Welcome to week 12 in the Big 12 Conference. With 2 games kicking off at 11am and 2 more in the mid afternoon slot, the Bears and Red Raiders had the Big 12 airwaves to themselves on Saturday night. What started out as a shoot-out ended up as just another shooting with the Bears rolling to a big win. Art Briles also scored a contract extension for himself this week and just as importantly, for his staff. The team dining hall is next. Hopefully this lets the air of the "UT is hiring Briles" rumors.
The undercard this week was very newsworthy in the Big 12, with streaks falling, the possibility for 2 "de facto" conference championship games for Baylor, and the bowl picture now pretty well set for participants.
Iowa State 10 @ Oklahoma 48
24 minutes into this game, Iowa State had a 10 – 3 lead and was looking to reverse fortunes. The reversal would have definitely gone both ways, first to get the Cyclones an elusive win and second to put Oklahoma into the cellar of the Big 12’s upper-tier. Still upper-tier mind you, but the shaking your head part of the tier.
Well Bob Stoops and the OU rushing attack had something to say about that. Over the final 36 minutes of the game the Sooners rattled off 45 unanswered points to absolutely snuff out the chances for an upset in Norman as well as crush the self-esteem of the struggling Cyclones.
The first quarter got off to a slow start with both teams trading punts, but early in the second Sam Richardson took the ball in for a 4-yard touchdown to break the tie in the favor of the Cyclones. Grant Rohach got the start for Iowa State but Richardson played liberally throughout the game.
On the next series, OU's starting QB, Blake Bell, was replaced by Trevor Knight and never returned. Coach Stoops said that the replacement was injury rather than performance-related, but regardless the Sooners had their spark and finished the drive with a field goal to close the gap to 7-3. The Cyclones kicked a field goal on their next series and that ended being their last score of the game.
Late in the second quarter, OU’s Jalen Saunders took a punt back 91 yards for a tying touchdown and that was the beginning of the end for Iowa State. The halftime score was knotted at 10 but it was about to get a whole lot worse for the Cyclones.
In the second half it was all Sooners and all ground game. The second play from scrimmage after the intermission was a 69 yard scamper for Damien Williams to make the score 17-10. Later in the third Brennan Clay got into the act with a 63 yard run of his own. Not to be left out, Trevor McNight took the ball 56 yards for a TD on the first play of the fourth quarter. In just over a quarter, the score went from 10 – 3 Iowa State to 34-10 Oklahoma. The Sooners tacked on 2 more touchdowns in the 4th for good measure and the rout was complete, 48-10.
The offensive unit that had rushed for 87 yards in Waco 10 days prior, steam-rolled to a season high total of 405 yards on the ground. OU proved that they are still a very potent team and with K State and OSU still on the schedule there are still two exciting games left in which they can solidify their bowl selection order.
West Virginia 19 @ Kansas 31
Well it had to end somewhere. Baylor fans that sat through the misery years were mildly annoyed that Kansas snapped their 27 game Big 12 losing streak just 3 games short of supplanting Baylor from that ignominious row in the record book. Being 9-0 and ranked #3 in the AP poll is sufficient salve for that irritation though. Unfortunately, the record might not ever fall at this point, I just don't see anyone stepping up to be that big of a doormat for that long. Lets look through the windshield Baylor fans, not in the rear-view mirror…
In terms of the streak-breaking game, it started out with WVU up 7-0 early in the first with Paul Millard at the helm. That was the last time the Mountaineers would score until garbage time.
Kansas kicked a field goal later in the first to make the score 7-3 but it was followed by 4 more touchdowns en route to 31 unanswered points and a 31-7 lead late in the fourth quarter. The drives were fueled by a James Sims powered rushing attack. Sims finished with a career high 211 yards on 22 carries. Montell Cozart only attempted 5 passes in the first half and 12 in the entire game.
Paul Millard had 242 yards passing with 2 touchdowns, but his two interceptions were converted into 14 points by the Jayhawks. His first, early in the third quarter, was returned to the Mountaineer 14 yard line with Millard himself making the touchdown-saving tackle. The second was returned to the Eer 1 yard line late in the fourth and the ensuing touchdown iced the game away.
Luckily there were enough Jayhawk fans in the stands to break down and carry off the goal post to wherever the post-game revelry spot ended up being. On the other side, I imagine that the ride back to Morgantown was pretty quiet with everyone planning their non-football related Christmas vacation.
TCU 31 @ Kansas State 33
Kansas State blew a 10 point first half lead only to win a 2-point thriller on a last second field goal, securing bowl eligibility in the process. TCU came admirably close to upsetting the second hottest team in the Big 12 but it was not to be. Gary Patterson’s loss to his alma mater closed the door on TCU’s bowl bid and marks one of the worst seasons that the Frogs have had with Patterson at the helm.
This game was really a tale of two halves. The Snydercats jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead on a Daniel Sams 11 yard run as well as a Jake Waters to Tyler Lockett 74-yard strike. The game was well in hand for the Cats, but TCU was not prepared to concede. Late in the second, BJ Catalon took a 15-yard run to the end zone and the half time score ended up a respectable 17-7 with Jack Cantele kicking an end-of-the-half field goal for KSU.
The third quarter was all Frog with Trevone Boykin completing a 1-yard play action TD pass to Josh Doctson to cut the score to 14-17. Boykin also ran for a 7 yard score to give the Frogs their first lead of the day at 21-17.
Jake Waters completed a 79-yard bomb to Tramaine Thompson on the next series to retake the lead 24-21 in favor of the Cats. That score did not stand for long as Casey Pachall got into the action on the very next drive with a 51-yard strike to David Porter to change the lead once again, 28-24. That added up to three lead changes in the 3rd quarter alone.
The rest of the game was dominated by the kickers. Late in the 3rd, Cantele drew the Cats to within 1 with a 34-yard effort. Late in the fourth he kicked KSU to a 30-28 lead. With 2 minutes to play, Jaden Oberkrom put the Frogs back up 31-30, but with 3 seconds to play, Cantele hit the game winner from 41. Cats 33 – Frogs 31.
The Frogs were very pass heavy again with Pachall completing 23-33 for 248 yards. Boykin played heavily as a runner but did have a 1-yard TD pass, his only attempt on the day. In a very similar situation, Jake Waters completed 10-24 for 234 yards with Daniel Sams getting the majority of the running snaps and putting up 109 yards on the ground.
Kansas State is bowl eligible after an FCS loss to open the season and after having high hopes for a conference championship, TCU will be at home for the holidays for the first time since 2004.
Oklahoma State 38 @ Texas 13
Texas’ run of living on the edge victories came to an end in Austin in Saturday. The Oklahoma State Cowboys stormed out of the gates and handed the Horns their worst home loss in the previous 16 seasons under Mack Brown. This game is third on the all-time home loss list behind the 66-3 whipping doled out by UCLA in 1997 and the 50-7 beat down given to the Horns in 1989 by our Baylor Bears. I will say that I am glad that the Pokes won this game in a manner that allowed this fact to be conveniently inserted into the post…
OSU started the scoring with Clint Chelf taking a wide-open quarterback draw up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown. Texas was hanging in this game though relying heavily on the legs of Malcolm Brown. Early in the 2nd quarter Chelf had scored another touchdown on the ground and Texas had kicked a field goal and had a 7-yard touchdown from Malcolm Brown. Approaching halftime, this game was still up for grabs at 14-10 in favor of the Pokes. OSU had generally been in control but had not been able to pull away.
That was about to change. With just over 3 minutes to play in the half, Chelf connected with Tracy Moore for a 12-yard TD pass. 2 minutes later Case McCoy threw the first of his 3 interceptions of the day. This one resulted in Justin Gilbert scoring a touchdown going the other way. In a flash the halftime score was 28-10 and the Horns never threatened again.
Without their number 1 running back the Longhorns were forced to rely on the running of Malcolm Brown. After they got down by 3 scores, they were forced to rely on the passing of Case McCoy and that is where the wheels really started to come off. McCoy threw two more picks in the second half and the margin of victory continued to climb.
Clint Chelf had a solid day for OSU going 16-22 for 197 yards and 2 TDs. He did have an interception to mar the otherwise outstanding performance. While statistically close, the interceptions and the points that resulting from them gave OSU a blowout victory.
After one week back in the polls, Texas is again on the outside looking in and OSU should be garnering a top-10 ranking going into their showdown with Baylor next week.
Sunday Monday Morning Quarterback
There are several positives for the Baylor Bears embedded in the results of this week’s Big 12 games. The first is that the teams that the Bears have beaten and that can continue to prop up Baylor’s strength of schedule won. Those teams of course are Kansas State and Oklahoma. With the Tech win that gives Baylor solid wins over 4 teams with winning records (including Buffalo). Oklahoma was top ten when we played them, Tech was top ten earlier in the season and Kansas State has been playing like a ranked team for the past several weeks. That will only help Baylor’s computer ranking.
The other thing that happened this weekend that helped the Bears is that Stanford went down to a resurgent USC team, clearing at least one spot in the BCS rankings ahead of the Bears.
The most important thing that happened this weekend though is that Baylor won against a quality opponent that did not go down quietly. Baylor got punched in the mouth in the first quarter and came roaring back, finishing with a lopsided blowout victory.
So that sets up a de facto championship game next weekend in Stillwater. ESPN College Gameday will be there, it will be the second top-10 match that the Bears have played this month. The stakes and visibility will be huge. Baylor obviously needs to take care of business and break the Stillwater hoodoo that has been so prevalent in recent years. If that happens then Baylor could be in for a second de facto conference championship game.
How? I am glad you asked. With a Baylor victory over OSU, and a Texas win over Tech, UT will have backed in to the "control my own destiny" sweepstakes. Even at 8-3 going into the December 7th showdown in Waco against an 11-0 Baylor team, Texas could win the championship based on the head-to-head tie breaker. This would be akin to the Oregon Stanford situation last year. Stanford won the Pac 12 with more losses than Oregon because they beat them during the season. Not necessarily fair, but that is the way it goes some times.
I personally am not too worried about the Texas game. Texas has been scraping by for several games and it caught up to them this week. The turnovers and poor defensive play will not hold up against tougher opponents as proven by the Pokes.
The game that I am worried about is OSU. In Stillwater with the hype at a program all-time high, this game is huge. Absolutely enormous. A win solidifies Baylor’s position against Ohio State in the national polls as well as the rest of the Big 12 conference. The national championship discussion will heat up even more at that point. A loss and Baylor is stuck doing math and watching other games to figure out who will win the conference.
So with 2 conference championship games in the next 3 weeks, I have one piece of advice for the Baylor football team. Turn off your TVs, disable the Wi-Fi on your phone and study the WVU vs. OSU game film.
Stay focused Bears, 9-0.