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.

 

Move over Rockets, there's new basketball team in town. Joe Buvid/Houston Athletics

Houston Basketball is on the rise, yet many people within the city haven't recognized the tremendous campaign they are putting together. Here are my reasons as to why you should buy into the 2018-2019 Houston Cougar Men's Basketball team:

1) Coach Sampson

Kelvin Sampson is in his fifth year in Houston. He won AAC Coach of Year last year, making it his fifth said honor in his career. He has successfully built a program that seniors have bought into. Sampson has had much success considering the outdated facilities he inherited and overcoming the challenge of recruiting very average players. He's had great success developing his players into great ones, where the likes of Devon Davis and Rob Gray led the team into the sweet sixteen round in last year's March Madness tournament. He is also a great tactician, which was in display in their comeback win vs. LSU this week. After being down 15, Sampson went to the board and changed their approach to the game after realizing how open LSU was leaving the driving lanes, which enabled Galen Robinson to have a huge game and also allowed the team to collect the majority of offensive boards. He is also a class act. After their game vs. OSU, Sampson went up to his old nemesis, Coach Sutton, to pay his respects and even gave him a kiss on the cheek after seeing how badly his health had deteriorated. I also had the pleasure of attending the UH Basketball Tip Off dinner this year where many fans buy tables as a means to fundraise money for the program. I was impressed by his ability memorize the player's family members by name, and his ability of building long life relationships with them.

2) Community

Houston Cougar Basketball has become one of the hottest tickets in town for many reasons. Their success on the court has permeated out of campus and onto the city where even professional athletes have taken notice. Astros' Alex Bregman and Rockets Eric Gordon were in attendance in the matchup vs LSU. Chris Paul called Coach Sampson prior to the same game and told him he would go with 'friends.' Turned out they didn't show but the takeaway here as that they have caught notice. Amongst other rumored attendees were JJ Watt and Lebron James. The student section has also bought into this year's team. They have filled the stands every home game since the opening of the new arena. They are loud and proud, where even I thought they couldn't surpass the deafening ruckus from the upset win vs. Oregon. But the Fertitta Center saw a new standard in the comeback win vs LSU.

3) Intangibles

This team has displayed qualities that surpass the physical realm. It really started last season, where they upset numerous teams as they punched their ticket into March Madness. They were beat by a then 3 seed in the Michigan Wolverines on a walk off buzzer beater 3. Houston competed the whole way, and you could even argue that the loss was really mainly due to self-inflicted wounds, especially because of the missed free throws in the final minutes. I talked to Corey Davis at the annual tip off dinner this year and he told me his team is hungry to get back in the tournament. The juniors and seniors now have a taste of what the big dance is all about. If they make it again this year, they will bring something they didn't have before, experience. Houston also has displayed grit. They learned a lot about themselves in their comeback win vs LSU this week. Galen Robinson dug deep when he began to hear LSU chants when his team was losing by 15. "It really touched a nerve. I was like, there's no way we're losing this game," said Robinson. A humbling loss in the sweet sixteen round last year, and a gut check win vs LSU will definitely bring out maturity and leadership within this roster.

4) The Players

Senior point guard Robinson has had a great offensive start to this season. In their matchups vs LSU and Oregon, Robinson has displayed the ability to completely take over games. He has also adopted the role of a leader in the locker room, where Coach Sampson said he heard Robinson's loud rally cry towards his teammates through a wall that separated the coach's and player's rooms at halftime vs LSU. Junior guard Armoni Brooks has been as advertised. He remains an integral part of the offense with consistency, and showcases the most versatile talent on the Houston roster night after night. Senior guard Davis continues to struggle this season, but I do believe he will turn it around. It's hard to believe otherwise after his incredible season last year. Sophomore point guard Dejon Jarreau made his first start of the season vs LSU. He didn't have the greatest of games but there are many reasons as to why. Jarreau has recently lost his grandmother and has suffered from tough injuries that have sidelined him. The UMass transfer remains an important player to this team by allowing Robinson to have precious resting minutes. The upside in Jerreau is tremendous. Lastly, Freshman Guard Nate Hinton must live up the title of Preseason AAC Freshman of the Year. He's showed great flashes, so keep a sharp eye on this projected up and comer. Houston has all the right pieces to the puzzle. The seniors have completely bought into Coach Sampson's philosophy and have prior experience in the big dance. The trick is finding the right mix of players and keeping them healthy all the way into selection Sunday.

5) Ferttita Center

OK, we talked about this last week, so I'll keep this one short. The new arena has successfully been able to pull many fans back into campus. The scarlet red and the strategically placed student sections have been staples of the incredible atmosphere the Fertitta Center hosts. UH is currently on a 22 home game win streak, 19 of which happened at TSU. The history of where the arena sits is also something to note. Many loyal UH Basketball fans even label it as hallowed grounds that have seen players like Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon and Clyde "The Glide" Drexler. This entails a certain aura to the new arena, where you can almost even feel its past and foreshadow future success. You can read last week's article on the Fertitta Center here.

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