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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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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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