After last week, one that only had a single meaningful matchup in the Big 12, things got real. Tech, even in defeat at the hands of TCU, were feeling confident about their chances. They hung with the #3 team in the country until the last play of the game and only a miracle tip ball touchdown kept them out of the winner’s circle. Would they be able to translate that into a victory in Jerry World over Baylor? TCU, on the other side of that game, escaped with a win but had a litany of questions being asked about them. Could Trevone Boykin keep up the torrid pace? Would the defense hold up? Was this really the #3 team in the land? Baylor was yet to be tested and was waiting in the wings to prove themselves. It made for exciting football.
On to the game summaries -
Kansas 13 @ Iowa State (-17) 38
Kansas looked deplorable in this matchup and for most of the first half so did Iowa State. The first 9 possessions of the game produced 3 points, 2 missed field goals and 6 punts. Iowa State scored two touchdowns late in the 2nd quarter and another early in the 3rd to run the score to 24-0. At that point the game was essentially over. Iowa State scored two more times but gave up a pick-6 and a touchdown drive to Kansas make the final score 38-13, but Kansas never threatened. After the first touchdown, the point after try hit the upright in yet another moment of futility for the Jayhawks.
Sam Richardson had 269 yards through the air for the Cyclones with 2 TDs and 2 Interceptions. He also added a beautiful play-fake option running touchdown to the total. His top receiver was predictably Allen Lazard at 75 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Montell Cozart had only 150 yards passing with one TD and got knocked out of the game late with a sprained shoulder. He was replaced by Ryan Willis who was 8/16 for 100 yards and no touchdowns. The Jayhawks only had 38 rushing yards and 288 over all.
This was the best opportunity for both of these teams to notch a conference win and Iowa State seized the opportunity at home. Kansas now gets to look forward to hosting Baylor next week in Lawrence. The last time a conference leader was in town it came down to the wire, with TCU escaping the sunflower state with a narrow 4-point victory. I am sure that TGCAB and Co. remember that fact as well.
Oklahoma (-6.5) 44 @ West Virginia 24
Only a week removed from being the beneficiary of 6 Maryland turnovers, the Mountaineers handed it over 5 times to the Sooners and committed a number of defensive breakdowns in a 44 – 24 loss in Norman. West Virginia went from a trendy pick to challenge for the Big 12 championship to just another strong middle team capable of various forms of disruption.
The Mountaineer defense was one of the best in the league coming into this game but Baker Mayfield and the Sooner offense laid 427 yards and 37 points on them. Eric Striker also manufactured a fourth quarter defensive touchdown with his blindside sack-and-fumble hit on Skyler Howard that was returned 41 yards by fellow Sooner linebacker Jordan Evans for a touchdown. The OU offense was fairly tepid on the ground with only 107 yards rushing split between Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. 35 of those yards came on a single run up the gut by Mixon that ended in 6 points. Mayfield was sharp, passing for 320 yards and 3 TDs.
Even with a big half-time deficit, West Virginia did not give up. After being down 24-7 at the break, the Mountaineers stormed back and got to within 3 points of the Sooners at 27-24 on the strength of a third quarter TD pass from Howard to Jovon Durante and a 50-yard scramble by Howard that also resulted in a touchdown.
Mayfield connected with Durron Neal for a 71-yard, blown coverage strike less than a minute after the second Mountaineer TD to put the Sooners back up by 10. After the defensive TD and another field goal, the Sooners comfortably cruised to victory.
The real story in this one is the defenses. The West Virginia defense that looked unstoppable early in the season was downright human, and the OU defense that gave up 603 yards to Tulsa, held a fairly potent Mountaineer offense to 369 yards. In fact the ‘Eer secondary which came so highly touted was picked apart by Mayfield. The Sooner receivers were open time after time in the backfield and made easy work of racking up passing yards.
OU definitely made a statement with the 20-point victory and although clearly a setback, West Virginia can still be very dangerous without the turnovers.
Texas 7 @ TCU (-15) 50
Believe me when I say that I am no fan of Texas football, but my goodness, plain old human sympathy has to come into play at some point. While I would never, ever lament an A&M loss, I actually felt a small pang of pity for Charlie Strong and the Horns during this game. It didn't last very long though…
At the end of the game I remembered fondly the last time that Texas lost 50-7. That game of course was the 1989 shellacking that David McWilliam’s Horns took at the hands of Grant Teaff and the Bears. Some things you just don't forget.
In terms of the 2015 shellacking, the Frogs jumped all over the Longhorns and stomped any life out of the game almost immediately. TCU came out and scored on their second possession after a Texas fumble by Daje Johnson. The TD came on a Trevone Boykin pass to KaVonetae Turpin that set the tone for an offensive onslaught. On Texas’ next possession they set their own tone for the afternoon. After a 3-play drive of -1 yards, the Texas long snapper sailed the ball over the punter’s head for a safety.
So 4 minutes into the game Texas had 2 possessions, 4 total yards, a lost fumble and a special team safety. Good grief. TCU is good and was probably going to win this game anyway, but when you gift wrap it and put it on a silver platter like that, it might just get ugly. And get ugly it did. In the final 10 minutes of the 1st quarter the Frogs reeled off 3 more touchdowns, all passes from Boykin. Turpin caught another one and Josh Doctson hauled in two as well. At 30 – 0 it was all (and I mean ALL) Frog. At that point in the game Texas had 16 yards of offense and TCU had 235. This was a beat down in every sense of the word. It just kept getting worse as TCU ran the score to 50-0 in the fourth quarter.
Boykin finished with 332 yards passing and 5 TDs with Turpin catching 3 of them and Doctson catching 2. Shaun Nixon also tossed a TD to Turpin in the first quarter on a nifty backwards pass from Boykin.
The Texas defense looked completely bamboozled with Frog receivers running wild all over the field. Boykin didn't really have to throw anything up for grabs this week, he just needed to throw it. Most of the time his receivers were wide open and running free. One juke later and they were in the end zone.
I don't know if this was pure dominance by the TCU offense or ineptitude by the Texas defense. I suspect it was both. The Texas offense was definitely inept, putting up only 313 yards of offense in a pitiful effort. Tyrone Swoopes did manage to toss a 21-yard touchdown pass to Lorenzo Joe with 55 minutes elapsed to stave off the ignominy of a shutout, but at 50-7, it provided precious little salve to the humiliation.
Oklahoma State (-7.5) 36 @ Kansas State 34
Oklahoma State needed a big comeback to edge Kansas State in Stillwater in this thriller. Only a week after dispatching the Longhorns with 2 field goals in the final 2 minutes of the game in Austin, Ben Grogan slotted the game winner in Stillwater with only 32 ticks left on the clock.
This game was looking like an upset from the beginning even after Kansas State QB Joe Hubener was knocked out cold on the first possession. The Cats built up a 28-13 lead behind receiver-turned-quarterback Kody Cook. Cook had 2 TD passing and one in the ground in relief. He was also hurt in the 4th quarter at which point Joe Hubener was considered lucid enough to go back in. The Cats must be really out of QBs if the guy that was unconscious earlier in the game made a return to the field to run the offense.
On the other side of the ball, Mason Rudolph threw for 437 yards and two TDs. The Cowboys really took control in the second half and made some defensive adjustments that shut down Kansas State. From being down 28-13, the Pokes scored 21 unanswered points to take a 33-28 lead late in the game. Hubener 2.0 lead a 94 yard scoring drive to take the lead back, 34-33 with 3 minutes left in the game though and the upset in Stillwater was very much in the cards. Hubener connected on a pass to Charles Jones for 72 of the yards and ran the ball in himself for the touchdown 4 plays later on 4th down.
3 minutes was more than enough time though for Grogan and the Cowboys to drive into field goal range and squash the upset bid though. Cowboys move to 5-0.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
The Bears jumped on Tech early and never let up. This was the first test of the season and Baylor dismantled a team that took TCU to the absolute wire last week. The defense played better than expected and the offense was red hot with Shock Linwood racking up a career high 221 yards. The balance of the offense is what is so powerful. On the season the Bears have 1507 yards rushing and 1474 yards passing. Think about about that for a second… Opposing teams cannot focus on one or the other and either can beat you. There is still a lot of season left to play but the Bears are right where they want to be.
OU and TCU both made statement wins and looked dangerous. OU stepped up into the upper tier of the conference by beating a strong West Virginia team and TCU looked extremely sharp against what is turning out to be one of the worst Texas teams in years. OSU still hasn't proven in my mind that they deserve to be in the conference championship discussion, but at 5-0 they are clearly still in the hunt to get there.
Go Bears, 4-0…