Football

Livin’ on a Prayer: Week 7 in the Big 12

My Week 6 Game of the Week was Texas vs. Oklahoma in the Red River RivalShootDown and it absolutely did not disappoint. In what was the highest scoring game in the history of that rivalry and the all the way back Texas Longhorns took down the highly-touted Oklahoma Sooners 48-45. In a game with multiple lead changes, the Sooners blasted back with 21 unanswered points starting late in the third quarter to tie the game 45-45 with 2:38 left in the game. But the Sooners left the Longhorns with more time to work with than the impressively bad Mike Stoops defense could handle. They kicked a game-winning field goal with 9 seconds remaining to seal the game, and to allow fans everywhere to hear Gus Johnson discuss “Dicker the kicker” ad nauseam. Since the Sooners dropped this game Mike Stoops has finally been fired as their defensive coordinator and our old pal Ruffin McNeill has been named interim defensive coordinator.

Week 7 Game of the Week:

#6 West Virginia @ Iowa State

The Mountaineers are taking a prolific chunk play offense into Ames against a strong defense. The Cyclones may have found a new offensive answer in freshman quarterback Brock Purdy, who came into the game for the second series against Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Purdy took over and became the playmaker of the Cyclone offense, making the most of his one opportunity. If the former third-string quarterback can continue to produce at this level, especially at home in Ames, then the sloppy and turnover-prone Mountaineers may have some real trouble on their hands. If Iowa State manages the upset, the Big 12 picture suddenly turns into a topsy-turvy mess.

KEITH’S PICK RECORD

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Baylor

@OU

@KSU

Iowa State

N/A

@TCU

@OSU

Kansas

@BU

@WVU

Kansas State

@WVU

Oklahoma

@ISU

Oklahoma State

@KU

TCU

@UT

BYE

Texas

@KSU

@OU

Texas Tech

@OSU

BYE

West Virginia

N/A

@TTU

Totals

7-2

9-1

4-4

5-1

4-1

2-2

Season Total: 31-11

Texas Tech @ TCU

                               

Last Week: Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1) is coming off of a bye week that followed a disappointing loss at home to the West Virginia Mountaineers 42-34. The Red Raiders had a horrible first half, allowing 21 points in the first quarter alone and heading into halftime down 34-10. Alan Bowman was knocked out of the game and fans finally saw Jett Duffey in action. Duffey led a furious comeback attempt that ultimately ended in a pick six. This gave West Virginia their only points of the second half and effectively closed any path to victory for the Red Raiders as the interception came during a drive to tie the game. Duffey finished the day 16/27 for 172 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Duffey was also the leading rusher with 15 carries for 86 yards and a score. Antoine Wesley led the team in receiving with 8 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. He was followed closely by Ja’Deion High with 6 catches for 105 yards. Dakota Allen led the defense with 12 tackles (6 solo), 0.5 sacks, and 1 tackle for loss.
TCU (3-2, 1-1) snapped a two-game losing skid with a 17-14 win over the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames. Quarterback Shawn Robinson went 21/29 for 182 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and 1 fumble lost. Three TCU rushers combined for 45 carries for 117 yards, averaging 2.5 yards per carry. Shawn Robinson was taken directly to the locker room for assessment following an injury to his shoulder. Three plays later TCU kicker Jonathan Song hit a 28-yard field goal with 38 seconds left to seal the win for the Horned Frogs.
Date & Time: Thursday, October 11, 6:30 p.m.
Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, TX
Television: ESPN
Line: TCU -7
All-Time Record: TTU 31-3-26 TCU
Overview & Breakdown:

Texas Tech Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury indicated that he hopes to have all three quarterbacks (McClane Carter, Alan Bowman, and Jett Duffey) available to play against TCU. Carter has been rehabbing from a high ankle sprain suffered early in the Red Raiders’ first game against Ole Miss. Bowman suffered a partially collapsed lung against West Virginia but with no broken ribs or other injury is said to be close to a full recovery. The Red Raiders displayed a total inability to move the ball on offense and stop the Mountaineers in the first half of the last game. The Red Raiders have been outscored 83-35 in the first quarter against FBS opponents this season. While Texas Tech has put a lot of pieces together to field an athletic, competitive, and capable team, they have not found a way to start games at full capacity yet.
Biggest Question: Who is the starting quarterback? Most fans agreed that this was Alan Bowman’s team. But after a rough start against West Virginia and now everyone getting healthy at the same time there’s a mini-controversy brewing. Jett Duffey was electric, but Kingsbury said he was improvising too much. He gave him credit for playing hard for his teammates and trying to win, but he wasn’t executing the offense. My money is on Bowman getting the nod if he’s healthy.
TCU looked almost like a dumpster fire at one point, but now they’re getting some reverse credibility from Texas looking to actually be a team with the ability to compete against talented competition. The Horned Frogs gained respect hanging with Ohio State despite spotting them 21 points, but then they looked inept against the Longhorns. TCU bounced back to some extent against Iowa State but lost Shawn Robinson to a possible shoulder injury in the process. Kevontae Turpin also left the game with a cut under his eye for which he needed stitches. No word has been given if he has any further injuries or has been placed in a concussion protocol.
Biggest Question: Can Shawn Robinson stop giving the ball away? Robinson is likely one of the most athletic and capable players on the field in most of TCU’s games, but his propensity for interceptions and fumbles are crippling his team’s chances in winnable games. TCU is ranked #110 in the nation in turnovers lost, and #124 in turnover margin. He is expected to play Thursday night by those that watch the TCU program.
My Pick: I’m going to get a reputation as a homer, but I think the Red Raiders are going to win. This is a very winnable game for Tech, they outmatch the Horned Frogs at multiple positions this season and if David Gibbs’ defense can finally get the turnovers working, this is certainly a game to make that happen and see the fruits of their labor.

Baylor @ #9 Texas

                               

Last Week: Baylor (4-2, 2-1) got themselves into a barn burner against the Kansas State Wildcats and found a way to come out on top 37-34. The Bears and Wildcats were tied 34-34 late in the game and moved the ball into a position to seal the win. However, their kicker Connor Martin was 2/5 on the day on field goals and 2/3 on extra points. Martin stepped up and nailed the game-winner kicking a beauty right up the middle with 8 seconds left in the game. Quarterback Charlie Brewer finished the game 30/44 for 296 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Baylor rushers combined for 48 rushes for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. They were led by Trestan Ebner who had 17 carries for 100 yards. Jalen Hurd led the way receiving with 11 catches for 135 yards.
Texas (5-1, 3-0) won a great college football game, in a storied rivalry, in a historic stadium, in front of a midday national audience, defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 48-45 in the Red River Rivalry. Sam Ehlinger was hailed as a conquering hero going 25/34 for 314 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ehlinger also chipped in 19 carries for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns as the teams’ second-leading rusher. Lil’Jordan Humphrey was the Longhorns’ leading receiver with 9 catches for 133 yards and 1 touchdown. Humphrey also chipped in as a passer from the wildcat going 2/2 for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 13, @ 2:30 p.m.
Location: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field, Austin, TX
Television: ESPN
Line: Texas -14
All-Time Record: BU 26-4-77 UT
Overview & Breakdown: Baylor has been putting some things together and is finding ways to get their playmakers involved. Head coach Matt Rhule has finally allowed Charlie Brewer to own his role as QB1 and it has worked well for the Bears. Baylor absolutely is not an elite team, but they have shown the ability to win games against lesser competition. The Bears will have to step up to another level if they hope to have a chance against a red-hot Longhorn team playing at home.
Biggest Question: Can the Bears stop the run? Texas doesn’t have an exceptional running game, but Sam Ehlinger brings the ability to challenge a defense with his legs. Kansas State combined for 319 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on 35 carries. They were led by Alex Barnes who had 22 carries for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. If Texas has an opportunity all season to get the running game mixed into their offensive scheme this is definitely it.
Texas may actually be able to compete at a reasonably high level again. The Longhorns are sitting tied with West Virginia for the lead of the Big 12 Conference and Sam Ehlinger abandoning his interception strategy in favor of scoring 5 total touchdowns seems to really be lifting Texas up. The Longhorns have struggled to establish a ground game throughout the season, but they are finding ways to capitalize on playmakers like Ehlinger and Humphrey. At times their defense does appear to be capable and can’t be judged too harshly for their performance against Kyler Murray from a yardage/scoring standpoint.
Biggest Question: Is this for real? Texas has now beaten three ranked teams and being back is barely a joke anymore. The Longhorns appear to be putting something together and winning games in spite of themselves.
My Pick: I like the Longhorns in this one. They appear to be a reasonably capable team and should be able to dispatch the Bears who have found ways to win against lesser competition but should be totally outmatched by Texas.

#6 West Virginia @ Iowa State

                             

Last Week:  West Virginia (5-0, 3-0) sits atop the Big 12 Conference standings after dispatching the Kansas Jayhawks 38-22 in a game closer than it should have been. Will Grier was 28/41 for 332 yards, 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions (in the first half in the red zone), and a chipped in a fumble. Leddie Brown led Mountaineer rushing with 11 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown and while Grier hit 10 receivers on the day, no one caught for over 75 yards. The Kansas defense was also successful in limiting West Virginia to shorter throws, removing the deep ball chunk plays from their arsenal.
Iowa State (2-3, 1-2) defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater 48-42. Zeb Noland, who has been starting in place of injured quarterback Kyle Kempt, was benched in favor of freshman Brock Purdy. Purdy came in for the second series and made the most of his opportunity staying in the rest of the game and going 18/23 for 318 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Purdy also led the Cyclones in rushing carrying 19 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. This rushing filled the gap left by David Montgomery who is nursing a deep arm bruise sustained on the first play of the canceled game with South Dakota State. The Iowa State defense limited the Big 12’s leading rusher, Justice Hill, to 66 yards on 24 carries, and 2.9 yards per carry average.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 13, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA.
Television: FS1
Line: West Virginia -6
All-Time Record: WVU 5-0-1 ISU
Overview & Breakdown: West Virginia is ranked in the Top 10 for the first time since 2012, but the Mountaineers are putting together some ugly performances. Dana Holgorsen shared his thoughts that a sloppy win is still a win to take home, but I think there is still a concern to be found in their play. The ‘Eers are struggling at times and Will Grier is showing himself more and more to be prone to turnovers. Kansas has led the nation in turnover margin all season and against Big 12 competition it would seem that is a result of scheme and design as much as luck and level of competition.
Biggest Question: Can West Virginia put together a complete game? Iowa State is surging and we can only assume that freshman Brock Purdy has earned himself the starting quarterback job for the time being. The Mountaineers will have no time to waste in getting out to a lead and holding onto it. The Texas Tech defense shut this team down in the second half, and turnovers kept Kansas in the game much longer than expected. Sooner or later that inability to find consistency will bite this team.
Iowa State may have finally found an answer to its offensive woes. Purdy showed real playmaking ability and the moxie to not let any situation rattle him. The Cyclones have had a strong defense and now can potentially enjoy the benefit of rest on the sideline thanks to an offense that can build sustained drives. While having David Montgomery sidelined hurts the offense, they appear to have the ability to play strongly on both sides of the ball as is.
Biggest Question: Can Brock Purdy sustain his productivity? The West Virginia defense isn’t a world-beater, so if Purdy can continue to do the things he did against Oklahoma State there is a real shot here.
My Pick: I’m taking the Cyclones in this one. I think they’ve put some things together with a new quarterback, unlocking some offensive prowess and allowing their defense to do what it’s good at. I think West Virginia is due a disappointment and that their sloppy play will finally bite them in Ames.

Oklahoma State @ Kansas State

                              

Last Week:  Oklahoma State (4-2, 1-2) dropped a close one at home to the Iowa State Cyclones 48-42. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius finished the day 19/33, for 289 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, and one lost fumble. The Cowboys could not find a way to stop Iowa State’s freshman third-string quarterback Brock Purdy who torched them on the ground and through the air, handing Oklahoma State its second home loss in a row. Oklahoma State rushers could not find any success on the ground either with only Justice Hill gaining over 50 yards and averaging only 2.8 yards per carry.
Kansas State (2-4, 0-3) lost to a surging Baylor Bears team 37-34 on a late game-winning field goal. The Wildcats gained an impressive 319 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground in 35 carries, averaging 9.1 yards per carry. However, that wasn’t enough to overcome Baylor’s 557 yards of total offense. Quarterback Skylar Thompson went 15/46 for 149 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Thompson chipped in 9 carries for 50 yards and a touchdown rushing as well.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 13 @ 11:00 a.m.
Location:  Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS.
Television: ESPNU
Line: Oklahoma State -7
All-Time Record: OSU 39-0-25 KState
Overview & Breakdown: Oklahoma State appears to be on the struggle bus. They’ve lost two of their last three and now are playing only their second road game of the season in a classically difficult place to play. They don’t seem to have an answer for defenses with a pulse giving up 7 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 5 quarterback hurries to the Cyclones. Their own defense is not stopping anyone either getting knocked out of their game plan by the surprise entrance of a third-string freshman quarterback who proceeded to torch them for 5 total touchdowns.
Biggest Question: Can the Cowboys recover? This team has really struggled to find its stride without Mason Rudolph at the helm. They are not the offensive juggernaut Big 12 foes have come to expect and their defense feels almost non-existent at times. If they don’t step up this week there could be real trouble to be found in the Little Apple.
Kansas State is quite simply terrible. So that wasn’t some kind of quality win for Baylor, it simply exposed their incredible inability to stop the run in the least. The Wildcats have almost no passing game, but if Alex Barnes keeps running wild for 250+ yards then the pressure can be off Skylar Thompson to perform. The Kansas State defense mustered 4 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, and 3 quarterback hurries against Baylor. That wasn’t enough to phase that offense, but that kind of pressure can turn into big success against a Cowboys offensive line that could potentially be just terrible.
Biggest Question: Can you keep running wild? If Alex Barnes and company can run wild for over 300 yards again, and the Wildcat defense can run wild into that Cowboy backfield, suddenly we may have a ballgame in Manhattan. The surprise is that it’s probably a pillow fight.
My Pick: I’m taking the Wildcats in this one. I think they’re due and they’re going to carve up the Cowboy defense and exploit every single weakness they have.

 

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