Welcome to Week 8 in the Big 12 Conference. The West Virginia shocker over Oklahoma State was officially pushed down to the number two biggest surprise of the season with the Texas Longhorns administering a south of the Red River whipping to the Oklahoma Sooners last week. At least this year the Oklahoma fans were not allowed to burn Big Tex to the ground on their way back to Norman. The Bears had their first test of the season with a 10 point win in Manhattan and the Red Raiders and Frogs won close ones over Iowa State and Kansas.
The injury bug has bitten several teams, notably the Oklahoma and TCU defenses as well as the Tech and Iowa State offenses. Several teams are also officially desperate to get back on track and to prove that they still belong. At the beginning of the season, fans in Stillwater and Fort Worth had this weekend circled, but the way the conference has shaken out there is more focus on Morgantown and Waco to see if the unbeaten streaks of the two highest ranked teams in the Big 12 will stand.
TCU 10 @ Oklahoma State 24
|TCU Horned Frogs||0||0||3||7||10|
|Oklahoma St. Cowboys||7||10||0||7||24|
The Pokes had a week off to prepare for this homecoming game and the Frogs could have used a month. This one was pretty predictable with Oklahoma State playing in Stillwater and coming out with a win. Neither team showed much spark on offense though with a combined 8 turnovers, 6 of which coming as interceptions from the respective quarterbacks. The teams also gave up 85 (TCU) and 70 (OSU) yards from penalties.
On the OSU side, J.W. Walsh threw 2 picks in the first 2 quarters and was benched in favor of Clint Chelf. Chelf threw a pick of his own but did finish out the game with a pedestrian stat line of 10/25 for 178 yards. Chelf also finished with a lower overall passer rating than Walsh but appeared more consistent throughout the game. Clearly Coach Gundy has a quarterback controversy on his hands; again… Personally I think Baylor matches up better with Clint Chelf so my hope is that he ends up winning the job back in time for Baylor to come to Stillwater.
TCU had quarterback troubles of their own with Trevone Boykin tossing 3 interceptions and finishing with a QB Rating of 76.5, by far his lowest of the season. Boykin was also benched in favor of redshirt freshman Tyler Matthews in the 2nd quarter as well. Matthews fumbled his first exchange from center and was re-replaced by Boykin later in the game.
Offensively neither team got much going but there was a bright spot for the Cowboys in Josh Stewart who had a 141 yards receiving and a 95 yard punt return.
TCU did hang in the game though and was able to make the score 17-10 in the fourth quarter, but OSU answered and iced the game with 6 minutes remaining.
Overall this game was pretty sloppy especially from the quarterbacks, but OSU got a respectable win from a conference opponent and is now the 13th ranked team in the coaches poll with only one road loss in Morgantown. TCU on the other hand needs to win 3 of 5 just to get bowl eligible.
Texas Tech 37 @ West Virginia 27
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||10||3||10||14||37|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||0||13||14||0||27|
Texas Tech has been quietly moving up in the ranks and winning games. Though none of their games have been dominant victories (sorry Red Raiders, SFA, Texas State and Kansas don't count) they have made plays when needed, won some close games and played solid defense. They have also had a carousel of QBs none of which have caused any falloff in overall production. After beating West Virginia this week the Red Raiders find themselves ranked in the top 10 and in solid position in the Big 12 conference race. No one saw that coming. Do they have horses to win the conference? (No pun intended) We shall see later in the season. Their schedule is back loaded like Baylor’s and the showdown at the Death Star in Arlington is now looming as a very big matchup.
West Virginia had a uniform cycle of Win – Lose – Win – Lose – Win – Lose which was broken by adding an additional Lose to the end. To be fair to the Mountaineers, they were in this game throughout and had a 27-16 lead late in the third. Tech scored 21 unanswered though to put this one away.
The story of the game was Davis Webb, who started the game for the still-injured Baker Mayfield and absolutely lit up West Virginia’s secondary. He torched the Mountaineers for 462 yards, 2 TDs and 0 Interceptions. Jace Amaro continued to be the favorite target and accounted for 146 yards, but the Red Raiders had 8 different receivers catch passes.
Another story of this game was Kliff Kingsbury’s gutsy call to jam in a deciding touchdown late in the game rather than trying to run out the clock against his former mentor as a player and coach, Dana Holgerson.
Tech did have 2 fumbles and some key penalties that kept the Mountaineers in the game, but overall they outplayed WVU at a notoriously difficult road location. Who knows who will be under center when Tech faces OU next week, but whoever it is, I am sure that they will impress.
Oklahoma 34 @ Kansas 19
Coming off the upset of the season last week, the Sooners were out for blood. They were ready to show the AP voters that they were still a force to be reckoned with and put the rest of the Big 12 on notice. The Sooners are here to win and one setback last week at the Cotton Bowl was not going to change anything! To show everyone that they were serious, they proceeded to open up the game by giving up 13 points to Kansas and were looking pretty shaky down 13-0. Must have had one corndog too many last week at the fair...
They were able to make some adjustments and proceeded to roll off 25 points in a row en route to a 34 – 19 victory, though.
25 points? How does that happen? I am glad you asked. This game was very odd in that it had four failed/blocked PATs. The last time I saw that happen was during my son's 7th grade season (and it only happened once...). There was also a blocked punt safety for the Sooners. That safety made the score 13-8. Very odd indeed.
What was not odd was Kansas’ continued ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball. They finished the game with more yards lost in sacks (19) than they did in overall passes (16). Output in total was just 201 yards. Clearly Oklahoma has a solid defense, but come on.
OU had some offensive sluggishness as well and the Belldozer was underwhelming, though not downright bad in this game as he was last week against the Horns.
After the early scare, the Jayhawks settled in for a long afternoon and came away empty handed again. It is looking like the long season is just getting longer. With Baylor coming for a visit next week, that won't be changing any time soon.
The Texas Longhorns and Kansas State Wildcats were both idle this week.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
Welcome to the big show Baylor. Sitting at #5/#6 in the Coaches and AP Polls, Baylor clearly has the respect of voters and should be in the BCS picture when that poll is released tonight. To be honest there was significant luck involved with the SEC and PAC 12 cannabalizing themselves. With the #3, #6, #7, #8, #9, and #11 teams all losing, that set Bears up for a historic jump in rank. Baylor has not reached these lofty heights since the final days of the Carter administration.
The Bears control their own destiny and are clearly in charge of the Big 12 right now with the #1 scoring offense in the country and the #7 scoring defense. Yes, you heard that correctly, Baylor’s scoring defense is in the top 10. If this keeps up we will see great things happen.
Baylor still has a murderer’s row to traverse in November though with one more tune up on the schedule next week in Lawrence. Take care of business and the Big 12 championship and possibly more is there for the taking. Look past one game though and it can crash down to earth in a heartbeat.
Stay focused, take care of business next week and then take care of business every week from there.
BCS Rankings here we come, Sic ‘em 6-0.