College football report

Saturday NCAA football recap: Longhorns bag their first season-opening win in 3 years

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Week One is in the books and Texas teams are giving everyone something to talk about. Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU:


Oklahoma 49, Houston 31

First year Houston coach Dana Holgorsen, who coached at West Virginia before making his train wreck of a debut Sunday night, seemed to have expected the loss well before kickoff. "We knew we weren't going to catch these guys sleeping today, so it is what it is," Holgorsen said. "They're a top-five team, deservedly so." And that defeatist mentality is what keeps world-class talent from reaching its full potential. Are the Sooners a top-five team? Yes, but did we really have to let them roll over us like that? Fourth-ranked Oklahoma allowed 31 points by a team that lost its glimmer of national relevance three years ago when Tom Herman left for Texas. The struggles of the Cougar's offensive and defensive lines decided the game. Houston's new defensive coordinator, Joe Cauthen has some explaining to do after his defense was shredded by Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. In his first game with the Sooners since transferring from Alabama, Hurts put on a show racking up 508 total yards. Hurts appeared focused and comfortable as he completed 20-of-23 passes for 332 yards and rushed for 176 yards on 16 carries. To be fair, Hurts is phenomenally talented and Cauthen is tasked with transforming a defense that finished amongst the worst in every major category last season. I spent most of the game searching for the "attacking style defense" Cauthen spoke so fondly of back in July. As much as I would like to lay all the blame for Sunday's loss at Cauthen's feet, the explosive offense we know and love was dormant for the entire first half. OU was playing like they were trying out for the league and the Cougars looked like they only showed up to keep their scholarships. King was limited to just 87 passing yards in the first half and finished with just 167 yards passing.

Texas A&M 41, Texas State 7

This should come as a surprise to no one but the 12th-ranked Aggies easily put the Bobcats away in their season-opener on Saturday. Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 194 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another score, all in the first two quarters, giving Texas A&M a 28-0 halftime lead. First year starting running back Jashaun Corbin had 103 rushing yards with a touchdown run and a TD reception. Defensive back Myles Jones had two of Texas A&M's four interceptions and the Aggies had three sacks and nine tackles for losses. Although Texas A&M's secondary was a weak spot last season, the four interceptions in Saturday's game were the most the team has had since 2006. Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt threw two interceptions in the first half before first-year coach Jack Spivital replaced him with Gresch Jensen who threw an interception on his second pass. Hopefully the Bobcats can get their quarterback situation ironed out before hosting Wyoming next week. The Aggies are set to take on top-ranked Clemson in South Carolina next week.

LSU 55, Georgia Southern 3

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow tied an LSU single-game record with five touchdown passes in the first two quarters and the Tigers cruised to a 55-3 victory over Georgia Southern. Burrow playfully urged reporters to write that the Tigers new offense "showed everything we got – all of it," in its season opened against Ga. Southern. The Tigers scored 21 points in the first quarter, more than they ever did in any quarter last season. Burrow completed 23-of-27 passes for 278 yards and five touchdowns. "We're going to run the spread offense. We're going to score points. We've got athletes. That's what we do," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "The scheme is a lot better this year. We have answers to different coverages." While the true test for LSU will come next week when they face Texas, the new spread scheme will put the Tigers' opponents on notice. Eagles starting quarterback Shai Werts threw one completed pass for no yards and was knocked out the game before halftime with an upper body injury. Georgia Southern faces Maine in week two and LSU visits 10th-ranked Texas on Saturday.

Texas 45, Louisiana Tech 14

Texas star quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw four touchdown passes Saturday night, leading the No. 10 Longhorns to an easy 45-14 home victory over Louisiana Tech and giving third-year coach Tom Herman his first season-opening victory with the program. Ehlinger was well protected which will be a key to Texas' success this season as the Longhorns only have an inexperienced freshman behind him this year. Senior receiver Devin Duvernay had nine receptions for 55 yards and Ehlinger's first TD pass of the season. The Longhorns debuted eight new defensive starters Saturday night and used a mix of looks which forced three turnovers. Next week the Longhorns host their biggest non-conference opponent of the season – No. 6 LSU.

Texas Tech 45, Montana State 10

Sophomore Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 436 yards and two touchdowns to guide the Red Raiders to a season-opening 45-10 victory over Montana State on Saturday. Texas Tech finished with 691 yards and held Montana State to 289 total yards. The Red Raiders face UTEP next Saturday.

Army 14, Rice 7


Slow and steady wins the race. After guiding a 9-minute scoring drive consuming all but 3:48 of the fourth quarter, Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. hit running back Kell Walker with a 17-yard touchdown pass to put the Owls away with a 14-7 win on Friday night. This win over Rice gives the Black Knights the second-longest winning streak in college football, behind 1st-ranked Clemson. Hopkins Jr., who last year became the first player in academy history to run for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in a season, finished with 80 yards on 21 carries and 53 passing yards. The Owls limited the Black Knights to 120 yards on 30 plays in the first half. Rice hosts Wake Forest in week two on Friday and the Black Knights are at Michigan on Saturday.

Baylor 56, Stephen F. Austin 17

Baylor coach Matt Rhule had no shortage of annoyances in the Bears' season-opener against Stephen F. Austin Saturday night. Putting this game away took longer than Rhule may have liked but the Baylor never trailed and was well on its way to victory by halftime. "I didn't like that lull where they scored and we didn't answer it to the level that I think we should," Rhule said. Bears starting quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns, leading Baylor to a 56-17 victory over SFA. Baylor looks to UTSA next week as the Bears look to rebuild their national recognition.

TCU 39, Arkansas-Pine Buff 7

The Horned Frogs debuted two quarterbacks Saturday night as they cruised to a 39-7 victory over UAPB. Graduate transfer Alex Delton and true freshman Max Duggan left much to be desired in a TCU quarterback: Delton was 10-for-22 and 119 yard passing and picked up 67 yards on seven carries. Duggan led all of the TCU's touchdown drives and finished 16-for23 passing for 165 yards. "I thought they stayed pretty composed," said TCU senior receiver TreVontae Hights, who set a career high with eight catches for 108 yards. "Their leadership was great. I feel comfortable with either one of them." TCU's defense was strong, forcing 11 punts and picking off two Pine Bluff passes. The Horned Frogs are off next week before facing off against Purdue on Sept. 14.

Deshaun Watson had an up and down day. Tim Warner/Getty Images

So what does Bill O'Brien have in store for a Sunday encore in the clock management follies department? All's well that ends well for the Texans if another Billy Botch episode comes with another win. Get it and home games vs. the Panthers and Falcons make 4-1 a very legit possibility.

The Texans have a good shot to get the win in Los Angeles Sunday. They may have half the crowd rooting for them. The Chargers have the lamest homefield advantage in the NFL. L.A. has largely yawned at them since their move up the coast from San Diego. In their home opener the Chargers couldn't sell out the 27,000 seat soccer stadium serving as their temporary facility. Next season they move into the monument of wow and greed they'll share with the Rams. That place will hold about 70,000.

On the field it's a big game for the also 1-1 Chargers if they hope to hang with Kansas City in the AFC West race. The Chargers' three following games are at the joke Dolphins, then home vs. the not good Broncos and the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

For the Texans, one major subplot is a constant. How porous will the offensive line be? Deshaun Watson has been sacked 10 times over the first two games. The Chargers have one of the NFL's better pass rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If the Texans can protect, opportunity knocks for big plays downfield with the Chargers down both of their starting safeties. Rookie All-Pro Derwin James is on injured reserve recovering from a broken foot, Adrian Phillips broke an arm last Sunday at Detroit.

Warm California sun

So if you were 300 strikeout man Gerrit Cole, what would you be thinking about re: 2020 and beyond? I mean after next month ideally helping the Astros win the World Series. And if you are the Astros what are you thinking?

In his two Astro seasons Cole has been tremendous. The ballclub is tremendous, and if Cole re-signs it that much more figures to stay tremendous for at least another couple of seasons. But Gerrit Cole is to become the most highly coveted free agent on the market. The low end of what he should be able to command is probably in the six years 150 million range. Heck, he could get seven years 250 million.

Next year the Astros payroll is set to soar into competitive balance tax territory. Meaning, in addition to the payroll itself, the Astros are looking at paying millions in penalties if they pay up to keep Cole. To counter that the Astros certainly could pivot and trade Zack Greinke. They basically will be open to giving away Josh Reddick and the 13 million he'll make in the final year of his contract.

Maybe Jim Crane and his partners say this is such a special era, we'll forego huge chunks of profits to keep this core together. That would be fantastic, but drawing a line on how far they'll go to keep Cole would not be miserly. Long term megadollar pitching contracts carry large risks. Cole turns 30 next season.

Cole grew up in Southern California. His wife too. It's where they live in the offseason. He went to high school under five miles from Angels Stadium and grew up an Angels fan. The Angels have a desperate need for starting pitching. Even with Cole though, the Angels can't essentially promise perennial contender status. But the Dodgers can, every bit as much as the Astros, and the Dodgers have much deeper pockets. If the Coles want to spend the rest of Gerrit's prime pitching years living year-round back home in SoCal, no one should take offense. Still, if the Astros’ bid is competitive when factoring in income tax rates, proven comfort level with the team, air conditioned comfort for home games…

Big weekend for Aggies

Better college football schedule this week after the garbage card of a week ago. The biggest game nationally is seventh ranked Notre Dame at number three Georgia. Big game for Texas A&M vs. Auburn at Kyle Field Saturday. The 17th ranked Aggies are three and a half point favorites over the eighth ranked team in the nation. A hard fought loss wouldn't be shameful, but would mean that with games yet to come vs. Alabama, at Georgia, and at LSU, the Ags would have to pull off at least one upset to finish better than 7-5. 75 million dollars to lure Jimbo Fisher were not spent to yield any 7-5 seasons.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Major Applewhite would have coached the Cougars to a 1-3 start much more economically for UH than Dana Holgorsen has. 2. The Tulane Green Wave wearing powder blue uniforms is just as dopey as the St. John's Red Storm and Duke Blue Devils wearing black. 3. Names that Houstonians should rule out for daughters: Bronze-Imelda Silver-Allison Gold-Alicia

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome