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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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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