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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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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