Welcome to Week 5 in the Big 12. The Bears are off again this week, sigh, but there are still some exciting games around the league to report on. Week 4 saw several teams on sabbatical with Baylor completely dismantling the ULM Warhawks. West Virginia laid an egg and the Texas v Kansas State game was a bit of a battle of futility. The Big 12 picture appears to be a 3-horse race between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor coming into week 5, with Tech looming on the horizon. Although much too early to speculate, media outlets are reflecting those 3 or 4 teams to be the top of the power ranking scales and slated to be in the best of the Big 12 Bowl selections.
Iowa State (+2.5) 38 @ Tulsa 21
Iowa State came into this one as a slight underdog and with the way that they had been playing, this was expected. It was a close game through the first half with the teams trading blows and knotted at 14. Two second half turnovers (4 overall) sunk the Golden Hurricane though and Iowa State pulled out their first win of the season.
Sam Richardson played reasonably well with 26-41 for 255 yards, 2 TDs and an interception. Aaron Wimberly had 137 yards on the ground for the Cyclones. A victory over a 1-3 Tulsa team is not necessarily a season saver, but gives Paul Rhoads and squad some needed pressure relief. With an imminent visit from Texas, this game was a must-win in order to have some credibility to open Big 12 play for the Cyclones.
Oklahoma State (-19) 21 @ West Virginia 30
|Final - 9.28.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma St. Cowboys||7||7||7||0||21|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||14||10||0||6||30|
How quickly things change… It is really hard to describe the turnaround from both of these teams. OSU went from looking like a world-beater to a bum and West Virginia went from turning in the clear-cut, worst performance of any team in the conference to a defensive monster.
Give Dana Holgerson credit; he started his 3rd quarterback of the year and never backed down from his game plan. Whether he rolled the dice or let injuries dictate his decision, he definitely shook things up by starting Clint Trickett. Trickett, a transfer from Florida State, was the third field marshal to lead the Mountaineers this season and while not playing extraordinarily well, was good enough to get the win. He finished 24/50 for 309 yards, 1 TD and 2 Interceptions.
The Oklahoma State offense was held to its weakest performance to date this season with 3 turnovers, one of which was a pick-6. JW Walsh passed for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns, but completed less than half of his attempts and had 2 interceptions as well. The OSU running game was non-existent with Walsh scrambling for 52 as the leading rusher. The West Virginia defense harassed their way to victory and never let the OSU offense get going.
My, my, this makes next week really interesting. Coach Holgerson has probably used the words "no" and "letdown" in the same phrase at least 50 times since last night.
For more on Oklahoma State, check out Cowboys Ride For Free, SB Nation's blog for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
For more on West Virginia, check out The Smoking Musket, SB Nation's blog for the West Virginia Mountaineers.
SMU (+19.5) 17 @ TCU 48
This was a battle of on-again, off-again quarterbacks with Trevone Boykin turning on in the second half and Garret Gilbert turning off. Boykin was getting booed off the field and the Frogs were losing 10-7 at halftime. I can only imagine how the halftime speech by Gary Patterson went because TCU came back onto the field having seen the light. After scoring 24 unanswered points after halftime, this game was over. A kickoff return and a pick 6 late made this game look worse than it really was, but clearly a dominant win for the Frogs especially in the second half.
Although the Devonte Fields-less TCU defense looked stronger in quarters 3 and 4, it was the SMU offense’s spontaneous combustion that really set the stage for the SMU tailspin. Garret Gilbert threw 4 picks and the offense overall had only 16 yards on the ground with an average of .5 yards per carry. Boykin finished with a very pedestrian QBR of 50.2, but he looked Peyton Manning when compared to Gilbert’s QBR of 10.9.
TCU definitely needed a bounce back after their loss in Lubbock 2 weeks ago and they got it at the expense of the Mustangs. The Iron Skillet will stay in Fort Worth for another year.
Oklahoma (-3.5) 35 @ Notre Dame 21
Oklahoma got off to a good start and never looked back securing a solid win for the Big 12. Unlike last year’s performance, the Irish were unlucky and did not look like a national championship program. To be honest, they had a number of key losses, especially on defense so they were not expected to be the same level as last year. They committed 3 turnovers and gave up 77 yards in penalties.
Take nothing away from the Sooners though, they rolled into South Bend and dealt the Irish a major blow to their BCS aspirations. Touchdown Jesus smiled down on the visitors in this one.
Blake Bell was efficient in throwing for 232 yards, 2 TDs and 0 Ints finishing with a QBR of 79.1. Trevor Knight did make an appearance, but this game was all Belldozer. The offense really seems to be clicking with Bell at the helm and why he did not start there, we will never know. It appears that the job is all his at this point.
Both teams rushed for over 200 yards with Oklahoma gaining 450 overall. Oklahoma also held the ball for almost 10 minutes more than the Irish.
November 7th, mark it in your calendars.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
And then there were 3. Only Tech, Baylor and OU are undefeated at this point. While I was fully expecting this number to dwindle over the next few weeks, I did not expect OSU’s trip to Morgantown to be the cause of it. OSU looked really bad and West Virginia looked really good. That will set up a good match for next week in Waco. Clearly a win in this game will give the Bears some more credibility on the national stage but it also shows that the Mountaineers are a dangerous team despite their disgraceful showing in Baltimore a week ago. This is not a team that Baylor can afford to look past. In thinking about this, it is probably a good result for Baylor, they will have even more respect now for the Mountaineers and West Virginia will have the risk of being susceptible to the big-win letdown.
November 7th is now a huge night in college football. Depending on what happens between now and then, that game has a good chance to decide the Big 12. Stanford and Oregon are also playing that night and the two losers on the evening are very likely to face off in the Alamo Bowl. Things should be very interesting over the next few weeks.
Go Bears, 3-0…