Tyrone Swoopes

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Kansas State holds off Texas, 24-21

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It wasn’t pretty, but Kansas State (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) will take it. The Wildcats took control of the time of possession in the first half and held off a bit of a second-half push by Texas (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) to pick up a 24-21 victory Saturday afternoon.

Kansas State certainly gave Texas opportunities. The Wildcats had three turnovers, but Texas followed those Kansas State turnovers with two turnover-on-downs and one missed field goal. Jesse Ertz was efficient in the passing game for Kansas State, completing 20 of 27 pass attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown (one interception). Ertz also accounted for two rushing touchdowns and 78 rushing yards.

Despite missing on a number of opportunities, Texas did still manage to push Kansas State to the end of the game with a pair of second-half touchdowns. Shane Buechele‘s six-yard touchdown pass to Dorian Leonard in the back of the end zone was upheld by a video replay and cut the Kansas State lead to three after an extra-point conversion. Buechele completed 17-pf-24 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. D'Onta Foreman led all players with 124 rushing yards, and Tyrone Swoopes added a rushing touchdown. Charles Jones was Kansas State’s leading rusher with 81 yards on 12 attempts.

Texas will return to Austin next week to host Baylor. Entering this weekend, Baylor as undefeated and looking to make a push in the Big 12. Texas stunned a depleted Baylor last year, so Baylor will be looking for revenge. Once again, Texas head coach Charlie Strong looks to be in need of a big win to save his job.

Kansas State hits the road next week for an early kickoff at Iowa State. The cyclones entered this week with a record of 1-6, with a record of 0-4 in Big 12 play.

Oklahoma State blocks three Texas PATs in defense-optional first half

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The early slate of games has been highlighted by blocked extra-point attempts. Three of them have come in Stillwater, Oklahoma with Oklahoma State doing the job against Texas. One of those blocked attempts was returned by Oklahoma State for two points. Oklahoma State holds the halftime edge with a 37-25 lead following a back-and-forth second quarter that saw four lead changes in the second quarter. Yep. That’s the halftime score.

Oklahoma State jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the Longhorns, with Justice Hill running for a 30-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game and Mason Rudolph connecting for a 54-yard touchdown pass to James Washington. Texas would settle down though and come back in the first quarter with two straight possessions with touchdowns. Tyrone Swoopes capped a six-play, 84-yard drive with a short touchdown run. One play earlier, Shane Buechele completed a 49-yard pass to Dorian Leonard.

It looked as though Texas was about to tie things up on their next possession (after an Oklahoma State three-and-out) when D'Onta Foreman ran 22 yards for a score, but special teams would help Oklahoma State keep the lead. Tre Flowers wound up returning a blocked PAT attempt to the house off a lateral for two additional points for the Cowboys.

The Longhorns did take a lead in the second quarter with a Swoopes touchdown run inside the red zone, and the lead exchanged hands twice more before the end of the first half. Rudolph capped an 80-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to regain the lead, 23-19, but Buchele launched a 42-yard pass to Beck for a 42-yard score on the ensuing possession. Four plays later on the ensuing possession, Oklahoma State was back on top with a Rudolph touchdown pass to Jalen McCleskey from 36 yards.

We could have a wild one in Stillwater in the second half.

Texas QBs each play big role in knocking off No. 10 Notre Dame in double overime

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Just when you think you have seen it all in college football, Texas and Notre Dame served up an extra batch of crazy for you on this wildly entertaining opening weekend for college football. Down by four, Texas running back D'Onta Foreman rumbled for a 19-yard touchdown to cause the stadium to erupt. The excitement of taking a lead on No. 10 Notre Dame quickly turned to shock as the Irish blocked the extra point attempt and returned the loose ball the length of the field for a game-tying two-point conversion. That would set the pace for an overtime thriller in Austin, which would be won by the underdog Texas Longhorns in double overtime, 50-47. Tyrone Swoopes scored the game-winning touchdown with his second touchdown run of the overtime, and Shane Buechele took care of business through the air for the Longhorns in the win.

Notre Dame and Texas each struck quickly with their first overtime possessions, scoring touchdowns. Tyrone Swoopes took care of the Texas touchdown when he came in for some power running duties. It took Notre Dame just one play for DeShone Kizer to connect with C.J. Sanders to match the Longhorns. Some nifty moves by Sanders helped pick up the score, but it was that kind of productive and efficient night for Kizer, who passed for five touchdowns and rushed for another. Kizer passed for 215 yards and rushed for a team-high 77 yards. Kizer and the Irish were unable to keep the touchdowns coming in the second overtime and had to settle for a go-ahead field goal with the first possession. That gave Texas one more chance to grab the lead, this time for good.

Despite an impressive night from quarterback Buechele, it was Swoopes who would once again prove to be the hero when he took a run up the middle of Notre Dame’s defense and stretched for the six-yard score for the win. It was Swoopes’ second touchdown run of the overtime and third of the game. Swoopes as a running option should be fun to watch for Texas this season. So too will watching Buechele develop passing the ball. Both played well in their different roles, and it worked to perfection for Texas.

A few things we learned from this game…

DeShone Kizer should be Notre Dame’s quarterback. While Brian Kelly was giving each quarterback (including Malik Zaire) a series on an alternating basis, he eventually came to grips with the fact Kizer should be leading his offense. Kizer finsihed his night with 215 passing yards to Zaire’s 23 passing yards. If the decision should be based solely on one game, Kizer was the runaway winner for the Irish, and a big reason why Notre Dame dug out of a 17-point deficit in the second half. The only question remains whether or not Kelly will give each a shot to play again next week using a similar structure or if he was just going off of the feel of the game. Things were better for Notre Dame with Kizer at the helm, and Notre Dame’s chances to do anything special this season should fall on his shoulders moving forward.

Speaking of quarterback competitions…

Leading up to the start of the season there was some suspicion Buechele was trailing Swoopes in the quarterback competition. Did he just find a way to hit fifth gear once the lights were shining, or was that merely some gamesmanship from Texas? Whatever it was, Buechele has set the bar high, and it finally looks as though Charlie Strong found his quarterback in Austin. Or maybe Strong can have the best of both worlds with a guy who can sling it when needed and another who can bring a power ground attack under center. That can be pretty dangerous as well.

And that’s not all for Texas. Despite giving up 37 points on the night, there was a renewed energy from Texas that had long been missing and very seldom seen since Strong’s hiring. Texas is going to be a problem in the Big 12. They have improved, but they need to show this was not a one game deal. It took a little longer than many Texas fans had expected, but the Longhorns may have finally turned a corner as Strong’s plan comes together.

Texas will look to go 2-0 next week with another home game. The Longhorns will host UTEP from Conference USA. The Miners picked up a season-opening victory at home against New Mexico State. UTEP quarterback Zack Greenlee tossed three touchdowns in the38-22 win.

Notre Dame gets to open their home schedule next week in South Bend as they look to bounce back from a tough, hard-fought road loss. The Irish will play host to Nevada (1-0) from the Mountain West Conference. The Wolfpack are coming off a nail-biter of a win against FCS Cal Poly (30-27). Judging by the first weekend, Notre Dame should be in a pretty comfortable spot next week in Notre Dame Stadium (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Texas leads Notre Dame, 21-14, at halftime as QB picture comes into focus for each

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Both Notre Dame and Texas kicked off the 2016 season still uncertain who would, or should, be their team’s starting quarterback this fall. Consider this season opening game a live audition of sorts. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly started by alternating his two quarterbacks, DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire, each series the Irish had the ball. Texas head coach Charlie Strong was a bit more reserved, starting the game with Shane Buechele for one full quarter before getting Tyrone Swoopes onto the field following a timeout. As the first half drew to a close, if that is enough of a sample size to base any important decisions, it appeared Kizer and Buechele were establishing themselves as the top options for their respective teams after leading, or finishing, two touchdown drives each. Buechele and Texas have the edge on the visiting Irish, 21-14 at the half.And what a half it was.

And what a half it was.

Notre Dame was first on the scoreboard when Kizer completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Equanimeous St. Brown to cap the opening drive of the game. The two had tried hooking up on the first offensive play of the game, but Kizer’s pass attempt fell incomplete. Fortunately for the Irish, running back Tarean Folston broke free for a 54-yard gain after breaking a tackle through the line of scrimmage. With a few blockers opening up a huge piece of open field on the right side of the line, Folston put the Irish inside the red zone for the first time this season. A few plays later, on 1st and 10 from the Texas 13-yard line, Kizer tried finding St. Brown once again in the end zone for the early touchdown. St. Brown later caught a fantastic pass from Kizer and did a somersault into the end zone after planting his hand on the ground to keep his movement going toward the end zone.

Buechele led Texas for a touchdown on Texas’ first possession, and he later finished off a second touchdown drive midway through the second quarter. He looked sharp as well with a good deep ball and perfect placement, and he received some good help from his receivers as well. Buechele dropped a perfect pass on the edge of the end zone sideline that was able to be hauled in by Armanti Foreman to tie the score at 7-7.

Texas later put together an impressive 16-play, 88-yard touchdown drive, which saw Swoopes make his season debut before Buechele finish things off with a short touchdown run from the one-yard line. After the Irish tied the score at 14-14 in the second quarter, it was Buechele again showing off his arm and dropping a ball in the hands of 68 yards to Jerrod Heard, who was taken down at the one-yard line. With a first and goal from the one-yard line, it took Texas three tries to push across the goal line against the Irish defensive line. It was Swoopes who took the snap and dashed to the right edge of the line with Notre Dame stacking the middle.

It was an eventful first half between the Longhorns and the Irish. In the second half it will be fascinating to see how the dynamic of the offensive decision-making goes at the quarterback situation. Texas has gotten some really good stuff through the air from Buechele, although Swoopes has produced on the ground. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is still getting most fo their offensive production with Kizer on the field.

Texas holds on for momentum-building upset of QB-depleted No. 12 Baylor

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Odds are we may not see too many seasons in which Texas beats two top 15 teams away from home in the same season and does not go to a bowl game. Folks, you may have just witnessed history.

Texas (5-7, 4-5) ended a losing season without a bowl game with a rather important victory in Waco by upsetting No. 12 Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) with a 23-17 victory that nearly got away from them in the second half. Texas built a 20-0 lead at halftime but Baylor managed to make a run at the Longhorns despite having their third-string quarterback knocked out of the game and having to run the offense with a wide receiver.

Baylor lost third-string quarterback Chris Johnson during the game, with Johnson having to leave the game due to concussion symptoms. That left Baylor without a passing option, which is a rare occurrence for Art Briles. Junior wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne took over in the emergency situation, and Baylor nearly escaped with the win. Hawthorne completed 10 of 22 pass attempts for 64 yards and was picked off twice.

Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown and he added 52 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground to help Texas score the upset. Star Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman, who was recognized on the field before the game along with Baylor’s seniors, caught seven passes for 49 yards.

Texas now enters the pool of 5-7 teams that will hope to get an invite to the postseason fun. That invitation is not likely at all to reach Austin though with a number of teams already sitting in front in the waiting line based on APR scores. So the focus for Charlie Strong will now shift to 2016, and it should be a critical one for Strong. He will do so with a bit of a signature win, or at least one to build momentum moving forward.

Over the more recent years Texas has seen everyone catch up or pass them among power conference threats, including Baylor. To be able to end a season with a win against Baylor, even if it was largely because Baylor was playing with a wide receiver under center, should be used as fuel for the offseason for Strong and the Longhorns. Texas is the program that must catch the competition right now, but at least they can sell the idea they can compete on the same field and start to try winning back momentum in the state. Maybe this was a fluke, but Texas should not treat it as such.

With the loss, Baylor’s chances of playing int he New Years Six lineup have been shredded. With Baylor out, and Oklahoma very likely to be selected to play in the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 will be expected to be represented in the Sugar Bowl by Oklahoma State. Baylor’s bowl destination will fall outside the New Years Six with the Alamo Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl possibilities.