Week 5 takeaways: College football blossoms in Texas

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Photo: Gordon DeLoach-USA TODAY Sports

SMU off to great start. Can they overcome struggles on the road?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Mustangs have galloped their way to an impressive 4-1 start behind a balanced offense governed by quarterback Ben Hicks’ touchdown passing abilities (two or more scoring passes in eight straight games).

What doesn’t bode well for SMU is their failures to win games on the road, dropping nine of their past 12 road games.

Their last away affair was a 20 point loss against the Horned Frogs; last season saw two road wins; 2015 had zero. Things get interesting this weekend in a rematch with the Houston Cougars, who were forced to lick their wounds after being trounced by the Mustangs during their last meeting 38-16. Houston’s problematic defense could be restrictive against SMU’s 48.2 points per game (third best in the FBS).

This message was actually NOT paid for my SMU.

Mean Green spread their wings and rise

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas could be a legitimate threat in the Conference USA. Their clobbering of Southern Mississippi makes the Oct. 14 showdown with rival UTSA that much more compelling. The Mean Green performance was even more impressive considering Southern Miss only allowed 13.7 points per game before the meeting.

After losing a duo of games outside of conference play, UNT is undefeated in conference play, averaging 44.5 points per game during that span. They are already over halfway to their total win total from the year before, where they competed in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in their first year with coach Seth Littrell at the helm.

The Mean Green have only attained three winning records in the past 15 seasons.

I didn’t know Southlake Carroll competed at the DI level.

UT offense must pick up running game slack

Reese Strickland-USA Today Sports

With the departure of D’Onta Foreman to the draft last spring, the Longhorns haven’t been able to effectively run the football. There have even been stretches where coach Tom Herman’s unit has completely abandoned the ground game all together, including 68 total yards against USC and 98 yards against Maryland. The 141 put up against the Cyclones was a step in the right direction, but was far from the 240.2 averaged last season. Because of injuries and transfers, the offensive line is currently a group sewn together with the patchwork of inferior backups, leaving running backs with very little wiggle room.

The Longhorns simply have to learn how to score more points; the defensive side is holding their own, but will have their hands full; four of the next six games are against top-tier scoring threats — West Virginia (48.8), Oklahoma (48), TCU (47.8) and Oklahoma State (46.8).

What every Longhorns fan wants to see happen to the Wildcats this weekend.

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