Well, that was informative. A lot of people came into this week questioning Baylor's schedule and wondering what the hell OU was going to be capable of this year. I think it's safe to say that those questions were answered emphatically; although, since this is college football that just means that the new question on everyone's minds is "can Baylor take their show on the road?" Well, I'm sorry, but you'll just have to wait a couple weeks to find out the answer to that one. On to the recaps!
Oh boy, was I excited for this one. On the one hand, I and others really wanted to find out if Baylor was "for real," and OU ostensibly provided a great test of that theory. On the other hand, I was already pretty certain that Baylor was legit and OU wasn't, so I was also highly anticipating the schadenfreude I figured this game might provide. And oh, did it provide me with that. Despite Bryce Petty looking like a first-time starter for arguably the first time this year and spotting OU a touchdown-free first quarter, Baylor proceeded to blow the wheels off of OU's wagon late in the second quarter. In the last eight minutes of the second quarter Baylor scored 21 points, the last of those on a 24-yard catch by Antwan Goodley with 13 seconds left when everyone knew that no matter how little time was left, Baylor was going to score a touchdown before half. After that, OU was done.
That kind of psychological advantage is pretty imposing, almost as imposing as a team that can outscore you by 29 points despite spotting you 15 minutes of game time, giving you a safety, losing their most established receiver, and losing their top two running backs. I know that some of you think that Okie Lite is going to give Baylor a rude awakening in Stillwater - just don't count me among your number.
Stats of note: 255 rushing yards for Baylor. 182 of those yards came from Baylor's third string running back, Shock Linwood (aside: forget the fact that Baylor has arguably the best running back situation in the entire country. What's unarguable is that they have the best running back names - Lache Seastrunk, Glasco Martin, and the aforementioned Shock Linwood). Another 45 came from Bryce Petty (56 if you discount sack yardage) who is a much more effective runner than people give him credit for.
Also of note: 15-35, 150 yards, 4.3 yards per passing attempt, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 8 carries, 5 yards rushing. Blake Bell is looking less and less like the answer at QB with every passing week, which has to make some Sooner fans worry about the future. Relax, guys, Josh Heupel is more than capable of saving the day! I don't believe that, but I'm not an OU fan so I don't have to.
TCU Horned Frogs at Iowa State Cyclones (W, 21-17)
I didn't watch enough of this game to really comment on it, other than to say that it's hard to tell who has the worse quarterback situation. I would say that TCU would "win" that comparison hands down under normal circumstances, but Sam Richardson has been injured all year for ISU, and a hobbled Richardson or a fully healthy Grant Rohach doesn't scare anyone other than your own fans. Casey Pachall, on the other hand, is actually a capable quarterback, though he's not really in a situation that allows him to show that. One guy who is actually capable of showing his ability is Trevone Boykin, who is one hell of a wildcat quarterback (though, again, a pretty terrible normal one). Boykin scored three rushing TDs in this game, with the last one coming with 38 seconds left in the game to turn a TCU defeat into
another bone-chilling loss for ISU victory.
Stats of note: TCU average 6.8 yards per pass for the second game in a row in conference, which is a borderline miracle. I still wonder what this offense would have looked like with Pachall behind center for the entire season, but it's bad enough as is that I don't think it would have mattered, other maybe than in their games against Tech and OU.
Also of note: ISU had a kickoff return touchdown in this game, meaning their offense only scored 10 points. Does that make the loss more bearable? Less? I'm glad I'm not in the position of having to decide.
Kansas Jayhawks at Oklahoma State Cowboys (L, 6-42)
As I said before, recapping KU games is pretty much an exercise in futility. KU had arguably their best offensive performance of the season (against a legit defense, no less) and was held to single digits in scoring for the first time all year. Funny how that works. For their part, OSU probably welcomed the de facto bye week before having to play @UT, Baylor, and OU in their last three games.
Stats of note: OSU struggled without the big play in this game, only converting 6-15 third downs and running for 2.7 yards a carry. This was a good week to not be elite on offense.
Also of note: Montell Cozart saw exclusive action in the second half, indicating that the Jake Heaps era might just be over (for this year, at least!) in Lawrence. For his part, Cozart looks talented, very raw, and fast. Hopefully he doesn't get too shell-shocked over the next couple weeks as KU seeks to get a win against either WVU or ISU.
Man, what a great college football game. Just for quick reference, check out these scores of WVU games over the past couple years since they joined the conference: 70-63, 48-45, 39-38, 50-49, 31-24, 30-27, 47-40. Those are some exciting affairs! While the offense hasn't been as light's out spectacular as last year, the defense has taken enough of a step forward (while still allowing enough big plays on the back end) that WVU has still found themselves in some highly exciting and competitive affairs, especially down the stretch of the conference season.
This game really had way too much going on for me to adequately relate all of it, but the important thing is that the final minute of the third quarter and the entire fourth consisted of 5 consecutive lead-changing scores: an 8-yard run by Joe Bergeron to put UT up 30-26, 8-yard run by Dreamius Smith to put WVU up 33-30, a 10-yard grab by Jaxon Shipley to put UT back up 37-33, a 72-yard (!) pass from backup QB Paul Millard to Mario Alford to regain the lead for WVU at 40-37, and then finally a 24-yard field goal by Anthony Fera with 13 seconds left to send it to overtime.
UT scored a touchdown on their first possession of overtime, and WVU looked to be about to do the same after getting first and goal from the Texas 5 on their overtime possession. Incompletion, incompletion, interception, and the Mack Brown redemption train rolls on.
Stats of note: West Virginia turned it over 5 times and still had a shot to win this game, somehow.
Also of note: Texas only averaged 5.8 yards per pass against WVU, which is terrible given their secondary. Someone needs to make them pay for trotting Case McCoy out there week after week. Methinks that someone is coming up next week in the form of Okie Lite.
And now, time for the flavor of the week! Baylor finally passed their "big-game" test, and with flying colors, I might add. Texas and Okie Lite are still in the running, but OU has lost tiebreakers to both UT and Baylor, and with Okie Lite still on the schedule that is not a good place to be. I also found out last week that K-State can no longer tie for the conference title (even before last weekend's games), but I've decided to leave them on for those hoping for major NCAA infractions or a meteor or some other scenario that ends up with purple on top. Time to buckle up for the home stretch!