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1. I’m not sure that anyone expected what happened in Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday. The Texas Longhorns blew out the Ole Miss Rebels 66-31 as David Ash and the Texas offense could not be stopped.
This game wasn’t perfect, the defense gave up some big plays, but it shows that this team is very different than the one we saw at the end of last year. The Longhorns beat the Aggies at A&M last year, but after Ryan Tannehill hit Jeff Fuller for the go-ahead touchdown, many considered the game over. Texas couldn’t make big plays. The wide receivers had shown bad hands and the quarterbacks had shown no accuracy or even desire to throw downfield. That didn’t really change even after the win. A couple of long passes didn’t change minds in the Holiday Bowl either.
Two games into the 2012 season, we were still asking, “When is Ash going to throw deep?” He had an emphatic answer in his first road start, throwing for several long completions and trusting his wide receivers to make the big plays. He hit a few guys in stride. That was good to see and he still needs to improve on that, but what I loved seeing was Ash throwing down the field to one-on-one coverage where he trusted his man to make the play.
As for the big questions and the things we wanted to see coming in, the development of David Ash from a good quarterback into possibly a great quarterback is the most prominent.
It was also good to see Malcolm Brown see a full load again. We were worried about him last week, but after 21 carries for 128 yards, we’re feeling fully confident in the offense already. The big concern was the defense. And yes, the defense forced three turnovers (all interceptions), one of which was turned into a touchdown. But they allowed three big plays, two of which resulted directly in touchdowns.
Right now, that’s the biggest concern the defense has to face. They’re getting turnovers and pressuring the quarterback, but for whatever reason, on a few plays per game, they have trouble tackling and it results in big plays for the offense. If teams like Wyoming, New Mexico, and Ole Miss are putting up a few big plays per game, what’s going to happen when Texas plays West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kansas State?
Will the defense step up their game? Is this just something that will happen every game to every team no matter how good a defense is? Allowing 31 points says otherwise. And it’s a trend that needs to change if Texas expects to win big games and get to a BCS bowl game this year.
2. The TCU Horned Frogs had a lot of trouble in Kansas against the Jayhawks. They won 20-6 and let TCU hang around basically the whole game. The Kansas defense forced four turnovers, all on fumbles, and kept moving the ball but just couldn’t close the deal on any drives. They had six drives that got into Kansas territory and finished with two field goals and another missed attempt, two turnovers on downs, and one fumble.
It was surprising to see. It certainly puts a damper on the offensive performance. Casey Pachall, despite his 335 yards passing on 24-30 passing with two touchdowns, was involved in three of those fumbles. If they’re having trouble closing out a team that barely beat the Rice Owls, how will they play once the heart of their Big 12 schedule hits.
Luckily for TCU, they’ve got time to work that out. They won’t play another Big 12 game until October. Until then, they’ve got Virginia and SMU. Although at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of those teams pull an upset. At the very least, more close wins will see the Horned Frogs continue to fall in the rankings despite their perfect record. Right now, TCU is only proving that they’re not ready for big-time conference football.
Photo courtesy Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
3. The Texas Rangers won their weekend series over the Seattle Mariners with last night’s 2-1 victory. Matt Harrison had one of his strongest starts of the year and Adrian Beltre hit yet another home run to up his impressive MVP resume. But what was most worrisome was Scott Feldman’s performance in Saturday’s game. Texas lost 8-6 and would have likely won if Feldman hadn’t given up six runs in less than three innings of work.
We’ve been arguing for weeks, and throughout most of the season, that Feldman shouldn’t be the No. 5 starter and that the job should go to Roy Oswalt. Well, after Perez’s strong performance on Saturday night when he threw 4.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and just one walk, he belongs in the rotation. And Ron Washington has made the move, inserting Perez into the rotation.
This is a huge move for Texas. With the Oakland A’s still just three games off the division lead and a tough schedule ahead featuring seven games against the A’s, every game is important. Texas still hasn’t swept an American League team since early in the 1st half of the season. They can’t afford to throw away any games.
The schedule also works out perfectly for Perez. He gets an extra day off and his slated Friday start will be against the same Mariners team that he effectively shut down this past weekend.
4. And how ’bout them Astros!? Houston won their weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies, taking three of four at home. They have an 8-7 record at home this month. They’re stuck on their 99th loss of the season with 15 games left. I don’t want to sound overly optimistic, but they may miss out on losing 110 games.
Best performance of the weekend came from Dallas Keuchel. He didn’t pitch long enough to qualify for a quality start, but his 5.1 scoreless innings were as impressive as any start this season aside from his complete-game, one-run win in his 2nd ever start.
Tomorrow the Astros take on a surging St. Louis Cardinals team still mathematically in the hunt for the wild card. And we’ve seen what St. Louis can do when they’re given just a sliver of hope.
5. We were really looking forward to Seth MacFarlane hosting SNL, but we had our reservations. It’s hard to believe that we had anything to worry about as MacFarlane delivered with a great show from start to finish. You know it’s a good show when only one of the sketches features recurring characters. MacFarlane did voices, working that into several sketches, sang during his monologue, and never played a bland character that resembled himself, delivering laughs even in the final sketch that might have only lasted a minute.
I definitely give this episode an A. It’s one of the best hosting jobs I’ve seen in years. My favorite sketch that produced the most laughs was the one in which MacFarlane played a puppeteer teaching a class. Bill Hader stole the show here producing several laugh-out -loud moments.
It’s no surprise Hader was great in this sketch. He has some puppetry background as it was his character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall that plays Dr. Van Helsing in Jason Segal’s rock opera about Dracula.
6. MacFarlane also made an appearance on Weekend Update, which goes to show how strong his performance was because that rarely happens. MacFarlane played Olympic gold medalist and Hollywood bad actor Ryan Lochte as he reviewed new shows on the upcoming fall TV schedule. His impression was both spot-on and hilarious.
Lochte reportedly was excited and, at the same time, called the impression “harsh,” but at least he had a good sense of humor about it as he made some jokes in an interview with Celebuzz.com.
For all the television appearances that Lochte is making, I’m only interested in the ones where Seth MacFarlane is playing him.