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5 prospects Ravens fans should be watching in Oklahoma vs. Texas

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5 prospects Ravens fans should be watching in Oklahoma vs. Texas

If you want defensive prospects, the SEC is the conference to check out. But what if you wanted a boost for the offense? Then you go to the Big 12 where offense reigns supreme.

Oklahoma and Texas is one of the great rivalries of college football and there will be plenty of offensive weapons on display in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday for NFL fans to check out.

Hare the players Ravens fans should be watching.

C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

Humphrey's wrestling background is evident when you watch him play. Despite being 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he always seems to gain good leverage when blocking and maintains his center of gravity. Run-blocking is his specialty as he loves to take it to the defense and you can often find him at the second and third levels of the field wreaking havoc with his blocks. His pass blocking is not as strong, but still very good and he never gives up on a play. He runs through the whistle each and every time he snaps the ball.

See where Humphrey is projected to go in the latest NFL Mock Draft.

ILB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

When you send Murray after the quarterback, he is shot out of a cannon. He has very good vision and is able to find holes in the blocking to chase down ball carriers. He is also great and keeping contain and forcing the ball on the outside or bringing down the ball-carrier whenever they try to cut back in.  You almost never see him get caught over-pursuing.

When it comes to pass defense, Murray is average at best. His strengths are definitely on the blitz and pursuing. What I really like about him is that he is a very good tackler. In this day and age when everyone tries to lower the shoulder and no one wraps up, Murray stands out. If you are anywhere within arm's reach, he is going to bring you down.

OT Sam Cosmi, Texas

As a redshirt sophomore, Cosmi would be a project for an NFL team, but it would likely be a good investment.

Cosmi was the starting right tackle for Texas last season as a redshirt freshman and after only one year he is already projected to go in the top half of the NFL draft. If he stayed in school for three more years, chances are he would be a really high pick. If he chooses to go early and leave Texas this year, however, this would be a value pickup. It would take a year or two, but he has NFL starting potential and being able to grab that in the middle of the draft would be a steal.

DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

Last year, Gallimore looked like he could be an average NFL nose tackle. He could stuff up the middle and take blocks, but he was not going to contribute much else.

That is not the case this season.

Gallimore shed some fat and gained some muscle in the offseason and it is evident in his play. He suddenly is much quicker off the snap and does not just stuff up the middle anymore, he can penetrate. This is a much more versatile player than originally projected and would certainly be an asset in the middle of the defense.

OT Parker Braun, Texas

Braun's collegiate career began at Georgia Tech which made evaluating him difficult. The Yellow Jackets' option offense obviously does not translate to the NFL. Going to Texas as a graduate transfer was a smart move for Braun's career and he is getting some reps at pass protecting. The results so far have been good.

After time at Georgia Tech, we know Braun is an excellent run blocker. His pass blocking remains a work in progress and he should be seen as a project at the NFL level.

Other potential NFL prospects to watch:

WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
WR Collin Johnson
S Brandon Jones, Texas
QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas
TE Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma
CB Josh Thompson, Texas
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
DE Malcolm Roach, Texas
C Zach Shackelford, Texas
ILB Jeffrey McCulloch, Texas
RB Trey Sermon, Oklahoma
WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
OLB Caleb Kelly, Oklahoma

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College Football Week 12 What to Watch: Virginia Tech looks to extend bowl streak to 27

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College Football Week 12 What to Watch: Virginia Tech looks to extend bowl streak to 27

Virginia Tech sits one win away from bowl eligibility, Penn State will look to rebound from its first loss and Navy has its sights set on the Cotton Bowl, but they will have to go through the Irish first.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

No. 9 Penn State vs. Indiana

When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
How to watch: ABC

Penn State is coming off its first loss of the year and now returns home to host a sneaky good Indiana team that enters this game with four straight wins. No one needs a rebound more than quarterback Sean Clifford who threw three interceptions against Minnesota after throwing only three interceptions total in the eight games prior. Indiana boasts the 34th best defense in the country and the 9th best pass defense.

Also in need of a rebound will be the Nittany Lions defense which yielded 461 yards to the Golden Gophers.  Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is out for the season, but Peyton Ramsey is not exactly coming cold off the bench. He has started in three games this season and played in seven.

The Hoosiers' offense has been able to find consistent success this season scoring at least 31 points in eight out of nine games.

No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Ind.
How to watch: NBC

There's always a lot on the line when these two traditional rivals meet, but that is especially true this year as both teams remain in the running for a New Year's Six bowl.

Both teams enter this game ranked for the first time since 1978.  Navy has won five straight and has its sights set on the Group of 5 teams' bid to the Cotton Bowl. Winning the AAC won't be enough, however, Navy has to beat out the other competitors in the rankings as well. That's what makes this game so critical.

A loss to Notre Dame won't affect the conference standings, but it will likely drop the Midshipmen out of the rankings next week. That means Navy will not only have to run the table and win the conference, but it will need help to make sure other Group of 5 teams, such as Boise State and Appalachian State remain below them in the final standings.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

A remarkable turnaround has Virginia Tech within one win of reaching bowl eligibility and extending their bowl streak to 27 years. The Hokies will hope to reach that on Saturday against Georgia Tech.

The Hokies are coming off of their best game of the season, a 36-17 win over Wake Forest. Hendon Hooker was back under center and continues to show signs of improvement every week. Suddenly the offense is running the ball with consistency. The defense has also come alive after being left for dead earlier in the season. Bud Foster's defense completely shut down the Deamon Deacons and now has what looks to be a much easier task against Georgia Tech.

It has been a tough season for the Yellow Jackets who are transitioning away from the option offense. Georgia Tech sits in last in the Coastal standings while Virginia Tech controls its destiny. Another win will put the Hokies one step closer to a winner-take-all showdown with Virginia in the season finale.

Game of the week: No. 13 Baylor vs. No. 10 Oklahoma

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
How to watch: ABC

While Jalen Hurts may have been grabbing all the headlines early in the season, there was no bigger reason for the Sooners' dominant start than the resurgence of the defense. Oklahoma's defense had been putrid in recent years and may have cost them a real shot at the national title after losing in the semifinal of the College Football Playoff in each of the last two seasons. The Sooners' defense had looked much improved until its past two games where it let up 48 points to Kansas State in a loss and 41 points to Iowa State in a narrow one-point victory. The Cyclones were just one two-point conversion away from handing Oklahoma its second straight loss.

Now the Sooners have to play undefeated Baylor who is looking to cement itself as the top team in the Big 12.

The Bears may be undefeated, but they have not been dominant by any stretch. Two of their wins came in multiple overtimes. They also have wins of eight points or fewer against Rice, Iowa State and West Virginia.

But still no losses.

This game may well prove to be Round 1 between these two teams. The Big 12 does not have divisions and instead the No. 1 and 2 teams will play in the conference championship. Right now, Baylor sits in first at 6-0 with Oklahoma second at 5-1. An Oklahoma loss could open the door for two-loss Texas, but an Oklahoma win will likely set things up for a rematch in December.

On NBC Sports Washington

Florida State vs. Alabama State

When: 12 p.m., Saturday
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Other local teams

VMI at Army, 12 p.m. Saturday on CBSSN
Georgia at Bucknell, 1 p.m. Saturday
Morgan State vs. Virginia Lynchburg, 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
William & Mary vs. Towson, 1 p.m. Saturday
Hampton vs. Kennesaw State, 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Norfolk State at Delaware State, 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
James Madison vs. Richmond, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Howard at Florida A&M, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3

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Santos-Silva, defense lead VCU past No. 23 LSU, 84-82

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Santos-Silva, defense lead VCU past No. 23 LSU, 84-82

RICHMOND, Va. -- Will Wade was concerned about turnovers before bringing No. 23 LSU to the Siegel Center, where he spent six seasons and watched VCU frustrate opponents with a frenetic pressing, trapping defensive style. He tried to prepare the Tigers for what they would face.

It didn't work.

"You can't simulate this," Wade said, gesturing toward the arena where the band is loud, the creative fans sit right on top of the court and the sellout streak has reached 137 games. "You can't simulate what they do, and they do it every night."

Former Wade recruit Marcus Santos-Silva had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and VCU turned 26 turnovers into 37 points in an 84-82 victory Wednesday night. The game ended, fittingly, with Skylar Mays losing control on a desperate drive for a tying basket.

"This is my fourth year of college basketball and this is No. 1," Mays said. "This is the toughest environment I've ever played in."

The Rams (3-0), whose contract with Wade mandated he bring his new team to the Siegel Center or have his school pay $250,000, improved to 5-2 against ranked opponents on their home court, and they did it after withstanding a furious rally at the finish.

The Tigers (1-1) took their first lead since early in the first half on two free throws by Mays with 41 seconds left.

"Sometimes you have to put your guts out on the court, make plays, figure it out, find a way," Rams coach Mike Rhoades said.

LSU had a chance after Santos-Silva made one of two free throws with 4.9 seconds left, but Mays lost the ball.

De'Riante Jenkins and Marcus Evans added 15 points each for VCU, which was outscored 46-30 in the paint.

Mays led the Tigers with 23 points, but also had seven turnovers. Javonte Smart added 15 points and Trendon Watford scored 11.

The Rams led for most of the game, but a 15-2 run by the Tigers -- despite a stretch of five turnovers in six possessions -- tied it at 67-all with 8:56 to go. The Rams responded with an 11-4 run started by Santos-Silva to lead 78-71 with 3:22 to play.

"We didn't have much of an answer for Santos-Silva down low," Wade said.

But the Tigers rallied again, scoring 11 of the next 14 points to take an 82-81 lead.

Jenkins, fouled on a 3-point try, then made two of three free throws, and the Tigers missed their final three field-goal tries.

BIG PICTURE

LSU: Wade said he was concerned about how much the Tigers turned the ball over in their opener against Bowling Green, surely with an eye toward the "havoc" style Rhoades has reintroduced at VCU. The Rams made them believers, forcing 12 first-half takeaways and turning them into 24 points.

VCU: The Rams had trouble getting the ball inside, but their 3-point shooting and defense bailed them out, especially during an 18-4 first-half run. In one sequence, Isaac Vann made a 3 for VCU, which then forced a turnover, leading to Evans' 3. The Tigers then turned it over again, leading to a 3 by Vince Williams. All in 53 seconds.

BLISTERING BURST

The Rams bought the crowd to its feet late in the first half with the 18-4 burst that allowed them to open a 48-33 lead.

It was something Wade -- who spent four seasons as an assistant under Shaka Smart and two as VCU's head coach before leaving for LSU in 2017 -- acknowledged having seen many times in the arena.

"It's usually better when you're on the other side," he said.

HE SAID IT

"Now I can go back to rooting for VCU." -- Wade, who was jeered and booed when he appeared on the court. Five Rams fans were dressed as FBI agents near the LSU bench, and others had fake money spilling out of their hats, a reference to last year when Wade was named in a Yahoo Sports report about excerpts of an FBI wiretap that captured the coach speaking with Christian Dawkins, who was convicted of funneling illegal payments to the families of college basketball recruits. Wade denied wrongdoing.

UP NEXT

The Tigers should have a much easier time in their next outing, at home against Nicholls on Saturday.

The Rams continue a six-game homestand to open the season, welcoming Jacksonville State on Sunday.

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