10 thoughts from Week 11 of the college football season

Photo by Texas A&M Athletics

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An incredible turnaround: TCU parted ways with long-time head coach Gary Patterson during the 2021 season. Dykes wasn’t a sexy choice. His only stint at a Power Five program ended in disaster at Cal. He was passed up in favor of Steve Sarkisian for the Texas job when Tom Herman was fired. His SMU teams faded late in the season. No one predicted a Big 12 championship run for the Horned Frogs, much less a flirtation with the College Football Playoffs. 

Yet, TCU is two games away from running the table in the regular season and three wins away from clinching a spot in one of the two national semifinals. Dykes is the first coach in Big 12 history to start his career with 10 wins. None of it was pretty on Saturday against the Longhorns. The offensive line struggled. Duggan was pressured throughout the night. Even the quick passing game went nowhere for much of the contest. But it was the Horned Frogs that came up with winning plays in crunch time. 

Second-half Sark: Texas is now 11-11 under Steve Sarkisian. The Longhorns were outscored 14-10 in the second half of the loss to TCU, which means Texas is now -83 in the second half during the 11 losses of his tenure. This team was 7-3 in the final year under Tom Herman. In Herman’s second year, Texas won 10 games, including a win in the Sugar Bowl over Georgia. And we can all admit that Herman inherited a much worse roster than Sarkisian. Texas is regressing with the SEC on the doorstep. To lose this game as a seven-point favorite with multiple five-star talents in attendance must be disappointing. 

Aggies drop sixth straight: Jimbo Fisher was hired to put Texas A&M in the national discourse, but not as a punch line. That’s what the Aggies are following their sixth-straight loss of the 2022 season. The Aggies are now 3-7 and out of bowl contention. They are the last-place team in the SEC West during Fisher’s fifth year in charge. Brian Kelly just led LSU to the SEC West crown in his first year in charge. To make it worse, the loss on Saturday night was to an Auburn team that fired its coach in the middle of the season. The offense needs an overhaul. The defense looks lost. The fan base is starting to call for heads to roll. Texas A&M started the last two seasons ranked sixth in the preseason polls. Those expectations aren’t being met in College Station.

Baylor falls back to earth: A three-game winning streak put the Bears back into Big 12 contention with three games remaining. But those hopes were dashed Saturday night in a blowout loss to Kansas State at home. The Wildcats dominated every phase of the game in the 31-3 win. Blake Shapen was 22 of 38 for 203 yards and two interceptions in defeat. The big deficit forced Baylor to abandon the run for most of the second half – only registering 23 attempts in the game. Baylor is now 6-4 on the year. The good news for the Bears is that they can play spoiler against TCU in Week 12. 

Bowl hopes alive in Lubbock: Texas Tech needed a win after losing four of its last five. A 43-28 victory over Kansas is just what the doctor ordered. The win brings the Red Raiders’ record to 5-5 with games against Iowa State and Oklahoma remaining. One more victory puts the group in a bowl game in the first year under Joey McGuire. Texas Tech ran the ball 48 times for 264 yards and four scores. That took pressure off the quarterback and the offensive line. The defense forced two turnovers and registered three sacks.

Hello, Camar Wheaton: Balance is the best friend of any offense. SMU did most of its damage through the air early in the year as the running back room struggled for consistency. Much was expected of five-star Alabama transfer Camar Wheaton, but injury and rust kept him from breaking out until this week’s 41-23 win over South Florida. The Garland native ran the ball 14 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. His backfield partner, Tyer Lavine, added 112 yards and a score on 17 carries. SMU ran the ball 41 times for 273 yards and only threw it 27 times. 

Houston avoids disaster: Nothing comes easy for the Houston Cougars in 2022. That continued to be true in Week 11 when Dana Holgorsen’s squad escaped an upset loss to Temple thanks to a 44-yard touchdown pass from Clayton Tune to true freshman Matthew Golden with 40 seconds left in the game. Houston (6-4) entered the year with high hopes, but injuries and defensive issues plague the Cougars. The defense allowed 33 first downs and 533 total yards, including 486 through the air, to a Temple team that only has three wins on the year. 

Missed opportunity for North Texas: The Mean Green would’ve clinched a spot in the C-USA championship game with a win and a Rice loss. The Owls did their part in a blowout loss to Western Kentucky. And North Texas looked to be on its way to a rematch with UTSA after two quarter. UAB had other plans, however, as the Blazers outscored North Texas 24-0 in the second half. Austin Aune completed under 50 percent of his passes. UAB ran for 271 yards, while North Texas only averaged 3.6 yards a rush. The Mean Green are idle in Week 12 ahead of a date with Rice to end the year. A win over the Owls puts North Texas in the title game. 

Turnovers doom Rice…again: The Owls dropped to 5-5 on the season and blew their first of three shots to reach the six-win threshold required to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2014. Turnovers continued to plague Rice’s offense. The unit turned the ball over six times, including four interceptions. 

Starting quarterback TJ McMahon threw two picks. His replacement, freshman Shawqi Itraish, also threw two. Add two fumbles and it was another day of self-committed errors. McMahon has thrown 14 interceptions on 266 attempts in 2022. As a team, Rice has only thrown one more touchdown (18 than interceptions (17). 

UTSA rolls: The Roadrunners clinched a spot in the C-USA championship game for the second year in row thanks to a 51-7 win over Louisiana Tech. UTSA was in control the entire game, taking a quick 21-0 lead with 3:48 left in the first quarter. The best news for UTSA is the continued emergence of the running game. The Roadrunners are relying less and less on superstar quarterback Frank Harris because Kevorian Barnes, a freshman from San Augustine, is becoming a true No. 1 back. He ran the ball 11 times for 103 yards and two scores in the win. UTSA averaged 6.3 yards a carry on 41 runs and registered five touchdowns on the ground. 

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