As one former Northwestern quarterback’s college career concluded, another’s began Saturday.
Justin Worley was introduced to the Neyland Stadium crowd during Tennessee’s Senior Day ceremony, but was unable to play after season-ending shoulder surgery ruled him out earlier this month.
But Mason Rudolph’s career is just getting started. Oklahoma State intended to redshirt the true freshman, who, like Worley, led Northwestern to a 15-0 record and a state title in his senior season of high school ball. But injuries to previous Cowboy starters J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman meant Rudolph got his shot to start Saturday night against No. 7 Baylor.
Rudolph completed 13-of-25 passes for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was also intercepted twice and was sacked three times.
Rudolph completed the first pass of his career, a short swing out to Tyreek Hill. His first touchdown pass was an 8-yarder to David Glidden just before halftime, and he threw a 68-yard touchdown bomb to James Washington in the third quarter.
The loss 49-28 loss to the Bears was Oklahoma State’s third in a row, meaning the Cowboys (5-6) need to beat Oklahoma next week in the annual “Bedlam” rivalry game to have a shot at a bowl game. That would mean a valuable extra month of practice for Rudolph and possibly another start for the rookie from Rock Hill.
• Brandon Williams was a busy man during East Carolina’s 34-6 win over Tulane. The former Northwestern Trojan linebacker led the Pirates with 11 tackles, including 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry. Nation Ford’s J.T. Boyd started at right guard again for ECU, while Fort Mill’s Worth Gregory punted four times for a 36.2-yard average, with all four landing inside the 20-yard line.
• The Citadel closed out its season with a 45-25 win over Virginia Military Institute on Saturday, and former Clover quarterback Aaron Miller closed out this college career by running and throwing for a touchdown each. Miller was limited to 38 yards rushing, but that was enough for him to finish the season with 1,080 yards rushing, third best all-time by a Bulldogs quarterback.
Rock Hill’s Mitchell Jeter made two tackles, including a sack, while South Pointe’s Josh Massey made four tackles in the season finale.
• South Pointe’s Zeek Rodney made two tackles, including 1.5 for a loss with a sack, in Wake Forest’s 6-3 double overtime win over Virginia Tech Saturday.
Rodney teamed up with Kevin Johnson to take down J.C. Coleman for a six-yard loss during the second quarter, then sacked Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer on the next play for a five-yard loss. The sack was his first solo in college.
• Northwestern’s Gerald Dixon Jr., made a single tackle in South Carolina’s 37-12 win over South Alabama on Saturday. His brother, former South Pointe star Gerald Dixon, did not play. Another former Stallion, Landon Ard, kicked touchbacks on five of his seven kickoffs.
• Rock Hill’s Tyrell Curry made a single tackle, but Eastern Kentucky fell 52-3 to Florida in The Swamp.
• North Dakota State beat Youngstown State 38-14 on Saturday, but York’s Ryan Moore contributed to the Penguins’ effort with seven carries for 44 yards.
• Gardner-Webb lost its season finale 31-15 to Monmouth, but Nation Ford’s Andrew Komornik had a strong punting performance in the loss. Kormornik hit eight punts for a 40.8-yard average, with a long of 52 yards and four kicks downed inside the 20.
• Former Chester Cyclone Ariane McCree was held to just two tackles and a quarterback hurry in his final college football game, but Jackson State did manage to upset Alcorn State 34-31.
• Former Northwestern Trojan Keon Stowers made three tackles in Kansas’ 44-7 loss to Oklahoma.
• York’s Jerome Pettiway punted nine times in South Carolina State’s 30-20 win over Norfolk State. Pettiway averaged 40.9 yards on his kicks.
• Chester’s Terrance Morris made two tackles and broke up a pass in Wofford’s 34-6 win over Mercer.
• Pittsburg State overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat Harding 59-42 in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, with Rock Hill’s Jamal Tyler running the ball 10 times for 40 yards and catching two passes for 16 yards.
• Former South Pointe Stallion Rodney Nichols made five tackles but Benedictine University was bounced from the NCAA Division III football playoffs with a 43-14 loss to Wheaton College.