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Big XII Road Trip: Week 3

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Things are bad in Lawrence, so lets distract ourselves with the other teams in the conference.

Matthew Holst

Baylor was Baylor against crummy competition in crummy stadium on a Friday night.  It shouldn't be the type of thing that potentially keeps them out of the playoff but it could.  Perception matters and their situation from Friday night does not look good.  Unfortunately, that still matters and on a weekend when others in the conference went out and played teams from Power 5 conferences, Baylor looked like they were playing a high school team.  You can do that if you win out, if not and it comes back to hurt them I hope they take responsibility.

West Virginia 40 Maryland 37

The outcome of this one covers up the fact that West Virginia performed quite well offensively over the weekend.  The Mountaineers had 33 first downs to Maryland's 16, they outgained the Terps by 247 yards, and Clint Trickett ended the game 37/49 for 511 yards.  Adding to the crazy, Maryland ran 35 plays during their first four possessions (scored 6 points) and ran 33 plays on their next twelve possessions while scoring their other 31 points.  Not what you'd expect from seeing those drive numbers.

Games like this are we do the road trip, looking at the box score doesn't do it justice:

Frustratingly, it was a game that should have been over early. Clint Trickett was dealing, Kevin White was an unstoppable monster and it seemed that Dana Holgorsen had once again crafted an offensive juggernaut from which there was no escape. WVU charged out to a 14-0 lead and then a 28-6 lead with a mere 6:09 left in the first half.

That was the point at which things fell apart for the Mountaineers. First a blown assignment by true freshman Dravon Henry that allowed the Terrapins' Stefon Diggs to get behind the defense for a 77 yard touchdown. Then the first awful decision that Trickett has made all year in an interception that was the first time the WVU offense was stopped all day. Finally the most head-scratching play you'll ever seen where a Nick O'Toole punt was muffed by the Terps.....but then the ensuing fumble picked up and returned for a Maryland touchdown. After a conference however this Big 12 crew decided that the returner had called for a fair catch and as such the ball could not be advanced after a fumble recovery. No matter as the Terps moved down the field for their only prolonged drive of the day and scored a touchdown with 40 seconds left in the half to move within 20-28 as the teams went into the locker room.

Then things got crazy.

Now things are getting crazy?  I'm intrigued.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown ran for a 75 yard score off a zone read on the first play of the second half to make it a 1 point game. WVU seemed to right the ship, blocking a Maryland punt for a safety and then driving again for a touchdown (an 11 yard Trickett pass to Daikiel Shorts) to stretch the lead back out to 10. But the Mountaineers proved themselves once again unable to deal with prosperity as Jordan Thompson muffed punt turned into a Terp field goal before Maryland's William Likely returned another punt 69 yards for the tying touchdown.

Fortunately the WVU defense held in key places and gave the potent offense the ball back. A curious drive that involved more running plays than you'll ever see in a supposed two minute drill (it was a 13 play drive...seriously....A 13 PLAY TWO MINUTE DRILL DRIVE) miraculously landed the Mountaineers at the Terrapin 30 yard line with time left for a single play to win.

Safeties, blocked kicks, muffed punts, and a 13 play drive with time winding down is all kinds of awesome.  What do we take from the game?  No idea but WVU might be back to being entertaining at least.

Iowa State 20 Iowa 17

Iowa State is probably my least favorite school in the Big XII and I still can't help but smile thinking about them beating Iowa.  Iowa's lost a lot of its shine over the last couple of years but they remind me of Georgia, hype seems to be present but the results always seem to be lacking.  Results are lacking all across Big 10 land so far though and we're just happy Iowa went ahead and kept that train rolling.  On the negative side, Iowa State showing a little bit of competence over the last two weeks isn't great news for us.  Not that it really matters though.

Anyway, Wide Right Natty Lite posted this after the game:

Iowabeer.0_medium

via cdn1.vox-cdn.com

and their thoughts:

Despite a slow start to the second half, the Cyclones were looking tougher.  Iowa wasn't moving the ball consistently and the ballsy jump pass on 4th down from Sam Richardson to E.J. Bibbs was the exact play that this team needed to get its head right.  Mark Mangino reached in to his bag of tricks, saw a tendency from Iowa to blitz in those situations, and entrusted two of his best playmakers to right the ship.

After that play I had the same feeling I did after Jarvis West's reverse pass touchdown to Allen Lazard a week ago: Rhoads, Mangino, and company are unloading the chamber... again.

Sigh.  That's not necessarily for Mangino but for missing that excitement or uniqueness that comes with a creative offense. Also of note, it's funny what a single win can do for the fans:

It's only one win, but when you take a top-20 Kansas State team to the wire and then follow it up by going into Kinnick Stadium and walking out with a trophy, there's reason to be optimistic. More importantly, there's reason to believe.

Finished?

No. Not at this time. Not after these last two games. Paul Rhoads has bought himself a well-deserved second look. I was wrong and perhaps even hilariously wrong and I've never been happier to look like a fool.

TCU 30 Minnesota 7

And another Big 10 team goes down at the hands of the Big XII, it's almost like Christmas except none of the presents were for me.  That's alright because I'm learning to enjoy the presents everyone else gets, someday maybe I can get some presents in the fall.

Anyway, is TCU looking good?  Minnesota's not exactly scary but they're a decent team and TCU had a field day with them, leading 30-0 before allowing a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  Boykin had another decent game, maybe answering the question if there's another school in the conference that would trade their qb for Montell Cozart (No).  Lets see what the guys at Frogs O' War liked:

Meanwhile, the defense was so sweet on Saturday, it caused Marshall to beg the question: Is this the best defense Gary Patterson has ever had? While we can debate that until the cows come home (and debate it we will), what we can all agree on is how dominant the performance was this weekend. Five turnovers forced, and only 41 rushing yards allowed to David Cobb, who came in having run for 291 yards in Minnesota's first two games this season. All three starting safeties had an interception, and Paul Dawson recorded 15 tackles, four tackles for loss, a pass break up, a quarterback hurry, and a forced and recovered fumble.

But they weren't thrilled with Boykin:

I suppose the negatives in this game are obvious. Trevone Boykin's passing game was shaky at best, as he completed 58.6% of his passes (27/46). He did manage to throw for 258 yards and two touchdowns though, but he often looked as if he was rushing his throws.

Who here wouldn't call those numbers a positive after the trip to Durham?  Argh.

UCLA 20 Texas 17

After coming off a complete rout at the hands of BYU, Texas showed a little bit more life this week against #12 UCLA.  They were better and they're getting better at using Tyrone Swoopes but this is the highlight of the game for me, from Barking Carnival:

Losing the ball in both halves because our game captain didn't understand how coin tosses work is...incredible.  Blame the player for not professing his ignorance or game nerves, but that's ultimately on the coaches - you can't assume anything with a new team...

Least of all football IQ.

Working high school football, I'm always amazed at the number of coaches that don't have a clue about how the coin toss works.  It's not just players, coaches can't get it straight.  When talking to coaches before the game, I always ask what they plan to do if they win the toss just to cover for the players and I can list five separate times the coach has told me "Well, we want the wind in the 4th quarter".  At that point, I just say ok and walk to the other end of the field.

Arkansas 49 Texas Tech 28

Not sure but I think Mr. PenHawk was claiming bragging rights this morning over this game.  The Red Raiders were able to keep it close through the first half, trailing 28-21.  But Davis Webb struggled and Arkansas just kept pounding away, from Viva the Matadors:

Drip. Drip. Drip. Arkansas' offense felt like a constant drip. It never stopped. Brad Allen passed for 61 total yards on offense. Again, we're talking about a quarterback that's really not all that good and all he needed to do to win was throw 12 times. Just wait until you have a quarterback that's even more competent and can actually do some things deep.

Anyone have Reagan's email address?  I'd like to send him that comment just to remind him what you do when you have a quarterback that's struggling to complete passes.  Anyway, more:

Kingsbury just isn't sure what to say at this point.  He pretty much avoids the answer and he knows it.  Those two questions are in succession.  Kingsbury is asked later if they practice tackling, which is one of those things that fans really like to ask because it seems like a real easy solution. Long story short, Kingsbury is out of answers right now for the defense and the offense.  It stinks, but this is where it's at.

Wonder how long until the questions about his contract start.

Oklahoma 34 Tennessee 10

Oklahoma took another step towards the playoffs by adding a win over a mediocre SEC opponent.  It was a bit sloppy for the Sooners but the result was never in doubt.  However, it wasn't all good news as leading rusher Keith Ford did suffer a broken bone in his leg and will miss at least two weeks, possibly more.  From Crimson and Cream Machine:

Yes the offense was sloppy. Yes the Sooners still have not proven they can run the ball against solid competition. However, it's hard not to be happy with a 34-10 victory where outside of a few moments OU was in complete control of the game.

and on their defense:

They took opportunity away from Tennessee. They took momentum from the Vols sideline and put it on Oklahoma's. They took the hope that Tennessee gained from limited success and just squished it. Ultimately they ended up taking the will and spirit out of the Vols offense as they took stand after stand in leading the Sooners to victory.