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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12. RICE

Rice University was off this weekend and that's about where the good news train ends. This week they go to Middle Tennessee and play the Blue Raiders, who are heavy favorites to continue Rice's losing streak. It's tough to keep kicking this program while it's down and obviously it is very down but there seems to be no opportunity for the beatings to cease. The other issue for Rice Football, it's a newer regime and it isn't going well, if they decide to pull the plug then they'll be consistently making changes and keep losing and starting over; patience is hard through the losing but there seems to be no other way.

11. UTEP

The losing continues for the Miners and somehow they have fallen behind Rice in the Conference USA - West division to the very bottom of the standings. Rice and UTEP play at the end of the year and therefore there will be a winner decided in the conference between these two bottom feeders but it's tough to say who matters less at this point.

10. NORTH TEXAS

Man was it a bad weekend for The Mean Green or what? Losing huge to Louisiana Tech is not the way to go after winning big the week before against UTEP. The massive loss kills any momentum they built the week before and they go from a team trending up and strongly to being inconsistent and questioned from all sides. The team is off this week which probably isn't as great of a thing as they thought it was a week ago, but there it is, a bye week.

9. UTSA

On top of winning against Old Dominion, The Roadrunners also moved up a spot because North Texas lost. With three wins over the last five weeks, they're playing some of the best football in this half of the list but that isn't saying much. This week the Roadrunners are facing University of Southern Mississippi who is near the top of the Conference USA West division and this game gives them the chance to gain some serious ground in the standings. This season isn't over and there's still some good football to play.

8. TEXAS STATE

In the battle of big cats that I get confused about The Texas State Bobcats beat the South Alabama Jaguars and are now hosting Troy. With only three wins so far this season, they need some help but they aren't done yet as their Sun Belt Division hasn't run away from them. The Troy game has some implications for a program that can't figure out if its coming or going.

7. TEXAS TECH

Able to finally put the brakes on a three game losing streak, The Red Raiders beat West Virginia. It was an important game and they needed the win far beyond the standard "every game is important" as this win sets up Texas Tech, who last week I wrote needed four in a row and got win one last weekend. If they keep winning they finish bowl eligible. It's an exciting opportunity for The Red Raiders to save a season that two weeks ago looked pretty bad.

6.  HOUSTON

Houston was off this week and I had an interesting conversation with a buddy of mine who is a wealth of college football information. He's confident in the new regime at Houston and believes that in a few short seasons the Cougars will be a relevant program nationally. I told him how much I hated all of their moves and decisions and he wisely pointed out, that it's a new coach and most of this doesn't matter, this isn't really his program yet and there is nothing but time. I was impressed by his arguments and I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if my buddy is right or not as Memphis comes to town.

5. TCU

Well for a second they had even me believing they could pull it off. After the surprise upset against Texas a few weeks back and now facing Baylor and forcing Baylor to need a last second field goal to force overtime and then pushing it a few overtimes but staying in it none the less, TCU had me believing. If only they could have turned any of those first half field goals into touchdowns then this may be a different story for the Horned Frogs but for now the story stays the same. There aren't many wins left on TCU's schedule but the role of under dog seems to suit them just fine. This week they travel to Texas Tech in what should be a fun game.

4. TEXAS A&M

The Aggies enjoyed some much needed downtime but now they host The Gamecocks and they need all the wins they can get as the in what has been a rough second season foJimbo Fisher. WIn and win and win some more is the only real option for The Aggies who still have Georgia and LSU on their schedule, so they need this win.

3. TEXAS

Honestly, they won and they should have but it almost doesn't matter because you just never know with this team. With the Longhorns traveling to Iowa State and Baylor still ahead on the schedule, The Longhorns can still finish strong and save some face for this season but at this point it's hard not to look at this season as anything other than disappointing for The Longhorns.

2. SMU

After a close loss the week before, The Mustangs did exactly what you expect a good team to do coming from a loss, they won 59-51 against East Carolina. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't what you're looking for if you're trying to make a case nationally that you are worthy of ranking and attention but they won the game they had scheduled and that's the first step towards success. SMU is off this week and will get to sit back and look at their season thus far with great pride and hope they can finish as strong as they started.

1. BAYLOR

Well that wasn't supposed to be that hard. A few weeks ago I was writing TCU off with several big games left on their schedule and not having won any games of merit. Then they turn around and upset Texas and suddenly you start thinking they're on to something but Baylor comes along and you have to expect that TCU is going to give it their best shot and remarkably Baylor survived. They didn't look great, which is starting to become a theme for this program as they looked awful in the first half against Oklahoma State and have struggled to put together four quarters of good football, but they are unbeaten and they are ranked and they have a shot to keep winning and shocking the world as this week they face Oklahoma. There isn't a lot of meat on Baylor's schedule so this game and Texas will go a long way to deciding how the voters and ranking algorithms feel about this program.

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