Welcome to week 3 in the Big 12 and what a week it was. Texas fired their defensive coordinator after the debacle suffered at the hands of the Mormons, OSU was in the headlines but not for rolling over UTSA, TCU and OU looked vulnerable even in victory, and Tech is starting to look sneaky good. Another story line in the Big 12 this week is the quarterback carousel. In week 3, 5 teams are starting different quarterbacks than they started in week 1. The Bears are starting to build up some cred nationally, albeit somewhat limited. As proof, the Bears are being talked about as a possible BCS candidate by some outlets and we now have two names being bandied about the Heisman hopeful lists. Hopefully that momentum continues. Still a lot of football left to be played though and even though the Bears were hibernating this weekend, here are the summaries of the games played in the league.
TCU (-3) 10 @ Texas Tech 20
Wow, what an ugly game this was. It did not necessarily start out that way though. On the opening drive Baker Mayfield through about a 7 yard pass in the flat that resulted in 12 missed tackles and a 50 yard touchdown. I thought at that point the game was on… we were in for some excitement. I also thought that it was surprising for the TCU D to miss tackles like that and give up a big touchdown on a pretty innocuous swing pass on the opening drive.
From there though, both teams put the brakes on. To be honest it reminded me of the OU vs. West Virginia game. Low scoring, lots of turnovers, penalties, and generally mediocre play. Both of these teams played their hearts out to try and dig out a loss and ultimately one team was able to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. The loss was in question until late in the fourth quarter, but TCU was able to come away with it.
All jokes aside, if your game summary read along the lines of: 43 rushing yards, starting QB completing only 50% of his passes and throwing 3 picks, 24 minutes time of possession, and 89 yards of penalties; you would shudder, chalk up a loss and move on. Well that was the Tech box score in this game. They only had 336 yards of offense, which was more about Tech’s offensive incompetence rather than the typical smothering TCU defense. The TCU D was uncharacteristically ineffectual for long stretches of this game, especially in the 1st and 4th quarters. There were lots of missed tackles and Devonte Fields was a non-factor. That may have been the scheme though against Baker Mayfield. Fields was sitting at home waiting for the run most of the night and not pressuring the QB. Lets hope they do that when BU is in town.
Speaking of Baker Mayfield, he finally came down to earth in this one and actually looked like a freshman for the first time this year. He did complete some nice passes and made some nice runs, but he held the ball too long on a couple occasions and made some bad decisions with the picks. He left the game injured in the 4th quarter so we need to see how serious that is.
On the TCU side, they had 115 yards of penalties and actually won the time of possession and yardage battles. Trevone Boykin through two picks as well though. Boykin also made a questionable call by sliding 2 yards short of first down yardage in the first half. After a blistering dress down on the sideline by Gary Patterson, Boykin was taking on every linebacker and safety on the field trying to get that extra 6 inches from the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 12. When the quarterback’s cleats are 7 feet in the air and rotating rapidly, that is never a good thing.
Late in the game, TCU had a punt return touchdown called back on a pretty weak "invalid fair catch" call from the officials. Even as an impartial viewer I thought TCU was pretty hard done by on that call. They did end up scoring on that drive though and tied it up. Tech then got the ball and had a receiver inexplicably drop the ball out of his hand at the 1 yard line as he was going in unmolested for a touchdown. He was trying to be a bit too cool for his own good. Tech also scored later in the drive so the football gods were appeased on both counts. On Tech’s last touchdown Davis Webb through a beautiful 19 yard pass in relief of the injured Mayfield. He was a solid back-up, but we will have to see his progression next week if he ends up being the starter.
Tech at 3-0 could very easily end up ranked depending on what happens to current poll members. TCU at 1-2 is pretty much on the ropes and needs to kick it in to salvage the season. The thing that is clear is that both of these teams will need to see vast improvements across all phases of the game if they want to contend with stronger Big 12 competition.
Tulsa (-26) 21 @ Oklahoma 50
One word describes this game: Belldozer. Blake Bell, the junior backup, stepped into the starting role due to an injury to Trevor Knight and he never looked back. He threw for 413 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. I think it is safe to say that Bell will be the starter for Notre Dame next week and if he keeps playing like this he will be starting for the remainder of the season.
This was easily the most complete performance from Oklahoma all season and they looked like a real contender in this one. The defense gave up 20 points but 13 of them where late in the game after the end result was a foregone conclusion. Tulsa is not a great team, but they aren’t terrible either and Oklahoma piled up big numbers and had an impressive win.
I think this solidifies the Sooners as a top tier Big 12 player. They hadn’t proven much in the previous two weeks by struggling in average wins, but Blake Bell changed that.
Georgia State (+40) 7 @ West Virginia 41
|Final - 9.14.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Georgia State Panthers||0||0||7||0||7|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||10||7||3||21||41|
West Virginia rolled up over 600 yards of offense in this match against first-year FBS team Georgia State. Georgia State is 0-2 this season with both losses coming at the hands of FCS opposition and came into the game as a 40-point dog. With that as the backdrop, this game was expected to be a blowout and to get out of hand quickly. The first of those expectations was met, the second was not.
This game was 17-7 in the third quarter and the Mountaineers were sweating. The general lack of firepower from the Panthers sealed their fate though and WV scored 21 points in the 4th quarter to put this one away.
Redshirt freshman Ford Childress made his collegiate debut at quarterback for the Mountaineers and had a solid showing with 25/41, 359 yards, 3 TDs and 1 Int. Charles Sims had 116 yards on the ground for WV.
While West Virginia does not have the weapons at their disposal that they had last year, they are still taking care of business and hanging around the perimeter of the conference. One loss to Oklahoma is respectable and next week’s game against an undefeated Maryland Terp team should give us a great idea where the Mountaineers really are.
Iowa (-2.5) 27 @ Iowa State 21
After two years in Ames, the Cy-Hawk Trophy is headed back to Iowa City. Iowa took control of this game from the beginning and with a 13-0 halftime lead, looked in position to put this one away. To their credit, the Cyclones never gave up. After an abysmal first half, they made the game interesting late and scored with 2:26 to play to pull within 6. Iowa safely recovered the onside kick and was able to run all but 7 seconds off the clock before punting. After a last-ditch, pass, pitch back, pitch back, attempt to recreate "the play", the game was over with all trombones safely accounted for.
Iowa State’s offense in the first half was shocking with only 50 yards gained, an interception, a failed 4th down try and 4 punts. Sam Richardson did hook up with Quenton Bundrage 3 times for touchdowns in the second half but generally had a sub-par day at the helm. The ground game never got going and finished with only 59 yards.
Tough loss for the Cyclones, and at 0-2 they have a lot of work to do if they want to play a game after November.
U Mass (+39) 7 @ Kansas State 37
U Mass has won 1 game in the last 18 attempts and is one of the most offensively challenged schools in the FBS. This was never going to be much of a challenge for Kansas State even if it is an off year. Give the Minutemen credit though, going into the second quarter they had a 7-6 lead on the Snydercats.
That is when the shine faded. Kansas State served up helping after helping of John Hubert and ground this game into the blowout that everyone knew it was going to be. The Wildcats finished with 329 yards rushing and another 127 through the air. The defensive squad also accounted for a pick 6.
Good tune-up for what is going to be an interesting showdown in Austin next week for the Cats.
Kansas (+6.5) 14 @ Rice 23
Charlie Wies stood on the sideline and just shook his head. Coming into Houston as a 7 point underdog against a Rice team that looked relatively solid against Texas A&M the previous week, the Jayhawks remained positive. A lot of discussion has happened in the last 7 days regarding the 19 game, road losing streak and whether or not this week would see that streak broken.
Going into the 4th quarter it seemed like a real possibility. Kansas was nursing a 1-point lead after 3 quarters with neither team being particularly effective on the offensive side of the ball. Things really started to look up when Dexter McDonald picked off a pass in the red zone early in the 4th quarter to stall a Rice drive and give Kansas a chance to extend the tenuous lead.
Kansas’ offense was hapless for the rest of the game though, never mounting a drive of more than 20 yards in 4 possessions. Rice took advantage of excellent field position late in the game and was able to put up 10 more points on drives starting from mid-field. With some clock running at the end, this game was over.
To be honest I was pulling for Kansas on this one. As Baylor fans we know what it is like to be down and to pull out a road win against a fairly good opponent would have given Kansas some self-respect and helped the Big 12’s out of conference record. Alas it was not to be…
Lamar (+47) 3 @ Oklahoma State 59
A 47 point spread is hard to cover no matter who the teams are. That spread was covered and then some this weekend by the Pokes. This one was never close nor should it have been. At the end of the first quarter the Cardinals were down 21-0 and the rout was on. The allegations that arose the week in Stillwater seemed to have no effect on the Cowboys on the field, they weren’t distracted at all.
The Cowboys subbed liberally in the second half of the game and Clint Chelf got in some playing time in relief of JW Walsh. Jeremy Smith ran for 3 touchdowns on only 40 yards rushing.
Nothing else to report on this one, OSU still looks to be the class of the conference, but they still have to prove it against tougher competition.
Mississippi (+3) 44 @ Texas 23
After being humiliated for the second week in a row, this time in Austin in front of 101,474 bloodthirsty fans, Mack Brown’s post game comments courageously pointed out that the team is undefeated in Big 12 play and has a goal to win the conference championship. Are you kidding me Mack? I am pretty sure that I saw you on the sidelines of Texas’ last two games so I know that you know what happened. Teams that rank 121 out of 123 in rushing defense and 115 out of 123 in overall defense don't win conference championships (just ask any Baylor fan). And by the way that is against ok offenses not known for massive production. Imagine what happens when a finely tuned racecar rolls onto the track i.e. OSU or Baylor. Teams that fire their defensive coordinator after 2 games and then come out and run the exact same thing the next week also don't win conference championships.
I think this is going to be a long season for the Horns…
As far as the game goes, the only difference from last week is that Texas was leading 23-14 in the 2nd quarter and really had a chance to keep this game in hand. The defense was leaking, but the offense was scoring some points. Then the same scenario from Provo took over. Ole Miss started running it down the defense’s throat and scoring pretty much on demand.
Sunday Morning Quarterback
What a week. Lots of off-field drama circled around massive rules violations and fired defensive coordinators. There was some on-field drama as well. Probably the biggest story is that Texas’ season is well and truly in a tailspin. Ole Miss came to Austin and stomped the proverbial mud-hole into the Texas defense. The second biggest story is that TCU is 1-2 and Texas Tech is 3-0 after their showdown in Lubbock. This was a sloppy game neither side should be proud of, but as they say, "they don't ask you how, they ask you how many" and Tech was on the positive side of the ledger. The Belldozer proved that he should have had the start from the beginning and OU added some legitimacy to their ranking.
At this point I would say that I am still mostly concerned about OSU, but with the allegations against them, who knows. Most likely nothing will happen to affect this season though and the Pokes took care of business with workmanlike aplomb on the field this week. I am planning on a tough showdown in Stillwater. OU in Waco on November 7th could be huge, that might end up with serious conference impacts. Lets see what happens with the Sooners against Notre Dame next week though.
Tech is now officially scary. They are gaining confidence and playing better defense, so that game in the Death Star will most likely have serious bowl implications.
Kansas State and West Virginia took care of business and certainly can’t be overlooked as potential upset generators but neither team would appear to have the firepower to make a significant run in the conference.
TCU, Iowa State and most of all Texas are reeling. With 2 losses each and the meat of the schedule coming up, they have tough hills to climb. There is time left for these teams to turn it around though and particularly Texas and TCU have the talent to do it if they are able to get their head in the game.
Kansas is Kansas. They did show a bit of spark though and a Big 12 upset is probably on tap somewhere in the season
Go Bears, 2-0…