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Around the Big 12: Oklahoma State takes the pole position

The Cowboys welcomed back their QB and earned the best win of the Big 12 season — so far.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Sarah Phipps-USA TODAY Sports

It was a full slate of games Saturday in the Big 12, with all ten teams in action and several wild results. Though the Big Ten’s return took some shine off of our favorite Power Five conference, there were plenty of games worth watching, including a ranked on ranked matchup that deserved headlines.

Let’s take a look at what happened in another crazy weekend.

#6 Oklahoma State 24, #17 Iowa State 21

Spencer Sanders returned for the Cowboys, just in time for their first big game of the season. Despite the low-scoring affair, this was an entertaining one, as both teams rode their star players to critical scores, living off of the big play and asking their defense to hold up under a tough challenge.

The league’s two best backs, Breece Hall and Chuba Hubbard, went blow for blow; Hall was downright unstoppable, racking up 185 yards and a touchdown on just 20 carries. Hubbard held his own as well, using 25 carries to compile 139 yards to back his young QB, as Sanders threw for 235 yards and a score, but turned it over twice as well.

The defenses are what made this game legit though; we know both of these teams can score, but seeing the other side of the ball make plays is why these are two title contenders. Don’t be surprised if we get a rematch at AT&T Stadium in December.

#20 Kansas State 55, Kansas 14

Is it time to shut it down in Lawrence? With no Pooka Williams, who elected to opt out the rest of the way (who could blame him?), the Jayhawks looked even more hapless on offense and the defense... well, they had 11 players on the field, so that’s something.

Kansas State hasn’t lost this “rivalry game” since 2008, and I doubt they have much reason to worry for a few more years. The Powercats did their part to make sure that we remember that they, too, are undefeated in conference play, and they get the Cowboys at home in two weeks. Freshman QB Will Howard was solid in his second start, throwing for 243 yards and two scores, while Deuce Vaughn went over 150 total yards on the ground and through the air.

The Cats are for real, on both sides of the ball, and as long as their young quarterback takes care of the football, they’ll be a player in the race to the title game.

Texas 27, Baylor 16

You can sum up Baylor’s season like this:

Yes, as a TCU site, we have absolutely nothing to say here, as the Frogs punted from inside the Oklahoma 40 multiple times Saturday. But, and hear me out on this, if we are going to be miserable, it’s okay to take some solace in the Bears’ misery, too. Right?! RIGHT!!!

Yes, Baylor’s defense is looking like a problem in Dave Aranda’s system, and yes, he’s faced with an uphill battle and a ton to replace from the Matt Rhule era. But, Baylor’s offense might be the only one (not named Kansas) that’s worse than TCU’s — and the Frogs’ QB is trending up, while Charlie Brewer has struggled. Next weekend’s matchup with TCU might be lower scoring than 2018’s 16-9 fun fest.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns won a game that they ABSOLUTELY had to win — though Sam Ehlinger did his best to make it interesting with a late interception.

Texas’ season is over, but they can play spoiler along the way. Will they win a game they aren’t supposed to at some point? Probably. They get Iowa State at home and travel to Kansas State the last two weeks of the season — better be on upset alert, friends.

Texas Tech 34, West Virginia 27

Jarret Doege went home to Lubbock, looking to prove the Red Raiders wrong for not offering the local product a scholarship out of high school.

He did not succeed.

Doege was just 32-50 with just one touchdown, as his team did their best TCU impression in shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. The most critical one was a fumble return for a touchdown, when Doege’s screen pass was fumbled away by Sam James, with the loose ball scooped and scored from 56 yards out.

Meanwhile, Henry Colombi was just good enough for the Red Raiders, throwing for just 169 yards, but keeping drives going and extending plays with his feet. He’s not the most dynamic passer in the conference by any stretch, but he takes care of the football and allows the oddly dangerous Tech running game to make plays. The Red Raiders rushed 39 times for 179 yards against what had been a stingy Mountaineers D, using five players to keep the Eers on their heels.

WVU was putting together a nice season, and losing on the road to Texas Tech isn’t all that terrible. But now the Eers face down a schedule that still includes K State, OU, and Iowa State. Finishing .500 would be a successful campaign in year two of the Neal Brown era.