Saturday NCAA football recap: Tom Herman and the Longhorns stun West Virginia

Saturday NCAA football recap: Tom Herman and the Longhorns stun West Virginia
UT and Tom Herman got an important win. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Rather positive week for college football in the Lone Star State. We take a look back at Texas colleges and schools of interest:

Texas 28, West Virginia 14

First-year coach Tom Herman and the Longhorns have a lot to be proud of after their 28-14 victory over No. 24 West Virginia on Saturday. The now bowl-eligible Longhorns beat a ranked opponent for the first time in five tries this season and qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2014. ”This was a big hurdle – to get another road conference win, to beat a top 25 team, and make sure our seniors are bowl eligible,” said Herman. “These guys are ecstatic.” Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger did not mess around, completing 12 of 19 for 136 yards and running for 68 yards.

TCU 27, Texas Tech 3

Rookie quarterback Shawn Robinson became the first true freshman to start for the Horned Frogs in all of coach Gary Patterson’s 17 seasons as head coach. After being held to a scoreless first quarter, the Horned Frogs shook off the jitters and began to really shine. In his first career start, Robinson ran for 84 yards and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Reagor to take a 17-3 lead late in the third quarter. Red Raider quarterback Nic Shimonek had a season-low 137 yards passing and was only 17 of 37.

LSU 30, Tennessee 10

On a stormy Saturday in Knoxville, LSU managed to beat Tennessee 30-10 while avoiding any turnovers. “I thought the storm fired them up,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. “They were like little kids playing in the back yard. I was proud of them. "Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams ran for a combined 165 yards and three touchdowns for LSU. According to Orgeron, eliminating turnovers made the difference in the game for the Tigers. This loss for Tennessee came in the Volunteers’ first game under interm coach Brady Hoke after the firing of Butch Jones.

Old Dominion 24, Rice 21

Old Dominion quarterback Steven Williams led his team to victory, throwing for 188 yards and running for two scores, including the game-winning touchdown with 37 seconds left. An interception by ODU’s Sean Carter with 21 seconds left in the game sealed the win. This is the ninth straight loss for the Owls.

Iowa State 23, Baylor 13

The Cyclones broke their two-game losing streak with Saturday’s 23-13 victory over Baylor in Waco. On a pass from freshman Zeb Noland, senior Hakeem Butler made a highlight over-the-shoulder 67-yard catch-and-run score for the Cyclones in which he broke away from two defenders. Baylor has lost 10 games for the first time since going 1-10 back in 1999.

Arkansas State 30, Texas State 12

Arkansas State moves into a four-way tie atop the Sunbelt Conference with a 30-12 victory over Texas State on Saturday. Quarterback Justice Hansen threw for 229 and one touchdown for the Red Wolves.

Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 24

Returning freshman quarterback Nick Starkel threw for 272 yards, leading the Aggies to a rallying 31-24 victory over Mississippi on Saturday. “We weren’t perfect,” said A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. “But our guys played really hard. I’m happy for them.” The Aggies took a 28-24 lead just after halftime thanks to a pick-six by Derrick Tucker. Starkel completed 19 of 32 passes and ran for a 1-yard touchdown for the Aggies. A&M’s Damion Ratley caught five passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.

Tulane 20, Houston 17

Tulane quarterback Jonathan Banks led his team to victory and threw for a career-high 251 yards to defeat the Houston Cougars 20-17. D'Eriq King rushed for 141 yards and passed for 225 in a losing effort.

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The Astros are back in action Friday night against Seattle. Composite Getty Image.

The Astros were a season low 12 games under .500 (12-24) on May 8th but were able to turn things around and entered the All-Star break with a respectable 50-46 record.

The turnaround can be attributed to better performances on the field by a multitude of players, but there are still things that could be improved to ensure a successful second half of the season.

As it currently stands, Houston is only one game behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West division race, and the Astros should have key players returning from injury to further bolster their playoff ambitions.

The return of the King

Kyle Tucker has been on the injured list with a shin contusion for six weeks now, and looks to return in the near future.

The Astros have done surprisingly well without their three-time All-Star outfielder thanks to contributions from guys like Joey Loperfido, Jake Meyers and Marcio Dubon in the outfield. Plus, Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Yanier Diaz and Jeremy Pena carrying the offense while King Tuck is away.

Before getting hurt, the 27-year-old was hitting .266/.395/.584 through 60 games. Houston already has one of the best offenses in baseball, and adding Tucker back would give the Astros another high-quality bat to further bolster their lineup.

The latest update is Tucker has been playing catch and could start a rehab assignment soon if all goes well.

Fix the rotation

Starting pitching has been a major issue this season due to a multitude of injuries.

Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy and J.P. France have all been lost for the year with various surgeries and guys like Justin Verlander and Luis Garcia are trying to work their way back from their injured list stints.

Garcia was recently pulled from his rehab assignment and won’t pitch again until he is ready. Meanwhile, Verlander could be closer to his return and is throwing bullpen sessions as of July 14. Getting both of these pitchers back at some point this season will be a huge boost to this roster.

The current Astros’ rotation consists of Framber Valdez, Ronel Blanco, Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss. Although not a bad rotation by any means, the starting pitching depth is getting pretty thin and Houston can ill afford another injury to their staff.

Astros general manager Dana Brown has been vocal about his desire to add starting pitching, and could have some options heading into the trade deadline. Players like Jack Flaherty, Garrett Crochet or Yusei Kikuchi, just to name a few, could be low risk high reward pitchers the Astros could acquire to add depth to their rotation.

Another option would be to call up A.J. Blubaugh from Sugar Land. The 24-year-old has a 6-2 record with a 3.46 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched this season for the Space Cowboys and could be a necessary depth piece to add to the rotation.

Play Astros baseball

The Astros have been playing better baseball as of late and have won 18 of their last 23 games. With players like Kyle Tucker and Justin Verlander potentially returning soon, there is reason to believe Houston can make the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season.

The 'Stros will try to take sole possession of first place in their division from the Mariners when the two teams meet for three games at T-Mobile Park starting on Friday night.

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