Houston secures a win without D'Eriq King and A&M narrowly staves off Kansas. Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State:

Saturday NCAA Football Recap: Tech gets hammered, Houston fights on, A&M escapes defeat

Kellen Mond
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 Houston 46, North Texas 25

After Houston quarterback D'Eriq King and receiver Keith Corbin announced they would redshirt the remainder of the 2019 season, running back Patrick Carr stepped up, running for 139 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Cougars to a 46-25 victory over North Texas on Saturday night. In the second half, receiver Marquez Stevenson scored on a dazzling 82-yard kickoff return, the first Cougar to score on a kickoff since 2016. Although it looks like Houston's offense was the hero on Saturday night, safety Grant Stuard was disrupting the backfield on defense like he paid rent there with 11 tackles for the Cougars. Clayton Tune was rocky but he certainly made a statement, completing 16-of-20 passes with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Courtney Lark in the first quarter. Houston is off next week and hosts Cincinnati on Oct. 12.

Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 16

Superstar quarterback Jalen Hurts looked comfortable and focused on Saturday as he led the Sooners to a demoralizing 55-16 victory over Texas Tech. Hurts threw for 415 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another score in his first 400-yard passing game since transferring from Alabama. "He's seeing the field really well," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. "He's understanding how we want to attack people. He was a little more confident today, a little bit more steady." Hurt's 485 yards of total offense ranks eighth in Oklahoma history. Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb dominated the backfield and finished with career highs of 185 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday. As if breaking individual records wasn't enough, Lamb was elevated to seventh in Oklahoma history in yards receiving. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for Hurts, who threw his first interception of the season on a deflected pass in the third quarter. "We could have sat there and dwelled on it, pouted, whatever, but that's not the culture we have as a team," Hurts said. "We learn from it and move forward and keep the main thing the main thing." Oklahoma receiver Charleston Rambo, who entered the day leading the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns, had 122 yards receiving on just two catches in the first quarter. The Sooners entered the game leading the nation in offense and gained 642 yards. They have finished with at least 600 yards in each game this season. Oklahoma jumped to 4th in the poll after handling business against Texas Tech. The Sooners play at Kansas on Saturday.

Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 27

There's something freaky about these Texas A&M vs. Arkansas games: Even when the Aggies are favored by more than three touchdowns, the games always come down to the wire. Aggie quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, leading Texas A&M to a 31-27 victory over Arkansas on Saturday. Receiver Quartney Davis finished with two touchdowns and 62 yards receiving on 7 receptions for the Aggies. "I wouldn't say it's embarrassing. I've been playing this game for the past three years and it seems like every year it comes down to the wire," Davis said. "It's a pretty interesting game." The Aggies missed an opportunity to take the lead after lineman Justin Madubuike intercepted a pass by Nick Starkel at the goal line with 5:30 left in the first half. Instead, Dejon Harris picked up a fumble and returned it six yards for a touchdown on the next play, putting Arkansas within 14-10 with five minutes to play in the first half. "I had never had an interception in my life," Madubuike said. "I just looked up to see where the ball was and it just appeared right to my left peripheral. I turned and it was right there, and grabbed it and tried to run, and he tried to tackle me." The Aggies did just enough to hang onto the 23rd spot in the poll and will face second-ranked Alabama at home on Oct. 12.

TCU 51, Kansas 14

True freshman quarterback Max Duggan was nearly flawless in his second consecutive start, leading TCU to a 51-14 victory over Kansas on Saturday to open Big 12 play. Duggan led touchdown drives on each of his first-half possessions and finished 8-of-11 passing for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The Horned Frogs defense held Kansas to only 55 yards going into the fourth quarter and handed the Jayhawks their 46th consecutive Big 12 road loss. Duggan was replaced by graduate transfer Alex Delton halfway through the second quarter with TCU in a comfortable 28-0 lead. TCU plays its first Big 12 road game at Iowa State on Saturday.

 Baylor 23, Iowa State 21

As much as I like to harp on the importance of defense, field goals can really make or break a team that has blown a 20-point lead. Baylor coach Matt Rhule passed on a field goal attempt after redshirt freshman John Mayers badly missed a kick in the first half. Then the kid got another chance from the same distance of the early miss and he slipped in the 38-yarder with 21 seconds left for the first field goal of his career, elevating the Bears to a narrow 23-21 victory over Iowa State on Saturday. "Best one of my life so far, I think," Mayers said. "It was good to have to get another chance because a lot of times you don't as a kicker. The offense did a heck of a job to get the ball down there, and I was glad to get an opportunity." Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer finished 26-of-45 with 307 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Bears are at Kansas State next Saturday.

Texas State 24, Nicholls  3

Bobcats quarterback Gresch Jensen threw two touchdowns in the second half and ran for another score, leading Texas State to a 24-3 victory over Nicholls on Saturday night. The Bobcats face UL Monroe at home on Oct. 10.

Louisiana Tech 23, Rice 20

Louisiana Tech quarterback J'Mar Smith ran for a touchdown in overtime and lifted the Bulldogs to a narrow victory over Rice in Houston on Saturday night. The Owls are on the road against UAB on Saturday.

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Following Houston's 6-4 road trip, the Astros returned home to finish the first "half" of the season before the All Star break hosting Florida and Texas. Houston's road trip was filled with clutch performances in New York, dominance in taking 3 of 4 in Toronto, and a dose of close calls and tough realities with a short-handed team against Minnesota.

Now the Astros hope to take care of business against the lowly Marlins and division rival Rangers. The Texas series, in particular gives Houston the opportunity to reassert their hold on the #2 spot ahead of the Rangers who have won their last 5 games in a row (as of the time this was published). Both teams have won 7 of their last 10 games and hope to catch a free-falling Seattle team to overtake the division lead.

Dana Brown told the media last week he expects both Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker to be reactivated following the All-Star break but Tucker's updates continue to be more promising than Verlander's and MUCH more promising than Lance McCullers. Astros manager informed the media this week that McCullers has been shut down from throwing after his arm did not respond well to his recent bullpen sessions and the team is formulating the plan for what's next for the embattled pitcher. McCullers hasn't pitched since the 2022 postseason and underwent season-ending flexor tendon surgery last June. McCullers is under contract with Houston until 2026.

An eventual return for Kyle Tucker would spur a juggling act from Joe Espada to find a proper balance of time for all his outfielders, none of which have separated themselves offensively. Chas McCormick had a great month of June recording an .804 OPS but that run looks more like an anomaly as his scuffles have continued over the past 2.5 weeks, recording just 4 hits over his last 32 plate appearances.

While Jake Meyers has wowed fans and teammates with his glove this season, his offense has hit a skid, hitting just .184 with a .565 OPS over the past month. After rookie Joey Loperfido's torrid debut, he too has struggled with the bat, hitting just .216 with .599 OPS over the same time period.

An unexpected bright spot has been the recent play of first baseman Jon Singleton. Over the last 4 weeks, "Big Jon" is batting .302 with an .802 OPS. It's worth mentioning that Singleton's season numbers are better than Florida's Josh Bell, who drew interest from Astros fans over the past several seasons as a potential answer at first base. Bell has 135 more ABs this season so its not quite an apples-to-apples comparison but there's no doubt Singleton's contributions were sorely needed following the release of Jose Abreu.

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