Connect with us

2021 Season

Previewing Week 5 In The Big 12

With another week of Big 12 play on tap, let’s look at the matchups.

Published

on

Getty Images - Icon Sportswire

TCU (2-1) vs. Texas (3-1)

  • Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
  • Date & Time: Saturday, October 2nd at 11:00 AM CST
  • TV, Betting Line: ABC, UT -4.0 (O/U 65)

This showdown of in-state foes features two teams coming off vastly different Week 4 performances. TCU finds themselves at 2-1 after losing to cross-town rival SMU in a game where the Horned Frogs gave up 350 yards on the ground. Texas, meanwhile, got a 70-35 win over Texas Tech to start conference play. The history of this series points heavily to the underdog Horned Frogs, who have won four in a row against the Longhorns when coming off a loss.

Texas has been building momentum these past two weeks, however, after junior Casey Thompson took over starting quarterback duties. Along with star running back Bijan Robinson, Thompson has ignited an offense that is averaging 46.8 points per game. The Longhorns have been average on the defensive side of the ball, surrendering just over 400 total yards a contest.

Defense is usually not a problem for TCU, but this year’s unit hasn’t been as sharp. The secondary has been susceptible to big plays, and the Horned Frogs run defense has been leaky at times as well. TCU has yet to hold an FBS squad under 32 points, a number that’s definitely surprising for a Patterson-coached defense.

Offensively, TCU is lead by junior quarterback Max Duggan, who can make plays with both his arm and his legs. Duggan is complimented by running back Zach Evans, a highly touted recruit out of high school, who is on pace to have a 1,000 yard season as a sophomore.

Keys To The Game: If Texas can be efficient on offense and limit TCU’s gains running the ball. The Horned Frogs need to really establish their ground game – with both Duggan and their bevy of running backs – in order to slow this game down.

Prediction: Longhorns by a field goal.

Kansas State (3-1) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (4-0)

  • Location: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
  • Date & Time: Saturday, October 2nd at 2:30 PM CST
  • TV, Betting Line: FOX, OU -11.5 (O/U 53)

This game has received a lot of attention, and rightly so. Chris Kleiman is the only Big 12 coach who’s undefeated (2-0) against Lincoln Riley, and it’s safe to say that the Kansas State head coach has found something that really works for the Wildcats when they play the Sooners. Another win for Kansas State in this one might doom Oklahoma’s CFP chances, while a victory for Oklahoma keeps them undefeated and gets a monkey off Riley’s back.

Oklahoma’s had multiple close calls early this season. Surprisingly, the defense has stood out, only surrendering 16 points per game, while the offense helmed by quarterback Spencer Rattler has been less explosive than anticipated. The Sooners are averaging 443.8 offensive yards per game, a number that would be the lowest since Lincoln Riley’s arrival in Norman. 

Kansas State, meanwhile, has managed to go 3-1 despite issues in their quarterback room. An injury to Skylar Thompson – who could return soon – has meant that this team heavily relies on their run game and running back Deuce Vaughn. The Wildcats have relied on a defense that’s held teams to 330 total yards per game on average, and they’ll definitely be called upon in Manhattan on Saturday.

Keys To This Game: The Sooners are going to need to avoid turnovers in what is likely to be a game with not a ton of points; Kansas State’s pass defense will really need to step up in this one to keep the Sooners from having success through the air.

Prediction: Oklahoma by 10 points.

West Virginia (2-2) vs. Texas Tech (3-1)

  • Location: Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV
  • Date & Time: Saturday, October 2nd at 2:30 PM CST
  • TV, Betting Line: ESPN2, WVU -7.0 (O/U 56)

The winner of this game will get their first conference victory. West Virginia has to feel good about their chances after having played Oklahoma to within a field goal, while Texas Tech comes off an ugly loss to Texas. Both squads are likely to still be fighting for bowl eligibility in November, so starting this month off with a win would really help that cause.

The Mountaineers have one of the top defenses in college football, holding teams to 90 yards per game on the ground. As was the case last year, the Mountaineers find themselves needing to make strides on offense; quarterback Jarret Doege has been serviceable, with six touchdowns through four games. West Virginia hasn’t been able to get the running game going consistently, though, and they currently rank 108th in FBS in yards per game on the ground.

Texas Tech will be going with backup Henri Colombi at quarterback this week, with the news that Tyler Shough likely to miss over a month. He’ll take over an offense that has been balanced, and really hummed at times. The Red Raiders primary weapon is Erik Ezukanma, who might be the best wide receiver in the Big 12. Defensively, Texas Tech has been inconsistent. Even though they haven’t given up much yardage, opponents are scoring an average of 33.5 points per game on the Red Raiders.

Keys To The Game: Texas Tech needs to be able to make big plays and be explosive on offense , and have success in the redzone against the Moutaineers; West Virginia, meanwhile, needs to stop Texas Tech on the ground and take care of the ball.

Prediction: Mountaineers by two scores.

No. 19 Oklahoma State (4-0) vs. No. 21 Baylor (4-0)

  • Location: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
  • Date & Time: Saturday, October 2nd at 6:00 PM CST
  • TV, Betting Line: ESPN2, BU -3.5 (O/U 48)

One of these teams will no longer be undefeated after this tilt, one that looks to be low-scoring. Baylor comes into this one with definite momentum after upsetting Iowa State last week. The Pokes had a strong showing last week against Kansas State, and would love to build on the win.

Baylor came into this season with questions resting solely on whether they could get going offensively in 2021, and they have certainly responded. The Bears are averaging 273.5 yards per game on the ground with a new, more run-oriented offensive scheme. The defense has been very good for them so far as well, holding opponents to just under 16 points per game.

Oklahoma State also has a top defense, but their offense has struggled somewhat. Quarterback Spencer Sanders is completing less than 60 percent of his passes, but running back Jaylen Warren has stood out over the past few weeks, amassing 387 yards rushing this season so far.

Keys To The Game: Really this one probably comes down to who is better at stopping the run, and slowing the rushing attack of their opponent. Whoever wins the line of scrimmage in this one likely wins the game.

Prediction: I will take the Pokes to win and cover at home for the second week in a row. Oklahoma State by 6.

Iowa State (2-2) vs Kansas (1-3)

  • Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
  • Date & Time: Saturday, October 2nd at 6:00 PM CST
  • TV, Betting Line: FS1, ISU -34.5 (O/U 57)

It’s become a standard narrative that Kansas hangs around with most opponents for about a half before the other team manages to pull away and cover. This evening game in Ames is sure to be rocking for an Iowa State team that’s licking its wounds after stumbling somewhat as they enter the 2021 season.

The Cylcones have had an up-and-down start to their season, something we’ve actually come to expect somewhat under Matt Campbell. This seems different, though, largely because of the comparatively high expectations. Iowa State still has a reliably stout defense, one that is holding teams to 216 total yards per game; the overall disappointment has been an offensive unit that ranks 62nd in FBS in total offense.

Meanwhile, the Jayhawks have managed to find some offensive pieces they can build on for the future. Quarterback Jason Bean is their most electric quarterback in years, having already amassed 1,000 yards passing and running combined. As they do every year, the Jayhawks field an above-average pass defense. Unfortunately, they’re also giving up 241 yards per game on the ground.

Keys To The Game: If Kansas can somehow get Iowa State into obvious passing situations, they’d be able to contain Breece Hall and Brock Purdy enough to keep this one close. The Cyclones really need to just play a fundamentally sound game – despite their rough start, Iowa State is still light years ahead of the Jayhawks, they just need to show that on the field.

Prediction: The Cyclones get right under the lights of Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State by 35.