Happy Monday, friends and fans!
Tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens features several former high-profile Oklahoma Sooners, including Baker Mayfield, Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews and Orlando Brown Jr.
Baltimore won the first meeting between these two AFC North division rivals, 38-6 in the 2020 season opener. Now the series moves to Cleveland. While the 7-5 Ravens have struggled as of late, losing four of their last six contests, the 9-3 Browns have been hot, and are riding a four-game winning streak.
With a win, Mayfield’s Browns would move into a tie with Buffalo for the third-best record in the AFC, inching one step closer toward clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2002. Meanwhile, Baltimore likely needs a win tonight if it wants to maintain a realistic chance at securing a berth in the postseason. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Now onto this week’s Monday edition of Hot Links! Jalen Hurts goes to work, a Sooner commit receives praise from Randy Moss, the Beard still wants out of Houston and more!
- In just five days from today, Oklahoma will be in Arlington facing the Iowa State Cyclones for the second time this season and playing for a sixth consecutive Big 12 title. Given how this season started for the Sooners, they really can’t ask for much more than that. Kick-off is set for 11 a.m. CT on ABC. Boomer!
- In his first career start, rookie QB Jalen Hurts shined for the Philadelphia Eagles in a 24-21 victory over the New Orleans Saints. On the night, the former Sooner completed 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries.
- Speaking of former Oklahoma signal callers, Kyler Murray led his Arizona Cardinals to a 26-7 win over the New York Giants on Sunday. In total, K1 completed 24 of 35 pass attempts for 244 yards and a score. He also added 47 rushing yards on 13 carries.
- The Oklahoman’s Ryan Aber recently wrote about why redshirt junior DE Isaiah Thomas makes a strong case for being named this season’s Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Going into this weekend, OU leads the conference with 33 sacks, and IT has a team-leading eight sacks by himself.
- SI Sooners’ John Hoover broke down the stark differences between Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma team and Matt Campbell’s ISU squad. Though the two programs recruit talent at totally different levels, both staffs are one win away from claiming the conference crown.
- 2021 four-star WR commit Cody Jackson out of Richmond, Texas made this week’s ‘You Got Mossed’ segment on ESPN for this incredible catch he made over the weekend. Something tells me he’ll have plenty of opportunities to recreate this play after he arrives in Norman.
Around the Sports World
- After eight seasons, the Auburn Tigers have fired Gus Malzahn. During his tenure, the 55-year-old offensive-minded head coach led War Eagle to a 68-35 overall record, including an SEC title and a berth in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has been named interim head coach while Auburn searches for Malzahn’s replacement.
- UCF Knights senior QB McKenzie Milton has announced his intent to transfer to the Florida State Seminoles this upcoming offseason. Milton has not started a game since 2018, when he suffered a severe leg injury.
- The ACC is expected to welcome Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips as its new league commissioner, replacing John Swofford following the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year.
- James Harden is reportedly still pushing for a trade from the Houston Rockets despite the team recently adding former Washington Wizards All-Star John Wall.
- The Cleveland Indians are expecting a formal announcement on a team name change as early as this week, according to a report from the New York Times.
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