FBS Recap: Texas wins thriller; UTEP improves to 3-1; SMU, Baylor and Aggies win

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No. 8/9 Texas rallies to best Texas Tech, 63-56, in overtime

Story courtesy: University of Texas Athletics

The No. 8/9 Texas Football team rallied from a 15-point deficit with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to knock off Texas Tech, 63-56, in overtime on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium. Texas’ 63 points marked its highest offensive output since 2012 when the Longhorns scored 66 points in a road win over Ole Miss. Saturday’s game, which saw 119 combined points, was the highest-scoring matchup in series history.

The Longhorns return home to face TCU (0-1; 0-1 Big 12) on Saturday, Oct. 3, at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Kickoff will be at either 11 a.m. (FOX) or 6:30 p.m. CT (ABC), with an official announcement expected on Sunday.


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Miners Cruise Past ULM, 31-6

Story courtesy: UTEP Athletics

UTEP played a near flawless first half in rolling to a 24-0 lead, then continued to keep ULM at bay in moving to 3-1 on the season with a 31-6 victory on Saturday at Malone Stadium.

The Miners, off to their best start in 10 years, had a 300-yard passer (Gavin Hardison-302 yards), 100-yard rusher (Deion Hankins-118), and two 100-yard receivers (Justin Garrett-120 and Jacob Cowing-102) for the first time since 2009 at SMU.

Through the first 30 minutes, the Miners (3-1) racked up 330 yards while holding the Warhawks (0-3) to 74 yards and just two first downs. Hankins, the El Paso sensation, rushed for three touchdowns in the first half, tying the UTEP freshman single-game record. He plowed into the end zone on short scoring bursts of two, one and eight yards, as UTEP surged to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Miners tacked on a 42-yard field goal by Gavin Baechle with 21 seconds remaining in the second period.

ULM wasn’t able to get anything going against a stout Miner defense, save for a four-play, 55-yard touchdown drive that followed a UTEP turnover late in the third quarter. The Warhawks finished with 193 yards and six first downs.

Ronald Awatt joined the scoring parade with his second rushing touchdown in as many games, a 23-yard burst with 2:32 remaining to push the lead to 31-6.

UTEP dominated the game statistically, with 512 yards and a commanding edge in time of possession (39:36 to 20:24). The Miners also held ULM to zero third-down conversions on 11 attempts.

The Miners head into their bye week and will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 10, when they open Conference USA play at LA Tech.  Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. MT and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.

UTEP’s next home game is on Oct. 17 versus Southern Miss at 7 p.m. MT.  To purchase tickets, visit www.utepminers.com/tickets, call 747-UTEP or email tickets@utep.edu. 


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Mustangs Defeat SFA, 50-7

Story courtesy: SMU Athletics

Shane Buechele threw two touchdown passes, Ulysses Bentley IV ran for two more scores and SMU beat Stephen F. Austin 50-7 on Saturday night.

Buechele was 14-of-25 passing for 141 yards with short scoring throws to Danny Gray and Kylen Granson. Gray also had a 6-yard touchdown run.

Bentley, who entered with a nation-leading five touchdowns, finished with 104 yards rushing on just six carries. TJ McDaniel added 104 yards on the ground for SMU (3-0). Terrance Gipson and TaMerik Williams each had a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Bentley scored the first time he touched the ball, running for 33 yards after catching Buechele’s screen pass, capping the Mustangs’ opening drive. Bentley added a 13-yard TD run that made it 36-0 with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

Trae Self completed 14 of 23 passes for 133 yards and ran for a 6-yard touchdown for Stephen F. Austin (0-3).

Capacity was limited to 25% at 32,000-seat Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Face masks were required and tailgating was prohibited.


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Baylor Powers Past Kansas, 47-14

Story courtesy: Baylor Athletics

Dave Aranda has seen flashes of Trestan Ebner’s explosiveness in practice and game film from the past.

In Saturday’s season opener at McLane Stadium, he got to see it up close and personal as the senior running back piled up 272 all-purpose yards and scored a combined four touchdowns to help Baylor (1-0, 1-0) open the Aranda era with an impressive 47-14 victory over Kansas.

Putting together one of the best all-around individual performances in program history, Ebner scored on kickoff returns of 100 and 83 yards, added a one-yard TD run and also caught an 18-yard scoring pass from Charlie Brewer. It was the first time in the league’s 25-year history that a Big 12 player has scored touchdowns on a run, a reception and a return in the same game.

“When you watch him in practice, he’s explosive and a team player,” Aranda said. “You think of somebody that provides energy and juice to our team, toughness to our team. Those are all things that showed up in those returns. Hitting those holes and those seams the way he did is really what set those up, and to have the finishing speed to close it off, those are things I’ve seen on tape. To see it out on the grass was pretty cool.”

Ebner said he remembers having a game like this back at Henderson (Texas) High School, when he scored five touchdowns . . . in the first half. But, this was easily his best game on the collegiate level.

“They try to give me the ball in multiple different ways,” said Ebner, who rushed for 36 yards on nine carries, caught two passes for 53 yards and had 183 yards on the two kick returns. I’m just glad we could come out there and execute it.”

Aranda said the game illustrated how the Bears have to win, getting contributions from all three phases. The special teams, obviously, returned two kicks for touchdowns and was solid in every area; the offense rolled up 352 yards total, including 203 on the ground; and the defense stiffened after giving up a touchdown on the Jayhawks’ opening drive.

“That’s how I see us,” Aranda said. “We emphasize special teams. Matt Powledge does a great job with it. I think he’s a great young, up-and-coming coach. The guys love him and want to play hard for him, got a lot of respect for him. Offensively, we really had to work. Larry (Fedora) and his crew had to find seams, had to find grass in there to run, had to find angles.

“Defensively, starting the way we started and being able to get in a rhythm and I think there were a fair amount of three-and-outs. So, I’m really impressed by all sides of it.”

After Kansas (0-2, 0-1) opened the game with a 79-yard scoring drive and the first of Pooka Williams’ two touchdowns, the Baylor defense stiffened the rest of the first half and didn’t give up another score until the fourth quarter long after the Bears sent in their backups.

“Really, it was just communication from the sideline to the field and from the backers to the d-line and the backers to the safeties,” said linebacker Terrel Bernard, who had a game-high eight tackles to go with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. “I think everybody was a little rusty getting out there. They went with some different (personnel groupings) that we weren’t ready for, and they went a little tempo on us. But after that, we kind of settled in and got to playing.”

Leading by just 10 at the break, Baylor quickly created separation when Ebner returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 100 yards for a touchdown.

“On the first one, (the Kansas defender) played it too tight, and I made a cut. John Lovett hustled his tail off and helped me with my lead block, and I was able to get around the edge and score,” Ebner said. “I’m just thankful for all my blockers and the effort.”

Lovett, the game’s leading rusher with 78 yards on 17 carries, got in the end zone five minutes when he finished off a nine-play, 61-yard run with a seven-yard TD run, his 17th career touchdown.

“Every day . . . me and Trestan compete, along with the other running backs, too,” Lovett said. “He makes a big play, I make a big play, (Craig “Sqwirl” Williams) makes a big play. It’s like a domino effect. Every day, we come into work, we give it our all. That’s what we expect every week.”

After punter Issac Power pinned the Jayhawks back at the 1-yard line with a perfect pooch kick, Bernard came on a linebacker blitz and sacked Kansas freshman quarterback Jalon Daniels for the first safety in the seven-year history of McLane Stadium and the first for the Bears since Bravvion Roy versus TCU in 2017.

“They went max (protection), and I think the running back tried to cut me,” said Bernard, who sidestepped running back Velton Gardner to get to the quarterback and give the Bears a 33-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

It took Ebner all of 15 seconds to pad that lead when he returned the Kansas free kick 83 yards down the right sideline, becoming Baylor’s first player in program history to return two kicks for touchdowns.

“I would have thought Levi Norwood would have done it first,” Ebner said of the former receiver and kick returner who was honored as a Baylor Legend during the game. “He’s just a great player I watched here. I’m just thankful that I was able to put my name in the Baylor record books, and I’m thankful for the chance to play with these great guys.”

Pooka Williams, who had 76 yards on 14 carries, scored from 16 yards out to get Kansas back on the board. But, “Sqwirl” Williams capped the scoring with a 26-yard TD run on a drive engineered by sophomore quarterback Gerry Bohanon.

Brewer, making his 31st career start, was 15-of-23 for 142 yards and one touchdown and added 23 yards rushing on eight carries as Baylor finished with 352 yards total offense.

Baylor, off to a 1-0 start, will travel to Morgantown, W. Va., to face West Virginia (1-1, 0-1) at 11 a.m. next Saturday in a game that will be televised by ABC. The Mountaineers are coming off a 27-13 loss on the road at No. 15 Oklahoma State.


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Aggies Win Opener, Down Vanderbilt 17-12

Story courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher admitted that he’d be mad all week after the way his 10th-ranked team played against Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

But the veteran coach was able to look on the bright side of his situation after the game.

“I’m going to promise you this, it’s a lot easier to go fix mistakes when you win than when you lose,” he said.

Isaiah Spiller had 117 yards rushing, Ainias Smith ran for a touchdown Texas A&M overcame three turnovers in a mistake-filled game to beat Vanderbilt 17-12 in the season-opener for both teams.

Spiller had 5 five yards rushing in the first half before getting going after halftime. Smith added 51 yards rushing after switching from receiver to running back this season to steady the offense on a night when Kellen Mond fumbled twice, losing one.

Mond raved about the work of Spiller and Smith.

“I thought they were huge,” he said. “What you saw tonight was a lot of yards after contact. What they were able to do… I think is really going to help us in this offense and help us be really balanced and consistent.”

The Aggies didn’t trail after the first quarter but were never able to pull away despite entering the game as 30-point favorites because of three fumbles and a penalty that resulted in a safety.

“A victory is a victory, but all three phases didn’t play how I thought we could or how we can,” Fisher said.

Fisher took responsibility for his team’s mistakes.

“We made the plays when we had to but, man too much inconsistency,” he said. “We’ve just got to get them to play better and that’s my fault.”

Vanderbilt started Ken Seals at quarterback, making him just the third true freshman QB to start a SEC season opener since freshman eligibility was restored in 1972. He threw for 150 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

“I don’t think that because we were in the game we’re feeling satisfied, but I do think it puts notice to a lot of people around the league and around the conference that this isn’t the same Vanderbilt that they’ve been playing in the past,” Seals said. “Whoever we line up against, they know they’re going to get a fight.”

Spiller got things going for A&M after halftime when he ran for 57 yards on the first play of the third quarter. Texas A&M pushed the lead to 14-5 when Mond connected with Caleb Chapman on a 17-yard TD pass two plays later.

Seals threw an interception on Vanderbilt’s next drive, but the Aggies couldn’t cash in on the mistake after Mond fumbled at the end of a run on the ensuing possession.

The Commodores cut the lead to 14-12 late in the third quarter when Seals threw a perfect strike to Amir Abdur-Rahman in the corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. Abdur-Rahman had five receptions for 72 yards — both career highs.

The Aggies added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-12. Texas A&M was driving later in the quarter when Daevion Davis forced a fumble after a reception by Jalen Preston and recovered it to give Vanderbilt the ball at their own 42.

But a pass by Seals was tipped and intercepted by Leon O’Neal. He returned it 35 yards and the Aggies got 15 more yards after Chris Pierce was flagged for a late hit when he threw O’Neal down at the end of the run while he was out of bounds on the A&M sideline.

The Aggies came away empty on their next drive when Mond fumbled the handoff on fourth-and-1. But Vanderbilt had to punt it back to allow Texas A&M to hold on for the victory.

Vanderbilt led 3-0 in the first quarter before Smith ran 25 yards for a touchdown to put A&M on top.

There were about eight minutes left in the second quarter when Andre Mintze hit Mond to force a fumble which was recovered by Dashaun Jerkins. The Commodores couldn’t move the ball and had to punt. But Brian George received a personal foul for a blind side block in the end zone to give Vanderbilt a safety to cut the lead to 7-5.


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Texas State Falls 24-21 at Boston College

Story courtesy: Texas State Athletics

Boston College scored 10 points in the final three minutes of the game to escape with a 24-21 victory over Texas State in Alumni Stadium on Saturday night.

Brady McBride completed 18 of 26 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and Marcell Barbee caught three passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns.

Phil Jurkovec completed 26 of 38 passes for 210 yards and one TD to lead Boston College.

The game began with Texas State blocking a 47-yard field goal attempt after Boston College had driven down to the Bobcat 19-yard line. After a penalty for the Eagles having an ineligible man downfield, Christopher Taylor sacked Phil Jurkovec for a six-yard loss. Zion Childress blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt by Aaron Boumerhi.

The Bobcats took advantage as they drove down the field to Boston College’s one-yard line, and Calvin Hill scored the first touchdown in the game on a run around the left end. Seth Keller added the extra point to give Texas State a 7-0 lead.

Boston College answered when Mike Palmer intercepted a pass from Brady McBride and returned it to Texas State’s six-yard line. The Eagles tied the score when Jurkovek ran two yards on a quarterback sneak into the end zone, and Boumerhi added the extra point.

Texas State scored its second touchdown in the first half when Brady McBride threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Marcell Barbee in the left corner, and Keller added the extra point to make the score 14-7 at halftime.

Both teams scored a touchdown in the third quarter. First, Texas State scored on McBride’s second touchdown pass to Barbee from nine yards. Keller added the extra point to give the Bobcats a 21-7 lead with 6:04 left to play in the third quarter.

The Eagles closed out the scoring in the quarter when Jurkovek ran three yards up the middle, and Boumerhi kicked the extra point to pull the Eagles back to within 21-14 with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Eagles took advantage of a pair of Bobcat personal fouls to drive 48 yards to tie the score at 21-21 with 1:11 left to play. Jurkovec capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass, and Boumerhi added the extra point.

After the Bobcats were forced to punt the ball back to Boston College, the Eagles drove down to Texas State’s 23-yard line to set up a game-winning 36-yard field goal by Boumerhi.


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Horned Frogs Fall Short to Iowa State

Story courtesy: TCU Athletics

TCU kept battling back the entire game before falling short in its season opener, 37-34, Saturday afternoon to Iowa State at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

After tying the game 7-7, the Horned Frogs’ next three touchdowns saw them pull within two points each time. Iowa State, though, continually answered on its ensuing series.

Max Duggan, who entered the game for the second half after missing a majority of preseason camp, completed 16-of-19 passes for 241 yards and a career-high tying three touchdown tosses in just two quarters. The Horned Frogs finished with 499 yards of offense.

Iowa State’s Breece Hall ran for three touchdowns with his final score, a 32-yard run on a 3rd-and-2 with 2:54 to play the biggest of them all. It gave the Cyclones a 37-28 lead with 2:54 remaining. Duggan provided the final margin in the game when he connected with Blair Conwright on a 31-yard scoring pass on the final play.

The game was scoreless through the opening quarter before seeing the teams seemingly trade scores over the final three quarters.

Iowa State had 50 yards of total offense on its first 12 plays, before Hall broke free for a 75-yard touchdown to give the Cyclones a 7-0 lead with 9:50 left in the second quarter.

The Horned Frogs immediately answered Iowa State’s score with a 9-play, 76-yard drive capped by a 37-yard catch and run by Quentin Johnston from Matthew Downing on a 3rd-and-7. It was the first career scoring catch for Johnston, a true freshman from Temple, Texas, and the first scoring toss for Downing in his first collegiate start.

Iowa State then scored on its next possession. A 49-yard pass from Brock Purdy to Landon Akers put the Cyclones at the TCU 14. The Horned Frogs’ defense then stiffened and held Iowa State to a 24-yard field goal by Connor Assalley, giving the Cyclones a lead they would not relinquish. A TCU turnover on the ensuing series then set up Iowa State’s next score, a 15-yard pass from Purdy to Darren Wilson to extend the margin to 16-7 at the half.

On the opening possession of the second half, Garret Wallow recorded a sack on Purdy who threw a backwards pass that was returned 24 yards for a touchdown by La’Kendrick Van Zandt. On its next series, Iowa State countered with a 49-yard scoring run by Kene Nwangwu to regain a 9-point lead at 23-14.

A 17-yard punt return by JD Spielman set up TCU at the Iowa State 36. Two plays later, Duggan hit Taye Barber over the middle with a 27-yard touchdown pass to bring the Horned Frogs within 23-21 with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.

Hall’s second touchdown, a 1-yard rush, made it 30-21 with 12:52 to play.

Duggan hit Artayvious Lynn over the middle for 48 yards to make it a 30-28 game. Lynn finished with career-high totals of three catches for 62 yards, including his career-long reception for the score.

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