As a whole, the Big 12 was fantastic in the non-conference portion of the season. With no teams currently under .500 on the season, it’s hard to find a team that was truly disappointing. Instead, let’s take a look at the most impressive performances in the non-conference. We’ll look at both single-game and entire non-conference performances. We’ll also look at individual and team performances.
Individual Entire Non-Conference Performance
Winner: Jalen Hurts [QB, OU]
The presumed Heisman front-runner, Hurts has started hot and never slowed down. In the non-conference, he is both the leading passer and leading rusher for the Sooners, amassing 880 passing yards, 9 passing touchdowns, 373 rushing yards, and 4 rushing touchdowns. It’s an impressive stat line for an impressive quarterback in an impressive offensive system.
Runner-up: Chuba Hubbard [RB, OSU]
Hubbard is the most prolific running back in the nation currently, and his 531 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns in non-conference play are similarly impressive.
Individual Single Game Performance
Winner: Brock Purdy [QB, ISU]
Purdy was lights out against UL Monroe, passing for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns (and 1 interception). He also ran for 75 yards and 3 touchdowns on 9 carries. The performance was especially notable given the offensive issues that the Cyclones had been criticized for in prior weeks.
Runner-up: Sam Ehlinger [QB, TEX]
Ehlinger’s performance against LSU, even in a losing effort, was very impressive. He passed for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns and ran for 60 yards and 1 touchdown. He even caught one pass for 8 yards. It was particularly impressive going against an LSU defense that is expected to be pretty good this year.
Team Entire Non-Conference Performance
Winner: Kansas State Wildcats (3-0)
The Wildcats get this spot due to their performance relative to expectations. Many expected Chris Kleiman’s squad to have problems settling into their new system. But this team has gotten better every single week. Going on the road to defeat Mississippi State after destroying two lesser opponents was the most impressive non-conference slate in the Big 12.
Runner-up: Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0)
OSU started hot against Oregon State, and other than a brief hiccup in the first half against Tulsa, they were super impressive in the non-conference. They have some work to do in conference play, but you can’t complain about what they did outside the Big 12.
Team Single Game Performance
Winner: Kansas’ 48-24 Win At Boston College
This is all due to expectations. The Jayhawks came out of nowhere after a puzzling loss to Coastal Carolina and demolished Boston College on the road. The win garnered national buzz. This game probably did the most to improve the reputation of the conference of any single game this season.
Runner-up: West Virginia’s 44-27 Win Over NC State
This game benefits from turning around the attitude on this team. The Mountaineers had just been blown away at Missouri. This win gave the team confidence, and paired with the KU win, made people think twice about how good the bottom of the conference will be this year.