Week 13 in the Big 12 saw an interesting matchup on Thursday night against the lurking-in-the-shadows Snydercats at West Virginia. Kansas State still has their eyes on a league championship but would have to prove whether or not they deserved it in an always tough Morgantown. The other league games were fairly snoozy with Oklahoma taking on a Kansas team that inexplicably scared TCU last week. Would it happen again? Texas Tech was also taking on Iowa State in Ames to see who took up residence in the league cellar.
Kansas State 26 @ West Virginia (-2.5) 20
On a nationally televised Thursday night game, the Wildcats of Kansas State traveled to Morgantown to take on a dangerous West Virginia team. Coming into the game the Mountaineers had a 6-4 record, but 3 of those losses came against teams ranked #2, #4 and #7 by a combined 23 points. The Snydercats were coming off of their most embarrassing game of the season, getting dismantled by TCU in Fort Worth 41-20. The Cats were able to get in front early in this game though and held off West Virginia for a hotly contested 26-20 victory.
The game was sloppy for both teams with West Virginia turning the ball over 4 times and losing the game despite outgaining Kansas State 433-401 and controlling the line of scrimmage for most of the day. Jake Waters had a career high passing day for Kansas State tossing the ball for 400 yards, but the Cats were held to 1 rushing yard. In fact they were in negative territory until late in the game. Yes you heard that right: 1 yard rushing. Kansas State was helped immensely by the 4 ‘Eer turnovers and had a punt return for a touchdown by Tyler Lockett. Lockett also had 196 yards receiving and continued to prove that he is one of the most dangerous players in the Big 12.
For West Virginia it was a disappointing "game that could have been." Clint Trickett left the game in the 3rd quarter with a concussion but not before he threw 2 interceptions. Skyler Howard filled in admirably in the close loss, throwing a 53-yard strike to Mario Alford in the 4th quarter to make it a 6-point game. The upset bid was snuffed out though when WVU's late onside kick was recovered by Kansas State, but the game was certainly in question until that point.
Kansas 7 @ Oklahoma (-25) 44
In a rain-soaked affair in Norman, the Sooners rolled up 549 yards of offense behind a record day from Samaje Perine. Perine set the Sooner single-game rushing record in the 3rd quarter and then early in fourth he broke the NCAA single-game mark set only last week by Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon. Perine finished the day with 427 yards and 5 touchdowns. His touchdowns were on scampers of 49, 33, 34, 66, and 27 yards. At 243 pounds he showed uncharacteristic speed for a big back and certainly staked his claim to being the league's premier running back with over 1400 yards on the season already.
Granted, Oklahoma's offensive line is one of the largest ever in captivity and opened up massive holes for Perine to run through against a trembling Kansas defense, but his talent is undeniable. Cody Thomas got the start again for OU in place of injured Trevor Knight and did an outstanding job of handing the ball off to Perine.
With the amount of rain pouring down in Norman, no one expected offensive firepower to be on show and Kansas certainly fit that bill with on 103 yards total yards and no points scored by the offense. Their lone touchdown was scored on a fumble return. After taking TCU to the wire last week, Kansas fell back to early season form in the blowout loss in Norman.
Texas Tech 34 @ Iowa State (-1.5) 31
The only bragging rights coming out of this game were for avoiding the ignominy of the Big 12 cellar and after a come from behind victory, the Red Raiders stayed above ground. Iowa State, on the other hand, signed a lease extension on their subterranean living quarters after blowing a 10 point, 2nd half lead.
The Red Raiders jumped out to a 14-point lead early in the game on the shoulders of a Patrick Mahomes and DeAndre Washington. The first score was a 26-yard screen pass to from Mahomes to Washington. Washington then made a 72-yard touchdown run on the next series to put the Red Raiders firmly in control. Washington finished with a career high 186 yards on the day and Mahomes threw for 328 yards, 4 touchdowns and a pick.
For Iowa State, Sam Richardson also had a solid day with 304 yards through the air and 2 TDs against 0 interceptions. Down 14-0 midway through the first quarter the Cyclones refused go give up and rattled off 24 straight points to take a 10 point lead in the 3rd quarter.
Mahomes then took the game back over for the Red Raiders throwing touchdown passes of 13 and 82 yards to Devin Lauderdale and put Tech up 27-24. Aaron Wimberley put the Cyclones on the positive side of the fourth lead change midway through the 4th quarter with a 3-yard TD dive, put Mahomes' last TD pass of the day happened 9 minutes later to put the Red Raiders on top for good a 34-31. There were 5 total lead changes in this hard fought affair.
Another item of note is that DeAndre Washington's big day put him over 1000 yards for the season, the first time that Lubbock has seen that happen this century.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
This was a good but not great weekend for the Bears from a bowl perspective, with Kansas State stalking a top-10 ranking after a road victory over West Virginia. That will set up a season-ending clash that will likely be for a share of the Big 12 conference championship, giving both teams a chance to impress the CFP committee late. The Eers, although on the losing end this weekend played within 6 points of the #12 team in the country also helping Baylor by not getting blown out. That game was a best-case scenario for the Bears. Oklahoma also did what it needed to do in a blowout victory of Kansas and should move up the rankings accordingly.
In out-of-conference play, things did not favor the Bears unfortunately. Florida State pulled out yet another come from behind victory over a middling Boston College squad and Ohio State also came from behind against BIG whipping boy Indiana. If either or both of those teams would have fallen it would have been a banner day for the Bears, but given that neither did, things will likely stand pat in the top 7. Minnesota also scored a come from behind victory over Nebraska, which bailed out the CFP committee and solidified the Gopher's top 25 ranking.
On the Baylor front, the Bears scored a solid victory over Oklahoma State and controlled the game throughout, maintaining a 2+ touchdown margin of victory for 58 minutes. This of course is the thing that is most important for the Bears. They need to take care of business and keep winning, letting the chips fall where they may from there. The rain was pouring down for much of the 2nd half of the Baylor game and I was glad to see the Bears adopt a run-heavy, conservative game plan that while not flashy, was effective. Up 14-0 early Baylor did not let the desire for style points outweigh the focus on a win. The defense strangled the Cowboys and the offense controlled the game throughout. With the exception of a short-field touchdown after a turnover and a couple of big plays in the second half, the defense looked dominant. Mason "Reindeer" Rudolph looked extremely sharp for OSU and should be competing for the starting job next season.
After watching Andrew Billings this season I have come to realize that he is not the mild-mannered college sophomore that everyone thinks he is, but instead is actually Cain Marko, aka Juggernaut from the X-Men. That seems to be an unfair advantage for Baylor but I assume that Briles and Co. have cleared it with the NCAA. Watching him crash through the line last night time and time again was incredible.
Go Bears, 9-1...