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The Big 12 Sunday Morning Quarterback - Week 9

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

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 9 in the Big 12 Conference.  For once, last week in the Big 12 was about as predictable as Baylor scoring in the first quarter.  While there were a few scares like the Sooners being down to Kansas 13-0 at the end of the first quarter and Tech trailing the Mountaineers by 11 late in the game, both teams rallied to win.

The big story from last week was the fact that 6 of the top 11 teams in the national polls were upset.  With the first version of the BCS coming out, that made for tremendous shake-up at the top.  Tech and Baylor were major beneficiaries of this poll turnover, both vaulting into the top 10.  OSU and Oklahoma also made significant moves.  Now it is time to prove that those rankings should stick.

Oklahoma State 58  @  Iowa State 27

The Cowboys were coming off a solid albeit not spectacular win over TCU and are definitely still in the Big 12 hunt.  Iowa State was coming off of its worst loss in program history: a 64 point beat down at the hands of the Bears in Waco.  Oklahoma State with a win was looking to become bowl eligible.   While not mathematically eliminated from the bowl picture yet, Iowa State was primarily seeking some respectability and some building blocks for next year.  Okie State was a big favorite rolling into Ames.

The game started out with an Iowa State punt and an Oklahoma State touchdown with Clint Chelf at the helm.  Conditions were considerably windy so both teams were forced to rely on the run more than the pass.  On the next series, Sam Richardson threw a pick 6 and less than 5 minutes into the game Oklahoma State had a 14-0 lead.  The Cowboys proceeded to score again with 5:32 left in the first and the rout seemed to be on.  Iowa State looked as hapless as they did in Waco last week.

The difference in this game from last week was that Iowa State battled and got back into it.  They scored once at the end of the first on a Richardson pass to Quenton BundrageGrant Rohach relieved Richardson later in the second after he sustained a blow to the head and proceeded to connect with Bundrage for a touchdown.  The Cyclones had closed to within 28 – 20 by halftime.  The score of 20 was the result of a blocked extra point.  Not sure whey there are so many blocked PATs in the Big 12 these days, with the Kansas/Oklahoma game last week, this makes 5 in two weeks with the potential for more later in the afternoon…

Heading into the locker rooms for half time, this was anyone’s game.  The stats were very even with the main difference in the game being the pick 6 that helped fuel OSU’s speedy start.

Early in the third, Clint Chelf threw an interception and it seemed that Iowa State was building some momentum with a chance to tie the score.  That is where it ended though.  The Cyclones punted on that series and surrendered a field goal on the next.  Later in the 3rd quarter the Cowboys scored a touchdown on a 58 yard run by Desmond Roland, then proceeded to return a Ernst Brun fumble for a touchdown as well.  At 45 – 20 the rout really was on this time.  The Cowboys never looked back and finished the game at 58 – 27.

The interesting stat in this game was that Oklahoma State only had 78 yards in passing from its total of 419.  Desmond Roland finished with a monster game with 219 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns.   JW Walsh did make a late appearance in this game but Chelf played the majority of the snaps.  Rohach finished the game for Iowa State with Richardson on the bench for the whole second half.

Oklahoma State is bowling and Iowa State is reeling.

Texas Tech 30 @ Oklahoma 38

This is the game that everyone was waiting to see this week.  At the beginning of the season, this would have been considered a tune-up game for the Sooners, but coming in they were ranked at number 15 looking up at Texas Tech’s number 10 ranking.  Both teams were underwhelming last week against teams tied for last in the conference but they were both coming off of wins.

Not surprisingly Oklahoma was the favorite in the game given that it was played in Norman.  This kickoff was delayed due to weather and when it did get underway, Tech struck first on a halfback touchdown pass from Kenny Williams to Eric Ward late in the first quarter.  The Sooners came roaring back though and ran up a 21-7 lead through a combination of a Jace Amaro fumble by Tech (they finished the game with 3 turnovers) and quality QB play by Blake Bell.  Bell had a solid outing and accounted for 293 yards of total offense.  He passed for 249 including a 76 yard TD completion to Jalen Sanderson the next play from scrimmage after the Amaro fumble.  Sanders was the top Sooner receiver with 153 yards.

At 21-7, OU seemed to be in command, but not so fast…  Tech mounted a rally of their own and took a 24-21 late in the third quarter.  The turnaround featured outstanding play by Davis Webb as well as a recovered onside kick and a few gadget plays.   Webb threw for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns but also accounted for 2 interceptions.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Sooners regained the lead on a 35 yard end-around, planned pass back to the QB then non pass back to the QB, scramble for a touchdown out of Lacoltan Bester to make it 28-24.  After having back and forth lead changes throughout the game, this Sooner lead would not be relinquished.  The next series yielded Webb’s second interception and that was turned into a TD and a 35-24 lead to begin to salt away the win.

OU hammered away on the ground and finished with 277 rushing yards and several time-absorbing drives in the second half.  The story of this game was good quarterback play out of Blake Bell, something that the Sooners did not have in their loss against Texas, and sloppy ball handling by Tech in that they gave up 3 turnovers.  Slight movements in either of those two categories could have swung this game the other way given how close it was otherwise.  After doing enough to win and mounting several comebacks during the season, the sloppy play of Tech finally caught up to them.  They are still a very talented, beating expectations team, but they need to protect the ball and clean up their penalties to take the next step.  After the game, OU announced that FB Trey Millard is gone for the season with an injury.

November 7th is not looming larger than ever on the calendar…

West Virginia 12 @ Kansas State 35

These two teams are clearly the most desperate teams in the Big 12.  Both have had disappointing seasons to date and both are still looking for a bowl berth.  They also both have a reasonable path to get there. but both of those paths start with a win in this game.  The winner is set up reasonably well to make a bowl run the loser gets even more desperate.

This was a hard fought game through the first half with the Mountaineers up by 2 points 9-7 at the break.  WVU came out and kicked a field goal to push the lead to 12-7 early in the third, but Kansas State scored 4 unanswered touchdowns from that point to put some distance between them and the Mountaineers.  And ultimately close out the game at 35-12.

Kansas State enjoyed tremendous QB play in this one albeit without gaudy numbers.  Daniel Sams started the game, but was relieved by Jake Waters for substantial portions of the game.  Sams was 8 for 8 with 93 yards 1 TD and 0 interceptions.   Waters was 10-13 with 198 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions.

West Virginia on the other hand had only 228 yards out of Clint Trickett with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

It was really to be expected, Kansas State has played better than its record and they are extremely effective at home.  Other than the season highpoint of beating Oklahoma State, West Virginia has looked pretty weak.  They also gave up 3 turnovers, which is not the way to win a game in a hostile environment.  This game also featured a blocked PAT making it 6 failed attempts now for the past two weeks in the Big 12.

Texas 30 @ TCU 7

This game was the battle of two of the most disappointing teams in the Big 12.  Most pundits picked this game as the one that would decide the conference championship and potentially have national championship implications.  Now, with 6 losses between them, it is an interesting game but not at the top of the list.  Granted Texas has made itself significant again by winning its last 3 games, including a dominant win over OU in Dallas and is appearing ever more dangerous at least at the conference level.  Apparently Vegas was not as comfortable with Texas’ ability to win by setting the line at 3.5 points in favor of TCU.  The game was in Fort Worth so the home location carries a bit of a bump for that, but clearly the line would lead you to believe that this was anyone’s game regardless of records.

Mack Brown and the Longhorns disagreed.  Through a combination of TCU offensive incompetence and solid play from UT on both sides of the ball, Texas got out to a lead in this one and never gave it back.  One major story line of this game outside of the UT win was the fact that with 6 minutes left in the 2nd quarter the game was suspended due to weather.  The suspension lasted more than 3 hours and included lightning strikes in the immediae vicinity of the stadium.  The game resumed at 11pm and wrapped up well after midnight after the teams took only a 5 minute halftime break.

Case McCoy threw a 65 yard TD strike to Marcus Johnson but also accounted for 2 picks.  McCoy finished the day with 228 yards passing overall.  Jonathon Gray was the top Horn ground gainer with 9 yards.  Malcolm Brown only had 51 yards rushing but did account for 2 touchdowns.

On the TCU side Trevone Boykin got the start but a fumble on the 2nd TCU series prompted Gary Patterson to put Casey Pachall in the game.  Pachall was a bit rusty in his return, throwing for 139 yards, no TDs and an interception.

This was another solid win for the Horns and keeps them tied for first place in the Big 12 with our own Baylor Bears.  Their offense was sputtering at times against a solid though injury depleted Frog defensive squad.  TCU’s offense continues to look feeble in turning in only 7 points and 246 yards.  It is pretty hard to win games with that type of offensive output.  A good defense can only carry a team so far.

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Baylor finally had an impressive road win.  Granted, it was against the Big 12’s last place team, but an impressive win nonetheless.  Bryce Petty is turning out to be brilliant and Lache Seastrunk continues to impress as well.  The defense is vastly improved and only gave up points late in this one well after the game was decided.

In terms of the schedule, there are nothing left but exciting matches from here on out.  If Baylor wants to move up to new heights, then they need to keep winning, starting with a win over a highly ranked Oklahoma team in Waco on the 7th.  That will be the first true test of the season.  Baylor matches up well with OU though and should be favored.  To be honest, all of the rest of the teams have disadvantageous matchups against Baylor and will rightly be trepidatious about facing the Bears.  The other thing about those teams is that every one of them can win against Baylor with a lax performance by the Bears or a few lucky rolls of the pigskin.  I would say that every game from here is a trap game.  The team did exactly what it needed to do at this point in the season and now needs to hit the reset button for the second half.

The Kanas game was a good harbinger in my mind given that the Bears were at their highest rank and best start for decades.  They could have easily come out flat after all of the hype.  After all, OU was down 13-0 to the Jayhawks just last week.  While a loss was probably not in the cards against Kansas, a "non impressive" win could have been.  That was not the case.  The offense took a couple of series to get going but then started firing on all cylinders and the defense was dominant.  Now with Missouri losing and Miami having to come from behind to beat a Wake Forest team that is by no means a powerhouse, there is likely to be movement in the rankings once again.

None of that matters though.  There are 11 days to prepare for Oklahoma, the Bears need to come out and take care of business.  Again…

Sic ‘em 7-0.