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Saturday NCAA football recap: Quite the rough week for Texas schools… Except Houston

D'Eriq King had a monster game for UH. Tim Warner/Getty Images

After a winning Week 8 for college football in the Lone Star State, Week 9 is filled with disappointment and need for improvement. Here’s how it all went down:

Houston 57, South Florida 36

Don’t sleep on the Cougars! In what was arguably the greatest game of his career, Houston quarterback D’Eriq King completed 28-of-41 passes for 419 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 134 yards and two more scores in Houston’s 57-36 victory over No. 21 South Florida on Saturday. The seven total touchdowns set a career high for the star quarterback. King and the Cougar offense beat South Florida in the air and on the ground. Six Houston rushers ran for a combined 265 yards and the Cougar defense proved themselves capable of making stops and forcing turnovers without Ed Oliver. Oliver missed the first game of his career Saturday with a bruised right knee suffered after what appeared to be a chop block hit in last week’s 49-36 victory over Navy. Houston receiver Marquez Stevenson had six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns and receiver Jeremy Singleton caught five passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. The Cougars won their fifth straight game totaling a season-high 684 yards on offense.

West Virginia 58, Baylor 14

Yikes. After suffering a gut-wrenching 30-14 loss to unranked Iowa State last week, No. 13 West Virginia bounced back with a blowout 58-14 win over Baylor on Thursday night. "We finally played a complete game for four quarters," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. Quarterback Will Grier led the Mountaineers in what is arguably their top offensive performance with 353 yards and three touchdowns. Grier had two touchdown pitches to receiver David Sills and ran for a score during a 31-point second quarter, putting the Mountaineers up 41-0 at halftime. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer was replaced by Jalan McClendon in the second quarter after throwing three interceptions during a scoreless half. "I didn't see it coming," Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. "I thought our defense hung in there early, as the offense had some uncharacteristic turnovers."

Oklahoma State 38, Texas 35

After back-to-back abysmal performances against Iowa State and Kansas State, some people called for quarterback Taylor Cornelius to be pulled from the starting roster for Oklahoma State. Cornelius rebounded in a major way, completing 23-of-34 passes for 321 yards, three touchdown passes and two running scores. "Corn Dog's a tough guy, he's a competitor," said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy of Cornelius. "He's got a good demeanor, he's tough, he's unselfish, the team loves him. He was good tonight. He needed to come back and do well." Sophomore receiver Tylan Wallace had 10 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys in their 38-35 win over the sixth-ranked Longhorns on Saturday. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger returned from a shoulder injury to his throwing arm suffered in the Longhorns win over Baylor last week. Ehlinger struggled in the first half, completing only two of his first eight passes for 29 yards in the first quarter of the game, and was just 5-of-15 for 108 yards at the half. Ehlinger found his rhythm in the second half and finished 22-of-42 passing with 283 yards and two touchdowns. "Extremely proud of the way that our guys fought in the second half," Texas coach, Tom Herman said. "When we pulled to within three with 11 minutes left, I don't think there was any doubt in anyone's mind on that sideline that we were going to win the game. But we didn't, and we didn't play our best down the stretch."

Iowa State 40, Texas Tech 31

Given the way they have been exposing opponents on both sides of the ball, it seems Iowa State has a point to prove. Tech quarterback Alex Bowman was forced into a safety with 4:39 left after he fumbled the snap, retrieved the ball and threw it away with his foot in the end zone. Bowman’s two point mistake was just the spark the Cyclones needed to rally and beat the raiders 40-31 on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Brock Purdy led the charge offensively for the Cyclones, completing 13-of-27 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, including a 48-yard TD pass to Hakeem Butler late in the fourth quarter.

Mississippi State 28, Texas A&M 13

The Nick Fitzgerald we saw last week against LSU is a stark contrast to the Nick Fitzgerald that led the Bulldogs to a 28-13 win over sixteenth-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday. Fitzgerald threw for 241 yards, two touchdowns and ran for two more scores, giving Mississippi State the offensive boost it needed to bounce back from a miserable loss to LSU. "I'm happy for every single person in our program, but I'm most happy for that kid, because he deserves it," Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead said. "That's the way we expect Fitzgerald to play." The surprisingly efficient passing offense for Mississippi State started on the opening drive. Fitzgerald completed 6-of-7 passes for 59 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown toss to Stephen Guidry, putting the Bulldogs up 7-0. Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond was just 23-of-46 passing for 232 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Aggies took a 10-7 lead just before halftime but several dropped passes and a strong Bulldog defense kept the Aggies scoreless in the second half with the exception of a field goal. "We had anywhere from seven to 10 drops off the top of my head and you just can't do that," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It changes the whole dynamic of what you can do. It has a cumulative effect."

Kansas 27, TCU 26

After a back-and-forth game that went down to the wire, Kansas handed TCU its third straight loss on Saturday, beating the Frogs 27-26. Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender finished with 249 yards passing and two touchdown passes to Pooka Williams Jr., leading the Jayhawks to just their second Big 12 victory under embattled coach David Beaty.  "It's awesome for everybody, all the stuff we've gone through, all the stuff that's been said, all the naysayers," Jayhawks linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. said. "It's nice to get a win."

North Texas 41, Rice 17

Running back DeAndre Torrey stole the show on Saturday, rushing for 130 yards and four scores as North Texas breezed to a 41-17 victory over Rice. Junior quarterback Mason Fine was 18-for-35 with 333 yards and two touchdowns for the Mean Green.

Texas State 27, New Mexico State 20

Texas State quarterback Willie Jones III threw for two touchdowns and ran for a score, leading the Bobcats to a 27-20 victory over New Mexico State Saturday night.




 

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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