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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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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