MONDAY HUDDLE: How will Texans move on after Watt injury?
5 takeaways from this weekend's football scene around the state
Here are five takeaways from this past weekend's football action around the state.
What’s next for Texans after Watt injury?
For the third time in four seasons, the Texans saw star defensive end J.J. Watt’s season cut short due to injury.
But nobody in the league will feel sorry for the Texans, so how do they move on without Watt out after he suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Oakland Raiders?
For starters, other defensive players will obviously have to step up in expanded roles.
Whitney Mercilus, not Watt, actually leads the team in sacks and will have to continue to excel, while rookie Charles Omenihu (two sacks) will possibly get a chance to thrive in an expanded role, as will Carlos Watkins.
Second, the secondary will have to play much better than it did in the first half of the year to help compensate for Watt’s absence. The Texans are 28th in the NFL in pass defense.
The Texans could also try to look for help in the trade market before Tuesday's trade deadline, but any trade made wouldn't be major.
But ultimately, the biggest key to keep winning without Watt will be quarterback Deshaun Watson.
He might not play defense, but Watson will really have the chance now to not only continue his development as one of the league’s better playmakers (105.7 quarterback rating), but show he can carry a team and franchise on his back.
Many more eyes will be on him.
Is there more heat on Tom Herman after loss to TCU?
If there were still a honeymoon period for Texas head coach Tom Herman in his third year, it’s safe to say it ended on Saturday following a 37-27 loss at TCU.
The maligned Texas defense was torched by TCU freshman quarterback Max Duggan, who threw for a career-high 273 yards and two touchdowns and added 72 yards rushing.
Not only is Texas 2-6 against TCU since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12, but Texas is now 3-2 league play and has serious work to do in order to advance to the conference title game in Arlington.
The remaining schedule isn’t the easiest, either, for the Longhorns.
Texas hosts No. 22 Kansas State, which upset Oklahoma on Saturday, plays at Iowa State and Baylor and hosts Texas Tech to finish the season.
If Texas can’t turn it around, a four-, five- or maybe even a six-loss season could be in store.
If that happens, it won’t be a fun offseason for Herman.
Big 12 chaos
So much for the inevitable Oklahoma-Texas Big 12 championship game many were expecting all season.
That matchup could still easily happen, but it’s nowhere near the foregone conclusion it seemed early in the year after Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State and TCU’s upset of Texas on Saturday.
Baylor is now the lone unbeaten in the conference, although the Bears still have to play at TCU and home against both Oklahoma and Texas.
Oklahoma sits in second (the top two finishers qualify for the championship game) but has to play Iowa State and TCU at home, and at Baylor and Oklahoma State over its last four games.
Iowa State is tied for third with Texas at 3-2 and can definitely have a say in the race with games left against Oklahoma and Texas.
Coming off the upset wins, both Kansas State and TCU still have two conference losses (2-2 league records) and are in the mix, as well.
Buckle up, because last weekend’s upsets ensured it will be a wild finish.
Aggies gaining some momentum before brutal stretch
Texas A&M did what it had to do against the Mississippi schools in the SEC the last two weeks, earning a 24-17 win at Ole Miss before routing Mississippi State at home 49-30 behind five touchdowns from quarterback Kellen Mond.
The Aggies appear to be gaining confidence, and the next two weeks should offer more chances to do so with home games against Texas-San Antonio and South Carolina.
Texas A&M will need to continue to build momentum in those games, given its last two games are at No. 8 Georgia and No. 1 LSU.
Milestone win for Dobie
Friday represented a milestone win in both the past and present for Dobie High School.
Dobie, located in Houston, won its seventh game of the year with a 68-0 win over Sam Rayburn, good for its best record after eight games in 20 years.
Of even more historical significance is that it was the 300th win in the history of the Dobie program, which is 51 years old.
Graham Media Group 2019