THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT

Weekend NCAA football recap: Big wins for Texas and LSU, more disappointment from Houston

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Orgeron's explosive offense is only getting better and Herman's defense is laser-focused. Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU:

Tulane 38, Houston 31

Houston blew a 21 point lead and the Green Wave rallied to a 38-31 victory Thursday night. Week after week, the Cougars further solidify my lack of faith in their ability to secure the win in the second half. Houston was off to a spectacular start; 17 seconds into the opening drive, D'Eriq King dropped a dime to Marquez Stevenson for a 75-yard touchdown. King threw for 229 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another score, breaking the FBS record for going 15-straight games with both a running and a passing touchdown. Keep in mind all of that explosiveness was overshadowed by a lackluster performance from the Cougars in the second half in which their only score was a made field goal by Dalton Witherspoon. Tulane receiver Jalen McCleskey scored on a 53-yard catch-and-run with three seconds left to seal the win for the Green Wave. McClesky finished with four catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns for Tulane. Green Wave quarterback Justin McMillan had 7-of-20 completed passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Houston is on the road against North Texas next Saturday night.

Auburn 28, Texas A&M 20

Although freshman quarterback Bo Nix did not put up flashy numbers for Auburn on Saturday, he didn't make any big mistakes in his first true road game and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was pleased with his performance. "He's got something special to him," Malzahn said of Nix. "He's not your normal freshman. We knew that when we recruited him. One thing that I like is the moment ain't too big for him." Nix threw a touchdown pass and Ja'Tarvious Whitlow rushed for a score, helping No. 8 Auburn build an early lead and withstand a late surge from Texas A&M to get a 28-20 win over the 17th-ranked Aggies. Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond cut the lead to 21-10 with his first scoring pass early in the fourth quarter before Auburn added a rushing touchdown. Mond hit Ainias Smith with a 15-yard TD pass with just over two minutes left but Auburn recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock. Mond finished with 335 yards passing but the Aggie's running game was held to just 56 yards. Auburn is expected to maintain its poll position but the Aggies will most certainly plummet in the poll or fall out altogether after the home loss. Texas A&M meets Arkansas in Cowboys Stadium next Saturday.

LSU 66, Vanderbilt 38

The fourth-ranked Tigers aggressive style offense is making waves around the nation and paying off for LSU in a major way. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow threw a school-record six touchdown passes and 398 yards, leading the undefeated Tigers to a 66-38 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Tigers scored their most points this season and the most ever in regulation against an SEC opponent. Burrow once again capitalized on the highlight reel opportunity, becoming the first LSU quarterback to throw for 350 yards or more in three consecutive games. His 357 passing yards before halftime also was the most in school history. "It's good," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "I think that there's more to come. I really do. I think Joe is a fantastic player. He has a fantastic coach in [offensive coordinator] Steve Ensminger. We have a great plan, and as long as we protect the quarterback we're going to make big plays here at LSU." Burrow finished 25-of-34 before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter, marking the third time he has been subbed out early due to a lopsided score this season. The star quarterback is now 100-of-124 passing (80% completion) for 1,520 yards and 17 touchdowns in LSU's first four games. Four of Burrow's six TD passes went to receiver Ja'Marr Chase. The sophomore made TD grabs of 64, 25 and 51 yards in the first quarter, adding a 16-yarder in the third. Chase finished with 10 receptions for 229 yards, the most by an LSU receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2013. Expect LSU to hold their position within the top five based on the Tigers final victory margin. LSU is off next week before hosting Utah State on Oct. 5.

Texas 36, Oklahoma State 30

Sam Ehlinger threw four touchdowns for the third time this season and the No. 12 Longhorns' defense held Oklahoma State in check for most of the game to tough out a 36-30 victory Saturday night to open Big 12 play. The Longhorns' defense was locked in, holding OKST's Chuba Hubbard, the nation's leading rusher, to just 121 yards on 37 carries and two scores. Tylan Wallace, who tied for the national receiving lead with six touchdowns, was scoreless against the Longhorns and only had two receptions in the second half for the Cowboys. "The two guys were really hard to stop, I thought we did an admirable job of it", Texas coach Tom Herman said. "That's about as good as you're going to do against those two guys. ...We gave up big plays but bowed our backs when our back was against the wall." Ehlinger finished 20-of-28 with 281 yards passing. OKST coach Mike Gundy will likely feel some heat about decisions that cost the Cowboys valuable points. If OKST kicker Matt Ammendola had been allowed to kick his fourth and fifth field goals of the game, the Cowboys would have been tied after Hubbard's late score. Texas has a bye week next weekend, giving the battered Longhorns some much-needed time to heal bumps and bruises. Look for Texas to move up in the poll as No.7 Notre Dame, No. 10 Utah, and No. 11 Michigan all lost. Texas visits West Virginia on Oct. 5.

SMU 41, TCU 38

SMU quarterback Shane Buechele was 23-of-34 passing for 288 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score, as SMU held off No. 25 TCU for a 41-38 victory on Saturday, snapping a 7-game losing streak in the 99th meeting between the schools. TCU quarterback Max Duggan finished 16-of-36 for 188 yards passing and three touchdowns. Veteran running back Xavier Jones ran for 79 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, and caught a 3-yard TD early in the fourth quarter to put the Mustangs up 38-24. "It's a simple thing. We got outplayed. We got outcoached," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. TCU will fall out of the top 25, a week after getting ranked. The Horned Frogs host Kansas next Saturday to open Big 12 Conference play.

Baylor 21, Rice 13

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 303 yards and a touchdown, leading Baylor to a close 21-13 win over Rice on Saturday. "I believe this with all my heart -- we needed that game," Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. "We needed that experience." Baylor receiver Chris Platt finished with five receptions for 85 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass from Brewer with five minutes left in the second quarter. The Owls had the ball and a chance to tie with three minutes left to play but two sacks ended the drive. Rice's band played the Village People's "YMCA" as dozens of students rushed the field donning rainbow flags during halftime. A Baylor spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle the school's administration declined earlier this month to officially recognize an LGBTQ -student group on campus. Baylor hosts Iowa State on Saturday to open Big 12-Play.

Texas State 37, Georgia State 34

Joshua Rowland kicked a 35-yard field goal for Texas State and the Bobcats snapped Georgia State 37-34 in a triple-overtime nail-biter to open Sun Belt Conference play Saturday night. Quarterback Gresh Jenson completed 16-of-24 for Texas State.

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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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