Five things we learned in Week 7: Breakout QB performances bring optimism

By Maria Lysaker

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Texas A&M’s defensive line can be great

We’ve been waiting for Texas A&M’s defensive line to have a breakout performance rushing the passer. Playing against the purest of pure air raid opponents in Mike Leach’s Mississippi State, we finally got to see the unit cook. 

Texas A&M had seven players combine for six sacks, including five different defensive linemen. DeMarvin Leal in particular was a terrifying pass rusher, posting just one sack but breaking up a pass and leading the team with three quarterback hurries. Keep in mind, the Aggies did all this despite playing a three-man front. 

Mississippi State is an easier opponent to scheme against for a defensive line because the Bulldogs pass the ball so often. Still, it was encouraging to see the Aggies win in the trenches by such a wide margin against a talented SEC opponent. The lines won the game for Texas A&M, the first win in Starkville since 2012 for this squad. 

North Texas’ offense has changed

Austin Aune was the best passing option on the roster heading into the game against Middle Tennessee. But after Aune’s three turnovers to start the game, Jason Bean proved that he might not be the best chance to win. 

Bean came off the bench and threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns and led the game with 169 yards and three rushing scores. Next to him, DeAndre Torrey and Tre Siggers combined for 244 yards and two scores to help UNT post the best offensive performance in program history. 

Aune is still a different level of passer than Bean. He typically anticipates better and is more accurate with his ball placement than the much-younger Bean. But still, it seems like shifting the offense to the run game is a far more consistent and formidable offensive attack – and Bean is still plenty good enough at passing the ball to keep defenses on their toes. 

SMU’s late-season issues are emerging

Last season, SMU was unbeaten with Reggie Roberson in the lineup. When he went down, the Mustangs’ offense struggled dramatically and a New Year’s Six-quality team became far more mortal. With Roberson out again, some of those same issues are back. 

SMU’s offense was incredibly explosive, posting eight passes of more than 20 yards with bombs of 61, 42, 41 and 40. However, the short passing game was far more inconsistent and the running game mustered just 3.3 yards per carry. The offense looked more run-and-shoot at times than the diverse air raid that took SMU to 10 wins.

To some extent, fielding a more consistent offense will take replacing TJ McDaniel more than Roberson. McDaniel was SMU’s workhorse and paved the way for Ulysses Bentley to be the home run back. The good news? The answers are definitely on the roster. 

Clayton Tune looks the part

Yes, Houston blew a lead against BYU and ruined an opportunity to change the trajectory of its season. Still though, there were plenty of positives to be taken away, and the biggest starts under center. 

Clayton Tune outdueled Heisman hopeful Zach Wilson for the majority of the game on Friday. Tune completed 21-of-31 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns and added another rumbling touchdown on a broken play. Even though BYU’s defensive line caused issues, he stayed poised and made the right decisions under pressure. 

Tune had one of the quickest rises imaginable from freshman to junior after losing two opportunities at a redshirt season because of bizarre situations. However, the long offseason seems to have done him some good. Tune looks the part of a quarterback of the future for Dana Holgorsen. 

Texas State doesn’t have many wins left

South Alabama has played well and are a much-improved team. But for Texas State, the Jaguars represented one of the last winnable games left on the schedule. 

Starting next week, the Bobcats go through a murderer’s row of opponents: at No. 14 BYU, vs. No. 21 Louisiana and at defending Sun Belt champ Appalachian State. Then, the Bobcats get a short reprieve against Georgia Southern before playing Arkansas State and Coastal Carolina at home, both of whom have a win over Big 12 opponents. 

This team is much better and has been legitimately excellent at times with Brady McBride in the lineup. At the end of the season, the coaching staff shouldn’t feel terrible about where the team sits. But still, only winning one or two games would be a huge disappointment.

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