In Week 2, the Big 12 went 2-1 against Power 5 non-conference opponents, the best record of any Power 5 conference for the weekend. There was, of course, a lot of good here, some bad, and unfortunately, also at least one game of downright ugly. Let’s just take them in order, shall we?
Oklahoma’s 31-16 win over #2 Ohio State was the sort of statement win the conference really needed, especially after the Texas-shaped debacle of Week 1. In beating the Buckeyes, the Sooners gave notice to the rest of college football that it will take more than a coaching change to push the program off track.
Baker Mayfield was about as you’d expect: a bit shaky out of the gate, he left some points on the field with a couple of early turnover. After that though, he pretty much torched the Ohio State secondary and finished with an eye-popping stat line: 27/35, 386 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT. He also distributed the ball nicely, targeting eight different receivers, with Dimitri Flowers getting the most catches.
Oh, and this happened.
It was a perfectly in-character moment for both Mayfield and Oklahoma (and probably the reason why they’re both so easy to dislike). For now, we’ll let them enjoy it. Just remember: hubris has its own price.
The other statement win for the Big 12 came courtesy of our purple brethren from Fort Worth. TCU beat Arkansas 28-7 thanks mostly to a physical and stifling defense of the sort not seen in the Big 12 since at least 2012. Just a week after allowing only 63 yards to its hapless opponent, TCU held the Hogs to 267 yards of total offense. Only three Arkansas receivers caught passes and Austin Allen, the hero of last year’s wild shootout between these teams, was barely a factor. He finished 9/23 with 183 yards and one touchdown.
Afterwards, Gary Patterson could barely contain his joy:
It's only two ballgames, but we're really excited about where we're at right now.
TCU is now 1-0 in road games, but the Frogs still have tough challenges ahead with road games at Stillwater, Manhattan, Ames, Lubbock, and Norman. Anything could happen, but for now, TCU gets some well-deserved (if restrained) applause.
Texas finally added to the win column with a huge 56-0 win over San Jose State. The Longhorns dominated the line of scrimmage, running up over 600 yards of total offense while holding the overmatched Spartans to just 171 yards, including just 42 yards on the ground. Sam Ehlinger, a lifelong Texas fan, got the start at quarterback in place of the injured Shane Buechele. He made good use of the opportunity, cranking out 222 yards and a score. Ehlinger also had plenty of help from the running backs. Chris Warren III rushed for 166 yards on 16 attempts. That’s a ridiculous 10.4 yards a carry, and he wasn’t even the only back racking up yards against the Spartans.
Naturally, now that Tom Herman has won his first game in Austin, Texas is well and truly back, and will probably beat the heck out of USC in the next game. Right?
Nobody is paying a whole lot of attention right now, but West Virginia is quietly announcing itself as a force to reckon with in the Big 12. The Mountaineers put the hurt on ECU 56-20, and it wasn’t even that close.
Two games into the season, quarterback Will Grier is posting Heisman-worthy numbers. Against ECU, he went 19-of-25 for 352 yards and five touchdowns, for an absurd 14 yards per attempt. The best part? He was part tactician, surgically taking apart the ECU secondary, and part maverick, making up reckless, lunatic plays to get away from a pass rush.
What Grier does in the Big 12 season is irrelevant. If you’re a true fan of college football, you’ll just enjoy him for what he is. In fact, I’ll just leave these here:
Will Grier must have played a lot of Madden during his suspension pic.twitter.com/BrKtFsjLBI— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) September 4, 2017
And oh yeah, Oklahoma State played on Friday and beat South Alabama 44-7 in a routine and ordinary fashion. Mason Rudolph passed for 335 yards and three scores. In the process, he set a new school record for career passing yards (9,352).
James Washington and Chris Lacy both had plenty of catches and yards, and honestly, I’m bored just typing this. Basically, this is all that happened.
Oklahoma State took care of business, and we still now about as much about the Pokes as we did two weeks ago. Like Kansas State, the Cowboys will take on a decent Power 5 opponent (Pitt) next week, and that should tell us a bit more.
Honestly, it pains me to include Iowa State here, because the Cyclones weren’t bad at all. They were merely incapable of finishing off their most-hated rival down the stretch, and ended up losing to Iowa 44-41 in overtime.
(I don’t know what this is. It just seemed on point).
A game once dubbed ¡El Assico! turned into ¡El Classico! this time, the two teams combining for 750 yards through the air and 85 points. (Yes, a Big Ten team and Iowa State, the most B1G team in the Big 12, each passed for over 300 yards. Let that sink in for a moment).
For the Cyclones, Jacob Park proved he wasn’t just all about the hair, completing 25 of 46 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. Running back David Montgomery rushed 20 times for 112 yards, adding to the offensive explosion for Iowa State. In a departure from the past, Iowa State didn’t fold when down 21-10 in the third quarter. Instead, Park somehow managed to not only close the gap, but put his team ahead 31-21
The problem was on the other side of the ball. Iowa State could not stop Iowa running back Akrum Wadley for most of the first half, and after settling for a field goal in overtime, the Cyclones couldn’t stop quarterback Nate Stanley either. Kamari Cotton-Moya’s injury-related absence in the second half didn’t help either.
Still, the Cyclones showed plenty of fight, and should be able to recover from the loss and bounce back for a game against Akron next week. If nothing else, Matt Campbell has the offense—and team belief—headed in the right direction.
Important note: our friends at WRNL are attempting to raise funds to help a diehard Iowa State fan fight kidney cancer. Please consider donating to give another Big 12 family a hand.
Meanwhile, a bit further to the south and west, Kansas lost to Central Michigan 45-27, in a game the Jayhawks were favored to win.
Kansas actually led 3-0 in the first quarter, but after that, everything that could go wrong did indeed go wrong.
On a day when Jayhawks quarterback Peyton Bender struggled, the defense gave up 467 yards and five touchdowns through the air, along with another 123 yards and a score on the ground. This is #KansasFootball.
So Baylor lost to UTSA 17-10. The Bears are now 0-2 and have lost eight consecutive games following a 6-0 start in 2016.
There is only this left: