The Big 12 Conference had seven representatives in the 2021-22 postseason and finished with a 5-2 record, the best showing among Power Five conferences at 71%. Let’s take a look at all seven, from worst to first:
Mountaineers’ star running back, Leddie Brown, declared for the NFL Draft thus didn’t play against the Golden Gophers. WVU struggled in the running game by gaining only 66 yards. The Mountaineers and only penetrated the red zone once.
The Cyclones also rushed for only 66 yards as its star back, Breece Hall, also declared to go pro before the game. After a couple of field goals in the second and third quarters, the Cyclones scored a touchdown midway in the fourth to trail 20-13. Iowa State sputtered on its last two possessions.
The Wildcats defeated a depleted squad that fielded only 39 players due to a combination of academic or other suspensions, COVID-19 testing protocols, opt-outs, or players entering the NCAA transfer portal. Quarterback Skylar Thompson went 21 of 28 for 259 yards and 3 TDS. Running back Deuce Vaughan caught one of Thompson’s scoring strikes and added another 3 TDs, and piled up 146 yards on the ground. K-State intercepted LSU’s quarterback twice and cashed them in for 14 points.
Mississippi State coach Mike Leach got blown out by his former team. The Red Raiders, 10-point underdogs, dominated from the beginning and never let up. The Raiders’ defense held the Bulldogs to 54 rushing yards, sacked their quarterback four times, and picked off one of his passes. Tech’s interim head coach, Sonny Cumbie, led his squad to their first bowl victory in eight years.
Sooner fans got a treat to once again see Bob Stoops roam the sideline as OU’s interim coach after Lincoln Riley bolted for USC. Both teams had depleted rosters with players off to the pros or transfer protocol. The Sooners jumped to a 30-3 lead in the first half and coasted to the 15-point win. Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams was 21 of 27 for 242 yards and 3 TDs. Running back Kennedy Brooks added 3 more TDs and 142 yards on the ground.
Baylor’s defense logged a Sugar Bowl record 10 sacks, and two of their touchdowns were with the aid of interceptions. Rebels’ star QB Matt Corral suffered a leg injury in the first quarter and was done for the night. His backup, Luke Altmyer, came off the bench and soon threw an interception, which Baylor’s Al Walcott returned 96 yards down the sideline for the Bears’ first touchdown. JT Woods grabbed his second interception in the fourth period to set up the Bears’ third touchdown. Baylor finished with 12 wins, the first in school history.
The Cowboys pulled off their largest comeback in school history. OSU rallied from a 28-7 deficit in the second quarter and scored 30 unanswered points for a 37-28 lead. The Pokes’ QB Spencer Sanders threw for 371 yards and 4 TDs and added another 125 yards on the ground. The Fighting Irish scored a touchdown with 1:05 remaining to pull within two, 37-35, but their onside kick failed to travel the required 10 yards.