Michael Goodson and Texas A&M look to run away from Texas Tech this week in their rivalry game that has big Texas Bowl implications.
The Texas Bowl is set for Friday, Dec. 28 at Reliant Stadium. The Texas Bowl is a celebration of the culture, heritage and football tradition of the Lone Star State. The game features teams from the Big 12 and Conference USA. The day begins at 3:00 p.m. with TexFest featuring Texas-themed games, food and music from the Old 97's as well as the team pep rallies and spirit walks. The night ends with the largest holiday fireworks show in Texas so plan to make an entire day for your family at the Texas Bowl. Tickets start at just $15. For all information on the Texas Bowl, visit www.texasbowl.org.
As the second half of the college football season begins, the top teams are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Both the Big 12 and Conference USA have outright leaders atop each division. Several games this weekend will shake up the standings yet again as the Texas Bowl picture begins to take shape. Let's take a look at some of those key games:
In a game that should have Texas Bowl implications, Texas A&Mheads to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. The Aggies are coming off an impressive come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State, overcoming a 17-0 deficit to win 24-23. Junior running back Jorvorskie Lane led the way for the Aggies with 77 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns, including one that was set up by his 49-yard pass off of a trick play. Texas Tech junior quarterback Graham Harrell continues to post incredible passing numbers, throwing for another 425 yards and four touchdowns in the Red Raiders' win over Iowa State last week. Three of those touchdown passes went to redshirt freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who now holds the NCAA all-time touchdown receptions record for a freshman with 17. He is also tied for the single-season Big 12 touchdown receptions mark with former Oklahoma State Cowboy receiver Rashaun Woods.
Coming off their hard-fought win over Texas, #6 Oklahoma hosts Chase Daniel and the #11 Missouri Tigers. Sooners redshirt freshman running back DeMarco Murray introduced himself to the Longhorns in a big way, rushing for 128 yards, including a 65-yard scoring run. Freshman quarterback Sam Bradford also played well in his first Red River Rivalry game, throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Bradford continues to lead the nation in passing efficiency at 187.0. Daniel led his Tigers in their 41-6 rout over Nebraska in front of his home crowd. The junior quarterback totaled a career-high 473 yards of offense, with 403 yards and two touchdowns passing to go along with 72 yards and two touchdowns rushing.
#20 Kansas looks to stay undefeated as they host Baylor. Last week, Jayhawks junior cornerback Aqib Talib extended his consecutive games streak with a touchdown to five when he caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter in Kansas' victory over Kansas State. The Jayhawks defense continues to impress, ranking third nationally in both scoring (9.4 points/game) and total defense (247.6 yards/game). Baylor is still looking for their first conference win on the season, coming off their loss at home to Colorado last week. Sophomore quarterback Blake Szymanski recorded his third 400-yard passing game of the season with 410 and added a touchdown pass against the Buffaloes.
Other Big 12 games
#23 Texas at Iowa State
Oklahoma State at Nebraska
Colorado at Kansas State
Another matchup with Texas Bowl implications will take place at Robertson Stadium when Houston hosts Riceas they battle for the Bayou Bucket. Houston has won four of the last five meetings, with Rice's only win during that stretch coming in a 10-7 win in 2004. The Cougars lost to Alabama last week 30-24, but almost came back after spotting the Crimson Tide the first 23 points of the game. Senior wide receiver Donnie Avery reached the 100-yard receiving mark for the second consecutive game, including a 64-yard touchdown reception. Rice is coming off a dramatic 31-29 win over Southern Mississippi, their first victory of the season. Forcing seven turnovers in the game, the Owls held off a furious 22-point fourth quarter rally by the Golden Eagles to get the win.
In a matchup of C-USA division leaders, East Carolinatravels to El Paso to take on the Miners of UTEP. The Pirates defeated Central Florida last week 52-38, thanks in large part to a 28-point scoring barrage in the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Robert Kass threw for a total of 201 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. UTEP continues to hitch their wagon to senior running back Marcus Thomas, who turned in another big game. Thomas rushed for 134 yards and added three more touchdowns in last week's win over Tulsa, giving him 11 on the season.
Central Florida will try to play spoiler as they take on the #5 South Florida Bulls. The Knights are trying to avoid dropping their third consecutive game to the Bulls. If they are to change the current trend, Central Florida star junior running back Kevin Smith will need to have a big-time performance. Smith missed last year's game due to disciplinary reasons, so the nation's second-leading rusher is looking to make up for lost time. The Bulls are looking to open 6-0 for the first time in the program's 11-year history. If they are to avoid the upset, South Florida needs to cut down on their turnovers, having committed four in each of their last two games.
Other Conference USA games
Southern Methodist at Southern Mississippi
Middle Tennessee at Memphis