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College Football: In-State All-Americans

Earlier this week, college football players throughout the country learned who was voted into the upper echelon of the sport.  For football fans within the state of Oklahoma, an equal amount of happiness was felt knowing that 5 in-state players were among those selected to the 2019 Associated Press All-America team.  To truly understand the seasons that came to be, its best to look at the two First Team All-American selections journeys and how their play impacted fans support and their teams overall success:

 

Oklahoma State Running Back Chuba Hubbard (AP First Team All-American)

Despite the understood frustration with Hubbard not winning the Doak Walker Award, Cowboys fans were very happy to know that one of their own was selected to the First Team this season.  On the season, Hubbard not only led the nation in rushing yards (1,936yds), but he also was tops in the country in multiple other categories while being the main workhorse in the OSU offense.  The native of Alberta, Canada exploded onto the scene in the first game of the season at Oregon State, rushing for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns, with the success continuing throughout the entirety of the fall.  Hubbard scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season, outside of a road win at West Virginia, while also breaking the 100 yard mark on the ground in the same amount of games.  The success for Hubbard reached national levels in a breakout performance at home over 24th ranked Kansas State, when he rushed for 296 yards and became a potential front runner for the Heisman Trophy.

 

Hubbard eventually finished in the Top 10 in Heisman voting this season, while also helping Oklahoma State achieve an 8-4 overall record and a consistent spot in the CFP Top 25 rankings this fall.  The next challenge on the schedule will be a trip to nearby Houston, when the 25th ranked Cowboys play Texas A&M in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl.  On the other end of the field lies a Jimbo Fisher-led Aggies team who is currently 7-5, with all losses coming to teams who were ranked within the Top 10 at the time of their contests.  Overall, the Aggies are ranked within the Top 30 best rush defenses in all of NCAA, while also having one of the best coaches in the entire nation and a battle tested squad to boot.  For Hubbard to succeed in his final game of his sophomore campaign, the Cowboys have to do what they have done all season:  Play to their strengths.  With Hubbard toting the rock as one of the best backs in the nation, the Cowboys have all they need to cap the season with another stellar performance.

 

Oklahoma Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb (AP First Team All-American)

Much like Chuba Hubbard’s story, Lamb also was passed over for a national award this season, falling just short in his pursuit of the Biletnikoff Award for the nations top wideout.  Despite the oversight from voters, Lamb lived up to his preseason hype and surpassed it by many measures, continuing to thrive in the Lincoln Riley offense for the 2nd straight season.  Ultimately, Lamb’s big-play ability led to a compilation of stats that included 1,208 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, while also ranking in the Top 10 in the country for most yards per catch this season (nearly 21 YPC).  Despite the Sooners having some games where things may not have clicked optimally, there was hardly ever a night where Lamb did not perform near the upper echelon of the country, scoring touchdowns in 9 of the 12 games Oklahoma played in this season.

 

With Oklahoma now firmly into the College Football Playoff discussion, Lamb’s potentially final game in the college ranks will come against #1 ranked LSU in the Peach Bowl on December 28th.  Lamb has already lifted himself into one of the best receivers in Oklahoma school history (2nd all-time in TD’s, 4th all-time in yards), but he may have to put his best performance together when taking on the top ranked Tigers.  LSU only allows 21 points per game this season, however, the area to expose overall is in the passing game for OU.  LSU’s 222 yards of passing offense allowed this season has been middle of the road by national metrics, with Lamb potentially benefitting most off of the numbers shown.  Oklahoma will certainly have to bow up on the defensive end of the football to stop a Heisman Trophy winner in LSU QB Joe Burrow, but if one end is taken care of then the other should be able to produce points to keep pace in the game.

 

Overall, this game may simply come down to a bit of history repeating itself:  The last 2 Heisman Trophy winners to make the College Football Playoff (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray of OU) both lost in the National Semifinals.  Sooners fans simply hope the 3rd time is the charm to end the magical run of the Bayou Bengals.