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). It was another crazy weekend in the Big 12 and there was plenty of jam-packed action throughout Saturday to get through.
Oklahoma (Beat TCU 33-14)
The box score will not do it justice, but this Oklahoma defense was outstanding on Saturday. They allowed just one touchdown before garbage time and held TCU to just 75 rushing yards which is about 100 less than their season average. The defense did a great job putting pressure on Max Duggan and forced the Horned Frogs to go 5 for 14 on third down. Offensively, the Sooners struggled a bit in the red zone but throughout the game they moved the ball well on offense. Spencer Rattler did not have any turnovers and his favorite target was rising superstar Marvin Mims who had himself quite the day with 132 yards and 2 touchdowns. Yes, this team is just 2-2 in Big 12 play but watch out folks. This team is not dead yet.
Kansas State (Beat Kansas 55-14)
Although the score does not tell the whole story, this was a weird game in so many ways. For instance, Kansas State was up 34-7 at halftime and they only scored one offensive touchdown. The other scores came from kick returner Phillip Brooks who had a career day as he is the first Kansas State player to have two punt returns for touchdowns in one game and broke the school record with the most punt return yards in a game. Without a doubt, he is the special teams player of the week.
The second half was all about the offense with a couple of rushing scores from Duece Vaughn and Harry Trotter. Kansas State did not put up crazy numbers offensively because their special teams and defense dominated this game. The defense made the plays when needed and the kicking and return game were outstanding. Not much more you can ask for if you are a Kansas State fan as the Wildcats have beaten Kansas for the 12th straight time and remain as just one of two undefeated teams in Big 12 play.
Texas (Beat Baylor 27-16)
It was a horrible first quarter for Texas in which it looked like the team did not prepare for this game. With plenty of outside distractions whether it being Tom Herman’s job or “The Eyes of Texas” discussion, this team looked bad early and had just 37 yards of offense in the first quarter. But after that, it was mostly good for Texas. Sam Ehlinger had two rushing scores but other than that, the offense felt a bit forced as the run game was the primary focus as the Longhorns ran the ball 47 times on the day for just 159 yards. But the star of this game was the Texas defense. Before the fourth quarter, this defense held Baylor to just three points and suffocated the Bears offense with pressure. The run defense was superb, and I can see some improvement from this defense especially when it comes to tackling. This team still has some issues to work out but for another week, Tom Herman’s job is safe.
Oklahoma State (Beat Iowa State 21-24)
This performance was all about the Oklahoma State defense. The Cowboys dominated the Cyclones offensive line for most of the game putting all sorts of pressure on Brock Purdy any time he attempted to throw. Outside of two long runs, the defense did a great job throughout the game and held Iowa State to go just 4 of 14 on third down. I am not sure if I have said this before, but I believe Oklahoma State has the best defense in the entire country.
As for the offense, the run game took over. Chuba Hubbard looked like the 2019 version of himself as he rushed for 139 yards and a score. Quarterback Spencer Sanders was not great in the passing game tossing two interceptions, but his legs were magical as he ran for 71 yards and a score. It seemed like when the Cowboys needed to extend a play or pickup a first down on the ground, it was Sanders who made it happen. Sure, the passing game needs to be worked on, but I like the Cowboys weapons with Tylan Wallace and Jelani Woods who is a mountain of a man at the Cowboy Back position. This team plays defense and runs the football well. That is a recipe for success and now they are in the Big 12 drivers’ seat along with Kansas State.
Texas Tech (Beat West Virginia 34-27)
This was a fun game that looked like a classic Big 12 shootout. Henry Columbi made his first start in a Tech uniform and while he was just OK in the passing game, his running ability helped this team. Tech was down a few players for reasons unknown at this point, but the run game was key for Texas Tech as they rushed for 179 yards on the day and SaRodorick Thompson had a 48-yard score as well. However, it was the defense who made the final score to put them over as Zech McPhearson picked up a fumble and took it 56-yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. I do not have a whole lot of takeaways here, but Texas Tech did not make the mistakes to lose this game. They made plays and played a clean game as Matt Wells gets his third Big 12 win since taking over last season. Also, how about that 87-yard punt by Austin McNamara?
Iowa State (Lost 24-21 to Oklahoma State)
I will start by saying Breece Hall was the offense. His long runs were basically the Cyclones offense and yes, to me he is still the best running back in the Big 12. Now with that said, the rest of the offense was pathetic. The line could not hold up in pass protection and Brock Purdy seemed to be running from pressure often and it showed. Purdy was just 19/34 for 162 yards on the day with one touchdown and one pick. Perhaps what was even more concerning is that Charlie Kolar did not have his best day and how about this stat. Outside of Xavier Hutchinson, not a single wide receiver caught a pass. That is a problem. Another problem I had was with Connor Assalley who missed two field goals and if he makes just one of those, this game could have been completely different. The defense played ok, but they did play well enough to win by holding the Cowboys to 24 points. But with the way the offense and kicking game played, it was just too much to overcome. Iowa State still controls their own destiny, but they cannot afford another hiccup on the schedule.
TCU (Lost 33-14 to Oklahoma)
I did not expect TCU to win this game but what a poor showing across the board. The red zone defense was maybe the only bright spot here but outside of that, it was not pretty. The offensive line was bad all game long and the run game was non-existent, and Max Duggan had little to no time to throw the football. Defensively, just too many big plays given up in the passing game and had trouble at times stopping the run. Usually you can count of the offense or defense showing up but on Saturday, I felt like both sides of the ball were below average. The Sooners continue to have TCU’s number as Oklahoma beats them for the seventh straight time. I thought TCU had a chance to maybe make some noise this season, but I think we can put that to rest now.
Kansas (Lost 55-14 to Kansas State)
Well, I am almost at a loss for words here. The offense was OK in the first half but other than that, it was probably best to drink if you are a Kansas football fan. Again, I do not have much to say but HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU CONTINEU TO KICK TO PHILLIP BROOKS? CAN YOU NOT PUNT THE FOOTBALL OUT OF BOUNDS? I just do not understand. Maybe Les Miles is on his phone during the game looking for a retirement beach house or something because his team is a lost cause at this point.
Baylor (Lost 27-16 to Texas)
I will be flat out honest with you Baylor fans: I think this season will be a disaster. I did not like the way the defense played giving up over 400 yards and allowing Texas convert 50% of their third downs. The defense was mediocre at best in this one. And offensively, I have no earthly idea what is going on and I will say this. Larry Fedora should be gone after this season. I know Baylor was down a couple offensive lineman, but the play calling did not help their situation one bit. The offensive line struggled to get a push in the run game and had trouble keeping pressure off Charlie Brewer. The Bears have some guys at wide receiver who can be nice role players but is there anyone going to step up and become that guy in the passing game? Because right now it looks like Charlie Brewer running for his life hoping to find someone open.
I saw someone talk about “Baylor’s best football being ahead of them”. Have they checked the schedule? They already played Kansas. They still must play Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. I will mark those down as losses. And as for the TCU and Tech game, what are those toss up games at best? I will not be shocked to see Baylor finish this season at 2-7.
West Virginia (Lost 34-27 to Texas Tech)
I normally do not put a close game like this under the ugly column, but this is a wake-up call for West Virginia. Despite Tech being down some players, the Mountaineers a re a better football team than Texas Tech. But what we watched was West Virginia beating themselves all game long. The defense did not play their best game and when that happens, the Mountaineers will struggle because they rely heavily on their defense to bail them out. But the issues I have are on offense. The drops are an issue and as talented as Sam James, I think it is time to find someone else to go to. The run game was just average at best and despite throwing for over 300 yards, I am not sold on Jarret Doege. He is wildly inconsistent, and I do not trust him his arm enough for him to attempt 50 passes in a game. Neal Brown was frustrated after the game and rightfully so. This team is better than that but right now, West Virginia is a bottom half Big 12 team.
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