The frontrunner of the Big 12 should be starting to clear up at this point in the season, shouldn't it? No not really, there were 4 teams with 0 or 1 loss in the league, all with a reasonable path to a conference championship. As the only undefeated team in the league, and Baylor and OU visiting Stillwater, the Oklahoma State Cowboys had the best path of all. Week 12 hopefully would bring some clarity with all 4 of the league leading teams playing each other.
On to the game summaries -
West Virginia (-27.5) 49 @ Kansas 0
After a brutal 4 game losing stretch against the top of the Big 12, the Mountaineers notched their 6th win and bowl eligibility with a 49-0 shellacking of the Kansas Jayhawks.
This was never really a game with Rushel Shell scoring two touchdowns on the ground, a West Virginia pick-six and a Wendell Smallwood running touchdown all in the 1st quarter. At 28-0 going into the 2nd quarter, the Jayhawks were sleeping their way to another blowout loss.
The ‘Eers had 3 rushers over 100 yards including QB Skyler Howard. Smallwood and Shell were the other two. On the defensive end, West Virginia was also dominant holding the Jayhawks to 209 yards total and forcing 4 turnovers.
The Mountaineers probably are the best 4 loss team in the nation with all of their losses against teams ranked in the top 10 at points in the year. With Iowa State and Kansas State left on the schedule the Mountaineers could finish at 8-4 and bring a tremendous amount of momentum into the post-season. Kansas, not so much.
TCU 29 @ Oklahoma (-11) 30
What a game in Norman. The Sooners held on for a last minute win, but the Frogs refused to go quietly into the night. With Josh Doctson and Trevone Boykin on the bench, no one gave the Frogs a chance in hell to win this game in Norman against a surging Sooner team playing behind an emerging Heisman candidate in QB Baker Mayfield. At the halftime break, everyone thought that it would be the case. Frog backup quarterback Foster Sawyer played well in the first quarter throwing a TD pass to put the Frogs on the scoreboard first. He struggled from there though, throwing 3 interceptions and hitting the bench in the third quarter, replaced by third stringer Bram Kohlhausen.
After that opening TCU touchdown, Oklahoma ran off 23 unanswered points and took a 23-7 lead into halftime. The Sooners were the dominant team at that point. Oklahoma did have a quarterback issue of their own though. A week after injuring Jarrett Stidham on a late hit in Waco, the Sooners had the tables turned on them but on an even more vicious scale. In the second quarter Mayfield was scrambling in Mayfield fashion and took a nasty helmet to helmet hit on the tackle. The targeting call was upheld, but the damage was done. Mayfield was clearly out of it and had the classic 1,000-yard stare, but continued to play. The doctors stepped in at halftime though and took Mayfield’s helmet away for the second half.
After trading touchdowns in the third quarter, Kohlhausen started a furious fourth quarter comeback and the Frogs scored 16 unanswered points, with the last touchdown drawing them within 1 point of the Sooners. In their fourth quarter drives, the Sooners gained a grand total of 9 offensive yards and 0 points. TCU had three scoring drives in a row and had all of the momentum on their side. With that as the backdrop, the Frogs inexplicably decided to go for 2 and win the game in regulation rather than taking the momentum into overtime. They already had a 2-point conversion fail in the 3rd quarter which left them in the one-point deficit situation to start with. The attempt for the win failed on a acrobatic pass knockdown by OU’s Steven Parker, and the comeback fell short. Patterson’s explanation was that he felt that he couldn't win the game the next week after a multi-overtime game this week on the road. Odd for sure, but that is way the ball bounces.
Samaje Perine ran for 188 yards and 1 TD and was the star of the show for Oklahoma. Trevor Knight threw an interception in relief of Baker Mayfield and was not able to make much happen in the 2nd half. It will be very interesting to see what happens at the Bedlam game next week for Oklahoma. The Sooners will definitely take a step back if Baker Mayfield is unable to pass concussion protocols this week and has to sit out against the Pokes.
Iowa State 35 @ Kansas State (5.5) 38
For the second week in a row, Iowa State blew a huge half-time lead and came up short against the Snydercats. The Cyclones were up 35-14 at halftime and didn't score another point the rest of the game. The Cats kept their bowl hopes alive with the win but still need to win out against Kansas and West Virginia to get eligible for the post season.
Joel Lanning was red-hot in the first half at QB for the Cyclones throwing 3 TDs and running for another. He was 15/20 for 210 yards and 3 TDs. Mike Warren also had a monster game on the ground with 195 yards rushing. The Cyclones scored 28 points in the second quarter and seemed to be in clear control of this game.
It was a combination of fumbles and special teams play that ultimately doomed the Cyclones though. In the game they gave up 5 fumbles and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. At one point in the 2nd quarter, Iowa State fumbled inside the Kansas State 5-yard line then Kansas State fumbled it back and finally on 4th down of the second series Iowa State scored a TD. Three series of downs inside the Kansas State 5. Ugly.
You just can’t ever count out Coach Snyder. Down and out at halftime, his team made adjustments, got a few lucky bounces and pulled this one out on the second to the last play of the game with a Jack Cantele field goal. Congrats to the Snydercats.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
It was a huge bounce back win for the wounded Bears in Stillwater. The defensive line was dominant even without Beau Blackshear. Chris Johnson stepped in after Jarret Stidham got hurt and threw 2 beautiful TDs and ran for another. The Bears improved their resume with a top-10 win but OU escaped with a one-point win as well, putting them in the Big 12 driver’s seat. Baylor just needs to stay focused on their last two games, keep winning and let the chips fall where they will.
Go Bears, 9-1…