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.





 

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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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