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 twelve 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.
Oklahoma State (Beat Kansas 31-13)
This was an odd game. Not just because it was a snoozer on the Big 12 slate but because there was a lot to take from this game, surprisingly. This was all Oklahoma State in the first half as the Cowboys went into halftime up 24-0 already. Spencer Sanders had an average game and running back Chuba Hubbard did his thing with 122 yards and two scores. Meanwhile wide out Dillon Stoner (STONER!) had himself a day with 150 yards receiving and added two touchdowns as well. However, the big story here was Spencer Sanders as he had to leave the game in the third quarter with an injury to his thumb on his throwing hand. With Sanders out, backup Dru Brown finally got his chance and he managed the offense to one more score in the second half when he found Dillon Stoner for a 43-yard score. Outside of worrying about Spencer Sanders, kicker Matt Ammendola probably had his worst day in a Cowboy uniform as he missed three kicks on the day. Outside of those two things, the Cowboys were solid. Heck even the defense had a great game as they forced three turnovers and held Kansas to just 39 rushing yards and all the Jayhawks points came in garbage time.
TCU (Beat Texas Tech 33-31)
I mentioned this on my recap for this game but TCU somehow managed to score on their first four drives of the game and at one point were up 24-3 early in the second quarter. From there, TCU did basically nothing outside of three Jonathan Song field goals to help win the game. Up 24-3, TCU punted three times and while TCU was busy punting, Texas Tech was able to climb back in the game. It was basically the same story for the third quarter as Texas Tech outscored TCU 12-0 and even took a 28-27 lead late in the third quarter. Even with that, Max Duggan was able to lead the offense to take the final score of the game with you guessed it, another field goal. TCU really dominated this game on the stat sheet. The outgained Texas Tech 549-402 and had the football for an absurd 43 minutes and 23 seconds. But TCU went stagnant on offense and the defense started giving up some big plays that went for scores. I am not sure if TCU just got too comfortable with their lead or what, but you can NEVER take your foot off the gas pedal in the Big 12. Especially on the road. This was a huge win for the Horned Frogs as they now move to 5-5 and just need to win one more game to get bowl eligible. TCU will play Oklahoma and West Virginia to finish the year and as of now, neither win would be easy to get.
West Virginia (Beat Kansas State 24-20)
While I had most of my attention on the Iowa State/Texas game, I did have a tab open to stream this one on my laptop. But wow, what a big win in the starting debut for quarterback Jarret Doege. He threw two touchdown passes in his first three drives as they both went to wide out George Campbell. After two quick scores in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers would score again until the fourth quarter thanks to a Casey Legg 51-yard field goal to pull West Virginia within three. Just one drive later, Doege hit Bryce Wheaton for a 50-yard bomb to give West Virginia a 24-20 lead and they never looked back. Even with not much help from the run game (As usual), Doege made some big plays at quarterback when called upon. It wasn’t always pretty but this offense found a way to win. Defensively, it was all about stopping the run and the Mountaineers did a fantastic job as they held Kansas State to just 122 yards on 38 carries. Also, don’t forget about that huge interception by Hakeem Bailey to seal the deal for West Virginia late as Kansas State was driving deep into Mountaineer territory. West Virginia keeps their bowl hope alive as they move to 4-6 and must beat Oklahoma State and TCU to get to 6-6.
Iowa State (Beat Texas 23-21)
This game felt odd to me and I am sure Iowa State fans would say the same thing. Not because of the outcome, but because of the way the game went before they eventually won. After absolutely dominating the first half stat sheet, Iowa State was somehow just up by three after playing prevent defense on the final Texas drive of the half that helped Texas score and make it a three-point game at the break. Then the same thing happened in the third quarter, the Cyclones outscored the Longhorns 10-0, but they let Texas go on to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Texas took a 21-20 lead with 5:37 left to play. And even with the Cyclones punting the football back, the defense forced Texas to a three and out with one final possession left, the Cyclones marched down the field and with the help of an offsides penalty, got a fresh set of downs to let kicker Connor Assalley drill one right down the ole Assalley for the win as time expired.
Offensively, Iowa State played well enough to win but not great by any means but after a win, who cares? Brock Purdy threw for 354 yards 2 scores as he broke the single season school record for touchdown passes. Meanwhile, freshman running back Breece Hall continued his hot streak with 101 yards as he now has had four 100-yard games in his last five contests. As for the receivers, it was Deshaunte Jones and La’Michael Pettway leading the way with a combined 244 yards and a score. Also, how about that defense? They got the football back to the offense in a key situation and most importantly, they shut down the Texas running game and held them to just 54 yards on the ground. With the win, Iowa State now becomes bowl eligible for the third straight season and Matt Campbell has now beaten every Big 12 team in his coaching career including his own back in 2015 when he was at Toledo.
Oklahoma (Beat Baylor 34-31)
This may have been the craziest game I have seen since the famous Oklahoma/Texas Tech shootout back in 2016. The Sooners played about as badly as they could play in the first half. It felt like they left off right where they were in the fourth quarter of the Iowa State game. While the defense gave up 31 in the first half, the offense had to back breaking turnovers from Jalen Hurts and were only able to put ten on the scoreboard. Down 31-10 at the break, the Sooners did the unthinkable and held Baylor scoreless and went on to outscore the Bears 24-0 in the second half to complete the comeback of a lifetime. As bad as Jalen Hurts was in the first half, he was practically a magician in the second half throwing four touchdown passes in the final two quarters. He also added 114 yards on the ground. Even after his costly fumble diving into to the end zone, he found ways to make plays late to help win the game. Outside of Jalen, running back Kennedy Brooks had a solid performance and it was great to see those freshman wide outs step up when CeeDee Lamb was out for the game. And how about the defense in the second half? They held the Bears scoreless and Baylor only ran a total of 16 plays in the second half. That’s ABSURD. I could right a novel about this game and it still wouldn’t do this game justice. Go watch this game again if you get a chance. Somehow, someway, Oklahoma keeps their playoff hopes alive after leaving Waco.
Texas Tech (Lost 33-31 to TCU)
As good as Tech was in the in the final three quarters, you can not play that badly in the first half to start the game. To be down 24-3 at one point at home against TCU is inexcusable. I know Tech was without linebacker Jordyn Brooks for almost the whole game and wide out T.J. Vasher is still out with his suspension, but Tech look completely uninterested for the start of this game and to be honest, so did the crowd that didn’t show up either as the Jones was fairly empty for kickoff. Don’t get me wrong though, when this offense was going, they were cooking as Jett Duffey threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Most of his yards went to wide out R.J. Turner who had a big game with 116 yards on just three catches yet two of those catches went for six. Of course, the run game still needs some work but with Tech being down so much early, they had to toss the pigskin around some. As for the defense, it was just an ugly, sloppy start that they dig themselves in. Sure, they made stops when needed to late, but you can’t let an offense as bad as TCU’s score on their first four drives to open the game. Not to mention letting TCU convert 15 out of 24 third downs. Perhaps something that hasn’t been brought up much is the decision to go for two twice in the second half after scores. If Tech kicks two extra points in those situations, this game maybe could have gone to overtime. I know kicker Trey Wolff missed a PAT earlier but if you trust him to kick field goals then just let him kick the PAT’s still.
Texas (Lost 23-21 to Iowa State)
The first half felt like a train wreck for Texas as they were dominated by Iowa State for nearly the entire first half. Luckily, the offense bailed them out late as they were able to score on their final drive. The same thing happened in the third quarter as Texas got outscored 10-0 before stringing together two scores in the fourth. Of course, that horrible offsides mistake by Joseph Ossai helped the Cyclones get closer to kick the game winning field goal. Overall, it was just an up and down kind of day for Texas and that kind of play will get you beat on the road. Perhaps the biggest issue with Texas was the lack of the run game with just 54 yards on 26 rushing attempts. Texas wants to pound the rock and control the game and they simply didn’t do that against Iowa State. The Cyclones forced their hand on offense and made Texas a very pass-happy offense. Of course, it was interesting to see some of the play calls as well and at times, they weren’t even interested in throwing the football more than five yards at a time. I know the offsides penalty was huge but when you hold a hot Iowa State offense to 23 points, I am going to put the game on the offense. With the loss, Texas drops to 6-4 and now their Big 12 titles hopes are all but a dream. There are plenty of questions to be answered in Austin right now.
Kansas (Lost 31-13 to Oklahoma State)
Well, there isn’t a whole lot to say here besides ugly. In the first half, Kansas didn’t have a single offensive drive that went longer than six plays and of course not a single point was scored in the first half. Along with the weirdness of that, three Kansas quarterbacks saw playing time in this game between Carter Stanley, Thomas MacVittie and Manny Miles the son of head coach, Les Miles. While Carter saw the bulk of the action, all three guys threw one interception in this game. Outside of two garbage time touchdown passes from Carter Stanley, this offense was pathetic to say the least. To paint an uneasy picture for you, Kansas entered the fourth quarter down 31-0. Heck, it was 24-0 at halftime. With essentially no help for the offense, the defense got put in some tough spots and for most of the first half, they couldn’t hold up. Now, they did hold the Cowboys to just seven but when Spencer Sanders went down for Oklahoma State, I think the Cowboys let their foot off the gas pedal. Ever since the Texas and Texas Tech game, this team has looked and played like crap, and that’s putting it lightly. I don’t know what happened since the Tech win but in their last two games, Kansas has been outscored 69 to 23. With Iowa State and Baylor left on the schedule, I have a hard time seeing Kansas finish better than 3-9 this season.
Kansas State (Lost 24-20 to West Virginia)
HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU LOSE AT HOME TO A 3-6 TEAM? HOW? That’s all I really want to know here. The defense gave up some big plays but still, Kansas State should be able to score more than 24 points against West Virginia AT HOME. Kansas State couldn’t run the ball and when quarterback Skylar Thompson threw the football, it didn’t look pretty. Sure, he threw for 299 yards, but he threw two costly interceptions and went just 24 of 39. The Wildcats controlled the clock and even outgained the Mountaineers 421-319 but just gave up too many big plays and the offense could never be consistent enough to fight back when needed. I don’t have many takeaways from this game but ouch Kansas State. This one stung quite a bit and without a doubt, this was an inexcusable game to lose at home. Maybe it’s just best if everyone forgets about this game if you are a K-State fan.
Baylor (Lost 34-31 to Oklahoma)
I am almost at a loss for words here. The first half couldn’t have gone any better for the Bears as they racked up a 31-10 lead at halftime and I really thought Baylor would cruise their way to a huge win at home as the prime time national game. Instead, Baylor completely crapped their pants in the second half as Oklahoma went on to outscore the Bears 24-0 in the second half. While Charlie Brewer had four combined touchdowns in the first half, he was horrible in the second half. In the second half, Baylor just had four offensive possessions. Two of them ended in turnovers (one to end the game) and the other two were three and outs. As well as Baylor played in the first half on offense, they played worse in the second half. On defense, they were able to force some turnovers in the first half and completely shut down the Oklahoma offense. But in the second half, that defense started to wear down because the offense was basically useless in the final two quarters and forced the defense to be out there for most of the game.
In fact, the Bears defense was on the field for over 41 minutes of this ballgames. I don’t care what defense or how good your defense is, you can’t have them out on the field for 95 plays. Much like for the Oklahoma piece, my words won’t due this game justice. What I saw was maybe the biggest choke job I have ever seen since covering the Big 12. Baylor was up 25 at home and somehow lost this game. How is that possible? Again, I am sure Baylor fans are down in the dumps after this but there is a very good chance the Bears will get another shot at Oklahoma but this time, it’s for a Big 12 title.
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