A weekly report on the weekend of Big 12 football.
Previous reports: Week 1
BIG XII SOUTH
Texas 42 UTEP 13 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
You didn't think it would all be pretty, did you? Hopefully not, as the Longhorns were actually outgained by the Miners last night (412-404). The game was an oddity, neither as close as the final stats nor wide as the final margin might indicate. The best news for Longhorns fans has to be the exceptionally strong start from quarterback Colt McCoy, who's sitting on video game numbers after two games: 44-58, 504 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 185.2 QB Rating. Of course, he's not exactly been playing in Varsity mode--Florida Atlantic's defense let UAB's Joe Webb rack up 326 yards this week, while UTEP's defense was scorched for 484 total yards by Buffalo a week ago. If the strength of Texas' opponents suggests holding off on a parade would be prudent, there's no reason to feel gloomy, either. Mighty Casey hasn't come close to striking out.
Oklahoma 52 Cincinnati 26 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
Whether or not they match some of their predecessors' success, you could make the argument this is Oklahoma's best team on paper. Maximum evil. The Sooners racked up a ridiculous 592 yards of total offense against Brian Kelly's Bearcats, taken seriously for--if anything--their defense. Demarco Murray barely broke a sweat in rushing for 5.9 yards per carry, as Oklahoma rode the arm of Sam Bradford (29-38, 395 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT) to a comfortable win. As I wrote this summer, don't hold your breath for Bradford to cool off. Not when he's got five senior brick walls giving him all day to find the open man.
Baylor 51 Northwestern St 6 [Box / Recap / As Told At YouTube]
Ah, the sweet smell of picking on the weak guy--the slump buster. Weak opponent or not, my new favorite non-Texas player--true freshman quarterback Robert Griffin--was outstanding yesterday, passing for 294 yards on 15 of 19 passing, including 3 touchdowns and no turnovers. Throw in 42 yards on 10 carries for good measure and we can mark off "dominates weak competition" on the Robert Griffin path to stardom checklist.
Oklahoma State 56 Houston 37 [Box / Recap / As Told At YouTube]
Not taking the Oklahoma State offense seriously yet? That might be a mistake... So ridiculous were the Cowboys offensively on Saturday that the standard video game analogy breaks down; it was sillier than that. This was more like The Matrix and the realm of the jaw-droppingly impossible: 699 yards of total offense, including 379 rushing on 51 carries. Kendall Hunter needed just 22 carries to rack up 210 yards, while Keith Toston added 78 more on 8 attempts, giving Oklahoma State two rushers who averaged over 9 yards per carry. Not blown away yet? This oughtta seal the deal: in the third quarter, the Cowboys scored 28 points on 20 offensive snaps. Bow down.
Texas Tech 35 Nevada 19 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
The True Believer segment of the Red Raider fanbase are gloating this morning after Tech's defense put in a "dominating performance" against Nevada Saturday. That might be generous, given the 6.0 yards per play allowed to the Wolfpack, but Ruffin's Riders deserve credit for standing tall when it mattered most: As Tim Griffin notes in the above link, Nevada was inside the Tech 26 yard line on 8 separate occasions in the game's first three quarters, but came away with just 4 field goals from those drives. They picked the right game to show up, too, as Graham Harrell was uncharacteristically off the mark. The senior missed on 27 of his 46 pass attempts, had just 1 touchdown pass, and turned the ball over twice. On the bright side, Texas Tech ran the ball well (5.6 yards per attempt), something they must do well for Mike Leach's system to succeed against strong competition. Tech moves to 2-0, and with home games against SMU and Massachusetts to close out the non-conference season, they'll open Big XII play 4-0 on October 4th in Manhattan.
Texas A&M 28 New Mexico 22 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
To give you an idea of how fortunate A&M was to win this contest, the Aggies were outgained by 134 yards by the Lobos and got 7 of their 28 points on an interception return. To be fair, an injury to Mike Goodson early in the game hamstrung the Aggies' rushing attack, but, they also caught a huge break when they lost quarterback Stephen McGee for the game, as well. Had Grass Stains McGritty been in there for four quarters, it seems likely A&M would be 0-2. Game ball goes to Jerrod Johnson, the 6-5 redshirt sophomore from Humble, who found the end zone three times through the air. As a Longhorn fan, the likely end of the McGee era is a bitter one, the opportunity to wax him in Austin this November now lost. Should Johnson become the A&M starter heading forward, McGee will finish his career with a winning record against Texas. Life is incredibly unfair.
BIG XII NORTH
Iowa State 48 Kent State 28 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
Snicker all you like at the Cyclones' season-opening opponents; my goals for this team are less ambitious. Namely: don't embarrass the Big XII. So far, so good, as Iowa State avenged their 23-14 loss to Kent State a year ago, doing their part in the conference's 12-0 Saturday. Not that anyone should be doing any chest-thumping: only Oklahoma played a BCS conference opponent, and the rest of this week's fodder combine to make a who's who of ineptitude. Or, in many cases, just: "Who's that?"
Saturday's Big XII Opponents
Southeast Missouri St
San Jose St
Nebraska 35 San Jose St 12 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
Sometimes, it's best just to step aside and let someone who saw the game put it into words. Take it away, Corn Nation: "While Nebraska looked more confused than a bi-sexual Lou Holtz in the first half against San Jose State, the second half (okay, I’ll be honest - fourth quarter) was far more promising."
Some metaphors help you understand. Some terrify the mind. After reading this one, I may need to see a therapist to get out of my head the mental image of a drunken Lou Holtz prowling a bar, hitting on everything... WAIT. WHAT IF I WENT TO SEE A THERAPIST AND IT WAS DR. LOU???!? [curls into a ball, sucks thumb, cries hard]
Our father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name...
Kansas State 69 Montana State 10 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
Moving on, or trying to: this image is gracing the front page of kstatesports.com more nightmare fuel what is going on today hellllllllllppppp!!
Um, Montana State sucks. Hard. But as TB notes at Bring On The Cats, good opponent or not, it's a huge relief for K-State fans to see Josh Freeman playing mature, mistake-free football in the early going. The Co-Big XII Player of the Week last Saturday, Freeman was again exceptionally efficient against a bad foe, completing 16 of 21 passes for 288 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The Wildcats also blocked two MSU punts in the rout.
(I'm honestly a little scared to keep going with this report. What am I going to be terrorized by when I look up info on Missouri? I'm not kidding when I say I'm expecting to accidentally stumble across a YouTube of a tiger biting off whole the head of an infant.)
Missouri 52 Southeast Missouri State 3 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
If you're wondering why this week's report contains YouTube clips meant to serve as metaphors for these games, the lion's share of the credit goes to the Big XII North's astonishingly bad scheduling. There's simply nothing to say about an epic beatdown of a school none of us knew existed prior to yesterday. Might as well throw up a clip of a cop beating some homeless dude, write, "Sorta like that," and be done with it. So there ya go.
Kansas 29 Louisiana Tech 0 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
Though not exactly a big name opponent, the Bulldogs are a Division 1 opponent of reasonable competency. Jayhawks quarterback Todd Reesing was especially excellent yesterday (32-38, 412 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT), but the ground game troublesomely failed to take hold for the second straight week. Kansas picked up just 126 yards rushing on 33 carries (3.8 per attempt), as the search for a replacement to Brandon McAnderson continues. The Jayhawks travel to Tampa to face 19th-ranked South Florida next Saturday Friday, an opponent they may struggle to defeat without help in the ground game.
Colorado 31 Eastern Washington 24 [Box / Recap / Blog Coverage / As Told At YouTube]
Colorado matched their division-mates in the scheduling department, but missed the memo explaining the game should be a blowout. The Buffs trailed 21-7 at the half, needed 17 fourth quarter points to avoid a disastrous upset, and scored the winning touchdown on an interception return with 1:44 left in the game. Cody Hawkins was reasonably sharp for CU (28-38, 261 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT), but freshman Darrell Scott was repeatedly stymied, finishing with a meager 39 yards on 13 carries. The Buffaloes get a week off to regroup, but close out their non-conference slate with home games against West Virginia and Florida State--neither of whom are world beaters, but will require a better effort than what CU got yesterday. Scott's struggles highlight what looks like the biggest obstacle for Colorado this year--overcoming a young offensive line with little experience.
WEEK 2 AWARDS
BEST WIN: TEXAS TECH, OVER NEVADA Oklahoma was more impressive over a better opponent, but the nod this week goes to Tech, who likely needed this solid win more than Oklahoma did a blowout over the Bearcats. Nevada not only may win the WAC this season, but as Tech's strongest by far non-conference road opponent, the road win gives the Red Raiders confidence they'll need as they gun to be more than the Big XII South's third-best team.
WORST LOSS: N/A 12-0, baby! Sit the f*** down, Montana State.
TOP PERFORMER, OFFENSE (TEAM): OKLAHOMA STATE Goodness gracious the Cowboys rolled Houston's defense hard. Among the notable accomplishments, the Cowboys were 10 of 13 on third down, had four touchdown drives of less than two minutes, four touchdown drives of four plays or less, and 699 yards of total offense.
BUM STEER, OFFENSE (TEAM): COLORADO The Buffs out-fail the Aggies because A&M both played a tougher opponent and can plausibly blame the injury to Goodson. Colorado was just plain mediocre against a 1-AA opponent. As noted above, the biggest problem is on the offensive line and if the rushing game suffers in conference play, the Buffs are going to struggle mightily to keep up with the racehorses on the other side.
TOP PERFORMER, OFFENSE (INDIVIDUAL): KENDALL HUNTER & DEZ BRYANT, OKLAHOMA STATE How do you choose between Hunter's 210 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries and Bryant's 236 yards and 3 touchdowns on 9 catches? You don't.
BUM STEER, OFFENSE (INDIVIDUAL): DARRELL SCOTT, COLORADO Screwing with Mack Brown in your recruitment is... not smart.
PB'S POWER RANKINGS
Last week's rank in parentheses.
1. Oklahoma (1) - They are Evil. But they are very good. And all but guaranteed to be 5-0 on October 11.
2. Missouri (2) - The Tigers next host the team Tech just beat in Reno; a blowout looks eminent.
3. Texas (3) - The upside of this team is apparent; how quickly they'll get there remains the big question.
4. Texas Tech (4) - Ask any Tech fan whether they would have preferred to beat Nevada 65-60 or the way they actually did and they'll answer the latter.
5. Oklahoma State (5) - We knew the offense could be outstanding. We remain doubtful the defense can be anything other than awful.
6. Kansas (6) - The trip to Tampa will tell us a lot about this year's Jayhawks. Finding the running game is critical.
7. Nebraska (7) - Only Colorado's flop against an even weaker opponent saves them from being the division's dogs for the week.
8. Kansas State (9) - Through two games, Josh Freeman has been the player his most fervent believers argue he can be. The rest of us will wait for an opponent with a pulse.
9. Colorado (8) - Only last week's win over a 1A opponent keeps them from falling behind Baylor.
10. Baylor (11) - RO-BERT GRI-FFIN! [clap clap clap-clap-clap]
11. Texas A&M (10) - It is so unfair we did not get to see A&M go 0-12 with Stephen McGee. So. Unfair.
12. Iowa State (12) - Baby steps, ISU. Baby steps.