Normally a week that serves as a tune-up before conference play, this ended up being a worse than expected week for the conference. An early-season conference title contender suffered a loss to a bunch of relative unknowns in Lubbock, a winless ISU squad suffered a brutal loss to a highly uninspiring Iowa team, KU lost to Rice (again), and the pre-season conference favorite continued its defensive free-fall, getting blown out in the second half by Ole Miss, at home. Pretty rough week for anyone who didn't play a patsy, or isn't associated with Coach Dudebro.
TCU's offensive line looks to be their weakest unit on offense (yes, weaker than QB), which is a big problem since their running game is far better than their passing game. Early struggles with the offensive line in pass protection led to Boykin looked rattled, and he never really seemed to settle down. TCU's defense was getting shredded by Tech in the first quarter, but essentially shut down Tech in the second and third quarters, before finally wilting after their own offense finally tied the game up in the fourth. Tech's defense was very impressive (with the caveat that all this came against TCU's offense), but their offense seemed very simplistic and with inexperienced quarterbacks that could be a problem. That was the case against TCU, as their experienced secondary was able to bait Baker Mayfield into a couple picks that he probably wouldn't throw next year.
Stats of note: 8 drives, 32 plays, -2 yards of net offense. That's Tech's offense from the time of Baker Mayfield's second INT of the game with 11:24 to go in the second quarter, to the start of their game-clinching TD drive with 6:28 to go in the 4th. That's a pretty long period of complete domination by TCU on defense.
Also of note: TCU outgained Tech by almost 70 yards, held them to 1.7 yards per rush, had one less turnover, and had 10 minutes more with the ball. And, of course, they lost 20-10. Those 13 penalties for 115 yards sure didn't help. Neither did going 4-16 on third down.
Tulsa is probably not very good this year. That said, OU went into this game staring at a QB controversy. It's safe to say they come out of this game feeling a lot better about their QB situation, even if, you know, Tulsa. Blake Bell ended up throwing for over 400 yards, much of which came on easy completions, like the bubble screens that OU has become so well known for of late. However, his first TD throw was him standing in the pocket and throwing a strike to the back line of the endzone, and his third TD was a beaut of a toss on a seam route, so it's not like he was only being spoon-fed. OU never got their run game going, but their aforementioned screen game was working extremely well, likely as a result of all that attention being paid to the run game.
Stats of note: 27-37, 413 yards, 4 TD, 11.2 yards per pass attempt. Blake Bell broke Sam Bradford's record for most passing yards by a Sooner QB in their first start, and while the offense was built to protect him, he was impressive on several deep throws. Two of his touchdowns, in particular, were very good reads and throws. That said, it was against Tulsa.
Also of note: If you take out a 48-yard scamper by Roy Finch that was mostly due to the skills of one Roy Finch, OU ran for only 146 yards on 43 carries, or 3.4 yards per carry. That's somewhat worrisome given the opponent.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. GST Panthers (W, 41-7)
Like many Big XII teams (looking at you, K-State, Okie Lite, and to an extent, OU), WVU used this week as a tune-up. All you can take away from this one is that WVU has a new quarterback (RS Freshman Ford Childress), and they are capable of blowing out an inferior opponent with that QB, which wasn't the case in week one against William & Mary. Next week comes a nice challenge before league play - on the road against the Fighting Testudos of Maryland.
Stats of note: 25-41, 359 yards passing, 3 TD, 1 INT, 8.8 yards per attempt. Not bad for Childress' debut, but seeing if he can carry it over to Maryland is the big question.
Also of note: 602 yards of total offense. That's more like what we're used to seeing from Holgo's squad. Compare that with only 400 yards of offense against W&M, and it looks like switching QBs could pay some dividends.
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (L, 21- 27)
I didn't watch much of this game, making me one of few real winners associated with this one. Iowa pounded the living tar out of the football with their running back, rushing the ball 60 times for 3.6 yards a carry. By all accounts, it looked less exciting than it sounds. Iowa State foundered much of the game, but was able to get enough of a passing game going late to make the final score respectable, although they never really had a chance to win the game in the 4th quarter. Iowa recovered their onside kick after ISU scored a TD to pull within 27-21 with 2:26 to go, mercifully ending the game.
Stats of note: 38 minutes with the ball for Iowa, compared to only 22 minutes for ISU. Did I mention that Iowa ran the ball a lot?
Also of note: 7 receptions, 146 yards, and 3 TDs. Quenton Bundrage had quite the game for ISU after tearing it up in the 4th quarter, but it ended up being too little too late for them to pull off the comeback.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Lamar Cardinals (W, 59-3)
Not much to say here. Lamar was completely outmatched, and Okie Lite probably was more than ready to play football after having their program in the news for all the wrong reasons the week prior. It showed. While J.W. Walsh and the OSU offense in general didn't have their most efficient outing, a combination of special teams and an offense that took advantage of the times it got decent field position led to a blowout.
Stats of note: 4.1 yards per carry. This is the stat that indicates to me that Okie Lite didn't have their best offensive day. Against Lamar, they should be able to do better. But, hey, 59-3.
Also of note: 26 first downs for OSU. Then again, maybe I've become spoiled in this day and age. I remember when regularly getting 20 first downs a game meant you were a good, consistent offense. Now it's just expected, I suppose.
Oof. I can't lie; I went into this one expecting a win. 11 Jake Heaps carries/scrambles/wtf playcalls later, and KU had lost to Rice again. While KU looks to have a strong running game once more, Charlie Weis seems more intent on airing it out and proving that he has a Big XII caliber passing offense. Which is a problem, because KU's receivers probably couldn't start for Tulsa. That said, KU's defense was pretty impressive in this game, until giving up a late TD after being left on the field by the offense too much in the second half.
Stats of note: 11 carries, -26 yards for Jake Heaps. 4 combined carries for Darrian Miller, Brandon Bourbon, and Tony Pierson, KU's best offensive players behind James Sims. Some of those Heaps carries were scrambles and sacks, but the point remains. You can't blame anyone but yourself when you don't give the ball to the few playmakers you do have.
Also of note: 2 receptions by KU wide receivers, both by sophomore Tre' Parmalee, who wasn't even on the depth chart until after the South Dakota game. You think KU is hurting for quality receivers?
Texas Longhorns vs. Ole Miss Rebels (L, 23-44)
Regrettably, I was unable to watch this game. Oh, what's that, you too? Weird. Regardless, I'm kind of glad I didn't, because it sounds highly depressing. After going down 14-0 to start the game, Texas showed that it would take more than a couple punches to down them by scoring 23 straight points to take the lead. Unfortunately, it turned out that Ole Miss had several more haymakers left in them. After scoring a field goal right before halftime, Ole Miss racked up 28 unanswered points in the second half. After the game, Mack thanked the crowd for being large and loud, and asked them to come out the rest of the year to support the kids, not the coaches. It was just as sad as it sounds.
Stats of note: 272 yards rushing, 6 yards per carry. The Gerg can try all he wants, but it's hard to teach proper tackling technique when you're prepping for a new opponent each week.
Also of note: Case McCoy was the QB for Texas in this one, which is never good for Texas chances. Unless they are playing aTm in the last edition of a century-long rivalry, I suppose.
And now, time for the flavor of the week! Last week's winner were the Baylor Bears, with 43% of the vote.