College football’s first week in 2019 was filled with danger and disappointment for some of the nation’s top teams.
Strangely, though, hardly any of them were in the Big 12.
Oh, sure, Iowa State had the biggest scare in Ames since the Taco Bell ran out of food there a few years back. But besides that, the Big 12 took care of business over the weekend and did not lose a game. We don’t even get to make the annual “Maryland beat Texas to open the season” joke this time around!
Let’s run through the weekend that was in the Big 12.
OKLAHOMA STATE 52, OREGON STATE 36
Spencer Sanders’ debut at quarterback for the Cowboys was a success, as the standout freshman went 19-24 for 204 yards and three touchdowns. That’s not the video game-number norm for Oklahoma State quarterbacks, but it got the job done.
It is a bit concerning that Oregon State put up 36 points — the Beavers only hit that number twice last year, and one of those times was against an FCS team. But at least Oklahoma State doesn’t play in the best offensive conference in the country, right?
TEXAS 45, LA TECH 14
This game pretty much went exactly as it should’ve. Sam Ehlinger went 28-38 for 276 yards and four touchdowns, and Texas fans will use that as evidence he should win the Heisman. The Longhorns averaged just a hair over 5.0 yards per carry and never let LaTech close.
LaTech did put up 340 passing yards, which seems not great, but Texas only gave up 73 rushing yards on 26 carries, so it’s hard to say UT’s defense had a bad game or anything. Besides, Texas’ real focus is on its much bigger game against a Louisiana team next week.
No. 21 Iowa State 29, Northern Iowa 26 (3OT)
My main concern isn’t that the Cyclones almost lost to Northern Iowa, or that Brock Purdy completed 30 passes for only 278 yards, or that Iowa State didn’t force a turnover all game.
No, my main concern is that it took Iowa State three overtimes to score 29 points. That doesn’t even seem to be possible! That’s public-transit levels of inefficiency.
Shake this one off, Cyclones, and chalk it up to rust.
KANSAS 24, INDIANA STATE 17
It was way closer than any FBS-FCS game needs to be, but I’m not going to give Kansas any flak today. The Jayhawks won their first game under Les Miles, which is all they needed to count this one as an unmitigated success.
My only piece of advice: keep your dang quarterback upright, Kansas! Carter Staley was sacked twice and finished with -19 rushing yards on eight carries. If he’s not fleet of foot, don’t let your quarterback have to scramble to try and beat Indiana State.
WEST VIRGINIA 20, JAMES MADISON 13
Just like with Kansas, I’m not saying anything negative about West Virginia here. The Mountaineers won their first game under Neal Brown and their first game in the post-Will Grier era, and that’s all they needed.
Sure, being down 7-3 at the half at home to an FCS team is...not great. But Austin Kendall rallied the troops in the second half and the Mountaineers won the game. Fair play.
TEXAS TECH 45, MONTANA 10
Well, look at that! Tech remembered how to play defense. Montana finished with fewer than 300 yards of total offense and Alan Bowman outgained the Grizzlies by himself, throwing for 436 yards and two touchdowns. Tech even put up 255 yards rushing just for kicks and giggles.
The Red Raiders get another layup game against UTEP next week before playing their first P5 opponent in Week 3, against Arizona.
BAYLOR 56, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 17
Baylor led 35-7 at the half and showed no weaknesses against SFA. If you want to nitpick, Charlie Brewer did not look especially outstanding at quarterback — he threw for 199 yards on 31 attempts. If anything, Baylor’s backup, Gerry Bohanon, looked more impressive, throwing for 51 yards and a score on six attempts and rushing for another 84 yards on six carries.
Quarterback controversy in Waco? You heard it here first!
KANSAS STATE 49, NICHOLLS 14
Sure, it was against an FCS opponent, but Chris Klieman’s new system at K-State appears to be working. The Wildcats ran for 361 yards on 58 carries, and five different players scored rushing touchdowns.
That is all the information fit to print about K-State v. Nicholls.
TCU 39, UAPB 7
You saw the game, I’m guessing, and smarter people than me have written on this site and others about the quarterback play of both Max Duggan and Alex Delton. I think Delton was cheated a bit on the stat sheet due to some drops from his wide receivers, but I see no reason why Duggan can’t start by the end of the season, and perhaps sooner.
Also, TCU depriving me of more chances to see Jordan Sandy, who only punted four times, is very rude. But Jonathan Song seems to be pretty consistent at kicker from 40 yards and in, which he’ll need to be if the Frogs’ red zone offense continues to be lackluster.
OKLAHOMA 49, HOUSTON 31
Jalen Hurts hit the Sicko Mode button in his first start with the Sooners, recording six total touchdowns and over 500 yards of total offense. He looked every bit like the dominant quarterback he was in his freshman year at Alabama.
Oklahoma also held Houston’s D’Eriq King to 167 passing yards, which is no small feat. I’d argue Houston’s 241 rushing yards were concerning, but I do think the Sooners might have been selling out to stop King in the passing game, so let’s not worry about their rush defense just yet.