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Saturday NCAA Football Recap: Big wins around the Lone Star State in Week 12

Tom Herman and the Longhorns are rolling. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Longhorns prove they’ve got the juice and Houston makes a comeback. Here’s what happened around the Lone Star State.  

Houston 48, Tulane 17

The Houston Cougars entered the game against Tulane on Thursday hoping to rebound from their only home loss suffered at the hands of Temple last week. Quarterback D’Eriq King completed 11-of-15 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for an additional 82 yards for the Cougars as they cruised to a 48-17 victory over the Green Wave. King was injured later in the game and was on the sideline with crutches during the second half. It was later determined that King will be miss the final game of the season against Memphis next week. Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver missed his fourth straight game due to a knee injury sustained against Navy on Oct. 20, and was not in uniform against Tulane. Before heading into the locker room at the half, Oliver was angry and shouting at Houston head coach Major Applewhite and did not return for the second half. Applewhite later told reporters that Oliver was reacting to being told he was not permitted to wear a heavy coat on the sideline because they were reserved for active starters. Quarterback Clayton Tune entered the game for King in the second half and added two touchdown passes for the Cougars.

Texas A&M 41, UAB 20

Despite their blowout win over UAB on Saturday, Aggie Coach Jimbo Fisher wasted no time in talking about the improvements his team needs to make to be successful against LSU next week. "You're never where you want to be," Fisher said. "We'll never be where I want to be. It doesn't matter if we win `em all. I will never be where I want to be. We've got to get better. Good enough is never good enough and we've got to keep pushing and fighting because everybody's going to come at you." Junior running back Trayveon Williams was nothing short of amazing, running for 167 yards and two scores on 20 carries, leading the Aggies to a 41-20 victory over UAB.

LSU 42, Rice 10

Quarterback Joe Burrow threw for a career-high 307 yards and two touchdowns, leading No. 10 LSU to an easy 42-10 victory over Rice on Saturday evening. This loss marks the 11th straight loss for the Owls. "For the confidence of this offense, it was important for us to click tonight," Burrow said. "We wanted to move the ball without any hesitation or road blocks. For the most part, I think we did that." Rice was simply overmatched. The Owls played a decent game in which they committed no turnovers and three penalties. 

Texas 24, Iowa State 10

After squandering a 17-point lead last week and barely skating by with the win over Texas Tech, the No. 13 Longhorns showed their yearning to make it to the Big 12 title game with their 24-10 victory over Iowa State on Saturday night. "We're overachieving right now. We're winning on toughness. We're winning on grit," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "Coming from where we came from and where this program was... we've still got a lot of football left to play." As a person who witnessed Texas blow a 17-point lead last week, I wound not go as far as to say the ‘Horns are “overachieving,” but not even I, a Longhorn critic by birth, can not argue the greatness of quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The only question that remains is: Will Ehlinger’s throwing shoulder hold up? The sophomore quarterback threw for a touchdown and ran for another before departing the game after a hard hit in the second quarter. Second-string quarterback Shane Buechele took for the injured Ehlinger for the second time this season and guided the Longhorns to a win.

TCU 16, Baylor 9

Oh how the mighty have fallen. TCU never fails to disappoint and barely winning over a bad Baylor team was no different. Granted, they are down to their third quarterback and last scholarship running back so I’ll cut them a break. Gutsy playmaker Jalen Reagor should certainly be credited with this win for the Horned Frogs. Reagor got the go-ahead score after sophomore running back Emari Demercado took a direct snap and tossed to the sophomore Reagor who had a wide open lane to the end zone with two minutes left in the third quarter. "That was a gutsy win," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "Want to know what kind of heart and what this program is about, you just need to watch that ball game. There wasn't any reason why we should have won." The 16-9 loss to the Horned Frogs kept the Bears from becoming bowl eligible in their home finale. 

Kansas State 21, Texas Tech 6

Texas Tech was held to an unusually low 181 yards in their 21-6 loss to K-State on Saturday. "I was really proud of our defensive players, our coaches. Pretty special," said K-State coach Bill Snyder "Regardless of the win, the real effort of how we played was special." The 79-year-old Snyder, who some believe could retire after this season, dodged all questions related to his future with the Wildcats. Sophomore quarterback Skylar Thompson finished 17-of-26 with 213 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Wildcats. 

Troy 12, Texas State 7

Kicker Tyler Sumpter nailed four field goals for the Trojans on Saturday, leading them to a 12-7 victory over Texas State. Troy faces Appalachian State next Saturday for the chance to host the inaugural Sun Belt Conference game. 

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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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