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Big 12 Football’s Week 9: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Kansas State

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). Week nine has come and gone and 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. Keep in mind that Baylor and West Virginia were off. 

The Good

Kansas State (Beat Oklahoma 48-41)

Wow. What. A. Game. If you would have told me Kansas State would score more than 40 points in this game, I might have slapped you before you could even finish the sentence. The Wildcats absolutely dominated this game and although the final score won’t show it, at one-point Kansas State was up 48-23 in the fourth quarter. This was a classic Kansas State type of game. They held the ball for over 38 minutes and had 40 plus rushing attempts. Although they ran the ball a lot more than they threw it, their yards were very balanced as the offense rushed for 213 yards and passed for 213 yards. The passing game didn’t make big plays, but they did just enough to move the chains and give quarterback Skylar Thompson credit for not making mistakes in this game. Although the defense struggled in the first and fourth quarter, they somehow managed to hold the red-hot Sooners offense to just six total points in the second and third quarter. This was a HUGE program win for Chris Klieman and now the Wildcats are just one win away from bowl eligibility. Enjoy the win Kansas State fans, you deserve it. 

TCU (Beat Texas 37-27)

Considering how both teams have been playing lately, I wasn’t sure what to make of this matchup. After showing no life of a passing game all season long, TCU quarterback Max Duggan absolutely shredded the Texas defense as he racked up 345 yards and two touchdowns. Whether it was through the air or on the ground, Max Duggan had himself a day. It was also nice to see wide out Jalen Reagor be more involved as he made some big plays as well. While it wasn’t their best game defensively, those four turnovers that the defense came up with were HUGE. It put the Frogs in great spots throughout the game. Just when I thought TCU would likely miss out on a bowl game this season, they appeared to have proved me wrong. NEVER DOUBT GARY PATTERSON. 

 

Oklahoma State (Beat Iowa State 34-27)

Oklahoma Stat just ran 55 plays in this game, but it was their big play ability that put them over the top. The Cowboys had three touchdowns that went for over 45-yards and not to mention a key pick six by Malcolm Rodriguez in the fourth quarter. Two simple screen passes to Tylan Wallace (Who broke about ten tackles) and Braydon Johnson went for scores while the other long score came off a 65-yard Chuba Hubbard run. I had to do a double take on the stat sheet because the Cowboys were outgained in this game and they went just 2 for 12 on third down and had the ball for nearly ten minutes less than the Cyclones. But again, it was the big plays that made the difference for them. Last weekend they got “big played” by Baylor according to Mike Gundy and now they “Big played” Iowa State on the road. Defensively, the Cowboys did a good job slowing down they Iowa State rushing attack as they allowed just 86 yards on the ground. While they gave up some passing yards, the defense came up with three takeaways in the fourth quarter including that key pick six. The fan base had questions about where this program was headed with Mike Gundy at the helm but that must be silenced for at least another week after this big win. 

Kansas (Beat Texas Tech 37-34)

Every time I doubted Kansas, they made big play after big play to come back in this game. As I will talk about later for Tech, but the Jayhawks scored three touchdowns that went for 45-yards or more. QB Carter Stanley threw for 415 yards and 3 touchdowns while also adding a rushing touchdown as well. Of course, he got some big help from wide out Stephon Robinson Jr. and Andrew Parchment who combined for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns. Whether they were down by seventeen or ten points, the offense found a way to climb back into the game. The defense struggled at times but when it mattered most, they were able to force two three and outs to get the ball back to their offense in the fourth quarter late. Not to mention, the ability to recover the football after their first blocked field goal attempt to let them get a second crack at winning the game was huge. Kudos to Liam Jones for nailing that kick as time expired. This was a monumental win for Kansas and Les Miles. The Jayhawks are now 3-5 on the season and have a BIG matchup with their in-state rival next weekend. 

Baylor (Bye Week)

How about this? Baylor didn’t play a game on Saturday and guess who is sitting at the top of the Big 12 standings right now? Why, the Baylor Bears of course. After a crazy weekend, I am sure Baylor fans are glad that weren’t involved in all the craziness that went on as every single underdog won this weekend. While they aren’t a lock to clinch a title spot just yet, this past weekend gave them some cushion in case they drop a game or two in November. 

The Bad

Iowa State (Lost 34-27 to Oklahoma State)

If you are an Iowa State fan, this was a tough one to watch. The defense had the Cowboys right where they wanted at times, yet they simply gave up too many big plays. Oklahoma State ran two simple screen passes that went for 40 plus yards for scores and a 65-yard touchdown run as well. You can do everything right but if you give up big play after big play, you won’t stand much of a chance in any game. I think it’s safe to say that the defense by no means had their best day. The offense however, had an odd day. Running back Breece Hall had another solid performance as he racked up 76-yards and two rushing scores while wide out Deshaunte Jones and tight end Charlie Kolar had big days as well. But the head scratching thing to me is why did Brock Purdy have 63 passing attempts as the offense just ran the ball just 25 times? The Cowboys were very blitz heavy and it would have been nice to see some counter for the offense such as a screen pass or a quarterback draw. But that didn’t happen and in the fourth quarter, the last three Iowa State possessions ended in a pick and one of those picks were a pick six to help Oklahoma State win the game when it was tied at 27. I felt like Iowa State didn’t adjust well and they abandoned the running game too early for my liking. I am no expert but that’s just my take. This one was a big loss for the Cyclones as they have now lost two conference games and have a tough November ahead. 

Texas Tech (Lost 37-34 to Kansas)

You are probably wondering why Texas Tech isn’t in my ugly column, but I picked Kansas to win this game. I didn’t think it would happen after Tech jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but they just let Kansas keep coming back when they started to separate themselves. The offense wasn’t all that bad as they racked up 483 yards and put 34 on the scoreboard on the road. That should be good enough to beat a team like Kansas. Heck, even Jett Duffey played a clean game with 271 yards and 3 touchdowns and he didn’t even turn the football over. This wasn’t a game I can really put on the offense much. Defensively, big plays absolutely killed them, and those big plays helped Kansas get right back in the game quickly. In fact, the Tech defense gave up four touchdowns that went for 32-yards or more. Not to mention, giving up a whopping 527 yards to Kansas. I am sure many wouldn’t want me to mention this but as Kansas lined up for a game winning field goal with 13 second left from 40-yard outs, Tech blocked the kick as Douglas Coleman picked it up and tried to pitch the football back but as he pitched it back, his arm got hit and Kansas was able to scoop up the loose football with two seconds left to get another re-kick. Of course, Kansas nailed the field goal to win the game. One of the strangest endings to a football game I have ever seen. The Red Raiders now must win three out of their next four to reach a bowl game. 

 

The Ugly

Oklahoma (Lost 48-41 to Kansas State)

After taking a 17-7 lead late in the first quarter, I thought the Sooners would cruise their way to a victory on the road. Instead, a turn for the worst happened as the Sooners would get outscored 34 to 6 in the second and third quarter. I will give them credit late because after being down 25 in the final quarter, Oklahoma pulled within a touchdown as they attempted the infamous onside kick that was ruled an illegal touching penalty after the Sooners recovered the onside kick late in the game. While the call can certainly be a controversial one, the Sooners should have never been in that position to begin with. They are a better team than Kanas State and being down by more than three scores to them at anytime in the ball game is unacceptable. The defense got their butts kicked as Kansas State seemed to effortlessly march the football down the field at will. I couldn’t remember if I was watching the 2019 Oklahoma defense or the ones from the last few years under Mike Stoops. The effort just wasn’t there tonight as the defense seemed to let things snowball when bad things started to happen. 

The offense wasn’t much better either at times as I mentioned they just were able to score six total points in the second and third quarter. Also, I would be interested to hear as to why the running backs (Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks) had a combined six carries in this game while Jalen Hurts ran the football nineteen times. That’s head scratching to me. Maybe the offense felt the pressure too much since the defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed most of the time on Saturday. There are so many questions that we likely won’t get answers to but what I do know is that this loss may have just ended the Sooners playoff chances and that their 22-game road winning streak is over. While that sucks, the good news is that they still control their destiny for a Big 12 title if they can win out. 

Texas (Lost 37-27 to TCU)

While the missed tackles were cut down, the overall play of the defense continues to be a concern. Giving up 37 points to a bad TCU offense is inexcusable. TCU hasn’t had a pulse on offense in awhile and yet Texas gave up 435 yards on Saturday and let the Frogs convert almost 50% of their third downs. The Todd Orlando era in Austin may come to an early end if the defensive side of the football contuse to struggle. Meanwhile, the offense wasn’t all terrible. Wide out Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay had big games but surprisingly it was the play of quarterback Sam Ehlinger that hurt the Longhorns. Coming into this game, Sam had thrown just three interceptions on the season. He just so happened to throw four picks in this game and while the score was close nearly all game long, there is no doubt in my mind that those four turnovers were the difference in this one. TCU has now beaten Texas five out of the last six times. If you are a Texas fan, that must make you cringe. Not only did Texas lose this game but their hopes of making a Big 12 title at this point are razor thin.

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