Five things we learned in Week 11: SMU's difficult loss, Texas Tech's big win

Courtesy Texas Tech Athletics

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SMU's title chances are on life support

Just weeks ago, it seemed that SMU could put together an even better season than last year and sneak its way into the AAC championship game. In fact, they seemed to be in a perfect spot to do that with just five minutes remaining in the game. Instead, the Mustangs blew a 21-0 lead to fall on the road against Tulsa in a game that could end their season.

Granted, Tulsa has played well and will likely end up in the AP Top 25 tomorrow, but that's no excuse. The Mustangs somehow went scoreless in the second half with a missed field goal, two turnover on downs and an interception that ended the game. Suddenly, the Mustangs have two losses and sit behind both Cincinnati and Tulsa in the AAC standings

After beating Memphis early in the season, it seemed that SMU was finally ready to win the biggest games on its schedule. Instead, it's another year of losing to both first place teams in the AAC and finishing closer to the middle of the pack. There's still two winnable games left on the schedule, but it's hard for this moment to not feel like a failure after how special this season seemed. 

UTSA is dominant when Frank Harris can pass

After a week off and while missing a number of key contributors, Frank Harris put together the best game of his career. He rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns. However, the real difference was through the air. 

Harris completed 22 of his 26 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different receivers and had a number of highlight passes down the field. Zakhari Franklin caught six of those passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. 

The difference when this team passes the ball well is stark. UTSA set a program record with 600 yards and averaged an absurd 7.9 yards per play. If UTSA is gonna take the leap towards C-USA contender – which it can – its chances rest on Harris’ arm. 

Alan Bowman can still sling it

It was a surprising decision when Matt Wells announced that quarterbacks Alan Bowman and Henry Colombi would both take snaps. The situation seemed even more curious when Bowman promptly threw a pick-six on his first throw. 

However, Bowman made the most of his second chance. He stepped in and completed 14 of 22 passes for 181 yards in the second half. More importantly, Bowman led three straight scoring drives to erase a 23-12 deficit and beat Baylor. 

Few quarterbacks have gone through a more frustrating 2020 than Bowman, who went from heir apparent to benched over the course of a handful of games. However, he looked more comfortable leading the offense on Saturday than at any point before. Could he take over starting duties again? 

Baylor needs to get younger

At this point, there’s no way around it: Baylor has a lost season on its hands. There’s one clear difference between the 2017 rebuilding year and what we’ve seen so far in 2020 though. In 2017, Matt Rhule embraced the youth movement. 

Does that mean pulling Charlie Brewer as much of the fan base is clamoring for? Not necessarily, but finding a way to get backups some reps should be a priority. Why did we never see young quarterbacks get reps in an unwinnable game against TCU, for example? 

Brewer very well could come back in 2021 and he has the talent to have a rebound year. Still though, it’s time for Dave Aranda and his staff to at least figure out what they have on the roster. Qualan Jones and Drake Dabney are freshmen who have proven they are winners with these chances. Who could be next? 

TCU might be broken

West Virginia is one of the best defenses in the Big 12, so TCU going on the road and losing isn’t a shock. The way it happened was a head-scratcher, though. 

The protection broke down significantly against West Virginia’s elite defensive line, and Max Duggan suddenly looked like a freshman again. Running back Emari Demarcado was the only receiver with more than 40 receiving yards, and 52 came on one catch. 

TCU isn’t necessarily a tier above West Virginia, but shouldn’t they be closer to that? This is an upperclassman-heavy back seven on defense with a number of NFL-level talents on both sides. The issues with TCU’s performance are becoming less detail-oriented and more existential.

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