Dallas Colleges: What we learned 110313
2. Tech is not quite ready to be one: This still has been a terrific season for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury. But the Red Raiders don't quite yet have the horses to win the Big 12 title. The Bedlam schools have beaten up Tech's defensive front the last two weeks, racking up a combined 558 yards on the ground. Penalties and turnovers, characteristics of a young team, really plagued the Red Raiders in their back-to-back losses, as well. Tech is pretty much out of the conference title race, but next weekend is huge. The Red Raiders need to defeat K-State to avoid another all-out November collapse with games against Baylor and Texas also still looming, and keep the positive vibe surrounding the Kingsbury era going.
3. TCU isn't going bowling: After finally showing signs offensively, the Horned Frogs jumped to a 17-3 lead over West Virginia in the second quarter. That should have been enough for what had been a strong TCU defense facing a West Virginia offense that had been shaky away from Morgantown. Instead, after turning the ball over three times in five plays, the Horned Frogs had to scramble just to send the game to overtime, where they completely self-destructed. TCU had a minus-6-yard run, a 15-yard personal foul and an incomplete pass, which forced a desperation 62-yard field goal that went wide left. TCU is still mathematically alive for a bowl after losing three consecutive games for the first time since Gary Patterson took over as coach. But it would need to run the table and knock off Baylor to do it. This team just isn't doing that.
4. West Virginia probably is: After falling apart with second-half leads the last two weeks, West Virginia didn't let another game slip away. Charles Sims had another monster performance with 154 yards on the ground against TCU, and the defense played opportunistic ball all game long. With the overtime win in Fort Worth, West Virginia's bowl outlook is looking hopeful. The Mountaineers just need to beat Kansas on the road and take care of Iowa State at home. Of course, West Virginia could really seal up a bowl berth with a home win over Texas this weekend.
5. K-State is rolling into November: The Wildcats can't win the Big 12. But they are proving to be a very solid squad. The healthy return of receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson have done wonders for this offense. The duo delivered another big performance in Farmageddon with 143 yards receiving in K-State's 41-7 rout of Iowa State. QBs Jake Waters and Daniel Sams continue to improve every week, too. K-State started the year 2-4, but had a chance in every loss. The way they are playing, the Wildcats will have a chance in their remaining four games, too.
Florida-Georgia is still compelling: Even with a pair of unranked teams beaten up by injuries, Florida and Georgia provided great theater. Georgia took a commanding 20-0 lead and made it 23-3 at the half, but Florida charged back into the game and even possessed the ball in the fourth quarter down only three points. In the end, Georgia hung on for the 23-20 victory. Florida, for all of its struggles, showed tremendous fight in its second-half rally, but now the Gators are pretty much out of the mix for anything meaningful in the SEC East. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, kept alive their faint division title hopes, which are heavily dependent on Missouri taking a late dive. What added to all the fun on Saturday was the chippy attitudes on both sides, including pushing and shoving after the whistle on several occasions and multiple personal fouls.
Johnny Manziel looks like his old self: For the late-nighters, Texas A&M rolled UTEP 57-7, and while the game itself wasn't necessarily compelling, those who tuned in saw a familiar performance by Manziel. Last week, he stayed in the pocket to protect an injured throwing shoulder, but on Saturday night, he cut it loose, zigging and zagging through the UTEP defense like the player who won the Heisman Trophy last season and led the SEC in rushing. He finished with 67 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, one of which was a 49-yard sprint that looked like 2012 Manziel. For the game, he accounted for six total touchdowns. He's still in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race, though he might need some others to falter in order to become the consensus front-runner again.
South Carolina can put a team away: There was a time when the Gamecocks seemed to let teams back into games after getting big leads. However, after their 34-16 win over Mississippi State on Saturday, which came three weeks after a 52-7 blowout of Arkansas, South Carolina is showing it can handle business and close teams out in the end. SEC leading rusher Mike Davis moved past the 1,000-yard mark with a 128-yard effort, and quarterback Connor Shaw threw for four touchdowns despite not having to throw for much yardage (147). The Gamecocks' defense also came to play and held Mississippi State to 10 points when it mattered.
Tre Mason got it done, again: A couple of weeks ago, in Auburn's upset win at Texas A&M, Mason had his best game of the season, rushing for 178 yards. On Saturday, the junior was again big-time to help the Tigers hold off Arkansas 35-17. Mason finished with 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries. In the four games he has reached at least 100 rushing yards this season, three have been in SEC play and two have come against ranked opponents (he rushed for 132 against LSU). He's a workhorse who's coming through in the clutch for the Tigers.
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