Football

Eastbound & Down: Week 11 in the Big 12

My Week 10 Game of the Week was #7 Oklahoma @ Texas Tech. I know there was a Top 25 matchup between West Virginia and Texas, but I thought we’d see more fireworks from the blackout in The Jones and I thought the Mountaineers would boat race the Longhorns. Turns out both games were exciting, I’ll certainly give the edge to the West Virginia win but if Alan Bowman hadn’t gone out injured I think we’d be talking about the Red Raiders upsetting the Sooners.

Week 11 Game of the Week:

#19 Texas @ Texas Tech

Bedlam is almost always a crazy game to watch, but the Cowboys are not great this year and the Sooners are favored by 18 so I’m picking the night game in Lubbock. The Red Raiders and the Longhorns have both lost two in a row and they have plenty to prove. Both teams are searching for bowl eligibility and bouncing back after rough seasons. Crazy things happen when these two teams play, particularly at night in The Jones. I think this one could be a ton of fun to watch and that’s what the game of the week is all about.

KEITH’S PICK RECORD

 

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10

Total

7-2

9-1

4-4

5-1

4-1

2-2

4-0

2-0

2-3

3-2

Season Total: 42-16

Baylor @ #22 Iowa State

                            

Last Week: Baylor (5-4, 3-3) defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Waco 35-31 on a Charlie Brewer touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the game. Brewer, who didn’t play the first three quarters and started the week in concussion protocol, went 4/8 for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus another 28 yards on 6 carries. Jalan McClendon went 10/17 for 102 yards and 1 interception, he also chipped in 28 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries. The Cowboys had 12 penalties for 133 yards and allowed a blocked field goal as well as a blocked punt for a touchdown which gave Baylor it’s only other lead of the game. Baylor rushing was led by John Lovett who gained 104 yards and 1 touchdown on 6 carries, including reeling off a 75-yard touchdown run.
Iowa State (5-3, 4-2) took down the Kansas Jayhawks 27-3 in Lawrence. Brock Purdy went 16/23 for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hakeem Butler was his top target on the day with 164 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 catches, including a long of 83-yards. The Cyclone defense shut Kansas down all day and forced four turnovers on downs in the red zone. David Montgomery was held to only 64 yards on 14 carries, but the Cyclones combined for 121 yards rushing on the day, although all three touchdowns came through the air.
Date & Time: Saturday, November 10, 2:30 p.m.
Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Television: FS1
Line: Iowa State -14.5
All-Time Record: BU 9-0-7 ISU
Overview & Breakdown:

Baylor is one game away from bowl eligibility a year after they won only one game in head coach Matt Rhule’s first season. The Bears rose to the occasion getting a Big 12 home win and denying the Cowboys a follow-up to their big win over the Longhorns’ backiness. One notable performance of that game was linebacker Clay Johnston who led Baylor with 17 tackles (14 solo). The Bears special teams really got after the Cowboys blocking a punt for a touchdown and blocking a field goal as well. Baylor hasn’t found consistency yet in their performances and even with Charlie Brewer under center they have struggled to find offensive production at times. However, the Cowboys offense hasn’t been stopping anyone and with Taylor Cornelius going 24/41 and Matt Ammendola going 1/3 in field goals they just didn’t have the firepower to overcome the Bears.
Biggest Question: Can Baylor keep up production in the face of a real defense? I’m going to go with no, the Cyclones have a top 20 defense and are 4-0 since Brock Purdy became the quarterback. I don’t think the Bears will have what it takes, especially traveling to Ames.
Iowa State is rolling since Brock Purdy took over the starting job from Zeb Noland. The Cyclones stopped the Jayhawks four times in the red zone. I know the Kansas offense isn’t a world-beater, but forcing four turnovers on downs is nothing to sneeze at against any Power 5 opponent. Perhaps most notably, the Cyclones limited mistakes and didn’t allow any turnovers to the Kansas turnover machine. Kansas has subsisted on turnovers in large part and they found no success against Iowa State. The Jayhawks also outstripped the Cyclones in time of possession and it didn’t make any difference at all for the Jayhawks offense or the outcome of the game.
Biggest Question: Can the Cyclones keep up with the Baylor offense? This is certainly not the Briles offense of old, but the Bears do have the ability to score and they can move the ball quickly when it matters. That is to say when Charlie Brewer is healthy and under center. Iowa State’s offense has been above average with Brock Purdy under center and their defense is better than pretty much anything Baylor has seen so far this season. 
My Pick: 
The Cyclones should handle the Bears easily. They have the defense to keep Baylor under their thumb, the offense to put points on the board, and the home field advantage to make any conference opponent dread the trip.

Kansas @ Kansas State

                             

Last Week: Kansas (3-6, 1-5) dropped a home game to the Iowa State Cyclones 27-3. They were held without a touchdown for the entire game, including being forced into four turnovers on downs in the red zone. Quarterback Peyton Bender went 19/41 for 185 yards and Kansas rushers were held to 147 yards on 40 carries. Kansas punter Kyle Thompson was impressive with 5 punts for 229 yards, an average of 45.8 yards per punt and a long of 60 yards. 
Kansas State (3-6, 1-5) 
fell in a close one to the TCU Horned Frogs 14-13 in Ft. Worth. Wildcat quarterbacks went 16/28 for 162 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception combined. Quarterback Skylar Thompson went down with an injury in the first quarter and Alex Delton carried the Wildcats the rest of the way. Alex Barnes rushed for 102 yards on 23 carries but it was quarterback Alex Delton contributing the only rushing touchdown on the day. Kansas State penalties defined their day and severely limited their potential for offensive production. The Wildcats muffed a punt, coughed up another fumble, botched a field goal attempt, and ultimately missed a game-tying extra point.
Date & Time: Saturday, November 10, @ 11:00 a.m.
Location: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
Television: FSN
Line: Kansas State -12
All-Time Record: KU 65-5-55 KSU
Overview & Breakdown: Kansas is no stranger to being the bottom-feeder in the Big 12 Conference, but they are not accustomed to being joined by their in-state rival and facing a team of equal or greater suckage heading into the Sunflower Showdown. The Jayhawks are ranked #115 in S&P+ but have been slightly more competitive than in years past. They continue to rank highly in turnovers and turnover margin and Joe Dineen Jr. continues to impress as a linebacker, he leads the nation in solo tackles and is #8 in total tackles. After this loss, new athletic director Jeff Long fired head coach David Beatty. Beatty will finish out the season but the search for his replacement will begin immediately.
Biggest Question: Can Kansas score? The Cyclones held the Jayhawks to their lowest offensive production of the season, but the Wildcats’ defense isn’t even close to the level of Iowa State. I expect Kansas to find more production against the Wildcats and Pooka Williams will most likely be a bigger factor.
Kansas State isn’t accustomed to finding themselves in this position, especially at this point in the season. While they are not a perennial 10-win team, they often find success and at least hit their stride in the second half of the season and end up with a respectable record. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they are ranked #96 in S&P+ and face tough tests in Iowa State and Texas Tech to close out the season. The Wildcats will need to win out to be eligible for postseason play.
Biggest Question: Can Kansas State find any offensive production against the Jayhawks? The Wildcats have ridden the rushing talents of Alex Barnes at other points in the season and will need to do so again against the Jayhawks’ 65th ranked rushing defense.
My Pick: This is a Toilet Bowl of a rivalry game, but it’s still a rivalry game. I feel like it’ll be closer than the spread is projecting but I do think Kansas State will ultimately find a way to beat the Jayhawks in their own house.

Oklahoma State @ #6 Oklahoma

                             

Last Week:  Oklahoma State (5-4, 2-4) fell on the road to the Baylor Bears 35-31 on a touchdown from Charlie Brewer with 7 seconds remaining in the game. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius went 24/41 for 297 yards and 1 touchdown. He also chipped in 19 yards and a touchdown on the ground in 12 carries. Justice Hill led the way on the ground with 119 yards and 1 touchdown on 18 carries. Wide receiver Tylan Wallace was impressive completing a 24-yard pass, rushing 6 yards for a touchdown, and hauling in 8 receptions for 122 yards and another touchdown. The Cowboys just couldn’t overcome mistakes after giving up a punt block for a touchdown, allowing a blocked field goal, and missing another. 
Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) 
defeated Texas Tech in Lubbock 51-46 in a nationally-televised blackout game. Kyler Murray went 20/35 for 360 yards, 3 touchdowns and two uncharacteristic interceptions allowing the Red Raiders to take an early lead which they carried into halftime. Murray also added another 100 yards and 1 touchdown on 11 carries as well. Texas Tech freshman quarterback Alan Bowman went to the hospital after halftime after reaggravating a previous injury of a partially collapsed lung. The Red Raider offensive production dropped off sharply with Jett Duffey in the game, allowing Oklahoma’s defense to find success against the Red Raider attack and overwhelm the Texas Tech defense.
Date & Time: Saturday, November 10, 2:30 p.m.
Location: The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
Television: ABC
Line: Oklahoma -18
All-Time Record: OSU 18-7-87 OU
Overview & Breakdown: Oklahoma State has continued to struggle to find answers for the Big 12’s offenses and Taylor Cornelius has not helped the Cowboys find any offensive consistency either. Oklahoma State was unable to follow up on a big victory over the all the way back Longhorns. The Cowboys committed an impressive 12 penalties for 133 yards, prompting head mullet coach Mike Gundy to consider benching players over this penalty issue. Oklahoma State’s offense hasn’t been as prolific as in years past with Taylor Cornelius struggling to move the ball effectively and with Justice Hill not always finding success out of the backfield. But the Cowboy offense is still ranked #13 in S&P+ as opposed to their #67 ranked defense.
Biggest Question: Can the Cowboys slow down Kyler Murray? The Cowboys don’t have the offensive firepower to overwhelm the Oklahoma offensive machine. To have a chance to come out on top in Bedlam, Oklahoma State will have to force stops and turnovers, limiting the big plays of Kyler Murray and his playmakers. 
Oklahoma 
is impressive offensively. After seeing them in person Kyler Murray is good, like $6 million good. They have big fast receivers too and Trey Sermon runs hard and fast downhill. Murray had his share of mistakes against Texas Tech but he came into the game with only 3 interceptions in 281 pass attempts so it’s fair to call his 2 early interceptions uncharacteristic. Additionally, Oklahoma receivers dropped a surprising number of balls, including some freebies like CeeDee Lamb deep down the middle. My gut tells me the Sooners were sleeping on Tech a little bit, which would also explain why they played like dirty trash, they got frustrated when the Red Raiders kept punching them in the mouth.
Biggest Question: Will the OU defense make the Cowboys look like world beaters? This defense is just not good, yes they were able to stop the Texas Tech rush game, but not the shadow rush game of screens. The Red Raiders were moving the ball at will when Alan Bowman was in the game and keeping them honest. Tech has made plenty of good defenses look bad, but dropping 46 on OU was not a tall task for the Red Raider offense. The Cowboys have shown they can step up and play some offense, will this be the week?
My Pick: 
No, I don’t think so. I think the Sooners are going to take Bedlam this year. Oklahoma State will find ways to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties and Taylor Cornelius will play like he always does (except against Texas).

TCU @ #13 West Virginia

                              

Last Week:  TCU (4-5, 2-4) squeaked out a win at home over the Kansas State Wildcats 14-13. Quarterback Michael Collins went 17/33 for 218 yards and 1 touchdown and chipping in another 22 yards rushing on 7 carries on the ground. The Horned Frogs leading rusher Darius Anderson didn’t break 50 yards and their leading receiver Jalen Reager didn’t break 100, but both did score a touchdown. TCU recovered two Kansas State fumbles and snagged an interception as well. Ultimately the Wildcats lost their chance to win on a missed game-tying extra point in the fourth quarter.
West Virginia (7-1, 5-1) hung on to defeat the Texas Longhorns in Austin 42-41, handing Texas their second loss in a row and igniting all kinds of silly ‘Horns down controversy. The Mountaineers never allowed a sack and gained 578 yards of total offense on the Longhorns, who after a six-game winning streak have begun experiencing significant defensive woes. Will Grier went 28/42 for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. Grier also won in the game-winning 2-point conversion, but Tom Herman definitely didn’t like his style. The ‘Eers showed uncharacteristic rushing prowess with combining for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns on 32 carries.
Date & Time: Saturday, November 10 @ 11:00 a.m.
Location:  Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV
Television: FS1
Line: West Virginia -13.5
All-Time Record: TCU 4-0-3 WVU
Overview & Breakdown: TCU is obviously way down this season and now barely keeping their head above water. They now have to win two of their next three against West Virginia, Baylor, and Oklahoma State just to get bowl eligible. The Horned Frogs now just simply lack offensive weapons and their defense can’t pick up the slack.
Biggest Question: Can the Horned Frogs move the ball against West Virginia? TCU could get almost nothing going against Kansas State, who is firmly in contention for last in the conference. West Virginia’s defense is certainly nothing to write home about, but the team is talented and TCU is probably bringing a knife to a gun fight this week offensively.
West Virginia has regained their swagger after an uncharacteristic performance at Iowa State. They have won two in a row and their matchup with Oklahoma on Nov. 23 should be quite the offensive explosion. Dana Holgorsen continues to coach with swagger and confidence, very obviously looking at Will Grier and saying, “You want to win the game? Let’s go win the game.” He called a 2-point conversion twice in a row and left the game in his Heisman candidate’s hands. The Mountaineers also found success rushing the football against the Longhorns. If this is a new trend then this offense has become even more dangerous.
Biggest Question: Uhhhh, where are the ‘Eers going to eat after the game? I can’t imagine there’s much of anything to worry about here for West Virginia playing at home against a team that’s really down and out.
My Pick: I’m definitely taking the Mountaineers here, I think they’ll have their way with TCU and Gary Patterson is going to sweat through clothes he’s not even wearing.

GAME OF THE WEEK
#19 Texas @ Texas Tech

                                         

Last Week:  Texas (6-2, 4-1) lost a close one at home to the West Virginia Mountaineers 42-41. Texas trailed 31-14 at halftime but mounted a comeback behind Sam Ehlinger’s strong performance. He went 22/42 for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ehlinger also contributed another 47 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 carries. Ultimately, the West Virginia offensive attack was too much for the ‘Horns and Will Grier dropped a dime in the back of the end zone to David Sills and ran in the 2-point conversion himself to take the final lead. 
Texas Tech (5-4, 3-3) 
lost a night game in The Jones to Oklahoma 51-46. The Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead behind two Vaughnte Dorsey interceptions and held on to take a 31-28 lead into halftime. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, quarterback Alan Bowman aggravated a previous collapsed lung injury and did not play the second half. He went 21/26 for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Wide receiver Antoine Wesley did more than his fair share catching 12 passes for 199 yards but never found the end zone. Jett Duffey came in at quarterback and went 9/17 for 139 and 2 touchdowns. Duffey also chipped in 47 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Date & Time: Saturday, November 10 @ 6:30 p.m.
Location:  Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Television: FOX
Line: Texas -1.5
All-Time Record: UT 50-0-17 TTU
Overview & Breakdown: Texas’s own personal Big 12 officials did their dead-level best to give Texas every opportunity to win the game. They ejected a West Virginia lineman for pushing someone after an extra point try, flagged David Sills and Will Grier for flashing the ‘Horns down, negated the first 2-point conversion Grier completed, and ultimately gave the Longhorns one more shot by putting time back on the clock. It was really quite an effort by the Austin zebras. The Longhorns’ defense has been struggling in the last couple of weeks and Todd Orlando doesn’t seem to have found an answer at this point. Tom Herman’s coach-speak about being more aggressive and filling gaps made less sense than his normal drivel so who knows what they’ll bring to Lubbock.
Biggest Question: Can the ‘Horns slow down the Red Raider offense? Well, it depends on who is running it. If Alan Bowman rolls his hospital bed to The Jones and finds a way to play then the answer is no, but if Jett Duffey is the signal-caller it could be a long day for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech just can’t catch a break this season in the injury department. The Red Raiders need Alan Bowman on the field to have their best chance to win. I know some of you think I like to rag on Jett Duffey and I really don’t, I just think despite his physical gifts he’s a one-dimensional quarterback. Defenses know he can hit very limited routes and they end up keying in on him, limiting his rushing, and sacking him more often than a quarterback that can keep them honest. The good guys have a real chance of dropping Texas in a night game in The Jones but Jett Duffey and the offensive coaches are going to have to really rise to the occasion to make it happen.
Biggest Question: Can the Red Raiders re-establish their rushing game? Finding success on the ground could be the difference-maker the Red Raiders need against the Longhorns. The rushing attack has not been a major factor in several weeks, but if Tech can establish it early they can force the Longhorns to play their game. By controlling the clock and UT possessions the Red Raider offense can work hand-in-hand with their defense to disrupt Sam Ehlinger’s new-found success not throwing interceptions.
My Pick: I like the Red Raiders in this one. Even if Bowman doesn’t start I think Kliff and company have enough tricks up their sleeve and will definitely prepare and game plan to kick Tom Herman’s whiny teeth in. I also think the Red Raider rushing attack is going to get moving again. We’ll likely see a committee approach but with Henry and Ward dominating the carries.

 

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