Saturday NCAA Football Recap

Close games and tough losses for Texas college teams in Week 10

Dana Holgorsen made a big decision to beat Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After a rough Week 9 for college football in the Lone Star State, Week 10 is filled with much of the same: disappointment and need for improvement. Here’s how it all went down:

SMU 45, Houston 31

Houston played its first game as a ranked team under second-year coach Major Applewhite and lost in spectacular fashion. Not having Ed Oliver on the field obviously hurt, but to say the Cougar defense was nonexistent against the Mustangs on Saturday night is an understatement. "Well, No. 1 give credit to SMU," Applewhite said. "You never want to shortchange somebody's effort and how they prepared, and they're playing great football. ... In the first half, we didn't play well, we weren't moving the ball well enough consistently on offense." Yeah, the Cougar offense was slow-moving but there was virtually no pressure on SMU quarterback Ben Hicks. But to make matters worse, the Cougars were held to 362 total yards, 205 below their national-leading 571 average yards-per-game. Hicks was 28-for-43 passing with 318 yards and 4 touchdowns for SMU.

Auburn 28, Texas A&M; 24

With 1:41 left Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham tossed up an 11-yard jump ball to freshman receiver Seth Williams and the Tigers rallied to beat the No. 25 Aggies 28-24 on Saturday. "Zero chance I wasn't coming down with it," Williams said. "It's going to come down with me if it's up in the air." Auburn was slow to start and trailed 24-14 behind A&M; before staging the rally. Sophomore Noah Igbinoghene breathed new life into Auburn with his first career interception on what coach Gus Malzahn called “probably the play of the game.” Stidham finished 18-for-29 passing for 239 yards and two touchdowns. "We knew if we left any life in them, they were going to fight, scratch and claw," Texas A&M; coach Jimbo Fisher said. "That's what they always do, and we did that. We played excellent football for three quarters." A&M; quarterback Kellen Mond was 16-for-32 passing with 220 yards and one touchdown, one interception and was sacked five times. Junior running back Trayveon Williams ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies.

Alabama 29, LSU 0

None of us actually expected LSU to beat ‘Bama but to go scoreless for all four quarters was pretty shocking. The Crimson Tide offense was able to bulldoze through the toughest defense they’ve faced thus far and the Alabama defense was as solid as it’s ever been. "Alabama overpowered us," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "When you max-protect and you're doing everything you can with protection and they're beating you, you've got to look at personnel. You've got to get better. I don't think it was scheme at all. ... There was nothing we could do about it." Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa turned heads with his untethered agility while wearing a brace on his right knee. Tagovailoa finished 25-of-42 passing with 295 yards, two passing touchdowns and ran for a 44-yard score in what was supposed to be the Crimson Tide’s toughest test of the season. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed 18-of-35 passes for 184 yards.

Oklahoma 52, Texas Tech 46

The Red Raiders were up 31-28 over the No. 7 Sooners at the half but after suffering a recurrence of a partially collapsed lung, Tech quarterback Alan Bowman did not get to finish the battle and was taken to a nearby hospital. Bowman’s absence changed the flow of a game in which the Sooners were arguably being outplayed. Tech punted three straight times with no first down after Jett Duffey replaced the Big 12 passing leader, but later found a rhythm and pulled the Red Raiders within two on a fourth-down scoring pass to senior receiver Zach Austin. But Oklahoma’s Robert Barnes intercepted the two-point conversion pass and ran the ball 98 yards for two points. "I should have found a way to get him more comfortable at the start of the second half than I did," Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "Once he got in a rhythm and he was competing and doing his deal, he played really well." Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray kept the game moving after two interceptions put the Sooners in a two-touchdown hole. Murray finished 20-of-35 passing with 360 yards and three touchdowns in the Sooners’ comeback victory over Tech. Sophomore running back Trey Sermon set career highs with 206 yards rushing and three touchdowns, leading Oklahoma’s charge towards the College Football Playoff.

West Virginia 42, Texas 41

Despite being penalized 14 times, eight of which were dished out in the first quarter, No. 12 West Virginia held it together for a win at No. 15 Texas on a two-point conversion with 16 seconds remaining. "It was an easy decision," Mountianeers coach Dana Holgorsen said. "If you put the fate of the game in (Grier's) hands, I feel pretty good about it.... We've had this 2-point conversion in our back pocket all year." After a perfect 33-yard touchdown pass to receiver Gary Jennings, the Mountaineers were ready to go for two. "I had four different options on that play," Grier said. "I went with the fourth one, which was me running ... I stayed on my feet, which was good. Whatever it takes to win."  Of the Mountaineers 14 penalties, the biggest two came after receiver David Sills V scored on a 60-yard touchdown pass. Sills was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for flashing a “horns down” hand sign after the TD. Then left tackle Yodny Cajuste was ejected after an unsportsmanlike conduct call for throwing a punch on the extra point.

Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 31

Well what do we have here? Bad Baylor might not be so bad after all. After sitting out the first three quarters of the game due to starting the week in concussion protocol, Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer entered the game and rallied the Bears to a 35-31 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Jalan McClendon started for the Bears at quarterback in the absence of Mond. McClendon was 10-for-17 passing with 102 yards and one rushing touchdown. The winning drive came on a 6-yard touchdown fade pass to receiver Denzel Mims with seven seconds left. "Two plays before that I overheard them talking on the sideline about throwing it to me," Mims said. "So I knew coming into that last play I was going to get the ball. So I was like, I've got to go make that play. ... When I did it, it was just an exciting moment." This win puts the Bears one win away from bowl-eligibility.

TCU 14, Kansas State 13

In his second start for the Horned Frogs, quarterback Mike Collins, the sophomore transfer from Penn State, threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Jalen Reagor to secure the 14-13 win over Kansas State on Saturday. "There were some gusts, but nothing I could control, except get the ball downfield and giving our guys a chance," said Collins, who was 17 of 33 for 218 yards. The Big 12’s second-leading rusher, Alex Barnes finished with 102 rushing yards for the Wildcats. Excessive wind gusts played a major role the Wildcat’s loss. A botched field goal attempt, a missed PAT, and a muffed punt costed Kansas State the game and put the wildcats in the position of having to win each of its three remaining games to become bowl-eligible.

Texas State 40, Georgia 31

Quarterback Willie Jones III was 21-of-26 passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns, leading Texas State to a dominating victory over Georgia State on Saturday.

UTEP 34, Rice 26

Quardraiz Wadley rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns and UTEP ended their 20-game losing streak with a 34-26 victory over Rice 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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