Saturday NCAA Football Recap

Expected victories and losses throughout the Lone Star State in Week 8 of college football

Major Applewhite and the Cougars are on a roll. Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Let’s admit it - this week panned out exactly as we expected. Here’s what happened:

Houston 49, Navy 36

Star quarterback D’Eriq King and the dazzling Cougar offense rallied in the second half to overcome a 24-21 deficit to defeat the Midshipmen 49-36 on Saturday afternoon. "It's great to be a Cougar and see home-grown talent like D'Eriq continue to make play after play," Houston coach Major Applewhite said. "We just need to get more guys like him." King was 25-or-38 passing with 413 yards, three touchdowns and one rushing score. Receiver Marquez Stevenson caught eight passes for 141 yards and rushed for a score for the now bowl-eligible Cougars. Senior corner back Nick Watkins scored on a perfectly timed 50-yard interception in the fourth quarter, securing the win for Houston. "I'm proud of the way they responded," Applewhite said, "because we didn't always play well in the first half."

Oklahoma 52, TCU 27

The ninth-ranked Sooners dominated from start to finish and bounced back from thier only loss, rolling over TCU in for a 52-27 victory on Saturday. "It was just perfect how the game unfolded, we came out and played like we were capable of, carrying over some momentum we had," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. The Horned Frogs were held to a mere 275 total yards and two offensive touchdowns. Freshman running back Kennedy Brooks ran for 168 yards and two scores on 18 carries and sophomore Trey Sermon ran for 110 yards and two scores on 17 carries. This win marks the Sooners’ 18th consecutive road victory. Oklahoma has not lost consecutive games in the regular season since 1999 and could be on the path to the College Football Playoff. TCU has a road game against Kansas next Saturday and OU is home for the first time in short of a month to play Kansas State.  

Texas Tech 48, Kansas 16

Alan Bowman stuns in every game he plays and Saturday’s 48-16 victory over Kansas was no exception. Playing for the first time since suffering a partially collapsed lung three weeks ago, the freshman quarterback completed 36-of-46 passes with 408 yards and three touchdowns for the Red Raiders. "It's been a while. We just wanted to make sure practice went well. Didn't want any setbacks," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We felt confident ... a few days after he got out of the hospital that he'd be ready for this date. We just wanted to make sure he held up, felt good. His breathing was fine." Texas Tech receiver Antoine Wesley had nine receptions for 155 yards and one score.

LSU 19, Mississippi State 3

What should have been a exciting victory was spoiled for Tigers fans after LSU linebacker Devin White was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter, making him ineligible in the first half of the Tigers’ upcoming game against undefeated, top-ranked Alabama. White seemed to lower his head as he slammed into Mississippi quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, seconds after he released a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Kristian Fulton. Not only was LSU penalized for targeting, two flags were drawn for unsportsmanlike conduct for excessive celebration, resulting in 45 yards in penalties on one play. "I've got to look at it. The call is the call. They reviewed it," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "That's the rule. The rule is you can't lead with your head." Quarterback Joe Burrow was 16-of-28 with 129 passing yards for the Tigers.

Florida International 36, Rice 17

Junior quarterback James Morgan, completed 20-of-29 passes for 229 and two touchdowns, leading the Panthers to a dominating victory over the Owls on Saturday night.

 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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