Saturday NCAA Football Recap

A&M makes history and Texas teams live to fight another day in Week 13

Kellen Mond led the Aggies to a big win. Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Houston misses its shot at a championship and the Aggies made history. Here’s look at what happened in the Lone Star State:

Texas 24, Kansas 17

Sam Ehlinger was a dominant force in the Longhorn’s victory over Kansas on Friday. The star quarterback threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 11 Texas beat Kansas 24-17 to clench a spot in the Big 12 championship game. "We treated this game like a semifinal, if you will, win and advance," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "And our guys found a way to win and advance." Kansas coach David Beaty is on his way out after four losing seasons with the Jayhawks and high-profile Les Miles is taking over to hopefully restore the program. It was a good day for the longhorns who lost to the Jayhawks back  in 2016. The loss seald the fate of Charlie Strong and led to the hiring of Herman.

Memphis 52, Houston 31

Welp, the Cougars blew it. They had one last shot to make it to the American Athletic Conference  championship and they blew it. Despite being down 21-17 at halftime, Memphis rushed for five touchdowns and scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Cougars 52-31. The Tigers took advantage of the run game after defensive tackle Ed Oliver was benched due to a lingering knee injury. Running back Darrell Henderson rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns, setting a single-season conference record, passing the previous mark of 1,629. Memphis will face No. 8 UCF in the AAC title game.

Baylor 35, Texas Tech 24

After a season full of high highs and low lows, Charlie Brewer and the Bears get to go to a bowl game. The sophomore quarterback threw for 308 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another score, leading the Bears to a 35-24 victory over Texas Tech in the regular season finale. "Excited to have more time with those seniors," Brewer said. "I have the utmost respect for those guys that have stuck around here through tougher times than I could ever imagine." The Bears have earned bowl-eligibility after finishing with only one win last season. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was fired Sunday. The former quarterback turned head coach was 35-40 in six seasons as head coach. Baylor waits to find out what bowl game it will play in.

TCU 31, Oklahoma State 24

Despite being plagued by injury, TCU gained bowl-eligibility with a 31-24 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday night. "With everything that happened to us, I think we ended up overachieving at the end. Simple," coach Gary Patterson said. "I don't think you can take away from our kids what they just got accomplished." Sophomore receiver Jalen Reager had one touchdown and 121 yards rushing on five carries and caught eight passes for 91 yards and another score. Both TCU and Oklahoma State wait to find out which bowl game they will play in.

Texas A&M 74, LSU 72

This game just would not end! After an early celebration on the LSU sideline and seven overtimes, the Aggies staved off the Tigers with a 74-72 victory on Saturday night. Receiver Kendrick Rogers was stunningly clutch, picking up 53 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions. After being frantically tended to on the sidelines, Rogers returned to the game in time to close it out with a two-point conversion. "These are moments you live for, so no matter what's going on with your body you want to be out there," Rogers said. "So, you just have to talk yourself out of it, just mentally fight through it." Sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond was the glue that held the Aggies together, throwing for 287 yards, six touchdowns, three 2-point conversions and ran for another touchdown. "You had two teams out there refusing to lose and we just made one more play," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. The 74 points allowed by LSU are the most ever given up by a ranked team. The 146 combined points are the most in an FBS game in NCAA history.

Rice 27, Old Dominion 13

Juma Otoviano rushed for two touchdowns and a freshman school record 224 yards, leading the Owls to a 27-13 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday.

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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