This should’ve been a week of convincing wins in the Big 12. And while several teams won big, there were a few games that weren’t as lopsided as I thought they might be. Let’s take a look.
Oklahoma State got back on track this week with a 65-24 win over The University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Freshman quarterback Wes Lunt was injured on OSU’s first offensive series, but it didn’t seem to faze the Cowboys, as back up J.W. Walsh threw for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns. Oklahoma State opens Big 12 play in two weeks when the Texas Longhorns come to Stillwater.
The New Mexico Lobos took on their second Big 12 opponent in as many weeks, this time getting crushed by Texas Tech in Lubbock. Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege had 340 yards passing with 6 touchdown passes. Tech also ran for a combined 325 yards on their way to a 49-14 rout of New Mexico. Texas Tech is off next week before opening Big 12 play on September 29th in Ames.
Texas made the trip to "SEC Country" this week as they beat Ole Miss in Oxford by a score of 66-31. David Ash had what was clearly his best game for the Longhorns, going 19/23 for 326 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Surprisingly, he only had 2 rushes for 19 yards. Ole Miss’ junior college transfer quarterback Bo Wallace (who briefly flirted with Texas in the spring) was 13/24 for only 178 yards with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. The Texas defense continues to impress, but will face what should be better competition in two weeks in Stillwater, against Oklahoma State.
West Virginia was back in action this week for a neutral site game with (FCS) James Madison, at Fed Ex Field in Landover, MD. Quarterback Geno Smith continued his Heisman campaign going 34/39 for 411 yards and 5 touchdowns, in a 42-12 victory. The Mountaineers play their final non-conference game of the season next week in Morgantown against Maryland.
Iowa State took on (FCS) Western Illinois in Ames this week, and came away with a lopsided 37-3 victory over the Leathernecks. Cyclones quarterback Steele Jantz was 19/26 for 209 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. ISU also combined for 264 yards rushing, but failed to force a single turnover by Western Illinois. If there’s anything we learned from Baylor’s 2011 season, it’s that forcing timely turnovers can make up for a bad statistical defense. Iowa State will have to improve this stat, or they’re going to have problems when they start Big 12 play on the 29th at home against Texas Tech.
Closer Than We Thought
Sadly, I have to put our own Baylor Bears in this category. Despite what appeared to be a lopsided final score of 48-23, Baylor struggled mightily early on against last year’s FCS national runner up Sam Houston State, and faced a 10 point deficit at halftime. Nick Florence threw for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns, had a huge 60 yard run, but also threw his first 2 interceptions of the season. I am going to look for the silver lining in this game, and credit Phil Bennett for making halftime adjustments that led to the Bears outscoring SHSU 38-3 in the 2nd half. However, the effort and execution is going to have to be much better when the Bears travel to the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Friday night.
The point spread for TCU’s inaugural Big 12 game against Kansas was around 28 points, and frankly, I thought TCU would cover easily. However, the Jayhawks inexplicably kept it close, eventually losing 20-6. Casey Pachal had a nice game for the Horned Frogs, going 24/30 for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. On the other side, KU’s Dayne Crist threw for 303 yards on 19/39 passing, with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. This game should’ve been a blow out, but 4 lost fumbles by TCU kept the Jayhawks closer than anyone expected. Kansas goes back out of conference next week, as they go on the road against Northern Illinois. TCU also goes outside the conference next week has they host the Virginia Cavaliers.
I didn’t expect for Kansas State to fall under this category after they hosted North Texas on Saturday. However, it took a 96 yard kick return and a big day from quarterback Colin Klein to secure the 35-21 win and keep the Wildcats undefeated heading in to next weeks conference opener in Norman against the Sooners. Klein threw for 230 yards on 15/20 passing with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also ran for a team leading 85 yards with another touchdown on the ground. K-State only managed to force one turnover against the Mean Grean, something they’ll need to do more of next week against Oklahoma.
Who Didn’t Play?
Oklahoma was off this week as they prepare for their conference opener against Kansas State next week in Norman.
So what did we learn?
This was another week with more questions than answers. There were several blowout wins, but you have to wonder what OSU will look like next week against Texas if Wes Lunt can’t go. TCU and Kansas State, both top 20 teams, struggled (somewhat) with what most felt was inferior competition. Baylor played what amounted to 2 completely different football games Saturday night. We can only hope that the second half team makes the trip to Monroe on Friday night.