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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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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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