College football rewind

Saturday NCAA recap: Another rough week for Texas schools

TCU has had no problems this season. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a sad Week 7 for college football in the Lone Star State, Week 8 is filled with much of the same; disappointment and serious need for improvement.

Memphis 42, Houston 38

Coming off of a major victory after handing previously ranked Navy their first loss of the season, the Memphis Tigers were eager to prove they deserved their spot on the top 25 and they did not disappoint. The Cougars were airtight during the first half, securing a 10-0 lead by the end of then second quarter. However, after returning to the field in the second half, the Tigers obliterated the Cougars, scoring 21 points in both the third and fourth quarters in this road win over Houston.

TCU 43, Kansas 0

As expected, TCU dominated both sides of the field in this home victory over Kansas. No. 4 TCU was favored to win, obviously, but it was almost as if Kansas was absent from the field. The Jayhawks’ 44th consecutive road game loss tied an 81-year-old NCAA record.

Oklahoma State 13, Texas 10

UT certainly improved with the season’s progression, but so has Oklahoma State. OSU took the lead late in the first quarter after a 7-yard touchdown run by J.D. King. The Longhorns tied the game in the second quarter with a 2-yard run by Sam Ehlinger. UT Head Coach Tom Herman ran a strong defense but it was not enough to stop OSU. The Longhorns were defeated in overtime.

West Virginia 38, Baylor 36

West Virginia narrowly escaped defeat in a tough road game against a Baylor offense led by scrambling freshman quarterback, Charlie Brewer.

Iowa State 31, Texas Tech 13

According to Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, Texas Tech did not live up to the loyalty of their fans in Saturday’s loss against the Cyclones, which pinned down the unusually low-producing Tech offense early on in this easy victory.

UT San Antonio 20, Rice 7

UTSA took an early lead over the Owls, scoring 10 points in both the first and third quarters in this home victory.

LSU 40, Mississippi 24

Darius Guice had a monster game as the Tigers rolled to another win.










 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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