Week 6 was the most entertaining weekend of college football in and out of the state of Texas of the season. Texas lost a thriller in the Red River Showdown to rival Oklahoma thanks to poor play by its offensive and defensive line. Texas A&M and TCU snapped two-game losing streaks with a win over a conference opponent. SMU and UTSA remained undefeated, and UTEP inched one step closer to bowl eligibility.
Jimbo Fisher coached his tail off: Fisher became the first former assistant of Nick Saban to beat his old boss at Alabama. Texas A&M played a near perfect game without its starting quarterback, a couple of offensive linemen and a few players from its defense. Texas A&M was spectacular in the win and showed grit to overcome an Alabama comeback attempt.
The Aggies jumped out to a 24-10 lead at halftime thanks to a consistent game from quarterback Zach Calzada, who finished with 285 yards passing and three touchdowns. The defense allowed a lot of yards, but it also forced field goals and a pair of turnovers.
Texas A&M had no business winning a game against a team as talented as Alabama, especially considering that the Aggies lost to Arkansas and Mississippi State in the previous two weeks. A locker room lacking confidence in its coach gets blown out by the Crimson Tide. Instead, Fisher had his team ready and willing to fight for 60 minutes against arguably the most talented team in college football.
Baylor is a Big 12 contender: Maybe Oklahoma State is just good. The Bears dropped out of the rankings following a road loss to an undefeated Oklahoma State program but bounced back in a major way during the 45-20 beatdown of West Virginia. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns, and he also added a touchdown run. The rushing attack led by Abram Smith and a talented offensive line also put in a rebound performance, averaging 5.3 yards a carry in the win. The defense was also stingy, forcing a turnover early and holding West Virginia to 2.4 yards per rush.
The Bears should be considered a contender to reach the Big 12 championship game at 5-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Baylor controls its own destiny since it holds a win over Iowa State and still faces programs such as Oklahoma and Texas in the regular season. A future conference game against BYU breaks up the Big 12 monotony this weekend.
The Longhorns lack quality beef: Texas was up 28-7 over Oklahoma when the first quarter ended in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners would go on to outscore Texas 48-20 over the next three quarters. The culprits for the collapse were the offensive and defensive lines. Texas quarterback Casey Thompson threw for four touchdowns in the first half, but never received enough time to pick on the Oklahoma secondary as the game went along. The failure of the offensive line also limited the impact of Bijan Robinson in the second half.
Maybe an even bigger story was the defensive line and linebackers for the Longhorns. The whole group was whipped minus a stellar performance by DeMarvion Overshown. Oklahoma press clippings will concentrate on the change at quarterback when really it was the rushing attack that broke Texas’ will down the stretch. The Sooners averaged 8.3 yards a rush for 339 rushing yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner with three seconds remaining in the game.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff must fix the trenches before Texas can be considered a contender for a conference title. That gulf between a good offensive and defensive line and what is currently at his disposal will only widen if the Longhorns enter the SEC without a drastic influx of talent. I expect Texas to hit the transfer market hard in the spring and summer with the lines of scrimmage being the top priority.
UTSA passed another test: The Roadrunners won their third challenging road game of the year when UTSA outlasted a potent Western Kentucky offense to win 52-46 on Saturday night. And while a running game led by Sincere McCormick was productive for four quarters, it was quarterback Frank Harris who led his squad to victory. Harris played the best game of his career, completing 28 of his 38 attempts for 349 yards and a school-record six touchdown passes to just one interception. His progression is a huge reason why UTSA is a favorite to win Conference USA. The Roadrunners are now 6-0 for the first time in school history with a home game against Rice next on the schedule. UTSA has now beaten Illinois, Memphis, and Western Kentucky on the road. An undefeated regular season isn’t out of the question.
Will Texas State’s win be a catalyst or an aberration?
The Bobcats hosted South Alabama on Saturday night in what equated to a must-win for head coach Jake Spavital and his program. Texas State was reeling heading into its open week and needed to come out of that break with a renewed since of purpose and confidence. A refreshed roster was up for the challenge in the 33-31 win in overtime. Now 2-3 on the season with both wins coming in overtime, Texas State must prove that it can sustain success to climb towards the six-win mark. The Bobcats lost two consecutive games after the Week 2 win over FIU.
Texas Tech fails to reach a bowl game
It turns out that the Red Raiders aren’t much different than years past and that means Matt Wells’ program will struggle to reach the six wins needed to make a bowl. The Red Raiders sit at 4-2 after a 21-point home loss to a TCU team that entered the game on a two-game losing streak. The Red Raiders allowed 394 yards rushing and 52 points in a game that resembled the 35-point loss to Texas earlier in the season. Texas Tech should move to 5-2 next week with a win over Kansas, but the schedule tightens after that. Wells’ team finishes the year with Kansas State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
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