We are just about to enter the midway point of Big 12 play, with most teams having played at least four games in conference. The bye week featured four of those teams, who put up some interesting numbers. This week, we get into those statistics, as well as the ones that really grab our attention after Week 8 in the Big 12.
6.9 YARDS PER RUSH
In Oklahoma’s win in Fort Worth over TCU, it was clear that the Sooners set out to assert themselves in the running game. Oklahoma ran the ball for 323 yards on one of the toughest defenses in the conference, getting almost seven yards a carry. Freshman Kennedy Brooks was particularly impressive in contributing over half of those yards. Brooks ran for 9.3 yards per carry and showed the conference that the Sooners have depth at running back.
MOST RUSHING ATTEMPTS IN THE CONFERENCE
The Red Raiders have more rushing attempts than any other team in the Big 12 with just under 300 carries. That’s a little less than their 319 pass attempts, meaning that around 48 percent of Texas Tech’s snaps this season have featured a runner carrying the ball. This isn’t the Red Raiders team to which we’ve become accustomed.
FIRST KICK RETURN TD
During last week’s contest against the Sooners, TCU’s kick returner KaVontae Turpin had a first for the Big 12 in 2018. Turpin’s return for a touchdown was the first by any Big 12 player this season. Turpin has since been dismissed from the team, so we will see if there is another player waiting in the wings for TCU to step up and replace that playmaking ability.
STILL LEADING IN SACKS
Oklahoma State’s hiring of Jim Knowles may not have resulted in a lot of “Ws” for the Pokes so far this season, but they are leading the conference in sacks after having racked up 30 in 2018. Defensive linemen Jordan Brailford and Jarrell Owens have accounted for almost a third of those sacks, and Brailford continues to be the conference leader.
FRESHMAN PASSING LEADER
True freshman Alan Bowman currently leads the Big 12 in passing yards, having thrown for 2,088 yards through seven games. Bowman edges out Will Grier but just around 100 yards in that category, an amazing feat considering that Grier is considered to have an outside shot at the Heisman Trophy.
Despite falling short on the scoreboard against the Oklahoma Sooners, TCU appeared to nonetheless find some answers on offense. With TCU trailing by a wide margin in the first half, backup Michael Collins came in to lead the offense. Collins, a transfer from the Ivy League, helmed an offense that got the Horned Frogs within a score of Oklahoma late the second quarter. Collins posted a two-to-one interception-to-touchdown ratio. That’s the best such ratio that a TCU has put up since Shawn Robinson’s sophomore debut against Southern earlier this season.
THREE POINTS OFF THREE TRIPS INSIDE THE TEN
In spite of the offensive staff changes they made prior to playing Texas Tech, Kansas still struggled to score points. Their inefficiency in the red zone was particularly striking, with the Jayhawks managing to come away with three points despite getting side the ball inside next to the opponents’ goal line multiple times. Against the Red Raiders, Kansas got the ball inside the 10 yard line on three occasions, only to come away with three points to show for it. Two of those possessions, in fact, were turnovers.
ALL ABOUT POOKA
Ever since Pooka Williams became a breakout player for David Beaty, the Jayhawks have been using his vision and big play capabilities to their fullest capacity. Williams currently leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yards, having contributed to his team by running the ball, pass-catching, and as a kick returner. With 609 yards rushing, moreover, he’s on pace to have a 1,000 yard season in 2018. Were Williams to do so, he’d be the first Kansas back to pass the millennium mark since James Sims in 2013.
FRESHMAN LEADING IN PICKS
The future looks bright at defensive back for the Big 12. Texas Tech’s Adrian Frye and Texas’ Caden Sterns, both freshman players, currently lead the conference in interceptions. Each has four picks on the year, but Frye has the only pick six on the year, have scored on exactly one of his interceptions in 2018.
48.6 POINTS PER GAME
Are the Sooners better offensively in the post-Baker Mayfield era? Statistically they are, at least in some categories. Last season, Oklahoma average 45 points per game, but this year they are scoring almost 49 points per contest. That’s seven touchdowns per game for those of you counting at home. No Heisman winner? No problem.