Saturday NCAA Football Recap: Big wins in the Lone Star State in Week 4

Tech is on a roll. Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Emphatic victories for Texas Tech and Texas in Week 4. Here’s how it went down:

Houston 70, Texas Southern 14

The Tigers were no match for the swift-moving offense of the Houston Cougars. Junior quarterback D’Eriq King was 20-of-25 with 200 yards, three touchdown passes and one rushing score as the Cougars rolled to a 70-14 blowout victory over Texas Southern on Saturday.

Alabama 45, Texas A&M 23

Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was a force to be reckoned with, completing 22-of-30 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns for the undefeated Crimson Tide, including his first pass of the game to sophomore receiver DeVonta Smith for a score. Even Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was impressed with Tagovailoa. "He's good. I mean he's good," Fisher said. "He's got good people around him. I mean he's got really good people around him, and we tried to pressure him and he scrambled and they've got a good scheme, and they did a good job. He was very effective at what he did, and we've got to play better." This was ‘Bama’s first test against a ranked opponent and they proved they are the top team in the nation for a reason. Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond got beat up pretty bad in Saturday’s game, completing only 16-of-33 passes for 196 yards, two interceptions and was sacked seven times.

Texas Tech 41, Oklahoma State 17

Alan Bowman shined in his Big 12 debut as the Red Raiders rolled over No. 15 Oklahoma State on Saturday night. The freshman quarterback has kept Tech undefeated since losing McLane Carter to injury in the season opener. Bowman was 35-of-46 with 397 yards and two touchdowns, securing the Raider’s first victory against the Cowboys sine 2008. Senior receiver Ja’Deion High led the Raiders in catches with eight receptions for 79 yards. Demarcus Felton rushed for 121 yards and two scores for Tech in their 41-14 victory over the Cowboys.

Texas 31, TCU 16

The formerly losing Longhorns are back and better than they have been in a long while. Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger was 22-of-32, threw for 255 yards, two touchdowns, and one rushing score in the Longhorns emphatic victory over the Frogs on Saturday. The Texas defense forced four turnovers, three of which were by TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson in the third quarter. "There's a grit to this team that's a lot of fun to be around," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "All (the win) does is validate the fact that we have taken another step. We have many steps left to take." Texas receiver Colin Johnson finished with 124 yards on seven receptions, including a 31-yard touchdown catch that gave Texas the lead in the second half. It is safe to say the Longhorns are going to be a conference championship contender. Hook ‘em!

Baylor 26, Kansas 7

Sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer was 19 for 27, threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears in their Big 12 conference opener against Kansas on Saturday. "He just scored. ... The ball's moving," Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. "Keeping us alive with his feet. I thought that was the x-factor early on, was Charlie making some of those plays." Brewer also rushed for 56 yards, leading Baylor to a 26-7 victory, breaking a rare winning streak for Kansas.

Southern Miss 40, Rice 22

Sophomore quarterback Jack Abraham passed for 428 yards and four touchdowns leading Southern Miss to a 40-22 victory over Rice on Saturday in the Conference USA opener for both teams.

UTSA 25, Texas State 21

Bobcat quarterback Taylor Vitt was 15-of-22 with 192 yards in Saturday’s loss to UTSA. Sophomore kicker Jared Sackett held kicked three long field goals for the Roadrunners as they held off the Bobcats for the third time.

LSU 38, Louisiana Tech 21

This game was surely not supposed to be as close as it was for so long and if you ask LSU coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers we not playing to win. "We won the game, but it wasn't good enough," Orgeron said. "Obviously, we're not happy." LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was 16-of-28 passing for 191 yards. Despite being projected to lose by three touchdowns, LA Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith threw for 330 yards and three scores, giving LSU a run for their money.


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Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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