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The Big 12 Sunday Morning Quarterback: Week 1

Welcome to the weekly summary of game updates from around the Big 12 and how it affects your Baylor Bears.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome aboard Baylor fans!  The Big 12 Sunday Morning Quarterback is a weekly update rolled out on Our Daily Bears to give everyone a quick summary of the weekend’s games around the Big 12.  This is intended to get you up to speed for your Monday discussions at the office coffee pot.  We want to provide you with some key information to make you sound really smart and give you a broader perspective on the happenings in the league. We will also give some observations from the week that specifically relate to Baylor’s campaign.  So get your notebooks ready, here is the week 1 summary.

Texas Tech (-5.5) 41   @  SMU 23

This was a pretty significant game and one of the more interesting ones for an opening weekend matchup.  It is a battle of ex-South West Conference foes and the coming out party for Kliff Kingsbury as Tech’s head coach.  One of the other key points is that if SMU had elected not to change their schedule and drop the September 14th matchup with Baylor, we would have to wait another whole week to see our Bears in action.

This game was a close one from the beginning with both teams trading field goals.   Baker Mayfield, Tech’s walk-on freshman quarterback, looked a bit shaky at times during this game but certainly has some talent especially for a true freshman.  I expect him to be pretty good by the time Tech lines up against Baylor.  The Tech defense was a bit out of control at times and gave up some big runs on quarterback scrambles (one for a touchdown) and 10 yard out passes.  Garrett Gilbert had a statistically solid game but did make some poor passes and reads at times.

This game entered the 4th quarter at 20-16 with SMU the victim of a ridiculous holding call that wiped out a touchdown.  What happened is that on a play action pass, the SMU running back was tackled by a defensive lineman and was called for holding.  SMU proceeded to miss the field goal and give up an immediate touchdown.  A 14 point swing in Tech’s favor.  While a turning point, this play did not ultimately decide the game.

Mayfield had a tremendous scrambling touchdown with 10 minutes to play.  This guy just got better and better as the game went on.  The SMU defense started playing very uninspired football in the fourth quarter and the athleticism of the Tech offense started to really show.

SMU scored a touchdown late, but was completely outclassed in the 4th quarter.  Big win for Tech after 3 hard fought quarters.

North Dakota State University (+13) 24  @  Kansas State 21

For those not checking up on the Big 12 out of conference competition, NDSU is not the pushover that they may immediately seem to be to the uninformed.  They won the FCS national championship last year with a record of 14-1.  Their average margin of victory was 25 points even through the FCS playoffs.  They are currently ranked number 1 in the FCS rankings.

Many of the college football pundits put Kansas State on upset alert for this game and NDSU did not disappoint.  NDSU ran out to a 7 point victory with a 3 yards and a cloud of dust offensive mentality and a very scrappy defense.  Kansas State looked bigger, faster, and stronger, but NDSU looked sharper and more focused.  KSU did tie the game in the 2nd quarter and took that tie into the half.

Coming out after halftime this game seemed to look like so many Snyder led 3rd quarters look like.  Defensive adjustments, offensive scheme changes and 14 unanswered points.  In short, KSU was benefitting from great coaching and solid execution.  Granted, KSU scored on some big plays but seemed to be in total control.

But hold on, NDSU was not done, after a touchdown and a field goal scoring drive that started from its own 1-yard line, the Bison was back in it.  The KSU defense looked a bit porous at times and was giving up huge chunks of yardage on the ground.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, both teams each had exactly 302 yards of offense.  NDSU had a much more balanced attack favoring the run, KSU had only 33 yards on the ground.

The Bison looked really strong in the 4th quarter and this game came down to the last drive.  Down by 4, NDSU jammed the ball down KSU’s throat on an 18 play, 8 ½     minute drive with a mix of draw plays, crossing passes and quarterback scrambles.  With 32 seconds to play the Bison had a second and goal from the 1 yard line. The KSU fans in the stands looked almost as dejected as they looked in Waco last year, especially when NDSU stuck it in for a go-ahead touchdown.

11 seconds later, NDSU intercepted a pass to ice this game, what a shocker in the little apple…

William & Mary (+32)  17  @  West Virginia  24

William and Mary went 2-9 last year in the Colonial Athletic Conference in the FCS so the results were predictable here.  Big win for West Virginia, right?  Not so fast…  William and Mary actually made this game very interesting in front of a home crowd in Morgantown.  The WV defense looked out of sorts at times during this game and the offense was a ungainly without the big three OWMD (offensive weapons of mass destruction) of Austin, Bailey and Smith.

WV was down by 10 points at halftime and looked like they were about to be scalped by the Tribe.  Ultimately, this game boiled down to the last 5 minutes.  WV mounted a second half comeback and scored to go ahead late in the game.  The Tribe got the ball back with time enough to tie it, but the Mountaineers picked off a pass and ran out the clock to preserve their nail-biter victory.

Mississippi State (+12.5)  3  @  Oklahoma State  21

Another intriguing matchup and I would say the second most interesting game on the Big 12’s opening slate behind the LSU TCU game. Mississippi State reeled off 7 wins in a row to start the season last year and raced to a #12 ranking.  In the meat of their SEC schedule though, they dropped 5 of 6 with a loss to Northwestern in the Gator Bowl.

This game was a close one in the first half.  Clint Chelf got the start but was pretty shaky.  The Oklahoma State defense also was playing well during the first half stalemate.  JW Walsh came in at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.  For the first two series he was ok, but rushed for a touchdown near the end of the first half.

The second half was all Pokes with Walsh finishing the day with 125 yards on the ground, 135 yards in the air, no interceptions and a rushing touchdown.  Jeremy Smith also had a solid day with 102 yards rushing and 2 TDs.

This game was not as close as the score reflects, particularly in the 2nd half.  Although OK State did not put up a lot of points, they were pretty dominant on both sides of the ball against a middling SEC team.

University of Louisiana Monroe (+21)  0  @  Oklahoma  34

This game was of significance to Baylor because we will face off against the Warhawks later in the season.

Well, things did not go well for our friends from Monroe.  They played hard in the first quarter and the score was knotted at 0.  Trevor Knight was unimpressive in the beginning of the game, but as time marched on he got more and more comfortable.  Similar to Baker Mayfield, he really got his legs under him from the 2nd quarter on.

He also became the first Sooner quarterback since 2001 to rush for more than 100 yards in a game.  He did end up with 3 TD passes, 1 pick, and 103 yards on the ground.

The Defense pitched a shutout which was a bit surprising given ULMs reputation coming into the game.  But they were pretty poor offensively from the beginning only putting 166 yards on the board.  The jury is still out on OU in my opinion.  Clearly a good performance, but ULM also looked pretty bad.

Northern Iowa (+9.5)  28  @  Iowa State  20

Cyclone fans endured the hottest game-time temperature ever played in Jack Trice stadium and then had to endure the ignominy of losing to in-state FCS rival Northern Iowa afterward.

The Iowa State defense was completely on its heals giving up touchdowns on UNI’s first three drives and digging a 21-7 hole.  While Iowa State did make things interesting in the second half and pulled to within a point but never threatened again after an answering Panther touchdown.

Both offensives put up more than 400 yards so this was a bit of a track meet.  Iowa State has a lot of work to do especially on defense if it wants to return to a bowl this year.

New Mexico State (+42)  7  @  Texas 56

This did up being the behind the woodshed whipping that was expected but it certainly didn't look that way from the beginning.  With all due respect to the Aggies they were a 1-11 team last year and were not expected to accomplish much against the Horns.  Late in the second half though, they were sitting on a 7 point lead and had capitalized on 2 David Ash interceptions.

There was a faint glimmer of hope in the glass eye of the Aggie mascot’s costume head.  It faded fast though.  The athleticism of Texas and David Ash getting back on track doomed NMS and they walked away with the expected drubbing.  The narrowly missed covering their 42 spread…

TCU (-4.5)  27  @  LSU  37 (AT&T Stadium)

Final - 8.31.2013 1 2 3 4 Total
LSU Tigers 6 10 14 7 37
TCU Horned Frogs 3 7 7 10 27

Complete Coverage >

This was an exciting game played in Cowboy/AT&T Stadium in Arlington and lived up to the hype.  The result was pretty predictable with LSU coming out on top but TCU was scrappy and played hard.  Devonte Fields did not play as expected and the Frogs missed him.  Another player change of note was that Trevone Boykin came in for a struggling Casey Pachall in the 3rd quarther and played the remainder of game.  Pachall did return for a single play late in the game, but clearly the game had been given to Boykin.  It was not obvious whether this was a planned substitution or a game time decision.  Neither QB were particularly effective though and the LSU defense shut down the TCU offense for the most part.

The uncharacteristic part of this game is that the TCU defense gave up 448 yards and 37 points.  Usually 27 points by the offense wins for the Frogs.  Not even the horned frog "blood squirting from the eye" helmet could help defeat the Tigers.

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Overall the Big 12 had a pretty rough opening weekend.  Two losses to FCS teams, a near miss in another FCS game, and a loss to an SEC team spelled a pretty marginal performance overall.  The teams with wins were supposed to win generally by a wide margin so on the winning side there were no surprises.

OSU was the team that worries me the most after opening weekend.  After they sorted out their QB situation and went with J.W. Walsh, they dominated an SEC opponent even though the score did not necessarily reflect that.  OU and UT both rolled but against shaky competition but they both looked average at times and took quite a while to get rolling.  Maybe nothing more than opening weekend jitters, but we will have to see how those two teams progress.  TCU while playing the best competition of the weekend gave up 37 points and scored one of their touchdowns on a 5 yard drive after a fumble recovery.   Not particularly impressive, but that might be a function of their tough competition.

From a Baylor perspective, the Bears looked very sharp.  I was impressed by Bryce Petty and our corps of skilled players.  I was also impressed by the defense.  I expected them to give up some points, and they very nearly pitched a shutout.  I really thought that we would have a tougher game this weekend.  You have to remember that Wofford is the team that only lost by 7 in the FCS playoff last year to North Dakota State who beat the Snydercats on Friday night.  So we will have to see if this was a function of a weaker Wofford squad or a stronger Baylor squad.  I think it was a bit of both, but I am thinking it was a bit more of the latter.  Baylor did have 8 penalties and 2 fumbles that we need to clean up.

Go Bears, 1-0…