Saturday NCAA Football Recap: Texas secures a winning season; Baylor and LSU destroy opponents

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Navy 56, Houston 41

Jamale Carothers rushed for career highs of 188 yards and five touchdowns for No. 24 Navy and the Midshipmen beat Houston 56-41 on Saturday. Houston receiver Marquez Stevenson collected 133 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches and receiver Tre'von Bradley caught three passes for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars. Houston quarterback Clayton Tune threw for 393 yards, a career-high four touchdowns and four interceptions. The Cougars finished 4-8, the worst record since finishing 3-8 in 2004. "We didn't give up on the season," Dana Holgorsen said. "We didn't quit coaching. We didn't quit practicing. We didn't quit preparing. We didn't quit playing. Ever. Not in 12 games." Houston's season is over and hopefully the program makes coaching adjustments before the 2020 season.

LSU 50, Texas A&M 7

Joe "Superman" Burrow padded his Heisman resume with 352 yards-passing and three touchdowns in No. 1 LSU's 50-7 highlight-reel victory over Texas A&M on Saturday night to close out their first unbeaten regular season since 2011. "I thought it would just be an awesome tribute to the state, to the university," said Burrow of the name on his jersey reading "Burreaux," a spelling that evokes Louisiana's Cajun heritage. "It's been awesome not only for me, but for my family as well. ... I'm going to miss it with all my heart and I couldn't be more grateful." Star receiver JaMarr Chase racked up 197 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches for the Tigers. Chase's touchdowns built on the school record the Biletnikoff Award finalist broke two weeks earlier. Burrow has 4,366 yards and 44 touchdowns this season, destroying LSU single-season records in both categories and surpassing the SEC yards passing total which stood since 1998. "They kicked our butts," Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher said. "LSU's offense is outstanding." Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond completed just 10-of-30 passes for 92 yards and was intercepted three times by the Tigers defense. LSU faces off against Georgia in the SEC championship game on Saturday and the Aggies await their bowl invitation.

Texas 49, Texas Tech 24

Longhorn quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw two touchdowns, ran for another score and Texas secured a winning season with a thrilling 49-24 win over Texas Tech on Friday. "We all know this is not where we hoped we would be to begin the season, but to send these seniors out (with a win) that was our mission," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "Nothing that happened prior to this week mattered." The Longhorns were down 14-0 in the first quarter before Ehlinger struck back with his first rushing touchdown in five games. The resilient quarterback finished with 348 passing yards and ran for 83 yards on 10 carries. Texas began the year ranked in the Top 10 and was badly tripped up in the second half of Herman's third season, yet avoided December pressure by guaranteeing a winning record regardless of what happens in the bowl season. The Red Raiders season is concluded and Texas awaits its bowl destination.

Baylor 61, Kansas 6

Running back JaMycal Hasty ran for three touchdowns, the Bears forced six Kansas turnovers and Baylor cruised to a 61-6 victory over the lowly Jayhawks on Saturday. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 182 yards and one touchdown as the Bears matched the school record for wins. Only three times since Baylor's football program was founded in 1899 has the team won 11 games in a single season. "I'm really proud of them not just today but over the past two years, the process that they've had, the toughness, the grind," said Rhule. No. 11 Baylor now has a chance to avenge its only loss this season in a rematch against No. 7 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

West Virginia 20, TCU 17

Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Esdale made an impossible over-the-shoulder 35-yard touchdown catch with 2:10 left, barely getting his feet inside the pylon and West Virginia closed out the regular season with a 20-17 win on Friday that kept TCU from becoming bowl eligible. The game-winning drive by West Virginia was extended by a pass interference call on a fourth down, and then TCU defensive back Ross Blacklock was ejected for a targeting hit on a third-and-12 incompletion. "Can't give ballgames away. ... Can't keep drives alive with personal fouls. Plain and simple," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "Only a few times in my life, since I've been here, that we've lost when I've held people under 300 yards. And that's happened twice this year." The Horned Frogs are not bowl-eligible for just the third time in Patterson's 19 seasons as head coach. Freshman quarterback Max Duggan finished 15-of-36 passing for 144 yards with two interceptions for TCU. The Horned Frogs open the 2020 season at California on September 5.

Costal Carolina 24, Texas State 21

Quarterback Bryce Carpenter completed 10-of-11 passes for 114 yards and a score and the Chanticleers beat the Bobcats 21-24 on Saturday. Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt led Texas State on a nine-play, 71-yard scoring drive to get the Bobcats within three points but Costal Carolina recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock. Vitt finished 23-of-33 passing for 285 yards and two TDs with one interception for the Bobcats, who lost their final three games.

Rice 30, UTEP 16

Running back Ashton Walter ran for a touchdown and a career-best 149 yards and Rice beat UTEP 30-16 on Saturday in its season finale.

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The Astros face a tough Braves team next. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Off a nice two out of three series win over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Astros start their toughest road trip (by quality of opponents) of the season. They’re in Atlanta for three games with the Braves this weekend then it’s on to St. Petersburg for three with the Rays. The Astros are still carrying a losing record (9-10) but that is to permanently change sooner than later, though if sooner is to mean within the next week they have to win at least four of the six games on this trip. The odds don’t favor that but it’s well within the realm of possibility. They almost definitely won’t be settling into first place in the AL West by trip’s end. The surprising Texas Rangers are 12-6 and play host to the sub-pathetic 3-16 Oakland Athletics this weekend before hitting the road for three at less than imposing Cincinnati.

Could Astros-Braves be a 2023 World Series preview? As reasonable a guess as any. The Braves are humming along to the tune of a 14-5 record. In Sean Murphy, Matt Olson, and Ronald Acuna Jr. the Braves have three everyday players off to particularly outstanding starts. Frame of reference: all three have an OPS at least 100 points higher than Yordan Alvarez’s .895. In the offseason the Braves traded prospects to Oakland for catcher Murphy. He would have been a fabulous Astros get but their farm system didn’t have the goods to make a winning offer. Murphy has been tremendous out of the gate. Last year the Braves dealt with Oakland for first baseman Matt Olson. He is excellent. Acuna is back to looking like one of the 10 most talented players in the game after last season getting his game back together following return from a torn ACL. The Astros will not face old pal Charlie Morton this weekend. “Ground Chuck” is 39 but not past any expiration date. Morton has a fine 3.22 earned run average through four starts.

Astros-Rays 2023 American League Championship Series preview early next week? As reasonable a guess as any. After tying the modern record for best undefeated start at 13-0, the Rays enter the weekend at 16-3. The Rays absolutely have had a soft early schedule. Nevertheless, leading Major League Baseball in most runs scored and fewest runs allowed is quite the one-two punch. The Astros have hit 19 home runs in 19 games. The Rays have hit 42 in their 19 games. The Astros have one shutout win so far this season. The Rays already have six. The Astros trail Tampa Bay by seven games. More than 85 percent of the regular season remains to be played, but the Astros certainly don’t want to be heading home from Florida next week nine or ten games off the pace for the best record in the AL.

Can't catch a break?

The sample size that is the season to date precludes any definitive judgment about it, but fact is fact: the Astros are undefeated in the games that Martin Maldonado hasn’t started this season (5-0). They are 4-10 when Maldy is the starting catcher. Maldonado has caught the last four games, which frankly is silly. Yainer Diaz hasn’t made an imprint, but he’s been given scarce opportunities. Diaz never set foot on the field in the Jays series. The Astros have played 19 games and Diaz has 18 at bats. Perhaps with more playing time he proves not up to it. Or maybe he grows with more playing time. Dusty Baker should be more actively finding out. It’s not like Astros’ pitchers all turn stupid and meltdown if Maldonado isn’t behind the plate. Maldonado’s movement behind the plate has deteriorated. He has two passed balls and has also seen stoppable wild pitches get past him. Playing Maldonado less now should keep him fresher for later in the season, and presumably the postseason. If wondering about catching prospect Korey Lee, he’s off to a slow start at AAA Sugar Land. He’s only played 14 games but certainly isn’t pounding on the door to get to the big leagues, batting .236 with a .591 OPS.

Another fact: The Astros are the only team in the American League team yet to win a one-run game. They are 0-3 in those decided by the slimmest of margins. The Giants are the only National League team without a one-run victory.

We're going streaking!

Pretty sure Joe DiMaggio isn’t stirring in his grave yet, but how about Mauricio Dubon sporting a 14 game hitting streak (one-quarter of the way to DiMaggio’s unapproached MLB record 56 gamer)!?! Not even Mrs. Dubon would have hoped he’d be batting .323 at this point. On the downside Dubon has just two walks with 62 at bats and only three doubles for extra base hits. That makes for a mediocre .709 OPS. But last year Dubon was horrific offensively, so mediocre is a big leap and has somewhat compensated for Jose Altuve’s absence.

Here's where to find more Astros coverage!

Stone Cold ‘Stros is the weekly Astro-centric podcast I am part of alongside Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule it airs live at 3PM Monday on the SportsMapHouston YouTube channel, is available there for playback at any point, and also becomes available in podcast form at outlets galore. Such as:

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