Week 2 in the Big 12 had some big questions that needed to be answered. Would Oklahoma and the Big 12 step up against the SEC in Knoxville? Would the Texas Tech defense show up to play against UTEP? What would Baylor’s defense look like with the return of the Tree and Orion Stewart? Could Texas rebound after shifting offensive play calling responsibility from offensive coordinator Shawn Watson to first year receivers coach Jay Norvell? Would Kansas State dial their halftime show down to at least PG-13? All big questions and all having some bearing on the rest of the season. Well maybe not the halftime show…
On to the game summaries -
Kansas State (-17) 30 @ UT San Antonio 3
Joe Hubener made his first career start in place of Jesse Ertz who suffered a season ending Knee injury last weekend against South Dakota. The Wildcats started slow but finished fast in dispatching a feisty UT San Antonio team. The Roadrunners led this one well into the 2nd quarter and were down only 7-3 at halftime. As they have done so many times though, the Snydercats went in at halftime, made adjustments and then reeled off 20 straight points to put this game out of reach in the second half. UTSA has good coaching of their own though in Larry Coker and are quickly becoming a team that no power-5 teams want to schedule anymore. They took Arizona to the wire last week and now gave K State a strong showing at least in the first half.
Hubener, a former walk-on, was solid in relief in this game and should be able to keep the Wildcats competitive through the Big 12 schedule.
UT El Paso 20 @ Texas Tech (-20.5) 69
Patrick Mahomes continued his assault on the offensive record book as Tech cruised easily to a blowout win over the UTEP Miners. Mahomes threw for 361 yards and 4 touchdowns and started the scoring with a 60-yard bomb to Jakeem Grant on the opening series. Mahomes also rushed for 2 TDs in a do-everything performance. DeAndre Washington ran for a 51-yard TD and put up a total of 138 yards on 12 carries. Washington is the leading rusher for the Red Raiders and if he can keep it up can become a 1,000 yard rusher in back to back seasons.
The Tech defense also showed improvement by only allowing 20 points on 414 yards of offense. Aaron Jones, the Miners’ starting running back did give the defense something to think about though when he scampered 91 yards for a touchdown to open the 2nd quarter. It was the longest play from scrimmage in Miner history. The game was 14-17 at that point in favor of the Red Raiders but 3 TDs later the Red Raiders were taking a 38-17 lead in to halftime.
The 2nd half was all Tech as the game turned into a blowout with Davis Webb and the Tech substitutes playing most of the 4th quarter. Tech proved that with some defensive output and a much better penalty performance (4-38) they could be very dangerous in the league this year.
Liberty 17 @ West Virginia (NL) 41
Skylar Howard continues to impress this season and builds on a strong showing last week in a week 2, lopsided win against the Liberty Flames. Howard tossed 3 TD passes and notched 263 yards through the air in this game. He also rushed for 68 yards including a 34 yarder.
The West Virginia defense, after pitching a shutout last week, shut out the Flames until late in the 3rd quarter. Liberty did put up 280 yards through the air, but much of it was late in the game when the result was not in question.
West Virginia continues to build on efficient quarterback play and a smothering defense and could factor in the league championship race.
Stephen F. Austin 7 @ TCU (NL) 70
After escaping Minnesota with a 6-point win last week, the Frogs put the SFA Lumberjacks to the sword in a statement victory in Fort Worth. The Frogs also unveiled their camoesque, horned toad-scaled home unis as well. The uniforms were met with a 50-50 mix of "hey those are cool!" and "huh, that is odd….".
Regardless of what they were wearing, the Frogs looked sharp in their home opener. Trevone Boykin got off to a great start by tossing 3 touchdown passes in the first half and another early in the third quarter. Kolby Listenbee hauled in 142 yards worth of Boykin’s passes, one of which was a 60 yard bomb over the middle.
The defense had a no-hitter going until the 4th quarter and turned in a dominant performance as well. The win was not without cost for the Frogs though. Starting safety Kenny Iloka suffered what appears to be a season ending injury and starting linebacker Mike Freeze has taken a leave from the team. With almost half of their season starters down with injury or off the team, the defense is now in a very shorthanded position with league play looming. Even with the losses though, TCU proved with the dominant win that they are still a force to be reckoned with at the top of the Big 12 race.
Iowa (-3.5) 31 @ Iowa State 17
Iowa visited Jack Trice stadium as a slight favorite and proved to be the better team on the day with a second half burst to defeat Iowa State and reclaim the Cy-Hawk trophy. Even Donald Trump made an appearance at this game to glad hand and speak in platitudes about the value of sports and everyone being a winner.
After the passing this week of Iowa standout athletes Tyler Sash and Roy Marble, the Hawkeyes wanted to win this game in their memory but it wouldn’t be easy. It was a hard-fought affair through the first half with the Cyclones taking a 17-10 lead into the locker room.
Sam Richardson threw two touchdown passes in the 2nd quarter to Quenton Bundrage and Jauan Wesley and finished with 247 yards overall.
The second half was all Hawkeye though with two TD passes from CJ Beathard and an 8-yard scramble from Jordan Canzeri. Beathard finished with 3 TD passes and 215 yards overall and Canzeri ran for 124 yards. The Cy-Hawk is back in Iowa City for 2015.
Oklahoma (-1) 31 @ Tennessee 24
This was the big game in the Big 12’s week 2 lineup and it did not disappoint both from a football as well as a musical standpoint. For anyone that has ever seen a Sooner or Volunteer game live, you would know that the respective bands only know one song each. "Boomer Sooner" for the Oklahomans and "Rocky Top" for the Volunteers. At last count these two songs were played a combined 1,416 times in this game, mostly in the fourth quarter. I am sure that it is a record of some sort, but it is anyone’s guess. At least these band performances did not require university apologies…
From a football standpoint, the Sooners looked to be finished late in the 2nd quarter with the Volunteers jumping out to a 17-point lead. In their first 5 series of the game, the Sooner offense had a total of 35 yards, no points and no momentum. In the same time period the Volunteers were approaching 200 yard and had a big lead. The sooners managed to kick a field goal late in the 2nd and erased the score board goose egg going into the half.
The second half started out with a yawner of the third quarter that saw a missed field goal by the Vols, an interception by the Sooners and 7 punts between the two. I am falling asleep just writing this.
With a 17-3 lead going into the 4th and absolutely nothing going on the offensive side of the ball, the Volunteers were looking to continue to pound the SEC chest and prove the dominance of the league. Not so fast.
In their opening drive of the 4th quarter, the Sooners drove 80 yards and scored a touchdown on a short pass from Baker Mayfield to Samaje Perine. UT 17 - OU 10.
After a Tennessee 3 and out, the Sooners tied it after a 60-yard drive with a Mayfield pass to Sterling Shepard. UT 17 – OU 17 and we are going into overtime. The momentum was squarely with the Sooners, but winning on the road in overtime against a ranked SEC foe is a lot to ask.
Tennessee woke up in OT and struck first with a touchdown in the first session to pull ahead 24-17. It was their first score since 12 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.
On the next play, Mayfield hit Shepard for a 19 yard gain to the 6. After an incomplete pass on 1st down, Mayfield ran the ball on 3rd down to the 1 and then took it in himself on an unbelievable 4th and goal for the game. Back to a 24-all tie and into 2nd OT.
The Sooners got the ball first in this one and Mayfield quickly made it 31-24 with an 18-yard TD pass to Shepard.
It was the Volunteers’ turn next and staring at 3rd and 12 after a false start and an incomplete pass to Pig Howard, Zach Sanchez finished it for OU with an interception at the 15-yard line. Sooners win, and with the largest blown home lead in school history, the Tennessee Volunteers and the SEC lose.
Memphis (-13) 55 @ Kansas 23
It is too early to start with the basketball jokes so we won’t go there, but suffice it to say that giving up 55 points and 651 yards of offense at home against Memphis was a new low for the Jayhawks. After getting victimized by the Kansas State band last week, it seems that the Jayhawks are the butt of multiple jokes now.
Kansas actually had a 10 -0 lead in the first quarter, but that was quickly erased. Memphis went on a 31-3 run and eliminated any doubt who the better team was. Kansas is in for a long season. If their defense gives up this 651 yards to Memphis, imagine what the likes of Baylor, TCU and Tech will do.
Central Arkansas 8 @ Oklahoma State (NL) 32
The Cowboys didn't blow out Central Arkansas and at times looked pretty average, but they controlled the game and finished strong to notch a solid victory. Mason Rudolph threw for 401 yards and 2 TDs both to David Glidden.
The Cowboys jumped out to a 10-point lead after their first two possessions but then rolled off 4 punts in a row before coming out after half time to run the score to 17-0. The Bears scored scored a touchdown on the next series and went for 2 to make things interesting, but that was it for the Central Arkansas point scoring. The Cowboys scored twice in the 4th to salt the game away.
Speaking of salt, the Cowboy defense was salty, albeit against an overmatched opponent. They held the Bears to just 220 yards of total offense. The Cowboys have not been tested this year but they have not looked dominant either. They are still a wildcard to disrupt the Big 12 race though.
Rice 28 @ Texas (-14) 42
Texas’ program was talked about more than any in the FBS this week after their unceremonious execution at the hands of Notre Dame in prime time last week. This week at home against Rice they helped to call off the dogs with a 42–28 win over the Owls.
The change in offensive play caller from OC Shawn Watson to receivers coach Jay Norvell also saw a change in quarterback from Tyrone Swoopes to Jerrod Heard. After the first series, Texas fans were applauding the decision. Texas opened up the scoring with a workmanlike 80-yard drive that ended in a 32-yard strike from Heard to Armanti Foreman. On the next series the Texas D held Rice to a punt and Daje Johnson returned it 85 yards to the house and Texas took a 14-point lead. On the next Rice series, the Duke Thomas returned a punt 56 yards to the Rice 6-yard line setting up an easy touchdown for the Horns, 21-0. Rice then scored two quick touchdowns to cut the lead to 21-14 which is where the half ended.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half Heard connected for 69 yards to John Burt to run the score to 28-14. Later in the quarter, true freshman star linebacker Malik Jefferson scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown and the game was starting to get out of hand. The teams traded scores in the 4th quarter, but the Horns finished on top at 42-28.
The win clearly took some pressure off of Charlie strong and the Horns coaching staff. Jerrod Heard would now seem to be the new permanent starter with Tyrone Swoopes now a distant memory (after only a week…). But Texas still has major room for improvement. The Owls actually outgained Texas 462 yards to 277 but 5 turnovers and special teams miscues lead to the lopsided score. Outside of the first series and the bomb to John Burt, the Texas offense only accounted for 128 yards and less than 15 minutes of time of possession. Great win for the Horns, but they are going to have to pick it up when league play starts.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
The Big 12 looked much better this week with a big win over the SEC and strong showings by the league favorites. Middle teams like Tech, Kansas State, Texas and West Virginia also continued to impress and padded their stats.
The Bears looked unbelievable at times, but they also showed some vulnerabilities particularly with a Lamar’s mobile quarterback and shifty running back. The linebacking corps sorely missed Taylor Young and gave up a number of short and midrange runs that could have easily been stopped at the line. Seth Russell was incredible at times throwing for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, but also threw 3 picks that were nothing short of awful. The running backs and receivers were outstanding, lead by Cory Coleman with 4 TD catches and 6 total for 182 yards.
TCU looked sharp against overmatched competition as well and it still seems that it is a two horse race between the Frogs and Bears for the league championship with a number of disruptors in the middle of the pack.
Go Bears, 2-0…