Texas FBS rankings week 12

A spectacular touchdown catch in Lubbock keeps the Longhorns Big 12 title hopes alive

Sam Ehlinger had a big game. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

No. 12: Rice

Things continue to get uglier for the Owls, who lost their tenth straight game in week 11 after falling to Louisiana Tech 28-13. This season has turned out to be an extremely disappointing start for new head coach Mike Bloomgren. At this point Bloomgren can only hope to get through the last two games and begin rebuilding hope for 2019.

No. 11: UTEP

After securing their first win of the season in Week 11, the Miners were brought back down to reality after getting defeated 48-32 by Middle Tennessee. UTEP’s offense is playing its best football of the season after two consecutive 30-point performances and will hope to overpower a 1-9 Western Kentucky team in week 12.

No. 10: UTSA

The Road Runners were dominated 45-7 by FIU in week 11 and now fall to 3-7 on the season. UTSA has failed to score more than 17 points in their last four games and will have a tough time getting things back on track against a strong Marshall team.

No. 9: Texas State

The Bobcats two game winning streak came to an abrupt ending after being handled by Appalachian State 38-7. Texas State probably won’t have much better luck in week 12 when they face off against the 8-2 Troy Trojans.

No. 8: TCU

The Horned Frogs fell two games below .500 with a loss to West Virginia last weekend. TCU has a difficult matchup with a dangerous Baylor team in week 12 but the Horned Frogs can hope that young quarterback Michael Collins will eventually find a groove in his fourth start of the season.

No. 7: SMU

While the Mustangs secured their fifth win of the season this past weekend, it was not a pretty one. SMU’s defense, who played well against one of the nation’s most dangerous quarterbacks in week 10, allowed the 1-9 Connecticut Huskies to score 50 points in Week 11. The Mustangs will face a talented Memphis team this coming weekend but could walk away with a third consecutive victory if they show up on both sides of the ball.

No. 6: Baylor

The Bears suffered a tough loss in week 11 in a chippy game with Iowa State. Both team’s emotions were running high as multiple shoving matches broke out throughout the game and two players were eventually ejected. The Bears have definitely adopted a new urgency and mentality this season and will hope to carry that into a big matchup with TCU this weekend. Look for the Bears to jump on the struggling Horned Frogs at home in Week 12.

No. 5: UNT

UNT was caught sleeping in Week 11 when they were upset by 3-7 Old Dominion. The Mean Green may have suffered a lapse in focus by looking ahead to their Week 12 matchup with Florida Atlantic. A season that began with so much promise and excitement is now in danger of becoming very underwhelming based on what this team was believed to be capable of accomplishing.

No. 4: Texas Tech

Despite suffering two straight losses the Red Raiders have displayed impressive performances against two of the best teams in the Big 12. Texas Tech fell just five points short of upsetting No. 6 Oklahoma and seven points away from defeating No. 13 Texas. Not to mention that the Red Raiders have been able to keep pace with these top tier programs without their starting quarterback Alan Bowman who has been plagued by injuries all season.

No. 3: Houston

With a 59-49 upset loss last weekend to Temple the Cougars seem to have lost their midseason momentum that nearly drove them to the No. 1 spot on this list. Because of the lackluster effort from the Cougar defense, an impressive performance in which quarterback D’Eriq King threw for 355 yards and 5 touchdowns along with 125 yards rushing with a touchdown was surprisingly not enough to hold off the Owls. Houston will look to redeem themselves in week 12 against an average Tulane team.

No. 2: Texas A&M

After two straight losses that forced Texas A&M out of the Top 25, the Aggies were able to get back in the win column in Week 11 against Ole Miss. A&M looked efficient on both sides of the ball as they put up over 500 yards of total offense and held the Rebels to 24 points. While on paper the Aggies week 12 matchup with UAB should be an easy victory, the 9-1 Blazers are an athletic team that could give Texas A&M a run for their money if they are not prepared. Texas A&M will look to build momentum with a second straight win before heading into their final game of the season vs. LSU.

No. 1: Texas

The Longhorns were lucky to escape Lubbock with a win week 11. The Red Raiders held the lead until Sam Ehlinger threw his fourth touchdown to strike the final blow with only 21 seconds remaining. While the UT defense continued to struggle for a third straight week, Ehlinger arguably had his best game of the season throwing for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns despite the absence of his top target Colin Johnson. The Longhorns have a difficult matchup in week 12 with the No. 18 Iowa State Cyclones who are in the middle of a five-game winning streak. Texas will need to have solid performances by both their offense and defense if they are going to hold off one of the hottest teams in the country.

 

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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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