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Big 12 Football Week 6: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma

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). Another week of football is in the books. In the Big 12, there is never just a normal weekend and that once again proved to be true this past weekend. What a crazy weekend of college football. From upsets, to eye sores, there was some good, some bad and some downright ugly.

 

The Good

Texas (Beat Oklahoma 48-45)

WOW, what a game! This one will go down in the history books for this rivalry. Texas dominated for the first three quarters of the game. From the line of scrimmage, quarterback play, defense, Texas brought their “A” game for the first 45 minutes. The last quarter was a huge letdown for Texas that nearly cost them the game but in a rivalry game, a win is a win and I am sure either side would take an ugly win over a loss any day of the week. QB Sam Ehlinger looked like a field general on offense throwing for 314 yards and two touchdowns as well as adding 72 yards on the ground along with three rushing scores. That may have been the best performance I have seen from him. RB Keaontay Ingram had a few nice runs but besides Ehlinger, the difference maker was WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey who had 9 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. Hell, he even had a passing touchdown in this one. Not to mention, the offense didn’t turn the ball over.  Yes, the defense gave up way too many rushing yards and fell apart in the fourth quarter, but you know what helped them? 3 turnovers. Those turnovers played a huge part in this big win. Lastly, for the 2015 recruiting class, they end their careers 2-2 against their arch rivals. Not too shabby considering all the turmoil that class has been through. Tip of the hat is deserving to this program. Right now, it appears Texas may be the new team to beat in the Big 12.

West Virginia (Beat Kansas 38-22)

Don’t let the score fool you, this game was a lot closer than the score indicates. In fact, late in the third quarter, West Virginia had just a 21-14 lead over the lowly Jayhawks. However, if these teams played again it would be a blowout. Heisman hopeful Will Grier didn’t have his best performance on Saturday as he threw three red zone interceptions all inside the Kansas 13-yard line. If not for those mistakes, the Mountaineers throttle Kansas like I thought they would. Grier did manage to throw four touchdowns in this game to four different players (3 WRs 1 RB). Overall, West Virginia ran the football well with Kennedy McKoy and Leddie Brown as the offense rushed for 177 in this game. Also, the receivers had a nice group effort in the win. Defensively, I thought the Mountaineers did a good job. They kept the Jayhawks rushing attack in check and forced the Kansas quarterbacks to beat them with their arm which is the recipe to use to beat them. Overall, the offense probably deserves some finger pointing giving up 5 sacks and the turnovers, but a win is a win. The Mountaineers are now 5-0 and in the driver’s seat in the Big 12.

Baylor (Beat Kansas State 37-24)

Not going to lie to you, this game was an eye sore for a solid three quarters and the scarce crowd just added to the pity of this matchup. HOWEVER, the Bears won the game and are now 4-2 on the season. QB Charlie Brewer didn’t have his best game, but how about the Bears rushing attack? They rushed for 261 yards with Trestan Ebner and JaMycal Hasty leading the way. Heck, even WR Jalen Hurd had a rushing touchdown. Speaking of Jalen Hurd, he also had 135 yards receiving and another score through the air. I could talk about the defense here and in fact, I will. They were fine against the pass put giving up 319 yards on the ground is unacceptable. The defense gave up way too many long runs and on too many occasions, Kansas State backs weren’t even getting touched until ten plus yards downfield. The defense for Baylor and special teams should be in my ugly column but I am going to be a lot nicer this season when teams win. Again, Baylor is now 4-2 on the year but their toughest part of the schedule starts now.

Iowa State (Beat Oklahoma State 48-42)

Who saw this one coming? I though Iowa State would keep it close but ultimately fall short. Then Brock Purdy happened. QB Zeb Noland came in to start the game and Matt Campbell decided to make the QB change in the second series. To Matt Campbell’s credit, it was clearly the right decision. The true freshman QB shined going 18/23 for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns on the road! He also added 84 yards on the ground (which led the team) and a rushing score. It was a truly impressive performance by the Purdy. Even with RB David Montgomery out, Brock Purdy was able to lead this offense to an extremely high level of play. I can’t forget about that Cyclone defense. They held OSU RB Justice Hill to just 66 yards on 24 carries. They gave up some passing scores, but if you want to beat Oklahoma State you have to keep Justice Hill in check and they certainly did that on Saturday. What a great game by these Cyclones and even though their record isn’t great, this is a team that will be a tough match up for anyone left on their schedule.

The Bad

Oklahoma Defense (Lost to Texas 48-45)

I know the offense had a few costly turnovers, but when you score 45 points and lose, you know where I am pointing the finger. This defense got out played and outmanned for three quarters. Texas offensively wanted it more than the Sooners defense did. They couldn’t stop Texas QB Sam Ehlinger whether it was through the air or on the ground and made him look like Tim Tebow circa 2005-06. They gave up three rushing touchdowns to Ehlinger and let WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey make way too many plays. The last two times the Sooners have lost a game they have scored over 44 points. How? I am looking at you Mike Stoops. It still baffles me that his contract runs through 2020 and who ever thought that was a good idea should have their intelligence questioned. How did this defense give up over 500 yards to Texas? I just don’t understand but I will say this: if Oklahoma doesn’t get rid of Mike Stoops, they won’t win a national title. You can’t win championships when you play defense like this and it’s sad because this defense is the only thing holding this team back of reaching a title game. The bottom line is that Lincoln Riley is a championship level offensive coach and Mike Stoops is a mediocre, at best, defensive coach. Head Coach Lincoln Riley needs to make changes whether it’s now or at the end of the season and if he doesn’t it’s nobody’s fault but his own.

Kansas (Lost 38-22 to West Virginia)

I will give Kansas some credit here. I didn’t think they would keep the game this close. They were within at least two scores for most of the game and I didn’t expect that. Entering the game, Kansas had 14 takeaways on defense and they were able to get four more turnovers off WVU QB Will Grier. That should have been enough to keep the score close but unfortunately, the offense couldn’t do anything with all those turnovers. Whether it was Carter Stanley or Peyton Bender, both quarterbacks couldn’t get much going. Combine that with not being able to really run the football and you won’t win many games. This offense really struggles to make big plays in the passing game. It’s not like Kansas was down 20 the whole game because they were well within reach to tie the game on multiple occasions. I will say that Head Coach David Beaty was VERY vocal on the sidelines with his players and assistant coaches. Maybe he felt like he let this one slip away or maybe he finally feels like his job in serious jeopardy? Either way, I think Kansas AD Jeff Long is already searching for his next coach.

Oklahoma State

Well, this was a certainly disappointing outcome for Oklahoma State fans. The Cowboys never really got their ground game going as they only managed to rush for 126 yards on offense. In fact, Justice Hill only had 66 rushing yards and QB Taylor Cornelius was second with 46 yards on the ground. Not ideal offensively but what was even worse was the offensive line play. Not only were they not able to open running lanes for the backs but they gave up seven sacks. Not very good at all and while Taylor Cornelius wasn’t that bad (He threw four touchdowns), it’s hard to do much offensively when your offensive line plays that poorly. Defensively, they couldn’t stop ISU QB Brock Purdy. They had too many penalties and made way too many errors on defense. In their last seven Big 12 home games the Cowboys are now 2-5. Between the defense and the offensive line, I am not sure which unit is worse right now. Both need to get going quickly or else it’s going to be a long season for Mike Gundy. I don’t think you will see another smoothie in the post-game presser for the rest of the season.

 

The Ugly

Kansas State rushes for 319 yards and still loses the game? WHAT? Two things here: If your quarterback play is bad, which it is, you have no passing game to compliment your rushing attack. Forget the Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton debate, neither guy is consistent and that is a serious problem. The offense only was able to score 14 points in three quarters against this Baylor team before finally waking up in the fourth quarter. RB Alex Barnes was the offense in this game rushing for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Outside of him, nobody else stepped up even close to his level of play. I don’t even know what to say about this defense. The unit gave up 261 yards on the ground and 557 total yards on Saturday. This program used to be built on solid defense, special teams and running the football. Well so far this season they have forgotten how to do all three and, in this game, they forgot to bring their defense and special teams to Waco. This team is now 2-4 on the year and right now who else can they beat in the Big 12? Kansas? Maybe? Changes need to happen after the season.

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