Big plays on both sides highlighted a fun first half in the Texas Bowl between old Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Texas A&M as the Wildcats took a 23-14 lead into halftime.
Keith Ford punched it into the end zone from seven yards out to kick off scoring for the Aggies after a 75-yard scoring drive to open the game. While things may have looked easy for Kevin Sumlin’s crew after that kind of impressive start, things would be anything but following that drive as quarterback Trevor Knight was under pressure most of the night. A pair of remarkable catches by Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones midway through the second quarter would give A&M another score and a brief lead but that was otherwise it for a sputtering offense.
Kansas State would not back down when trailing however, thanks mostly to the improved passing of signal-caller Jesse Ertz. He tossed a perfect strike into the arms of Byron Pringle in the closing seconds of the first quarter for a 79 yard touchdown and scored using his legs to cap off a 55 yard drive not long after. Dominique Heath also got into the scoring action by taking a jet sweep 52 yards around the edge to the end zone to extend KSU’s margin on the scoreboard.
Everybody wondered which team would come into this game motivated to win it and it’s pretty clear that Bill Snyder’s squad checks off that box after one half of play. The Aggies are plenty capable of mounting a huge comeback given some of the weapons they have on offense and may have regained a little momentum heading into the locker room after a nice fourth down stand at the end of the half.
Leftovers are always one of the best parts of Thanksgiving and, after Thursday’s performance, you can probably count Texas A&M as a team that may have had too much of them before hitting the field.
The Aggies looked like they were in the middle of a holiday food coma most of the game as the team struggled to stop LSU in a lopsided 54-39 loss to further the team’s November slide.
Tigers tailback Derrius Guice continued to look like one of the best players in the country even if he was just a fill-in for injured starter Leonard Fournette. The sophomore broke Fournette’s school single game record (set just last month) by rushing for 285 yards and four touchdowns on the night.
Not to be completely out done, quarterback Danny Etling turned in perhaps the best performance of his career — certainly the best in an LSU uniform — by throwing for 324 yards and two touchdowns. The LSU backfield remarkably topped 300 yards through the air and 200 on the ground for the first time in school history.
Etling’s opposite number Trevor Knight didn’t have quite those numbers in his first start in nearly three weeks after injuring his shoulder against Mississippi State. The signal-caller finished just 14-of-30 for 211 yards but did throw for three touchdowns as A&M mounted a late comeback in the second half. The senior unfortunately didn’t finish the game as he had to be helped off to the sidelines in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.
Keith Ford chipped in 100 yards rushing for the Aggies while true freshman Trayveon Williams added another 63 and a touchdown.
The win was a big one for LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron to close out the regular season 5-2 under his watch. Whether that is enough to get the Louisiana native the permanent job remains in the air but most of the game was overshadowed by multiple reports regarding the school closing in on hiring Houston head coach Tom Herman.
The program ended up releasing two different in-game statements denying reports that they have concluded their coaching search but it will undoubtedly to be the talk around Baton Rouge as to what direction the Tigers’ brass takes over the next few days.
At the same time, speculation will only increase that Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin could be on the hot seat himself after yet another late season slide. The Aggies were No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff standings but will enter December wondering what the future holds after dropping four of their last six to finish 8-4.
Josh Rosen irked many Texas A&M fans earlier this week when he remarked that crowd noise sounds pretty much the same after 50,000 fans.
The 102,000-strong Kyle Field crowd gave Rosen an earful on Saturday before the Aggies’ defense ear-holed the star quarterback a few times during a back-and-forth 31-24 win over UCLA in overtime.
The Bruins signal-caller finished the game 26-of-46 for 343 yards and a score while rallying from 15 down in the 4th quarter to force overtime. As remarkable as he was during the closing minutes of regulation however, Rosen also tossed three interceptions (one off a tipped ball), was sacked five times and barely had time to catch his breath in the pocket after being under siege by the ‘Wrecking Crew’ front seven all game long.
Still, the quarterback hushed the crowd temporarily with just over a minute left thanks to an improbable 62-yard strike to Kenny Walker between two defenders (after dropping the snap initially). That score tied the game and caused a minor heart attack across the SEC. Rosen was unable to complete the comeback however, with a pair of incompletions in overtime sending the team back to Los Angeles with an 0-1 start to the season.
It may have been a miserable day for Oklahoma following their loss to Houston earlier in the day but two former Sooners helped A&M to victory in another part of the Lone Star State. Making his first start for the Aggies since transferring during the offseason, Trevor Knight scored the winning touchdown in overtime on a 4th down zone read from the one yard line to secure the win in a gutsy manner. He finished with mediocre passing numbers but came up clutch when the team needed it most with three scores, throwing for 239 yards and running for 31 more.
Fellow Oklahoma transfer Keith Ford also punched it into the end zone and had 65 yards rushing while true freshman Trayveon Williams chipped in 94 on the ground as well.
The narrow win for Texas A&M adverted a potential apocalyptic opening week for the SEC West, with Arkansas sneaking past Louisiana Tech by just a point, LSU falling to Wisconsin and South Alabama topping Mississippi State. The Aggies figure to move into the top 25 when polls are released after Labor Day and could be an early favorite to challenge No. 1 Alabama in the West given the other results around the division.
As for the Bruins, the loss won’t do anything to help the reputation of the Pac-12 as a conference with numerous good teams but no elite one. UCLA’s furious comeback was inspiring but ultimately still was one that fell short. Things don’t get any easier this month for the Pac-12 South favorites either, as they take on UNLV, BYU and Stanford to close out September.
On a weekend full of incredible college football games, one of the most interesting intersectional matchups involved Pac-12 South favorite UCLA heading into the heart of SEC territory to take on Texas A&M.
In what was a fairly even first half by both teams, the Aggies took a narrow 10-9 lead heading into the locker room but will be looking to make some adjustments after a slow start offensively. The Bruins have their own issues to address after coming away with just two field goals on two trips inside the A&M 10 yard line.
Quarterback Trevor Knight did advance the ball with both his arm and his legs during his first start for A&M after transferring over from Oklahoma. He ended the first half 14-of-21 for an even 100 yards while scrambling for another 13 on the ground. His favorite target in the passing game was not surprisingly Christian Kirk, who posted seven catches for 45 yards.
Keith Ford scored the first half’s only touchdown but it was teammate Trayveon Williams who led the Aggies in rushing with 61 yards on five carries.
A few days after riling up the 12th Man with comments about the potential crowd noise at Kyle Field, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was 11-of-19 passing for 131 yards. He also tossed an inexplicable interception early in the game when he attempted to throw the ball away while being dragged down, but the ball ended up being lofted into the hands of Daeshon Hall. Rosen did make some NFL-caliber throws against an active A&M defense but not enough to give the Bruins the lead at halftime.
Tailback Soso Jamabo also chipped in with 53 yards rushing for UCLA.
In a position battle NFL scouts no doubt had a close eye on, Bruins left tackle Connor McDermott did a solid job on potential No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett but the rest of the line was up and down against a fast John Chavis defense.