Jake Shaw recaps this weekend's college action across Texas.
No. 1 Notre Dame may play at USC this weekend, but the Irish should feel a lot better knowing they're not playing a program from Texas. For the second straight week, the top-ranked team in the CS standings fell victim to a Texas team that simply out-played the formerly No. 1 team. Last week it was Texas A&M; this past weekend it was Baylor completely shutting down Kansas State.
I look back on that game -- plus all the others from around the state -- and review what happened over the weekend. As always, the recaps are based on the order of this week's Power Poll rankings.
1) Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2 in SEC)
The mob said: The mob showed mercy and didn't create a line for this one
So said I: Texas A&M 63, SHSU 20
What actually happened: The Aggies scored the first 47 points, but the reserves caved in late to allow Sam Houston to make A&M's 47-28 win look a lot closer on paper. This was the perfectly-scheduled game for the Aggies. They were afforded the ability to play with half the amount of energy it too to knock down Alabama last week and still get a comfortable win. And the energy wasn't there at first. Texas A&M punted on two of its first three drives. But the Ags turned it up after that, scoring touchdowns on six of its next seven drives, the lone exception coming on a Johnny Manziel interception. SHSU, on the other hand, either punted it or turned it over on every single drive until it scored a touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Star of the game: Once again, it was the Johnny Manziel show. He passed for 267 yards, ran for 100, and accounted for five touchdowns. His only miscues were an interception and a missed PAT.
Key number: 91. Texas A&M's average yards gained per play, more than double the 4.4 SHSU averaged. The Aggie average was boosted by two passing touchdowns covering 80 and 89 yards.
What's next: Texas A&M and Missouri may be in this together, but they're obviously not linked at the hips. The SEC newcomers have been drastically different this season. The Aggies have an outside shot at a BCS bowl; Missouri has an outside shot at a bowl game, period. Mizzou must upset A&M Saturday to get its sixth win.
2) Texas (8-2, 5-2 in Big 12)
What actually happened: The Longhorns had Saturday off, as they always do on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Texas is currently riding its second four-game winning streak of the season, two streaks of wins separated by the two-game losing streak.
Key number: 2,000, the number of rushing yards allowed by the Texas defense this year, 749 more than it allowed in 13 games last year. And in 2009, Texas only gave up 1,013 in 14 games.
What's next: Despite all the ups and downs this season, Texas has a chance to close strong. UT had five days extra to prep for Thursday night's game against TCU, and playing on Thursday will then give UT an extra couple days to prepare for a suddenly vulnerable Kansas State.
t-3) Baylor (5-5, 2-5 in Big 12)
The mob said: Kansas State by 10
So said I: Kansas State 40, Baylor 33
What actually happened: Two things stand out in Baylor's historic 52-24 thrashing of previously No. 1 Kansas State. Truthfully, a lot more than two things stand out, but for time/space constraints, I'll focus on two items. 1) The depth of the Big 12 is truly amazing. Take away Kansas, every team in this conference is capable of beating another conference team. What other league has that parity? Could Kentucky beat Alamaba? Illinois beat Ohio State? Colorado beat Oregon? Not hardly. This conference may now lack an elite team -- that's courtesy of Baylor's upset -- but it is thick top to bottom. 2) Where has this Baylor defense been hiding? The Bears put as much pressure on Collin Klein as the former Heisman frontrunner has seen all season. Sure, Baylor recorded just two sacks, but they beat him up all game, forcing him to throw three interceptions. He had that many in the previous 10 games combined. If Baylor's defense truly has turned a corner, look out. Paired with that explosive offense, Baylor may be back on the rise.
Stars of the game: Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett is deserving, but the running games was the biggest difference. Baylor's Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk gained a combined 298 yards and 4 TDs on the ground. Even QB Nick Florence (238 yards, 2 TDs passing) chipped in with 47 yards, outrushing Klein, his counterpart, by eight yards. KSU's 76 rushing yards as a team was a season low by 39 yards.
Key number: 313, the yards gained by Baylor in the first half alone, more than what KSU had allowed to Miami (Fla.), Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU in an entire game. Baylor finished the day with 580 total yards, the most in a year against KSU.
What's next: Baylor has to refocus quickly against rival Texas Tech. The two meet on Saturday in Dallas, and Baylor still must get a win in its final two games to make a bowl game for the third straight year.
t-3) Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4 in Big 12)
The mob said: Oklahoma State by 10.5
So said I: Oklahoma State 30, Texas Tech 20
What actually happened: In the next 30 minutes of game time after Texas Tech tied OSU at 7, the following happened in Texas Tech's 59-21 loss at Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State scored 45 points, failing to score on just two of its possessions, one that ended on downs, and another that ended with the first-half clock running out. OSU gained 306 of its 487 yards in those 30 minutes spanning the second and third quarters. And Texas Tech was as bad as OSU was good. In those 30 minutes, Tech scored just once, turned it over three times, and punted it five times. The Red Raiders were out-gained by about 150 yards in that timeframe. Things simply fell apart in every facet of the game. That's what happened last year in the 66-6 loss to OSU, that's what happened at the end of Tech's 2011 season, and that's what's happening now. Tech has lost three of its last four games, the lone win a double-overtime victory over Kansas. A bowl has been guaranteed, but this is not how a team wants to close a season.
Star of the game: Getting nearly half of his team's 284 receiving yards, Darrin Moore was one of the few consistent players for Tech on Saturday. He finished with 9 receptions for 140 yards and a score.
Key number: 2.91, the average yards gained per rush by the Texas Tech offense, the fifth time this season the Red Raiders have been held under 3.0 yards per carry.
What's next: Tech has one last chance, at least in the regular season, to right the ship, playing Baylor in Dallas on Saturday. For the first time in over a decade, Tech goes into the game looking for revenge.
5) TCU (6-4, 3-4 in Big 12)
What actually happened: The Frogs got some much-needed time off, their first weekend without playing a game since the first Saturday of the season. It will give TCU some time to heal some injuries and a chance to strongly close out its first Big 12 campaign.
Key number: 28.17, the percentage of times opponents convert on third down against TCU, the fifth-best average in the nation. Despite the tougher than usual season in Fort Wort, TCU still ranks 16th nationally in defense, up from 32nd last year against an easier schedule.
What's next: With the Aggies going southeast, TCU steps in and will be Texas's Thanksgiving night opponent. The teams are trending in opposite directions right now -- Texas has won four straight; TCU las lost three of four -- but don't count the Frogs out, especially of a game Gary Patterson has had extra time to prep for.
6) Rice (5-6, 3-4 in CUSA)
The mob said: SMU by 3
So said I: Rice 28, SMU 27
What actually happened: It's been a long road back from the brink of the dead, but Rice's 36-14 win over SMU at home on Saturday has the Owls where few thought they'd be after a 2-6 start: Playing for a bowl game. Rice broke open a close game in the fourth quarter. SMU got within nine points, 23-14, late in the third quarter, but Rice answered with two straight Chris Boswell field goals to start the fourth quarter, then iced the win on Taylor McHargue's 13-yard touchdown run with two minutes to play. McHargue has missed some time this year with an injury, but he has played great late this season to help revive Rice. McHargue passed for 297 yards, 2 TDs and, most importantly, no interceptions, and added 38 yards on the ground, including that game-sealing touchdown. He completely outplayed counterpart Garrett Gilbert, as did Rice as a whole. This is the third straight week Rice has stared bowl elimination in the face and refused to go down.
Star of the game: McHargue could argue for this award, but defensive lineman Cody Bauer was an integral part of the defense holding SMU to 14 points and just 317 yards of offense. Bauer's stat line: 6 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks and one forced fumble.
Key number: +7, Rice's turnover margin during this three-game winning streak. Rice was an even 0 before that, having turned it over 12 times and created 12 takeaways during the previous eight games.
What's next: Only the biggest game in several years. This is the first time since 2008 that Rice's final game of the regular season has some meaning. Usually, the Owls had been eliminated from the bowl picture by now. But winning Saturday at UTEP will
7) SMU (5-6, 4-3 in CUSA)
The mob said: SMU by 3
So said I: Rice 28, SMU 27
What actually happened: SMU made life a lot tougher for itself after the 26-14 loss at Rice on Saturday. SMU has dropped two of its past three games, leaving the Mustangs with no choice but to upset Tulsa at home on Saturday to ensure another bowl invitation. SMU was in this through late in the fourth quarter, trailing by nine entering the final quarter, and it was still a two-possession game until the final minutes. SMU, though, was somehow helpless against a defense ranked 96th in the nation. On its first two drives of the court quarter, SMU actually went backwards, as each drive ended 10 yards behind where it started. And because of Rice's clock-grinding offense that chewed up more than 11 minutes in the fourth quarter, SMU didn't get its third possession of the quarter until it trailed 36-14 with 1:12 to play. By then, it was too late to do anything about it.
Stars of the game: Though SMU gave up a lot of yards and 26 points to Rice, don't blame LBs Randall Joyner and Ja'Gared Davis or safety Taylor Reed. That trio combined for 33 of SMU's 62 tackles while also contributing 5.5 TFLs.
Key number: 30, the percentage of time SMU converted on third downs against Rice, which conversely converted 47 percent of its third-down attempts.
What's next: Tulsa comes to Dallas having wrapped up the CUSA West Division title and a spot in the conference championship game. That's what stands between SMU and its fourth straight bowl appearance after the two-decade absence from the postseason.
8) Houston (4-7, 3-4 in CUSA)
The mob said: Marshall by 1
So said I: Marshall 44, Houston 40
What actually happened: Houston erupted for a 31-point second half while holding Marshall to just 13 after the break, but the final three points were enough to seal Marshall's 44-41 win. Houston was forced to rally after trailing 31-10 at half. Rally they did behind senior walk-on QB Crawford Jones, starting in place of David Piland (leg injury), who threw four TD passes in the second half. Houston needed one more touchdown late, but had to settle for a game-tying chip shot field goal with 1:28 left, and Marshall went 60 yards in eight plays to set up the game-winning field goal with 11 seconds left. Houston has now been eliminated from the postseason for the second time in the last three years. The Coogs had their work cut out for them after the 0-3 start, but playing games away from Houston has been the real problem. UH went 0-4 in road games and lost all but one of them by at least 20 points. Saturday's loss was the exception, but the loss will be just as hard to take.
Star of the game: He had to wait five years to make an impact, but Crawford Jones is finally getting playing the, and he's making the most of it. Jones passed for 316 yards and 5 TDs.
Key number: 5, the number of times Houston converted on its 17 third-down attempts. Marshall, meanwhile, was far better, converting more than half of the time on third downs (13 of 22).
What's next: Jones will start UH's final game of the season Saturday when Houston hosts Tulane. With no bowl bid on the line and one of the worst CUSA teams coming to town, I think some UH fans will opt to stay home and watch games from the couch rather than at Robertson Stadium.
9) North Texas (4-7, 3-4 in Sun Belt)
The mob said: Louisiana-Monroe by 10.5
So said I: Louisiana-Monroe 37, UNT 20
What actually happened: The final statistics pretty much disagree with the final score of UNT's 42-16 loss at ULM. The teams didn't seem to have much separation. UNT QB Derek Thompson stuck with his counterpart Kolton Browning nearly pass for pass. Browning's 324 passing yards were just two more than Thompson's total. But it all came too late for North Texas. Nearly half of its 467 yards came in the fourth quarter, a quarter that started with ULM only up 21-10. UNT tried to rally, gaining at least 52 yards on each of its fourth-quarter drives. But the ULM also awoke in the fourth, and unlike UNT, it finished drives. U:M scored three touchdowns on all three of its possessions in the final quarter, putting the nail in the coffin on both UNT's chances to win and its season as a whole. The loss means the Mean Green won't make the postseason for an eighth straight season. Despite its standard non-conference schedule against BCS powers, UNT had chances to take care of bowl eligibility earlier in the season but came up short. That put UNT in this position, having to win road games against pretty good teams to close the season.
Star of the game: With his second 300-yard game in the past three contests after having zero in the previous eight games, Derek Thompson has played much better late in the season. He threw for a season-high 322 against ULM along with 2 TDs. He did throw two INTs, but neither led to points for ULM.
Key number: 118, the number of receiving yards on eight receptions by UNT freshman WR Carlos Harris, who had 9 receptions for 100 yards prior to Saturday's game. Did the Mean Green discover a new weapon?
What's next: UNT stays on the road for the final game of its season, traveling to Western Kentucky, which is already bowl eligible and needing to beat UNT to ensure an invitation.
10) Texas State (3-7, 1-3 in WAC)
The mob said: Navy by 14.5
So said I: Navy 35, Texas State 20
What actually happened: Texas State went at Navy with an almost equal but definitely opposite attack but came up just short in a 21-10 loss on Saturday. Only 11 points and 37 yards separated Navy from Texas State. The Bobcats were in this game to the end. But they hung with the Midshipmen by using the exact opposite offensive game plan than what Navy uses. Texas State attempted a season-high 42 pass attempts, and the strategy worked. Twenty five of those passes were completed for 290 yards, just 11 yards short of the season-high the Bobcats had against SFA. As well as the passing game clicked, Texas State just couldn't finish drives, turning it over on downs four times. The cure for an inability to finish is a big play, and Texas State got one on Shaun Rutherford's 62-yard TD pass to Isaiah Battle to make the score 21-10. But Texas State ended its next three drives on downs to prevent the comeback. As for Navy, well, it hardly gave the passing game a look. Navy got 407 of its 447 yards on the ground, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Still, hard to blame this loss on the Texas State defense.
Star of the game: If not for the arm of Shaun Rutherford, Texas State would've been blanked. The running game stalled for the most part, but Rutherford carried the Bobcats with 290 passing yards and 1 TD.
Key number: 2, the number of times Texas State converted on its seven fourth-down attempts.
What's next: Texas State is back on Texas soil for its final two games, first at newly-established rival UTSA, followed by hosting New Mexico State the first Saturday in December.
11) UTSA (7-4, 2-3 in WAC)
The mob said: UTSA by 6.5
So said I: UTSA 27, Idaho 21
What actually happened: It's becoming a trend for UTSA -- building a lead, then letting a team get back in the game. But at least the Roadrunners keep winning, as they did in the 31-24 win over Idaho on the road on Saturday. UTSA led 20-3 at the half, and when Eric Soza scored on a 10-yard run with eight minutes left, UTSA had a 14-point lead. Idaho replied with a 5-play, 75-yard scoring drive to cut the deficit back to seven points. Could the UTSA defense hold one more time? It didn't have to. After that Idaho touchdown, UTSA's offense got the ball back and ran out all of the 5:04 remaining in the game, going 63 yards in eight plays to seal the win. It was a nice way to close, but it was the second straight week a UTSA lead evaporated in the second half, and the fourth time this season UTSA nearly gave up a late lead.
Star of the game: For the second time in three games, Eric Soza put up more than 300 yards of offense, gaining 321 against Idaho on Saturday. Soza only had one 300-yard game in the first four games of 2012; he missed two games in the middle of the season with an injury.
Key number: 4-23, the record of the three FBS teams UTSA has beaten this year. The three FBS teams UTSA lost to are a combined 27-6, meanwhile. UTSA has also played two DII teams and two FCS programs in its first true season in the FBS ranks.
What's next: Because of those key numbers above, UTSA must beat Texas State to have a chance at a bowl. It will be an outside chance at that, since UTSA will only have four wins against FBS teams. UTSA could only get to a bowl if there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the slots, even with what would be an 8-4 record if it could beat Texas State on Saturday in San Antonio.
12) UTEP (3-8, 2-5 in CUSA)
The mob said: UTEP by 3
So said I: UTEP 27, Southern Miss 21
What actually happened: This is yet another reason college football is so fantastic. UTEP is last in Conference USA's West Division; Southern Miss has a tight grip on last in the East. Yet these two played a very entertaining game on Saturday, a 34-33 UTEP victory not decided until UTEP stopped Southern Miss on a two-point conversion inside of three minutes to play in the game. USM had tied the game at 27 with 7:30 to go, but UTEP promptly regained the lead when Autrey Golden took the ensuing kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown. Southern Miss again answered, driving 86 yards in just seven plays to score a touchdown. That made the game 34-33, UTEP leading by one. A Southern Miss PAT sends the game to overtime -- something most home teams would elect to do. But when you haven't won a game all year, you take risks. I call it panicking. Instead of the PAT, Southern Miss tried for a two-point conversion, but a walk-on freshman for UTEP, Demarcus Kizzie, stepped in front of a pass an intercepted it, sealing the win for UTEP.
Stars of the game: Kizzie ensured a UTEP win with his interception, but UTEP earned the win on the ground, using the two-man combo of RB Nathan Jeffery (21-76, 2 TDs) and QB Blaire Sullivan (19-98, TD) to grind out the win. Sullivan added 155 yards passing and wasn't intercepted.
Key number: 0, the number of UTEP turnovers against Southern Miss, the first time the Miners didn't give the ball away since the 41-28 win over New Mexico State on Sept. 15. The Miners are -6 in the turnover ratio this season, part of the explanation for the 3-8 record.
What's next: Don't expect UTEP to roll over for Rice, which needs a win to become bowl eligible. This will be an emotional game for the Miners, the last under Mike Price, who announced his retirement effective after the game. Rice needs the victory more than UTEP does, but the Miners will want to send Price out on a winning note.
Grading My Predictions
Last week straight up: 8-1
Last week against the spread: 4-4
Season straight up: 90-26
Season against the spread: 51-49
Jake Shaw is a special contributor to TexasFootball.com