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. From good games, to eye sores, there was some good, some bad and some downright ugly.
Baylor (Beat Oklahoma State 35-31)
After a disastrous performance in Morgantown, Baylor was able to get back on track against Oklahoma State on Homecoming. With Charlie Brewer being shaken up from the previous game, he was supposed to sit out this game, but he did eventually play in the second half. With Charlie out for a bit, Jalan McClendon got the start. He threw a pick in the endzone to start the game and Baylor was only able to score one offensive touchdown in the first half. Luckily, special teams came up with a HUGE blocked punt to give the Bears another score. Give the Bears defense some credit though as they only allowed 10 points in the entire first half. In the second half, the Baylor offense got off to another slow start and during that time, the defense gave out because Oklahoma State was able to put together three straight touchdown drives to go up 24-14 late in the third quarter.
Then came in Charlie Brewer to save the day. On the very first play of his entry, Baylor scored a touchdown thanks to a RB John Lovett 77-yard score and on the next drive, Brewer found Jalen Hurd for a touchdown. Then on their own 45-yard line, down 3 with 1:37 left to play, Charlie led the offense down the field and was able to connect with Denzel Mims to go up 35-31 with just seven seconds left. This was a tough, gritty win for Baylor and even when things looked bad, they made it work. This team is now in a great spot to make a bowl game this year after getting win number five on Saturday.
Iowa State (Beat Kansas 27-3)
I know that this win doesn’t seem like much but give Iowa State credit. They came into Lawrence for a snoozer of an 11 AM kick but they took care of business. The defense gave up some yards but more importantly, they kept Kansas to just 3 points. Offensively, QB Brock Purdy was fantastic going 16/23 for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns. When the rushing attack wasn’t at full speed, it was the Brock Purdy to Hakeem Butler connection that elevated this Cyclones offense. WR Hakeem Butler finished the day catching 5 passes for 164 yards and 2 scores. He absolutely owned the Jayhawks secondary as he made some excellent catches in this game. The score was already 20-3 at the break and Iowa State added another score in the second half while shutting out Kansas. This team still has PLENTY to play for and if they can win out, I like their chances of reaching a Big 12 title game.
TCU (Beat Kansas State 14-13)
Just when I thought TCU was the worst team in the Big 12, they go out and win a game. What the hell is going on here? I still am not sure after watching a very sloppy game on both sides, but TCU got the victory. QB Michael Collins struggled throughout the game but TCU was finally able to get a little separation when Collins hit wide out Jalen Reagor for a big 67-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to go up 14-7. Kansas State would score a touchdown in the fourth quarter but a missed extra point by the Wildcats was the difference in this game of bad offense. However, no matter how bad the stat sheet was or how hard it was to watch this game from start to finish (My eyes hurt for a while), TCU got a victory to keep their bowl hopes alive.
West Virginia (Beat Texas 42-41)
What a game this was. Let’s get one negative thing out of the way here, the defense was not very good at all throughout the game. But they were able to hold Texas to just 3 points in the third quarter as Texas had two drives deep into West Virginia territory. While the defense struggled all game long, those two drives were crucial. Now, time for the flash. QB Will Grier went 28/42 for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns and was able to find wide receiver David Sills for two of those three touchdowns passes. Surprisingly, the West Virginia running game came up HUGE in this matchup as the Mountaineers were able to rush for 232 yards with Martell Pettaway and Kennedy McKoy leading the charge. Anytime Texas scored it seemed like this team answered right back. Not to mention, on the road down in Austin.
Then with less than 30 seconds left in the game, Will Grier dropped an absolute dime to Gary Jennings to pull West Virginia within a point with just 16 seconds left. Instead of trying to tie the game, Dana Holgorsen ask his team “Do you want to win the game?” They said yes, and Dana responded, “Let’s go f*cking win the game.” That’s the stuff legends are made of and when Will Grier ran in the two-point conversion, it made Dana’s decision a viral sensation. This team now controls their own destiny to make the Big 12 title game in December and that’s all you can ask for right now if you are a Mountaineer fan. Side note: Horns down is not a flag unless Horns up is.
Oklahoma (Beat Texas Tech 51-46)
I am glad I made the journey to Lubbock for this classic wild west shootout. QB Kyler Murray threw two uncharacteristic interceptions and suddenly, the Sooners were down 14-0 early. Oklahoma didn’t bat an eye because they were able to put together four straight touchdown drives thanks to a couple touchdown passes by Murray as well as adding a rushing touchdown along with Trey Sermon’s. At the break, Oklahoma had over 150 rushing yards but the two costly turnovers and the defensive struggles, they trailed 31-28. Just as the defense started finding their footing, the offense sputtered a bit scoring just one touchdown in the third quarter. The two teams traded a few touchdowns in the fourth quarter and when Tech pulled within two points midway in the fourth quarter, Robert Barnes picked off the two-point conversion attempt and took it all the way back for two points of their own to extend their lead 44-40 with under seven minutes left to play.
Then on their most crucial drive, the Sooners were able to chew some clock running the football and eventually topped off the drive with a 30-yard touchdown run by Trey Sermon with under three minutes left. Besides the two picks, Kyler Murray was fantastic and believe it or not, he became the first player in Oklahoma history to throw for 300 plus yards and run for a 100 in the same game. Also, the Sooners were able to rush for over 300 yards for the third straight game and give credit to the offensive line for creating lanes for Trey Sermon who rushed for 206 yards and 3 scores. While it may not have been the prettiest performance, Oklahoma got the tough win in Lubbock at night. I’ll say this about the defense, the scoreboard didn’t tell the whole story there because that defense was put into some tough spots throughout the game. I asked Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury after the game how do you slow down Kyler Murray? His answer “You don’t.”
Oklahoma State (Lost 35-31 to Baylor)
After a big win against Texas last week, this was certainly a huge letdown. The offense struggled in the first half only scoring 10 points against a mediocre Baylor defense. They finally found some life in the second half thanks to two Tylan Wallace touchdowns (One rushing and one receiving). RB Justice Hill added a fourth quarter score too, but the defense gave up two big touchdown plays in the second half. Then late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were up 31-28 with about a minute and a half left to play. The Cowboys had the ball at the Baylor 36-yard line and elected to go for it on fourth and two, but it went south as Taylor Cornelius was sacked for a ten-yard loss to give Baylor a chance to tie or win the game. Unfortunately for Mike Gundy, Baylor marched it down the field and scored a touchdown with just seven seconds left to take a 35-31 lead. That pretty much did it for any hopes the Cowboys had of winning this game.
Looking back at this one, it was obvious the offense wasn’t clicking. QB Taylor Cornelius didn’t have his best game especially when it came to his accuracy. I am still not sure why RB Justice Hill isn’t getting more touches, especially when he is moving the chains with the football in his hands but that’s a Gundy problem. WR Tylan Wallace had a nice game as well catching 8 passes for 112 yards and 2 total touchdowns on the day. However, it was the defense that struggled mightily. They gave up way too many big plays and as a team, Oklahoma State had 133 yards in penalties. Combine that with giving up big plays through the air and on the ground, your chances of winning on the road are slim to none. Next up, Bedlam.
Texas (Lost 42-41 to West Virginia)
Before I go on a rant about the defense in this game, I must give some credit to QB Sam Ehlinger who went 25/36 for 354 yards and had 4 total touchdowns. The offense heavily relied on the arm of Ehlinger who was able to find wide outs Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey early and often. Sure, the offense struggled a time or two on the goal line but overall, they scored 41 points at home. That’s good enough to win you a game. Defensively, it was a completely different story. Texas got torched for 42 points and 578 yards of offense. I wasn’t surprised so much at the fact of how well West Virginia threw the football against this defense, but the concerning area was the run defense for Texas that got gashed for a tune of 232 yards. In fact, Texas only forced West Virginia to punt once in the entire first half and just twice all game long. The Longhorns have now dropped two straight and their chances of reaching a Big 12 title game are getting slimmer every week.
Texas Tech (Lost 51-46 to Oklahoma)
As most of you may know, I was covering this game on Saturday. The weather was cool, the stadium was packed, and the tortillas were flying. It was a great environment all around when Tech got off to a 14-0 start, I thought we were in for an upset special. QB Alan Bowman led five scoring drives in the first half and he was dealing out there. It was clear that Oklahoma had no answers for Alan Bowman on Saturday night and with him in the game, I really liked Tech’s odds there. But that all came crashing down a bit when he got hit in the midsection running towards the corner of the endzone late in the first half. Just coming off a partially collapsed lung, that hit was devastating because he couldn’t finish the game and was checked into a hospital later that night. Whenever the news broke, Jett Duffey was put in at quarterback and the offense just wasn’t the same. Also, defensively, they wore down a bit in the first half as they allowed Oklahoma to score four straight touchdowns before the half.
It took Tech awhile to get their footing on offense with Duffey in at quarterback. In fact, they had six drives in the second half and the first three went for three and outs before ripping off three straight touchdowns. Well, while it was nice, it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Sooners high flying offense. WR Antoine Wesley had a huge day catching 12 passes for 199 yards but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to put Tech over the top. Defensively, Texas Tech got whipped on the ground as Oklahoma was able to run for 323 rushing yards and really control the game in the second half. Now with the status of Alan Bowman in jeopardy, I am not exactly sure how many games they can win without him at the helm. Next up is Texas at home. The last time this program beat at Big 12 team at home not named Kansas? November 14th, 2015 against Kansas State.
Kansas (Lost 27-3 to Iowa State)
In case you were living under a rock, head coach David Beaty will be gone at the end of the season. So, there is some good news for the future of the program depending on the next hire. Now, as for this game, it was an eye sore to watch Kansas which shouldn’t surprise anyone. RB Khlalil Herbert was the bright spot for the Jayhawks as he rushed for 91 yards and that was pretty much it because QB Peyton Bender was subpar and the offense couldn’t never put together a solid scoring drive all game long. Defensively, I thought the Kansas secondary got torched a few times in the first half but they did only give up seven points in the entire second half. There’s not much more I can really say on this game because I don’t think that this score really surprised anyone. Kansas fans are probably ready for basketball season at this point and I don’t blame them one bit.
Kansas State (Lost 14-13 to TCU)
Speaking of eye sores, this game was one and then some for me at least. Still can’t believe I watched this game on my laptop in the press box at Tech and I had one guy ask me “Why are you watching that game?” My response was “I like to torture myself I guess.” He didn’t think it was that funny, but it was true in a sense. Of course, I watch all the games because that’s what we do here. Now, as for the game, the offense was HORRIBLE. The special teams were HORRIBLE. The defense was just alright. They held TCU in check most of the game and when you only give up fourteen points on the road, your chances of winning are pretty good unless your offense is well, like this.
Besides RB Alex Barnes, the offense was pathetic and from the miscues on punt returns and field goal kicking, it was bad all around. The missed extra point was big but there was still nine minutes left in the game, so there was more than enough time to go win the game and the offense just couldn’t do it. The ugliest thing from this game? It was the comments Bill Snyder made after the game about Isaiah Zuber fumbling a punt in the first quarter. He basically threw him under the bus, but you know what’s funny? THEY KEEP PUTTING HIM OUT THERE TO FIELD PUNTS TIME AFTER TIME. You have nobody to blame but yourself Billy boy. This program is going down shit creek.
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