Another week in the books for the teams in the Big 12 and with things still tight at the top, questions about who is the best are about to get answered as we get into the meat of the schedule. Baylor's still the lone undefeated team but Texas continues to look good since getting embarrassed by BYU and is also undefeated in conference play. Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State are all hanging in with only one conference loss. Then we get to three teams with only one win in conference play (KSU, TCU, WV) followed by two teams that have not been able to get a win against their conference opponents.
This was the best weekend of games the Big 12 has had this year, all teams were playing and we had a couple of intriguing matchups. We'll start off with the best game of the weekend that took place in Norman.
Oklahoma 38 Texas Tech 30
It appeared as if the Sooners were about to win this one easily after building up a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter but the Red Raiders got back in the game and even gained the lead before the end of the 3rd. After that, Oklahoma continued to pound the ball and scored the next two touchdowns. Impressive day for the OU offense, they gained a total of 526 yards with 249 passing and 277 on the ground.
The OU offense had scoring drives in this game of 97, 76, 86, 75, and 58 yards respectively. Removing the one play, 76-yard scoring drive consisting entirely of the aforementioned pass to Saunders, let's take a look at those others to illustrate our point.
16 plays (8 rushes, 8 passes), 97 yards, ends with a touchdown pass to Saunders off play-action (key point).
11 plays (10 rushes, 1 pass), 86 yards, ends with a Damien Williams rushing touchdown.
5 plays (4 rushes, 1 pass), 75 yards, ends with a Lacoltan Bester rushing touchdown.
7 plays (6 rushes, 1 pass), 58 yards, ends with another Williams rushing touchdown.
See the trend there?
And Seth C at Viva the Matadors points out that his team has been playing with fire before the trip to Norman:
The turnovers and the freshman quarterback play finally caught up with this team. This team played somewhat on the edge the last two games in turning the ball over more than the opponent, but against quality opponents those mistakes are tougher to overcome. Webb was okay, but he wasn't as sharp as he had previously been. I'd guess that his second half splits are much better than his first half splits.
I'd also guess that the speed of the game finally caught up with Webb and it started with that first sack. In previous games, Webb would be able to out-run the opponent, but not against opponents like this. Not for the next few weeks. It's a painful lesson, but one that you can't learn against Kansas or SFA or any other opponent.
They're still enjoying the season in Lubbock:
Kliff if playing balls to the wall football and it's incredibly fun right now to watch this team play so incredibly fearless. They're leaving nothing out there on the field and that's something that we really haven't been able to say over the past three years.
Texas 30 TCU 7
I'll be honest and say that I didn't watch a minute of this one and I'm not sure who else did with a 3 hour weather delay in the middle of it. Score isn't surprising, despite what we thought early in the year Texas is pretty good. And that works for TCU as well, I'm not convinced they're very good at all right now. A couple key injuries are really having an impact for the Horned Frogs, though Casey Pachall did return from injury this week.
The guys at Burnt Orange Nation are starting to think back to the beginning of the season...and ask:
What if Texas had replaced Diaz in January instead of September?
What if the team had navigated the non-con season without a loss?
It's a senseless exercise, but Texas' 30-7 victory over TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday night begs the questions. The Longhorns smothered TCU as a superior team would, dominating a struggling Horned Frogs offensive line on defense and wearing down TCU's defense with an effective blend of solid rushing and big play passing. The Texas defense turned over the TCU three times, allowing just a single big play while shutting out the Horned Frogs from the red zone, while the offense converted 5 trips into the red zone into 4 scores -- a pair of touchdowns and two Anthony Fera field goals.
After watching TCU play us, I think this is a lot of chest beating over beating a bad team. Lets not get too far ahead ourselves Texas fans. TCU's offense is a lot closer to the KU offense than it is a good one.
And the guys at Barking Carnival get philosophical about the weather delay:
How do the announcers not get completely and totally ishfaced in the booth during a 3-hour weather delay?
Lets move on to Frogs O' War. They're not pleased.
Let's go through the checklist of disheartening signs from TCU games this year
1. Fail to run the ball early: Check
2. Muff a punt: Check
3, Brandon Carter Alligator Arms/Drops a pass: Double Check
4. The running backs look good: Check
5. Less than 20 rushes by RBs: Check
6. The defense starts strong: Check
7. The defense gets worn out: Check
8. The defense gets put into bad position by turnovers: Check
9. A mini rally promotes the idea that not all hope is lost: Check
10: The opposition scores to quench to momentum: Check
A ten point list that every game has followed this year
This is what disappointment looks like. It's a step up from what most of us are going through this fall.
Oklahoma State 58 Iowa State 27
Oklahoma State started the game on fire, building a lead of 21-7 by the end of the first quarter. In the 2nd, Iowa State showed some fight and added 13 points and head into halftime down a touchdown. The 3rd quarter was all Okie State as they added 17 points to lead 45-20 entering the 4th. This was a weird game, at times OSU looked great and at times they looked like the team that lost to West Virginia. Iowa State never really looked great but they did have moments where they were impressive but then you'd see moments that give me hope about getting a win over them this year. They're not good but they're better than their record suggests.
Cowboys Ride for Free on the game, using a long one:
After steamrolling Mississippi State on the ground in the opener, the Cowboys haven't mustered so much as a whimper on the ground. Jeremy Smith, annointed the heir apparent to Joseph Randle, couldn't get past the line of scrimmage. Rennie Childs gave OSU a spark out of the backfield against TCU, so of course we clamored for more.
Which is why it made total sense when Desmond Roland got the start in Ames and ran roughshod over the Iowa State defense for the slowest 200+ yards and 4 TD's in the history of OSU football. Clint Chelf, as we expected, got the start at QB and added 85 yards on the ground.
Now, before we go believing that somehow OSU has figured it all out, let's just point out a couple of things...
- Iowa State has THE worst defense in the Big 12, ranking last or next to last in almost every meaningful category;
- Against the leagues worst pass defense, Clint Chelf nearly matched his completion % from last week, going 10-26 for a measly 78 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT;
Of course I had to include the bullet points. Something Big 12 football + "worst" and the answer isn't the Jayhawks!
Lets see how the refs screwed Iowa State this week, from Wide Right Natty Lite:
Iowa State looked thoroughly outmatched throughout the game, piling up a collection of missed tackles, turnovers, penalties, and injuries in yet another loss on the 2013 season.
Iowa State was without Luke Knott (hip/groin), Willie Scott (failed to make team expectations) and Aaron Wimberly (hamstring) to start the game, and lost Jarvis West and Sam Richardson during the game. West will be out with an MCL injury for at least four weeks, while Sam Richardson is said to be OK and will practice on Sunday, but held out for precautionary reasons after hurting his neck/head on a possible (unflagged) late hit.
And there it is. The mood over there is starting to wonder about the coaching between losses piling up, seeming to place most of the blame on the players, and lots of injuries. Maybe they're ready for a complete meltdown, we'll take any advantage we can get.
K-State 35 West Virginia 12
The score makes this game appear like a blowout. It felt like a blowout by the end when I was watching it. But the Wildcats were down 9-7 at halftime and only lead by 2 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Pretty obvious what happened in the 4th. Three drives that went for 78 yards, 54 yards, and 64 yards all for touchdowns in the 4th. That's how you close out a game.
Lets head west to see what they think at Bring on the Cats:
With a baseball score and no offense to speak of in the first half, it was reasonable to assume that the Wildcats might be in for their fifth heartbreaking disappointment of the year. Even through the first two drives of the second half, it looked like there might be trouble. When Daniel Sams did the unthinkable and fumbled the ball in the end zone on the second drive, it appeared things were for sure doomed.
Then, slowly, the offense began to evolve. After the defense again stepped up when it mattered and held West Virginia to only a field goal on the ensuing drive, Sams and Hubert took control and pushed the offense down the field 78 yards, capped off with a great Tyler Lockett TD catch to give the 'Cats a two point advantage.
but as has been the case all season, there's a QB story here as well:
After another great defensive stop, K-State's offense looked like it was reverting back to first half struggles. After a short gain by Hubert and no gain by Sams, Waters stepped in to hit Curry Sexton for 32 yards and a huge first down. Sams came back in on the next play as the coaching staff was clearly trying to burn some clock, but failed again in two plays. Waters returned again and scrambled for a first down, then hit Tramaine Thompson for a big 30 yard TD to give the Wildcats a two score lead.
After that, Waters was cut loose. In the fourth quarter alone, Jake Waters completed all eight of his passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns and added 24 yards on three carries on the ground. The offense adapted and for the first time all season, we got to see what the offense might look like if Jake Waters is allowed to be Jake Waters.
For the second consecutive game WVU started slowly but hit its stride in the second and third quarters by building a lead before falling apart in the waning minutes of that third quarter and then careening down the interstate with sparks flying everywhere when the wheels fell completely off in the fourth.
I can just paste in the recap from last week, right?
No? You guys seriously want to talk about this one?
They're staring down the rest of the season and don't appear to like what they see:
The unfortunate reality is now this team is beginning to define itself as unable to make plays when the chips are down in the fourth quarter and that's no way to enter a stretch that you need to win 3 of 4 to finish bowl eligible. The questions will continue and the grumbling will get louder as this team continues to learn on the fly.
Baylor 59 Kansas 14
Lets head down to Texas and see what they thought of the game in Lawrence. Our Daily Bears:
Did you know that all of Baylor's touchdowns came in 2 minutes or less tonight? Yeah. The longest among them took 7 plays. And that was with Antwan Goodley playing less than a quarter. Baylor had 743 yards on the day, good for our best performance ever in a game on the road. 437 game through the air, almost all from Petty, with another 306 on the ground. Baylor has now gone over 700 yards 5 times in 7 games this season. We had done that 3 times in every season prior, combined.