NCAA REWIND

Saturday NCAA football recap: A&M wins big; Houston is still a mess; Joe Burrow keeps making history

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Can we start calling Joe Burrow "Superman" yet? Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU:

SMU 34, Houston 31

The Cougars offense really stunk it up when they faced 16th-ranked SMU in Houston on Thursday night. In all fairness, it was primarily the Houston offense that played horribly, committing three turnovers and 11 penalties for 129 yards. The Cougars also fumbled the ball five times, losing the ball twice. "We lost the turnover battle 3-1," Holgorsen said. "I can deal with that if they weren't bad turnovers. Two of them were bad turnovers. The second thing is that -- what is it three times -- we got into the red zone and had to kick field goals. That's not a winning performance either." SMU quarterback Shane Buechele finished 20-for-30 with 203 yards passing and two touchdowns, leading the Mustangs to a 34-31 victory. SMU improved to 8-0 for the first time since starting 10-0 in 1982, and improved to 4-0 in conference play for the first time since 1986. Houston quarterback Clayton Tune finished 18-of-35 and threw for a career-high 407 yards and two touchdowns. Houston is on the road against UCF on Nov. 2.

LSU 23, Auburn 20

It's a bird… It's a plane… It's Joe-freakin'-Burrow! After taking a hit that sent him flying into the Auburn bench, Burrow immediately jumped up and trotted back to the line of scrimmage to resume his school-record eighth career 300-yard passing performance. Superman… I mean, Burrow, threw for 321 yards and a touchdown, ran for 47 yards and another score, and second-ranked LSU edged No. 9 Auburn 23-20 on Saturday. "If your quarterback shows toughness like that, it can kind of get your team going," Burrow said. "If you lay down on the field and don't hop right back up, it shows your team that you are not really into it." Previously, LSU had not scored fewer than 36 points in a game, but Auburn's locked in defense put pressure on Burrow, sacking him three times. "It was a gut check tonight," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said, praising the way his players stuck together. "They didn't want to be denied." I would be remiss if I didn't mention LSU's defense, which sacked Auburn quarterback Bo Nix three times and held his completion percentage to below 50 percent. "When our defense plays like that, nobody is going to beat us," Burrow said. LSU is off next week before facing off with No.1 Alabama in early November.

TCU 37, Texas 27

Freshman TCU quarterback Max Duggan was exactly what TCU needed on Saturday, throwing for a career-high 273 yards, leading the Horned Frogs to a 37-27 victory over No. 15 Texas. Longhorn quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw a career-high four interceptions, the first three of which led to 13 TCU points. Duggan, who entered the game with the lowest quarterback efficiency rating, finished with a team-high 72 yards rushing and helped TCU bounce back from consecutive conference losses. "They did a great job in coverage," Ehlinger said. "They got an experienced secondary. They didn't do anything exotic or cut anybody loose. They did a good job of bringing pressure but also being balanced and making it difficult for our guys to get open." Ehlinger was 27-of-48 for 321 yards passing and two touchdowns. I suspect the Longhorns will drop out of the Top 25 after suffering three losses , two of which came in the past three weeks. TCU is at Oklahoma State next Saturday and Texas has a week off to hopefully do some soul searching before hosting Kansas State Nov. 9.

Texas A&M 49, Mississippi State 30

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 234 yards and racked up five touchdowns, leading the Aggies to a 39-30 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was particularly proud of his team's ability to score touchdowns on each of Mississippi State's three turnovers. "You learn to feed off each other, that's what sports is about," Fisher said. "We capitalized today." Mond had scoring runs of 1 and 12 yards and threw touchdown passes of 16, 19 and 52 yards. The Aggies host Texas-San Antonio next Saturday.

 Kansas 37, Texas Tech 34

Kansas overcame an early three possession deficit and the ejection of their team captain Bryce Tornedon for targeting to beat Texas Tech 37-34 on Saturday. With two seconds left to play, Kansas kicker Liam Jones drilled the game-winning field goal for the Jayhawks. "We played our hearts out," Kansas coach Les Miles said. "Early til late. Down to the wire. Final drive. They won a game." Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey connected on 23-of-34 attempts for 271 yards passing. The Red Raiders have a bye week after which they'll face West Virginia on Nov. 9.

Arkansas State 38, Texas State 14

Arkansas State quarterback Marcel Murray ran 22 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns to help the Red Wolves beat Texas State 38-14 on Saturday night. Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt completed 15-of-27 passes for 146 yards-passing, a touchdown and two interceptions for the Bobcats.

Southern Mississippi 20, Rice 6

The Owls were held to only 8 yards rushing and 131 in the air as Southern Mississippi destroyed Rice 20-6 on Saturday. The Golden Eagles had a season-high eight sacks, led by Jacques Turner with 3 1/2.

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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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