Getty Images

Texas scores 34 straight to blow by No. 22 USC

10 Comments

J.T. Daniels staked No. 22 USC to an early lead, but Texas scored 34 straight points to blow past the Trojans for an important 37-14 win in Austin.

It was clear from the first snap Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando‘s game plan was to rattle the true freshman Daniels through a number of blitz looks. The plan didn’t work early, as USC converted six of its first seven third downs, Daniels hit 12 of his first 17 throws and USC raced to a 14-3 first quarter lead.

Suddenly, Texas (2-1) needed a touchdown drive or the game — and perhaps the season — would quickly get away from them, and a touchdown drive is what they got. Sam Ehlinger found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 47-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass, pulling the Longhorns within 14-10 with 13:23 to play in the opening half. Texas cornerback Kris Boyd intercepted Daniels on the next snap from scrimmage, but Collin Johnson dropped a would-be first down catch on 3rd and 8, forcing Cameron Dicker to convert a 46-yard field goal.

Hooking up twice with favorite target Amon-Ra St. Brown, Daniels moved USC (1-2) into a 1st and goal at the Texas 9, but Texas stuffed consecutive runs from the 1 to turn the Trojans away empty handed with 7:14 left in the first half. On the ensuing possession, the Trojans appeared to sack Ehlinger inside his own end zone, but officials ruled him out of the end zone and the call was upheld upon review. The drive was actually given new life twice when USC was flagged for roughing the punter, but Texas punted anyway.

Still, the lack of a safety call worked in Texas’s favor when the ‘Horns forced a three-and-out and Chris Tilbey gave Texas the ball with 2:20 to play before the break at its own 49 after a 13-yard punt. Ehlinger eventually guided Texas to the USC 33, and Dicker nailed a 46-yarder as time expired to give Texas its first lead of the night.

Texas carried its momentum into the second half, ripping off a 21-0 third quarter to put the game away. The Horns accepted the ball to open the half and moved 74 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 27-yard pass from Ehlinger to Joshua Moore. After a Daniel Young fumble at the USC 15 handed the Trojans the ball and a chance to climb back in the game, USC moved to the Texas 32, setting up a 50-yard Chase McGrath field goal try, but the kick was blocked by Caden Sterns and returned by Anthony Wheeler 46 yards for a touchdown.

Ehlinger put the game away at the 1:42 mark of the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Though Daniels started hot, USC’s inability to run the ball eventually did him in. The Trojans were credited with only 16 runs for minus-6 yards, forcing Daniels to throw the ball 48 times. He completed 30 for 322 yards — nine of which went to St. Brown for 167 yards — but the Trojans went dark on the scoreboard over the final three frames. Stephen Carr opened the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game, but finished with six carries for 13 yards. He was USC’s leading rusher.

Ehlinger, meanwhile, completed 15-of-33 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns while rushing 17 times for 35 yards and a score. Tre Watson carried 18 times for 72 yards, and Young rushed 12 times for 57 yards.

The win was Texas’s 900th in program history; win No. 800 came in the 2006 Rose Bowl over USC.

The Trojans, meanwhile, have dropped back-to-back games by double digits for the first time since 2000, the year prior to Pete Carroll‘s arrival.

Miscues from No. 15 TCU allow No. 4 Ohio State to storm back for win to go 3-0 without Urban Meyer

Getty Images
18 Comments

Everybody wondered how No. 4 Ohio State would fare in their biggest non-conference test of the year that also doubled their final game without head coach Urban Meyer. As it turns out, not too shabby.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes used a series of third quarter miscues from a pesky No. 15 TCU squad to flip momentum and help storm away with a 40-28 victory on Saturday night and move to 3-0 on the season.

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins didn’t quite look as good as he did in the team’s first two games but he eventually was able to figure out Gary Patterson’s difficult defense as the night went on. The budding Heisman candidate left AT&T Stadium with 24 completions for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns while tailback J.K. Dobbins, playing in his home state once again, rushed for 121 yards on the ground. Fellow back Mike Weber chipped in with another 64 on the ground, many of which were runs that helped salt away the game by running clock down the stretch.

Far more impressive was the Buckeyes defense. Despite allowing over 500 yards, the group forced three huge turnovers — two for touchdowns — recorded three sacks and seven tackles for loss. Though attention in Columbus will turn to the return of Meyer next week, the status of star defensive end Nick Bosa will also be front and center for the team after he was injured in the third quarter with what was officially labeled a lower abdomen strain.

The final scoreline didn’t properly indicate how close the Horned Frogs kept his one for most of the night. Signal-caller Shawn Robinson threw for 308 yards and a touchdown (two INTs) while really pushing the tempo early in the game to catch the Buckeyes off-balance. Darius Anderson also introduced himself to a national audience, finishing with 154 yards and a pair of touchdown runs, the first of which went 93 yards along the sidelines that doubled as the longest run in school history and the longest given up by the powerhouse on the other sideline.

If there was one regret for Patterson however, it likely came in a four-minute stretch that all but doomed TCU due in part to their own miscues.

It all started by giving up a Parris Campbell screen play for 63 yards, with the OSU receiver weaving his way to the end zone and through a few arm tackles. On the next series, Dremont Jones stepped in front of a shovel pass and looked much more like a fullback than a defensive tackle as he slipped two tackles and wound up in the end zone.

The Horned Frogs thought they could swing momentum back and made the gutsy call to try some trickeration on the ensuing kickoff. After having a player lay flat in the end zone, the return man was supposed to lateral the ball to him but wound up throwing an illegal forward pass on a play that could have gone for a touchdown. The special teams woes continued on the same series as a bad snap on the punt led to the kick getting partially blocked. Ohio State promptly scored on the next snap with a 25 yard touchdown pass and turn a one-time deficit into a 12 point lead that kept growing as the second half continued.

As a result, the Buckeyes will remain in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation as they look to be carrying the banner for their conference after a rough Saturday in the Big Ten. Bosa’s health will be a big concern going forward given his obvious impact but attention will no doubt turn to the return of Meyer next week against Tulane at the Horseshoe.

Still, OSU was certainly pushed at time by a TCU team that used tempo effectively throughout the night and look like they have the kind of playmakers to push Oklahoma in the Big 12. They’ll have to regroup quickly in Fort Worth given the upcoming slate but there’s no shame in losing to the Buckeyes based on what we saw in Arlington.

Daniels stakes USC to early lead, but Texas nudges back in front at the break

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a lively and lengthy first half, Texas holds a 16-14 lead over USC at the break in Austin.

It was clear from the first snap Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando‘s game plan was to rattle USC true freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels through a number of blitz looks. It was clear immediately after that the plan wasn’t going to work.

Daniels completed 12 of his first 17 passes, leading the Trojans on a 9-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game, then, after a punt, an 8-play, 53-yard scoring march, staking visiting USC to a 14-3 lead with 33 seconds left in the first quarter.

Suddenly, Texas needed a touchdown drive or the game would quickly get away from them, and a touchdown drive is what they got. Sam Ehlinger found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 47-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass, pulling the Longhorns within 14-10 with 13:23 to play in the opening half. Texas cornerback Kris Boyd intercepted Daniels on the next snap from scrimmage, but Collin Johnson dropped a would-be first down catch on 3rd and 8, forcing Cameron Dicker to convert a 46-yard field goal.

Hooking up twice with favorite target Amon-Ra St. Brown, Daniels moved USC into a 1st and goal at the Texas 9, but Texas stuffed consecutive runs from the 1 to turn the Trojans away empty handed with 7:14 left in the first half. On the ensuing possession, the Trojans appeared to sack Ehlinger inside his own end zone, but officials ruled him out of the end zone and the call was upheld upon review. The drive was actually given new life twice when USC was flagged for roughing the punter, but Texas punted anyway.

Still, the lack of a safety call worked in Texas’s favor when the ‘Horns forced a three-and-out and Chris Tilbey gave Texas the ball with 2:20 to play before the break at its own 49 after a 13-yard punt. Ehlinger eventually guided Texas to the USC 33, and Dicker nailed a 46-yarder as time expired to give Texas its first lead of the night.

For the half, Daniels completed 16-of-27 passes for 199 yards with an interception, hitting St. Bronw five times for 88 yards. USC managed only 16 yards on 11 credited rushes. USC converted six of its first seven third down tries.

Ehlinger started hot, but closed the half 7-of-17 for 132 yards with a touchdown. Tre Watson leads all runners with seven carries for 30 yards.

Texas will receive to open the second half.

No. 15 TCU giving No. 4 Ohio State everything it can handle going into halftime

Getty Images
2 Comments

Tempo was the operative word at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night in primetime as No. 15 TCU gave No. 4 Ohio State everything it could handle and took a surprising 14-13 lead into halftime of a fun back-and-forth game down in the Metroplex.

The Horned Frogs looked dangerous from the get-go, marching right down the field as part of a 69 yard opening drive that unfolded at lightning speed before the Buckeyes could even get going. However, a holding penalty took away a touchdown on the drive and then the team wound up missing a field goal attempt.

Ohio State converted on their initial field goal attempt but it was star defensive end Nick Bosa who forced the first touchdown of the game, bursting out of his stance to strip quarterback Shawn Robinson — with Davon Hamilton falling on the ball in the end zone for the score. It was a break for the Buckeyes that the play wasn’t looked at closer as replays appeared to show at least one player touched the ball while out-of-bounds, which would have made the play a safety.

Those five points were notable considering the Horned Frogs answered right back with another lightning-quick drive down the field. Robinson, who finished the half with 134 yards, made several impressive downfield throws and set up tailback Sewo Olonilua (30 yards rushing), who sliced his way through to the end zone for a score. TCU was not done however, responding later in second quarter with an incredible 93 yard Darius Anderson run that featured the speedster  breaking a tackle and bursting down the sidelines to set off a raucous celebration among the purple-clad fans in Arlington.

Anderson’s sprint to the end zone was the longest run from scrimmage in Horned Frogs history — and doubled as the longest play the Buckeyes had ever given up. Considering the history of both programs, that’s makes the run even more incredible.

Remember, this is the first time Ohio State has really been tested by a good team after two early blowouts of bad teams to begin the season. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in the first two weeks but still finished with 148 yards passing. He was hurt a bit by drops from his receivers while running backs Mike Weber (32 yards) and J.K. Dobbins (65 yards for the Texas native) kept the chains moving for the most part.

Garry Patterson almost always gives ranked teams a game and that looks like the case once again. Both sides sport quality defenses but the skill position talent for both teams on offense has really been the story so far in this one. The second half awaits as both teams find themselves locked into a good one with serious College Football Playoff implications.

Alan Bowman throws for Big 12 frosh record 605 yards in Texas Tech’s defense-optional win over Houston

Getty Images
3 Comments

Defensive purists, avert your eyes.

In what was expected to be an offensive shootout, Texas Tech and Houston exceeded most of those expectations as the Red Raiders claimed a 63-49 win in a decidedly defense-optional affair.  The two teams combined for 1,339 yards of offense (TT 717, UH 24) and 64 first downs (TT 36, UH 24), yet still combined to punt the ball away 13 times (TT 7, UH 6).

Alan Bowman was easily the star of the offensive show staged by both squads in Lubbock.  Making his second career start, Bowman threw for 605 yards and five touchdowns on his 59 pass attempts (72.9 completion percentage).  The yardage broke the school’s freshman record previously set by current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes.

Bowman was at least within shouting distance of the all-time single-game FBS record of 734 first set by Washington State’s Connor Halliday in 2014 and then matched by Mahomes two years later.  He also fell just short of breaking the freshman record of 611 yards set by Nevada’s David Neill in 1998, but did break the Big 12 record for a first-year player.

On the receiving end of a sizable chunk of Bowman’s yardage was Antoine Wesley, who caught 13 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.  Wesley’s yardage total set a school record as well.

In a losing effort, D’Eriq King set career-highs for both passing yards (431) and passing touchdowns (five).  King also added a touchdown on the ground for good measure.