After a packed week three, we finally know much more about a number of Big 12 teams. Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Baylor all took on their first power five opponent of the season, and we now have a new number three in the conference behind Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. This week, What We Learned looks at the Texas defense, fawns over Mason Rudolph, shuns Kansas, has a way to reinvent Baylor, doesn’t trust Texas Tech, and much more.
Fresh off their massive win in Columbus over Ohio State, Oklahoma returned home to a bit of a trap game in Norman, as Willie Fritz and the Tulane Green Wave came to town. After a slow start, Oklahoma’s talent quickly took over the game, as the Sooners completely dominated the last three quarters on the way to a 56-14 victory. Baker Mayfield was impressive again, but the two stars of this game came from the receiving group, as sophomore Marquise Brown and freshman CeeDee Lamb both picked up over 125 yards on the day, and combined for three scores. Oklahoma has a seemingly one-sided matchup with Baylor this week, before a bye week.
OKLAHOMA STATE (3-0)
For the third straight week, Oklahoma State’s offense completely blew the doors off its opponent, and on Saturday, the victim was Pitt. After being crushed by rival Penn State last week, Pitt returned home to host the one team with a more explosive offense than Penn State, and the Cowboys did not disappoint. Mason Rudolph threw five touchdowns and for nearly 500 yards, while Justice Hill added another touchdown and added more than eight yards a carry. Pitt isn’t a very good team, but anytime you have four receivers over 100 yards, it’s hard to find much to complain about. OSU has their biggest test of the season yet this week, as they take on TCU.
Similarly to Oklahoma, TCU got off to a slow start at home against a group of five school with a high-powered offense. In the battle for the Iron Skillet, SMU came out firing, and actually led the Horned Frogs 19-7 early in the second quarter. However, after three Kenny Hill second quarter touchdown passes, including a last second hail mary, TCU led at the half by six, despite an abysmal performance in the first quarter. The second half was all TCU, as Darius Anderson rushed for two touchdowns and TCU’s talent began to kick in, resulting in a 56-35 win. While the offense was solid, TCU’s defense was gashed frequently, despite holding Courtland Sutton to only one catch on the day. If they can’t tighten up against Oklahoma State this week, the Horned Frogs might get 70 dropped on them.
WEST VIRGINIA (2-1)
Three weeks into the season, we still don’t know much about Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers. A close loss to Virginia Tech was disappointing but encouraging, but back to back blowouts over really bad teams are really hard to take any information from. Will Grier looked good once again, as did Justin Crawford, who ran for three touchdowns. West Virginia likely would’ve won this game by far more than the already impressive 59-16, but the Mountaineers really took their foot off the gas in the second half, as the backups took over. West Virginia’s matchup with TCU in three weeks should be our first real chance to learn about this team, unless they lose to Kansas.
KANSAS STATE (2-1)
In the Wildcats’ first action against a team with a pulse of the season, Bill Snyder’s team looked really disappointing. The Wildcats only mustered up one score in the game, and fell to Vanderbilt in Nashville, 14-7. Jesse Ertz had a really rough day throwing the football, and when it came down to it, the only real success he had was on the ground. A second quarter fumble returned for a touchdown being overturned took seven points off the board for Kansas State, and would’ve given them the lead, but when it comes down to it, Kansas State has no one to blame but themselves. Kansas State has a week to recover, and get ready for Baylor on the 30th.
IOWA STATE (2-1)
A week removed from their rough overtime loss to Iowa, the Cyclones headed to Akron for some reason to take on the Zips. Iowa State, despite a rough second quarter, didn’t have much trouble with Akron. Jacob Park played possibly his best game of the year thus far, David Montgomery looked really good, and Iowa State’s defense didn’t really have much issue with Akron’s offense. The Cyclones only allowed 40 yards to former Ohio State running back Warren Ball, and was able to deploy a bend don’t break mentality for much of the game. Just like K-State, ISU has the week off.
TEXAS TECH (2-0)
I’ll give Texas Tech credit. They’ve only played two games, and they’ve done the only thing that matters in those two games: they won. However, after a great first quarter, Texas Tech looked awful against a bad Arizona State team. Nic Shimonek was still really, really good, but the Red Raiders defense was horrendous. It took a late drive to put away one of the worst teams in the Pac-12. Kalen Ballage was held to 56 yards, which is a step in the right direction, but overall the defense took a step back. With Houston up next, the Red Raiders will need much more from the defense.
I’ll give Texas credit, because they did something on Saturday that we haven’t seen from that program in a very long time: the Longhorns played in an entertaining football game in which both teams looked evenly matched on both sides of the ball. This wasn’t a shootout, in fact, for most of the game it was the complete opposite. Texas shut down Sam Darnold and USC for 60 minutes, and responded whenever the Trojans looked primed to pull away. Freshman Sam Ehlinger put up an admirable performance, as did sophomore receiver Collin Johnson. If the Longhorns had gone for two in overtime, I feel they would’ve won this game, but even if they had won, they need to feed Chris Warren in future weeks. Texas can be good, but they can’t do it like Texas Tech does on offense.
kansas is just running a long con on us all. gotta lose to multiple mac schools to lull everyone into a false sense of security.
— patrick mayhorn (@patrick_mayhorn) September 16, 2017
Well, the good news is that Baylor had a pulse against a power five school, and only lost to Duke by 14 points. The bad news is that new starting quarterback Zach Smith is worse than old starting quarterback Anu Soloman, who is now hurt, Baylor has no one who can consistently run the ball, and the Bears have little to no help on defense. I am steadfast in thinking that Baylor might as well just put Chris Platt in the backfield and surround him with speed, and just run wildcat every play. If you’re going to lose, at least make it fun to watch.