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.
West Virginia (Beat TCU 47-10)
After a very slow start (Trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter), the Mountaineers finally woke up with about five minutes left in the first quarter. In fact, in the final 5 minutes of the first half, West Virginia scored three touchdowns to go into halftime leading 24-3. Talk about a turn of events am I right? From there, West Virginia stomped on the gas pedal and crushed the Horned Frogs and even backup quarterback Jack Allison got some action as well. QB Will Grier had another outstanding day going 25/39 for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns. While the offense was hot for three quarters, the defense was on fire the entire game allowing just a total of 222 total yards and held TCU to just ten points. Not to mention they held TCU to -7 rushing yards on the day. Oh yeah, that David Long Jr. guy at linebacker? He’s pretty good too as he recorded three sacks on TCU QB Michael Collins.
Kansas State (Beat Kansas 21-17)
Speaking of slow starts, Kansas State was asleep for the entire first half as they were down 3-0 to Kansas at the end of the first half. Then out of nowhere, the Wildcats were able to put together a quick five play drive as they ran the ball on all five plays that finally resulted in a touchdown thanks to an RB Alex Barnes 24-yard run. But of course, the way this season has gone, Kansas was able to put together a nine-play drive that ended in a touchdown to take back the lead. But once again, Kansas State responded with their own touchdown posting back to back scoring drives for the first time all game when Alex Barnes found the endzone again. With about five minutes left in the game, Kansas State trailed by 3 and with 2:46 left to play QB Alex Delton scored on a 21-yard touchdown run. The Wildcats were able to recover a late fumble by Kansas to hang on to win 21-17 and keep their bowl hopes alive.
Iowa State (Beat Baylor 28-14)
This game was all Iowa State in the first half as they led Baylor 17-0 at the break. They were able to extend their lead 28-7 entering the fourth quarter but then they had a ball game on their hands when Baylor cut it to a two-score game early in the fourth. While the offense struggled to move the football in the fourth quarter, the defense came up with two huge stops to seal the game. QB Brock Purdy shouldered the load in this one going 18/23 for 230 yards and a touchdown pass. He also led his team in rushing with 56 yards and a rushing score. The offense played well for three quarters and the defense bent some, but they didn’t break much allowing just 14 points. One thing I do want to mention is the big scuffle in the third quarter where Both Baylor defensive lineman Greg Roberts and Iowa State running back David Montgomery were throwing punches. Both players were ejected and right now it looks like David will miss the first half of the Texas game for being ejected. That’s huge considering what’s at stake for this team right now.
Oklahoma (Beat Oklahoma State 48-47)
This was a BYOD kind of game which means bring your own defense. Well, neither team did, and the result was a wild west shootout. This defense allowed 501 passing yards to Taylor Cornelius for crying out loud. As bad as the defense was, you make the good list if you win and that’s what Oklahoma did on Saturday. QB Kyler Murray was fantastic going 21/30 for 349 yards and a touchdown. However, it was the rushing attack that really dominated this one as the Sooners were able to rush for 353 yards led by Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon who combined for 289 yards and 5 touchdowns. WR Marquise Brown was solid too but like I mentioned, the rushing attack is what put this team over the top. Offensively it was awesome, defensively it was awful. The good news is that Oklahoma survived the shootout and that’s all that matters.
Texas (Beat Texas Tech 41-34)
Talk about sweating out a victory here. Texas was up 34-17 with 10:26 left in the fourth quarter. I think everyone including myself thought that it would be an easy victory for Texas up to that point. Thanks to a Texas Tech field goal and onside kick recovery, Texas Tech pulled within a touchdown with less than five minutes left to play. Texas went three and out and when Tech got the ball back, they quickly tied the game up with less than two minutes left. All of sudden, the pressure was back on Texas to go down and score. Texas was able to score with ease thanks to QB Sam Ehlinger who found Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a 29-yard touchdown with just 21 seconds to go. Texas went on to win a nail bitter in Lubbock but give Sam Ehlinger credit as he threw for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns on the evening. His favorite target, WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey caught 8 passes for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns was also a key factor in the win. Defensively, Texas was a mess and without some Texas Tech red zone turnovers, I am not sure if Texas pulls this one off. Luckily, they did.
Kansas (Lost 21-17 to Kansas State)
The first half was BRUTAL to watch but the Jayhawks did go into the break leading 3-0 over their rival on the road. In the second half, Kansas finally woke up a little bit scoring a couple touchdowns and even taking a 17-14 lead early in the final quarter. Well not to anyone’s surprise, it didn’t last because Kansas State scored a touchdown with less than three minutes left to go up. Kansas would have one final drive to go win the game and for a little bit, it looked like they possibly could. Then it all came crashing down when QB Peyton Bender tried to throw the ball and the ball just simply fell out of his hands and Kansas State was able to land on the live ball. Tough way to lose for the Jayhawks and at this point, they are likely ready for the season to end and I don’t blame them. Change is on the way.
Baylor (Lost 28-14 to Iowa State)
Much like other teams in the Big 12 this past weekend, Baylor had an eye sore of a first half as they weren’t even able to score a single point. Late in the third quarter, Baylor was still down 17-0 and suddenly, a scuffle broke out that resulted with both DE Greg Roberts and Iowa State’s David Montgomery getting ejected for throwing punches. Greg Roberts jumped over an official to swing a few times and while it was entertaining to watch, it was stupid on his part. Iowa State would kick a field goal on that drive to go up 20-0 but give Baylor credit, they didn’t just roll over. They fought back by stringing together two consecutive touchdown drives led by QB Charlie Brewer. With the Bears down 28-14 in the fourth quarter, Brewer was marching the offense down the field and after a nice run by him, he got up and told the official something and without hesitation, the ref flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct and since the team was issued with one due to the fight earlier in the game, Charlie was ejected.
Backup QB Jalan McClendon entered the game and the offense stalled out and was never able to get back in the game. After the game, head coach Matt Rhule disagreed with the ejection since Charlie had nothing to do with the scuffle earlier in the game as he was on the bench drinking Gatorade. I am not sure what the officials told Matt Rhule, but I agree with him. Any player that was not involved in the fight earlier in the game, should not have been penalized. It was an unfortunate incident and was a shame to see Charlie get ejected and I am not saying Baylor would have won the game, but it would have helped if they had their starting quarterback to finish the game.
Oklahoma State (Lost to Oklahoma 48-47)
Like I mentioned earlier with Oklahoma, the defense in this game was optional and both teams decided to leave their defenses behind. But, give credit to the Oklahoma State offense and more importantly, QB Taylor Cornelius who threw for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns. Did he miss some throws? Sure, but it’s hard to complain when he has a performance like that. Even without RB Justice Hill for most of the game, WR Tylan Wallace had a superstar performance catching 10 passes for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Chuba Hubbard stepped up in Hill’s absence with 104 rushing yards and 3 scores, but he had a crucial mistake in the fourth quarter when he coughed up the football and it proved to be costly. Make no mistake, the defense is what cost Oklahoma State the game allowing over 350 rushing yards and basically let Oklahoma do whatever they want on offense. Was the defense bad? Absolutely and that was a big negative for the team but one other positive I want to mention was Mike Gundy. He didn’t coach scared in the game. He took it right to the Sooners and gave them all they could handle and then some. There is no doubt that this team left it all out on the field on Saturday.
Texas Tech (Lost 41-34)
With Alan Bowman still sidelined with an injury, Jett Duffey got the start for the Red Raiders at quarterback. To start the game, Jett led a beautiful ten play drive that resulted in a touchdown when he hooked up with T.J. Vasher for a 5-yard score. Fast forward a few quarters and a couple Jett Duffey red zone turnovers later, Tech was down 34-17 with 10:26 left to play. Tech looked dead in the water but somehow this team found a way to get back in it scoring 17 unanswered points in a span of about nine minutes to tie the game at 34 a piece with just 1:45 left to play. All the defense had to do was get one final stop and they couldn’t do it as Texas marched down the field and scored with just 21 seconds left. Don’t even get me started on what Tech did on their final possession because I had no idea what on earth they were doing there, and they weren’t even able to get a shot at the endzone. While Jett Duffey’s stat sheet looks good (444 yards and 4 touchdowns), his two turnovers deep in Texas territory proved to be costly. WR Antoine Wesley was a bright spot for the team catching 8 passes for 171 yards and 2 scores as he continues to put up monster numbers each week. Also, outside of the first quarter, the defense really struggled for the final three quarters. Tech sits at 5-5 and will have two chances left to make a bowl game. They will travel to K-State next weekend before facing Baylor at Jerry World to wrap up the season.
TCU (Lost 47-10)
I am not sure what to say about this performance by TCU. QB Michael Collins wasn’t good, the offense rushed for -7 yards and outside of WR Jalen Reagor, nobody did much of anything. The defense did what they could holding on to a 3-0 lead entering the second quarter before the flood gates started to open as they allowed 535 yards to the Mountaineers and with an offense struggling to move the football, the defense was put in tough spots all game long. You can’t do that against a high-powered offense like West Virginia’s. This team is struggling all around and lacks play making ability on offense. You can’t win with just defense in the Big 12 and this team drops to 4-6 and must win out to just make a bowl game. Right now, I don’t see that happening.
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