd). What happens when two unstoppable forces meet two very movable objects? You get a game between a team that's ranked 7th in over-under (the Tigers) and a team that's ranked 4th (guess who)--a formula for a shootout. Both teams are heavily reliant on elite quarterback play. Missouri is led by Tucker Dowden, the next in a line of quarterbacks that includes Indianapolis Colts regular-season star Aaron Shea. Dowden demonstrated two things above all else this season that make him a great candidate for this year's draft should he declare early: pinpoint accuracy with his arm and breakaway speed with his legs. Let him sit in the pocket and he'll find one of his four main targets downfield. He completes 71.1% of his passes, he's thrown 31 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, and he's completed 70% of his passes or more in 10 of his 12 games. He's got guys like wideouts Daniel Hobbs (63 for 943 yards, 10 TD) and K.J. Strauss (46 for 627 yards, 5 TD), as well as tight ends Justin Burris (43 for 699 yards, 8 TD) and Walt Bauer (36 for 457 yards, 6 TD). But flush him out of the pocket, and he's got the ability to run. In fact, he put up 558 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground this season to complement Nathan Coleman's 1227 and 9. As a team, Missouri rushes for a full 5.5 yards per carry and 148.8 yards per game. Combine that with the fact that you just plain can't leave your DBs on an island and you understand why Missouri can score in bunches. Oklahoma State doesn't force you to pick between stacking the box or getting extra DBs on the field. They're unsubtle, and they actually got worse when they tried to achieve more balance. But it works because very few teams can actually handle the offense they put forth. Even though Chester Brenner's thrown 15 interceptions, he's been effective. He's completed 65.9% of his passes for 3425 yards and 34 touchdowns, putting up a passer rating of 151.7 despite his high volume. The Cowboys succeed because of Brenner's high-risk high-reward approach--and because his wide receivers mitigate the high risk. Jay Dunn (64 for 903 yards, 10 TD) and Xavier Gant (64 for 890 yards, 13 TD) lead the team, but freshman Jeremy Bridges (50 for 635 yards, 6 TD) and tight end Christopher Vinson (22 for 330 yards, 2 TD) provide complementary threats. This is important against a thin Missouri secondary. Only one Tiger has intercepted more than one pass this season. However, that one Tiger was David Triplett, and he had 8 picks. They have a few different players who can generate pressure--four of them have between 4.0 and 5.0 sacks--but that's not often enough to threaten quarterbacks protected by some of the better offensive lines they face. Senior tackle Beckett Miller will be critical to buying time, as will interior linemen Edward Meyer and Jay Sotelo. The good news for fans of defense is that both teams are better against the pass than against the run, and Oklahoma State's better against the run than Missouri is. The Tigers give up nearly 5.0 yards per carry, but that won't matter all that much unless this game gets close. (More on that later.) Oklahoma State gives up 4.5 yards per carry, in comparison, though they've allowed 19 touchdowns on the ground. The Cowboys have had a lot of success slowing down the pass: they've picked off 17 passes to 19 touchdowns allowed, and they allow a 59.2% completion percentage. Where they're less successful is preventing home-run passes, as they allow a full 12.1 yards per completion. Missouri, though, would consider those numbers an improvement. They've given up 20 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, allowed opposing passers to complete 60.1% of their passes, and allowed nearly 13.0 yards per completion. That said, they haven't given up any phenomenal passing games--it's just that they also don't really break anybody that way. The offensive advantage belongs to Missouri, but the defensive advantage belongs to Oklahoma State. The X-factor is that both of these teams have had a ton of experience in close games: out of the 24 they've played, just 7 have been decided by more than one possession. Missouri is 4-5 in one-possession games, whereas Oklahoma State is 4-4. They've both won and lost heartbreakers, and are both a few breaks away from being conference champions or bowl-ineligible. It might come down to the little things--like the fact that Oklahoma State's Ralph Hinson is 26-27 on field goals whereas Kai Ragsdale is "only" 22-25. It might come down to Missouri's third-down defense getting itself off the field 73.3% of the time to Oklahoma State's 67.4%. If Brenner avoids a turnover, Oklahoma State is more likely than not to win, but even one free possession might tip the scales in favor of Missouri--after all, it might come down to who can get the last defensive stop when it counts the most. Despite every fiber in my being warning me not to, though, I'm taking the Tigers. Seeing what Maurice White and Eric Pope did to this Cowboy defense shows that there's a template Missouri can follow--while Coleman is no Mo White, Pope is no Tucker Dowden. And that, too, could be the difference. Missouri 45, Oklahoma State 42
    15. [2020] Bowl Betting Bonanza

      $20 - Armed Forces Bowl: Texas (+2.5) $50 - Gator Bowl: Mississippi State (E) $50 - Military Bowl: USF (-13.5)