“Rivalry week” in the Big 12 doesn’t have quite the zing that it usually does, as only one of the weekend’s games was truly between archrivals- A scheduling quirk that the Big 12 really needs to address when the schedules are redrawn for the 2017 season. TCU should play Baylor, Kansas should play Kansas State (or Mizzou), OU and OSU should have Bedlam, Texas should play that team that jumped to the SEC (or Tech) and ISU and West Virginia... are like the Thanksgiving leftovers, who end up put together in a sandwich two days later to try and clear as much of the fridge as possible.
TCU Horned Frogs 31, Texas Longhorns 9
Remember the TCU/SMU game and the TCU/OSU game? Two offenses that have potential, but aren’t consistent enough to finish drives, a very tight score at the half with one team nursing a slight lead when they make a big goal line stand. Then in the second half things start to click for one team and the lead started to balloon up- the other team’s offense getting more and more pathetic as things get easier and easier for the team in the lead? This was that game again, as the Frogs and Horns traded blows in the first half but the Horns could simply never capitalize to the point where they could take the lead, or even score a touchdown. The TCU defense put on its best performance of the season, continuing its steady growth since the OU game to become something very akin to its usual fearsome self, and as Kenny Hill simply refused to let himself be kept out of the end zone, busting a huge 41 yard touchdown run that took the air out of the stadium, as well as the hearts of the emotional Longhorn team. On their next possession the Horns started to press, tried to get creative and then when TCU had the ball back, it was Trevorris Johnson time- and the Longhorns were not prepared for the bludgeoning that he brought to every run. Johnson’s physicality sucked defenders up into the box so ably that it opened up a huge play action opportunity for Foster Sawyer, who had stepped in after Hill tweaked a hamstring on his run, and was able to hit an incredibly open Daniel Walsh down to the 5. Johnson polished off the drive on the next carry, and the Charlie Strong era was over.
Burnt Orange Nation is left lamenting their missed opportunities, while Frogs O’ War is here- welcome!
Texas Tech Red Raiders 54, Baylor Bears 35
The annual “BUTT” bowl between Baylor and Texas Tech could have been subtitled the “Quit” bowl. Texas Tech was coming off of a blowout loss to Big 12 cellar dweller Iowa State that cost them any shot of a bowl bid, Baylor had lost four straight and hadn’t shown any bit of fight in a game since the bludgeoning TCU laid on them in front of their home fans. One teams was going to be more mentally damaged than the other in this one though and, as expected, it was the Bears who folded. The Bears jumped to an early one score lead, but once Tech’s offense got on the field there was simply no doubting who was playing with heart. Patrick Mahomes led Tech to 34 straight points (Another Hatfield missed extra point being the only sour note) before Baylor could even start to breathe again, and Tech alone accounted for almost half of the “Over” of 84.5 before halftime. After the half, Tech scored on their first drive and all that was left was to count the yards and see what the score would end up being at the end. Patrick Mahomes had another day on his otherworldly level, racking up almost 600 passing yards at a 12.7 yards per attempt clip and throwing 6 TDs, it’s a shame that his talents were wasted on a team that has played defense only in a theoretical sense for most of this year, and Mahomes will end his season (and possibly his Tech career) without a bowl to show for it. I’m sure that the Bears would be happy to end their season now and give the Raiders a chance for a sixth win by traveling to Morgantown this week- the Bears are now in their longest losing streak since 2007, and it looks very unlikely that the pain will stop anytime this year.
Kansas State Wildcats 34, Kansas Jayhawks 19
This was... again, more or less as expected. The Wildcats are still the team that they’ve been every week this year- the defense was dynamite, the offense was vanilla, the passing game was dreadful, contributing just under 100 yards. The Cats’ rushing offense was much more effective than usual though, even against a KU front that has been fairly decent against the run this year despite their failings, and it was more than enough to outpace Kansas’ still woeful offense output. The Jayhawks notched the first points on a field goal, but KSU scored the next 27 points to ensure that the game ended up being fairly academic. Despite beating Texas last week, Kansas is still a very bad team, while KSU is at least the fourth best team in the Big 12- the gap does appear to be shrinking slightly, as historically the Wildcats have taken every opportunity to put a real beating on the Jayhawks. Slim consolation for Kansas at the moment, but things may get better- and there’s always basketball season.
West Virginia Mountaineers 49, Iowa State Cyclones 19
The clock struck midnight on Iowa State’s Cinderella-esque masquerade as a competent football team at halftime of this one, as the Mountaineers fought with the Cyclones for a half before putting it into the gear that made them look like a conference contender before they started having to play teams from Oklahoma. Skyler Howard didn’t have a single turnover on the day, a vast improvement from his past few outings, while the Mountaineers defense forced four turnovers from ISU, helping West Virgina turn a five point halftime lead into a thirty point blowout in the second half. Howard threw 5 touchdown passes on the day, and the WVU D continued with the Bend-don’t-break ideology that has served them so well- Iowa State’s only touchdown of the day came on a kickoff return, meaning that the Mountaineers held ISU to just four field goals on the day, which is an impressive performance against anyone. On the Cyclones side it seems the coaching staff has finally stopped the shuffle as Joel Lanning didn’t register a pass or a carry, and Jacob Park took the entire load... to mixed results- 371 yards, but only a 52% completion rate with a pick thrown in against no touchdowns. Yardage without anything to show for it- pretty much ISU’s season in a nutshell,.
The fellows at the Smoking Musket are pleased that the Mountaineers have posted their best record yet in the Big 12, while the folks at Wide Right and Natty Lite remark at how ISU didn’t score an offensive TD... despite driving into WVU territory on all but one of their possessions.
On a personal note, I’ll be traveling to Japan for the next few weeks and my internet availability will likely be limited. I’ll try to post in my regular spots when possible, but if I can’t get on- be good for the other writers until I get back.