Takeaways and outlook from last weekend In college football:
– Texas goes from huge underdog to heavy favorite in a week, hosting a dangerous Group of Five team at UTSA. For Texas, Frisco Lone Star graduate linebacker Jaylan Ford led a strong defensive effort in a 20-19 loss to Alabama with 10 tackles including a sack.
–After the humiliating loss to Appalachia State, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher promised “to evaluate everything.” Expect a few changes this week ahead of Saturday’s game with No. 13 Miami (Fla.)
— On Saturday, Oklahoma will face an old rival that has fallen on hard times. Nebraska fired coach Scott Frost (1-2) on Sunday after a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern. Mickey Joseph will be the interim coach. Weeks into the college football season, undefeated FBS teams are already an endangered species in Texas.
It was not a good weekend for Texas teams trying to maintain perfect seasons.
Texas A&M and Baylor were each ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 last week and each lost.
Long after most in the Central Time Zone called it a night, Baylor fell in two overtimes to No. 21 BYU when Blake Shapen’s fourth pass went incompletely through the end zone.
As for Texas A&M, don’t ask, at least from someone wearing brown and a shocked look. Yes, the 17-14 loss to Appalachian State left a mark that won’t fade anytime soon, especially with the way the Mountaineers controlled the line of scrimmage. And next at Kyle Field is the resurgent No. 13 from Miami (Florida).
The only remaining undefeated teams, all 2-0, are Texas Tech, TCU and SMU. While that’s not entirely unexpected given TCU and SMU’s early schedule, it’s still an interesting distinction.
There are some interesting parallels. Each has freshman coaches who have embraced offense and built something different. Both Big 12 schools have already been forced to switch quarterbacks due to injury. All three will struggle to avoid a loss in the next week or two.
At Texas Tech, coach Joey McGuire was still relishing the 33-30 win over No. 25 Houston before moving on to a meeting with the No. 16 North Carolina State on Sept. 17. It was Tech’s first victory against a non-conference ranked opponent in the regular season since Arizona in 1989.
While new starting quarterback Donovan Smith struggled with three interceptions and five sacks, he also picked up the win on a 9-yard run. The defense held Houston to a total offense of 354 yards and just 20 points in regulation.
In explaining his team’s composure, McGuire revealed a team motto.
“I mean that’s how we win football games. Our team’s No. 1 rule is don’t fight and that’s huge,” McGuire said. “If we stay on that side where we win the penalty battle and win the ‘don’t fight’, we’re going to win a lot of those football games.”
At TCU, coach Sonny Dykes used much of the plan that worked well at SMU.
The offense clicked in a 59-17 win over Tarleton State. Replacing the injured Chandler Morris, Max Duggan threw five touchdown passes. The win was expected as was the opener against Colorado, one of the nation’s worst power conference teams.
Still, Dykes made no apologies, facing a week off and then the battle of the iron pan with SMU. He’s seen enough sheet music from across the country.
“It’s good to win. They are hard to find. I think you look around college football and see some of the upheaval that’s happened, the margin of victory is pretty small sometimes,” Dykes said.
SMU coach Rhett Lashlee insisted that “pre-season is over” after a 45-16 win over Lamar and with good reason.
The Mustangs now travel to face undefeated Maryland and then TCU.
“We’re going to try to go out there and show what we can do,” running back TJ McDaniel said, “because we tried to prove that we can be a Power Five team while playing some of the teams that we have.. Maryland is just another opportunity for us.
Writer Joseph Hoyt contributed to this report.
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