Welcome to week 14 in the Big 12 Conference. This week was a lead-up to the big showdown next week with the conference championship still up for grabs and three teams grabbing at it. There were still some exciting matchups and a couple of blowouts.
Texas Tech 16 @ Texas 41
Texas Tech got off to a strong start in this one with Ryan Erxleben taking an early fake punt 51 yards to the house. Coach Bro swears he didn't call that play but in hindsight he probably should have claimed it. It was the best play of the night for the Red Raiders and it was all downhill from that point. A telling statistic regarding Tech’s offensive prowess was that on that one run, Erxleben finished the game as the leading rusher for the Raiders.
Texas on the other hand came out and played strong throughout the game. After the fake punt Texas rolled off 20 straight points including a 47-yard pass from Case McCoy to Mike Davis. After a field goal to draw within 20-10, the Horns rolled off 14 more points on a heavy dose of Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron who both went for over 100 yards. McCoy’s statistics were solid, 10-19 for 139 yards and 2 TDs though not exceptional
At this point it is fair to say that Texas, while winning ugly all season, is better than it’s 8-3 record and Texas Tech is right where it should be at 7-5. The amazing thing about Texas is that after their abysmal start, they can win the Big 12 title outright with a win over Baylor and a not all-together unlikely win by OU over OSU. An amazing turn of events considering the 1-2 start that Texas got off to. Tech on the other hand went south in a hurry this season and while they will be bowling, they will be at the bottom of the Big 12 pecking order given their streak of 5 losses in a row. That streak is a pretty difficult pill to swallow for bowl selection committees. I have read the term "fraud" being thrown around regarding Tech, but I don't buy that. They are a pretty good team that ran into a very tough stretch of schedule that pushed them into the position the most people were predicting them to be in. The drop is pretty amazing though considering that this team was number 10 in the inaugural BCS rankings this year.
Kansas State 31 at Kansas 10
The Sunflower State Showdown is actually not a reality TV show on the Home and Garden Network but instead the name of the annual rivalry game between Kansas and Kansas State. In this year’s episode, Kansas State was up by 21-points 10 seconds into the second quarter and never really looked back. Kansas was able to pull within 21-10 by halftime but that is as close as it got. There are two big statistics from this game that are worth noting: John Hubert ran for 220 yards for State while Kansas turned the ball over 6 times. Not much more to say about who won this game.
Lucky for the Jayhawks was that clock-chewing, time-absorbing Snyderball was in full effect, otherwise this game would have been even more of a rout. Jake Waters played at QB the majority of the snaps for the Cats while Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart split time under center for the Jayhawks. Heaps threw 3 picks, Cozart threw 1 and the Jayhawks fumbled twice.
The bright spot for the Jayhawks was that James Sims went over 1000 yards for the season. Another totally useless fact regarding this game is that passing leaders for both teams, the rushing leaders for both teams, and the leading receiver for Kansas all have names that start with a J. How about that…
Even at 7-5, Kansas State solidified in the minds of bowl selection committees as a solid choice for the mid-tier Big 12 bowls. They have won 5 of their last 6 with the loan loss to a ranked Oklahoma. Their season was exactly the opposite of Tech’s with them heating up late after a 2-4 start.
Iowa State 52 at West Virginia 44
|Final - 11.30.2013||1||2||3||4||OT||Total|
|Iowa St. Cyclones||7||7||0||24||3||52|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||17||14||0||7||3||44|
This game was completely irrelevant in the Big 12 standings with the only result being the losing coach's seat warmer turning up a click. What a barnburner it turned into, though.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 31-7 lead in Morgantown and were in firm control. One of their scores was on a 38 yard fumble return and the momentum train was running at full steam. Give Coach Rhoads credit, going into the 4th quarter down 31-14, his Cyclones put up a monster 24-point 4th quarter to ultimately knot the score at 38.
After trading field goals in overtime periods 1 and 2, Grant Rohach hit Justin Coleman on first down for a 25 yard TD score. By rule the Cyclones had to go for two in the third overtime and Rohach converted it with a pass to EJ Bibbs.
The first play on the next drive saw Clint Trickett completing a 22 yard pass to Charles Sims setting up 1st and goal from the 3. An incredible goal line stand ensued to give the Cyclones some confidence going into off-season and to give the Eers even more cause for concern after another major meltdown loss.
The hero of the game for the Cyclones was Rohach, throwing for 331 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception. West Virginia put up solid stats as well with Trickett throwing for 356 yards and Charles Sims rushing for 149 yards. The stat that killed WVU was the number of turnovers committed. The Cyclones scored 14 points off of turnovers in the 4th quarter alone and intercepted a pass at their own 1 at the end of the regulation to foil the Eers bid to win at the end.
Monday Morning Quarterback
Baylor had a tough win in a tough location. At the beginning of the season every Baylor fan out there had this game circled, including yours truly. The drop in production of TCU was not foreseen by anyone but they still had one of the best defenses in the conference and an offense that was beginning to click under returning starter Casey "kicked their ass" Pachall. I won’t cover it here, but if you haven’t seen the post-game ramble by Gary "boo hoo" Patterson, it is worth a watch.
The Baylor offense looked like a world-beater in the first quarter but after defensive adjustments and what looked like an injury aggravation by Lache Seastrunk the offense struggled. The defense turned in two pick 6’s and at times played out of their minds even with Ahmad Dixon in the locker room after a targeting penalty. This game went down to the wire and was an ugly win for the Bears, but a win nonetheless. For those that are counting, this is only the 3rd season out of the last 109 that the Bears have 10 wins. With two more winnable games left on the schedule this could be a season to relish for a long time.
Although Baylor does not control its destiny at this point, there still is a reasonable chance for Baylor to go to a BCS bowl, but that starts with a win over Texas. A loss would most likely drop the Bears into the Alamo Bowl against Oregon (talk about a fast paced game). So this week Baylor fans, go to Waco and cheer your head off for a victory over the Horns. The other teams to cheer for are the Sooners and the Bowling Green Falcons. Predicated by a win over Texas, a win by OU will put Baylor in the Fiesta bowl and a win by the Falcons over the NIU Huskies will take NIU out of the BCS -buster position and increase the chance for Baylor to be a choice for an at-large bid in the Sugar bowl even if OSU wins bedlam and stamps their ticket for the Fiesta. The most likely scenario given that Baylor wins and OU and Bowling Green lose, is the Cotton Bowl vs. LSU. Great game in a great venue.
A lot of football to be played this weekend, it should be really exciting in Waco. Let's send the Case out on a high note…
Sic ‘em Bears, 10-1.