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Big XII Road Trip: Week 2

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Taking a trip around the Big 12 blogosphere following week 2.

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Another week completed and another week with interesting results for many teams.  Some are doing what is expected in good and bad ways while a couple other teams aren't following the script laid out in the preseason.  Texas was stomped by BYU again.  Baylor's still playing with the console set on easy mode.  Iowa State made life tough on K-State.  Another week and then we get to the really fun part.

Kansas State 32 Iowa State 28

The surprise of the week came in Ames as Iowa State held a 28-13 lead over the Wildcats late in the second quarter.  After getting down 13-0 early in the first, things turned in Iowa State's favor.  They scored on a 9 play, 85 yard drive.  Forced a punt on the next possession and returned it for a touchdown.  Forced another stop and scored another long drive of 75 yards.  Got another punt and then scored on a Mangino-special reverse pass to get to 28 and then the momentum died as Jake Waters turned in a hell of a performance the rest of the way, including an 80 yard drive in the last couple minutes that lead to the go ahead touchdown.  Waters ended the day with 239 yards passing and 138 yards on the ground.  That performance might not be sustainable health wise for Waters but it got the job done on Saturday.

Over at Bring on the Cats, the concerns were many but they're hoping this is the type of win that provides a boost to the rest of the season:


It was not an easy victory by any means, but it was also exactly the sort of hard-fought road win a team needs to set itself up for the rest of the season. This game was a wake-up call. The defense needs work as a unit, and especially in fundamental football skills like tackling. Tyler Lockett was possibly hampered by injury, and if we never see the wildcat formation again, it will be too soon. The special teams were less-than-special, and especially on kick/punt coverage.

On the Iowa State side, well:

The ending was as predictable and obvious to any Cyclone fan as a half hour network sitcom, yet we all hoped anyway. Hope sucks. Football sucks. Everything is shit.

This game did feature some tiny controversy and kudos to Cyclone fans as it appears they're not in full on conspiracy mode yet, somewhat surprising considering their persecution complex.  Late in the second quarter, Tyler Lockett caught a pass near the goal-line where he definitely touched the pylon but it was unclear if he made contact before catching the ball.  If he did, the pass would have been incomplete.  Instead, the play was ruled a catch on the field leaving K-State 1st and goal at 1 and scoring on the next play to cut the lead to 8.  Replay could have overturned the catch but somehow the play wasn't reviewed and Iowa State ends up losing by 4.

*Update: Big XII has suspended the replay official for 1 game for a failure to call for the review.  However, according to the press release, an internal review called the replay inconclusive.

BYU 41 Texas 7

After BYU stomped Texas last year, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired pretty much as he was walking off the field.  They've got an all new staff this year but it's still same song, different verse.  Over at Barking Carnival, the game was going ok and then:

OK, folks, my appetite for writing a detailed blow-by-blow right this minute is probably about the same as your appetite for reading one, so we'll keep this short and to the point.

At halftime I had a pretty good instinct that the offense wasn't going to be able to pull this out, but I was all primed for a lede of "rarely have I felt so good about a loss."

Then, the third quarter happened...

In said third quarter, BYU gained 183 yards and scored 4 touchdowns on their first four possessions of the quarter.  6-0 at halftime turned into 34-0 by the time period had ended.  That can do quite a bit to the feels of a fan.  Burnt Orange Nation hasn't panicked yet:

The defeat last season was truly program-changing, indicative of the major flaws in the Texas program.

The defeat this season? A data point indicating just how far this program has to go before it can compete with the elite teams in the country.

Texas Tech 30 UTEP 26

And in the final interesting game of the week, Texas Tech survives a nail-biter against UTEP.  Tech actually trailed late in the 4th quarter before a 75 yard drive that ended in a touchdown put them ahead with a couple minutes left on the clock.  UTEP got a great return on the kick but couldn't do anything on their last possession.  Sometimes games like these happen but it's obvious in the stats that the game shouldn't have been close but that's not really the case in this one.  UTEP gained 277 yards on the ground and had the ball for 39 minutes but struggled in the passing game and that was the difference.  Either way, it can't be encouraging for Tech fans after beating Central Arkansas by a touchdown last week to turn and squeak out a 4 point win against UTEP.

Seth C over at Viva the Matadors isn't enthused:

Texas Tech is leaving yards and points all over the field. At this point, I can't remember if I wrote this last week or not, but don't ignore the signs. An offense that struggles to score. An undisciplined team that shoots itself in the foot over and over with penalties after penalties.

The Texas Tech defense struggled again and you can only imagine what might happen next week.

I'll get more into this tomorrow, but Davis Webb was pretty awful tonight. He missed open receivers and was behind receivers for the better part of the night. The one good thing is that he didn't turn the ball over.

Oklahoma State 40 Missouri State 23

The big news out of this one simple comes down to Cowboy quarterback J.W. Walsh leaving the game on crutches.  Reports are that he has a broken ankle and could miss 6-8 weeks, more if surgery is required.  Unfortunately (for us), backup Daxx Garman came in and has some believers, especially Robert Whetsell at Cowboys Ride for Free:

The offense most definitely operates differently when a QB with an arm is in charge. In 2014, Walsh has thrown the ball down the field, what, maybe 4 times? Five? And I don't recall any of them being completions.

Garman completed 4 throws down the field in a quarter and a half for 155 yards and a TD. He looked composed and confident, moved well, and was not easily dragged down, showing some physical strength. He ended up completing almost 62% of his passes.

So, while not saying Daxx is a world-beater, I would have you contemplate this...

Compare the offense with Zac Robinson or JW Walsh to the offense with Weeden/Chelf/Garman.

I'm choosing the latter.

I've said this before...Chelf was not more accurate than Walsh, but he could put the ball in places that Walsh couldn't. Defenses had to respect the ENTIRE field.

Walsh doesn't torch Baylor like Chelf did.

Daxx is going to throw some interceptions. He hasn't played since his junior year in HS. But the only way to knock off the rust is to play.

I love JW, and I know this was Missouri State, but I'm rolling with Garman.

And the rest of the conference played out like we'd expect.

Baylor 70 Northwestern 6

Yeah, it was Northwestern.  But Baylor's still putting up video game numbers and this was with the backup QB.  Seth Russell playing in place of injured Bryce Petty finished the game 16/25 for 438 yards.  That's 27 yards per completion.  I don't care who it's against, that's scary:

From start to finish (which was, for him, halftime), Seth Russell was as good tonight as Baylor fans have ever seen him, breaking the Baylor record for yards and touchdown passes in a half with 438 and 5 TDs, respectively.  He finished 16-25 passing for a respectable 64% and showed impressive arm strength, mobility, and decision-making, looking every bit the part of a starting Baylor QB under Art Briles.

West Virginia 54 Towson 0

Couches were probably burned in celebration.  West Virginia is 2 weeks into the season and appears to be on track for a nice rebound after last season.  Not much to report on for this one, inferior opponent that was taken to the woodshed.

Oklahoma 52 Tulsa 7

And another one that really isn't worthy of our time discussing.  The Sooners ran all over at will and put up good passing numbers.  They're still better than Tulsa, yay I guess.

Discussion question: Texas is struggling at the moment.  Texas A&M is not.  Baylor is not.  Could Texas get stuck in 3rd place in their own state?