I came, I saw, I conquered was the mantra in last weekend’s Big 12 games. Two teams, Baylor and Texas Tech, retained their undefeated status with dominating wins. West Virginia continued to show that it is currently enduring a rebuilding status of its program with the loss of two of their stars to the NFL from last year, Geno Smith and Tavon Austin. And yes, the Longhorns finally stopped some of the bleeding from a struggling start into the season.
The weekend started with the Kansas Jayhawks snapping a 22-game losing streak against FBS teams in its 13-10 victory over Louisiana Tech. The game was all but easy for the Jayhawks as it proved to be a nail-biting game all the way to the end. The QBs dueled all day with LT’s Higgins going 35 for 55 for 289 yards and Kansas’ Jake Heaps going 28 for 46 for 279 yards.
The first half set the stage for what was going to be a close game with Louisiana Tech going into the locker rooms with a 7-3 lead. In the third quarter it looked like momentum was building for Tech when they tacked on a field goal, but that all changed in a gripping fourth quarter. A pass from Jake Heaps resulted in a touchdown for Kansas to tie the game at an even 10-10. With 1:33 seconds left in the game Louisiana Tech appeared certain to score when they strolled up to the Kansas 18 yard line. Louisiana’s sophomore running back, Kenneth Dixon, got the carry and was battling for yardage when the ball came loose inside the 5-yard line and the Jayhawks recovered it. That gave Kansas the time it needed to get their walk-on kicker Matt Wyman in position to make the game-winning 52-yard field goal with no time left.
Off to their best start since 2001, Maryland, now 4-0, was able to pick apart their border rivals in a surprisingly easy 37-0 victory over West Virginia on Saturday. The Terrapins ended a seven-game losing streak against West Virginia that gave Maryland their biggest dominating win in the series since a 54-7 blowout in 1951. Not only did Maryland’s offense show up to play ball with quarterback CJ Brown going 17 for 26 for a total of 210 yards, but the team’s defense was damaging to The Mountaineers as well. AJ Hendy scored on a 28-yard interception return and recovered two of the four fumbles that Maryland forced in the game. West Virginia was just no match for the Terrapins as they finished with only 175 yards in offense in its first shutout loss since a 35-0 defeat against Virginia Tech in 2001.
Well Baylor did it – they had its 3rd another straight game with at least 60 points. Baylor is 3-0 this season after a 70-7 beatdown of Louisiana-Monroe. Baylor is also setting records with their unstoppable scoring ability. The Baylor Bears are the first FBS team since LSU in 1930 to open a season with at least 60 points in three consecutive games. Baylor finished with 781 total yards, matching the school record set in their last game against Buffalo which they won 70-13. It sure helps when both offensive and defensive teams are able to put points on the board and Baylor surely did. Unfortunately for ULM, they too were close to matching a record, but it’s a record that no team is ever glad to come close with. ULM suffered its worst loss since a 73-7 loss at Auburn in 2003.
Texas Tech took on the Texas State Bobcats this weekend and was able to keep their undefeated season alive with a 33-7 win putting them at 4-0 for the season. First-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, although glad of another victory for his team, was able to recognize and acknowledge that it was his team’s defense that stepped up as Tech’s offense struggled most of the game. Starting quarterback for the Red Raiders, Baker Mayfield, was replaced in the second quarter by David Webb and returned to the game late in the fourth quarter. Mayfield was 14 for 20 for 124 yards and one interception, while backup quarterback Davis Webb threw for two touchdowns and 310 yards and finished 19 for 43 with two interceptions. In the first half, Texas Tech’s sole touchdown came from their linebacker, Will Smith, who returned a fumble for 9 yards. Texas Tech’s offense had to settle for many field goals, as their offense was just not able to finish out well in the red zone. On special teams, Ryan Bustin added four field goals to the score. Texas Tech finished with 552 total yards, and coach Kingsbury told press that he will continue to work with his offense and sees potential in his two freshman quarterbacks.
While the Red Raider offense may have struggled, their defensive counterparts played lights out.. Texas State struggled against Tech’s defense who only gave up 232 total yards. The lone touchdown for the Bobcats came from their running back Robert Lowed who scored on a 49-yard run. Two of the three Bobcat’s turnovers came from quarterback Tyler Arndt who was 12 for 23 for 108 yards. Texas State had just one turnover coming into the game, but Texas Tech’s defense was just too good and by halftime the Bobcats had lost two fumbles and gave one interception.
The hot seat couldn’t have been hotter for Texas head coach Mack Brown coming into this game against Kansas State after suffering two straight losses by at least 19 points. Early in the day there were even some Longhorn fans wearing shirts that read “Saban 2014” in hopes that rumors would ring true of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, having interest in leading the Texas Longhorn football program next year. It was the Big 12 opener for both teams and Texas was able to catch a falling knife for a football program that looked all but hopeless coming into contact with a team they had not beaten in the past 5 consecutive times. Texas took the victory 31-21 over Kansas State. Longhorn’s Jonathan Gray rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns becoming Texas’ first 100-yard rusher of the season. QB, David Ash, for Texas who missed the previous game because of concussion-like symptoms came out ahead with 166 passing yards in the first half, but then had to pass the torch in the second half to Senior Case McCoy because of a new head injury. However, it was not an issue because McCoy kept up the offensive momentum for Texas leading two touchdown drives.
Where Texas showed the most improvement was in their defensive teams. Despite giving the Wildcats QB, Tyler Lockett, a chance to throw 13 ccompletions for 237 yards, the Texas defense came out more energetic in the face of a high-pressured game. The Longhorn defense forced three turnovers early in the second half that helped solidify a Texas victory.
It’ll be another quiet week for the Big 12 as only five teams will take the field. It will start off tonight, Thursday, with Iowa State taking on Tulsa where the Cyclones will be looking for its first win of the season. We will then head into the weekend with TCU vs. Southern Methodist and the Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. the West Virginian Mountaineers. All eyes will be on what appears to be a good matchup between the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, ranked #14 and #22 respectfully.
What did you think of the week in the Big 12? Who is going to win between Oklahoma and Notre Dame? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Written by Pamela Maldonado