I hear it all the time, “Who has the best conference in college football?” SEC? Big 10? ACC? What about the Pac-12? Very rarely are you going to hear the words “Big 12” coming out of someone’s mouth in that conversation. Whether you do it or not, there are plenty of folks out there who love to bash the Big 12 conference (cough, Paul Finebaum, cough). It was a very lopsided week 2 for the Big 12. There was a ton of good things that I saw on Saturday but there were a few things that left me scratching my head. As always, there was the good, the bad and some downright ugly. Let’s get to it!
TCU (Beats SMU 42-12 on Friday Night)
This may have been the oddest game I have seen in a long time. For starters, there was a weather delay which threw off the timing and before you know it at the end of the first quarter, SMU led 9-0 (Yes there was a safety). TCU finally woke up thanks to a KaVontae 78-yard punt return for a touchdown. Just a few short minutes later, TCU recovered a fumble in the endzone and found themselves up 14-12 at the half and they didn’t even score a single-point on offense. In fact, before TCU scored an offensive touchdown, the Horned Frogs were already up 21-12 midway through the third quarter. Despite QB Shawn Robinson not having a great night, TCU managed to rush for 247 yards and the defense held the Mustangs scoreless in the second half. TCU moves to 2-0 before their big showdown with Ohio State in Jerry World next week.
Oklahoma (Beat UCLA 49-21)
UCLA jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but it didn’t last long because the Sooners stomped on the gas pedal and didn’t take their foot off. In fact, Oklahoma went on to score 42 unanswered points before the Bruins sniffed a touchdown or even a field goal for that matter. Got to give credit to the defense for that and yes, that includes DC Mike Stoops for all you haters out there. What more could I say here? Kyler Murray looked great once again, WR CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown continue to make plays and the offense didn’t skip a beat. The only bad news for Oklahoma is that RB Rodney Anderson left the game with a right knee injury and didn’t return. As of now there hasn’t been word on what happened, and I am sure something will come up by the time you read this. The good news is that the Sooners are absolutely loaded at the running back position and with that offensive line, Oklahoma shouldn’t really be too much out of sync.
West Virginia (Beat Youngstown State 52-17)
Much like Oklahoma, the Mountaineers took care of business and did what they were supposed to do. Will Grier had another Heisman-type performance going 21/26 for 332 yards and four touchdowns. They also had three running backs rush for 75 yards or more and overall rushed for 289 yards as a team. Marcus Simms and Gary Jennings Jr. were excellent catching the football and the defense held the Penguins to 17 points. I really like how this team is shaping up and can’t wait until their showdown next week at NC State.
Kansas (Beat Central Michigan 31-7)
THE STREAK IS OVER! Kansas won its first road games since September 12th, 2009! It’s been a while to say the least. I am glad I was able to watch it to see how happy that sideline was when the clock hit zero. After a very slow start (Led CMU 7-0 at halftime), the Jayhawks kicked the offense in gear and along with a pick six, scored 24 points in the second half which is more than they scored last week in an OT loss to Nicholls. The passing game wasn’t all that effective, but thanks to freshman RB Pooka Williams, Kansas found success on the ground as they rushed for over 200 yards in this game. The offensive line looked better and the defense shut down the Chippewas offense. Congrats Kansas!
Texas Tech (Beat Lamar 77-0)
Here is what Texas Tech did here. They kicked Lamar around, paid them for it and moved on. Let’s be real here, Lamar stood no chance, but it was a nice bounce back win for Kliff Kingsbury after the disappointing week one loss against Ole Miss. Freshman QB Alan Bowman looked comfortable out there going 22/25 for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns while running backs Demarcus Felton, Ta’Zhawn Henry and SaRodorick Thompson combined for 6 rushing touchdowns. Overall the Red Raiders racked up 683 total yards and offense as they demolished the Cardinals. It was also great to see Tech step up defensively pitching the shutout and holding Lamar to 182 total yards. Texas Tech needed a win and they got it. Next week, they face a very solid Houston team at home.
Baylor (Beat UTSA 37-20)
Don’t let the score fool you, this game was much closer than the score indicates. It was just a 7-point game at halftime and UTSA was able to pull within 7 early in the fourth quarter. Baylor was finally able to get some separation midway through the fourth quarter by adding a field goal and a late touchdown. The Bears had their fair share of mistakes in this game whether it was penalties or issues handling kickoffs but overall, Baylor needed a win and they found a way to win on the road. Last week against ACU, Baylor rotated quarterbacks Jalan McClendon and Charlie Brewer, but Brewer had the hot hand in this game going 23/34 for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Not to mention, wide outs Denzel Mims and Jalen Hurd were by far the best playmakers in this game each going for over 100 yards receiving. Overall, was it pretty? Maybe not but a win is a win and the Bears in just two weeks have already surpassed their 2017 win total.
Oklahoma State (Beat South Alabama 55-13)
After a late first half touchdown, the Jaguars were only down 11 with less than 3 minutes left in the first half. After that moment, the Cowboys scored 31 unanswered points and rolled South Alabama to a final score of 55-13. While Oklahoma State didn’t tear it up on the on the ground, QB Taylor Cornelius went 25/40 for 428 yards and a touchdown. The beneficiaries of all those passing yards? Wide receivers Tylan Wallace (10 rec for 166 yds and 1 TD) and Tyron Johnson (5 rec for 137 yds). To me, the defense was fine for the Cowboys, but some things that need improvement were certainly on display in this game for the offense. The offensive line didn’t have their best performance as there was little running room for the backs and Taylor Cornelius was sacked 4 times. QB Taylor Cornelius had some accuracy issues as well. These things will need to be cleaned up because the Cowboys will host a very good Boise State team at home next week. After the win, Mike Gundy celebrated with a smoothie while doing the post-game press conference and when he talked about the smoothie he said, “It would be a lot better if it had a little vodka in it.” Status: LEGENDARY.
Iowa State Defense (Lost 13-3 to Iowa)
This was the only team I split this week. I’ll get to the offense later, but this defense played more than well enough to win this game. Even though they didn’t get any sacks, they held Iowa to just 13 points and less than 3 yards per carry on the ground. They also did a great job through the air holding Iowa to just 166 passing yards. Not much more I can really say about this defense. They played their tail off and kept the Cyclones in this ball game. Tip of the cap to this unit.
Texas (Beat Tulsa 28-21)
Depending on which Texas fan you talk to, Texas won this football game. You know how people always say the glass is either half full or half empty? The glass was half empty for Texas in this game. At halftime, Texas was up 21-0 and I thought to myself that Texas would cruise to an easy victory… but WRONG. Texas went scoreless in the third quarter and finally found the endzone midway in the fourth thanks to a Sam Ehlinger pass to RB Tre Watson. But, less than 2 minutes later Tulsa answered right back and pulled within 7 late in the fourth quarter but Texas was able to run out the clock and pull out the close win 28-21. There was such a big difference from the first half to the second half for this team. It looked like Texas was a person with multiple personalities in this game. They got outscored 21-7 by Tulsa in the second half and that is unacceptable. You are Texas, they are Tulsa. Yes, they won but there is PLENTY of room for improvement for this football team. The Longhorns better be ready because they host USC next week in Austin. For those interested, I will have a separate post about this game on the site to give you my full thoughts.
Iowa State Offense
I said earlier that this group should be separated from their defense and here we are. Let’s start with the run game. As a team, Iowa State rushed for a total of 19 yards on 25 attempts. That’s an average of 0.8 yards per carry. Yikes! While QB Kyle Kempt didn’t turn the ball over, he wasn’t able to get anything going in the pass game and the same went for Zeb Noland when Kempt got shaken up. The Cyclones had less than 200 yards of total offense and scored 3 points. That’s not going to win you hardly any ball games doing that offensively. Iowa State wants to run the football but when teams stack the box, you have got to be able to throw the football and this offense isn’t quite ready for that just yet. Will it be fixed? It better because the Sooners are coming to town next week and with the way that offense has looked, Iowa State may need to throw the football next week if they get behind.
Kansas State (Lost 31-10 to Mississippi State)
I am almost at a loss for words here with this football team. After escaping the upset last week against South Dakota at home, Kansas State lays an egg here once again at home. They made the ugly list last week and boom here we are right back on it again this week. QB Skylar Thompson played most of the game but didn’t do much with the opportunity as he went 7/17 for 86 yards and a touchdown. The Wildcats struggled to really get anything going on the ground game too which resulted in a poor offensive performance. I know Mississippi State is stout defensively, but Kansas State looks like a deer in the headlights on offense so far this season. Something must change. Defensively, Kansas State gave up 384 yards on the ground! Yes, you read that right, 384 yards they gave up on the ground. RB Kylin Hill and QB Nick Fitzgerald had a field day with this defense running the football and Kansas State never really had a chance in this game they way they were playing.
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