The Houston Astros are now where they expected themselves to be before the season, and where they felt they were on their way to be when they acquired Justin Verlander. Houston shut out the New York Yankees 4-0 in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday, advancing to their first World Series since 2005. Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined to allow just three hits on the night, with Morton earning the win after lasting five innings and striking out five. At the plate, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis both went deep, while Brian McCann doubled in two more, as Houston's rebuilding process that began years ago is finally coming to fruition. McCullers came in for the final four innings to earn his first career save, walking just one batter and striking out six in relief, helping the Astros improve to 6-0 at home this postseason. Yankees veteran C.C. Sabathia lasted just 3.1 innings with just one run against him on five hits, but finished with three walks and did not strike out a batter. The Astros' newly acquired ace, Verlander, was named ALCS MVP after the win, as he finished with two victories in the series, and now has four in the postseason. Houston's last appearance in the Fall Classic ended with a sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox. They'll send their ALCS MVP to the hill to open the World Series in Los Angeles against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma State Survives in OT Against Texas
A week after Texas pushed Oklahoma to the limit, they did so even more with the 10th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for them, it was once again not enough, as they fell in overtime to the Cowboys, 20-17, as Sam Ehlinger threw an interception in the end zone to end the Longhorns' hopes. Matt Ammendola had the game-winning 34-yard field goal in overtime, after tying the game in the fourth with a 19-yard kick for the Cowboys. He did have a chance to win it in the final quarter, but missed a 29-yard attempt. Despite the win, the Oklahoma State offense could not figure out the Texas defense, as they put up their fewest points since a 28-7 loss to the Longhorns in 2014. They finished 36 points fewer than their season average, as they also averaged 611 yards per game, but finished with 428 on Saturday. Quarterback Mason Rudolph ended the game with 282 yards and no touchdowns, finishing with less than 300 yards passing for the first time in eight games. The Cowboys will visit West Virginia in a tough road matchup next week, while Texas hits the road for a conference game with Baylor.
Penn State, Notre Dame Cruise to Victory
Two teams with playoff hopes made major cases for themselves with convincing victories against formidable opponents on Saturday. First, Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley each ran for three touchdowns, as No. 2 Penn State crushed No. 19 Michigan, 42-13, at Beaver Stadium. The Heisman favorite Barkley wasted no time setting the tone early, rushing for a 69-yard touchdown on the second play of the game. He finished with 161 yards from scrimmage. Meanwhile, McSorley's three rushing touchdowns set a career-high for him, as he also threw for 282 yards and a score. The Nittany Lions increased their playoff hopes with the win, but their schedule gets even tougher, including a road matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes next week. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking to move up the rankings and sneak back into a playoff spot. They helped their cause on Saturday by cruising past No. 11 USC, 49-14. The 13th-ranked Fighting Irish got four total touchdowns from quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who threw for two touchdowns, and ran for two more. Meanwhile, Josh Adams got the job done on the ground by rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns of his own. The Trojans struggled hanging on to the ball with three turnovers, as they dropped their first game to Notre Dame as a ranked team since 1995, and dropped their second game of the season. The Irish will most likely move up in the rankings, as they get set to host NC State next week. Meanwhile, USC looks to regroup when they visit the Arizona State Sun Devils.