By Steve Lansdale
Football fans around the country found themselves locked in on the AT&T Red River Showdown, a catch-your-breath scoring party that threatened to blow up the scoreboards in the Cotton Bowl and left defensive players on both teams gasping for air.
But what some don’t realize is that Texas and Oklahoma were not the onlyBig 12 teams that played over the weekend.
Baylor 37, Kansas State 34
Texas freshman Cameron Dicker wasn’t the only Big 12 kicker celebrating Saturday. Baylor's Connor Martin had struggled through a day any kicker would want to forget, converting just two of five field goal attempts and even missing an extra point, but managed to get back on target when his team needed him the most, drilling a 29-yard field goal with just eight seconds left to lift the Bears to 37-34 home win over Kansas State.
Sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer completed 30 of 44 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown and an interception, and was one of three Baylor players to rush for a touchdown as the Bears improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 games.
BU head coach Matt Ruhle said part of the reason for his team’s drastic improvement is improved discipline, which is helping the Bears decrease costly mistakes.
“I think we’re a disciplined team,” Ruhle said. “I think we’re playing the way everyone else is. I think our kids are playing really, really hard and maybe pressing sometimes and getting their hands outside and playing maybe a little too aggressively. But today, I thought we had one or two false starts, I think it was, but we played within ourselves. I’d like to say it’s us, but I think it’s just our players, you know, just getting a little more confident and I thought that was an excellent group. I thought they communicated well.”
Iowa State 48, No. 25 Oklahoma State 42
One of the more shocking scores from the weekend featured the Iowa State Cyclones beating the nationally ranked Cowboys … in Stillwater while playing a true freshman backup quarterback, no less.
In just his second college game, third-string passer Brock Purdy completed 18 of 23 passes for 318 yards (the fifth 300-yard passing game by an Iowa State freshman in school history) and four touchdowns — for good measure, he ran for another score — to lead the Cyclones to the victory. For his efforts, Purdy was named CBS Sports National Fresman of the Week, a Davey O’Brien Award Great 8 performer, a Star of the Week by the Manning Award and Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
"We told Brock that he'd play the second series and see what happened from there,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “I just thought there were some things that he could open up for us. I thought he did a really good job today. He's a guy that has playmaking abilities.”
No. 9 West Virginia 38, Kansas 22
On one hand, WVU quarterback Will Grier didn’t look like himself Saturday, with an uncharacteristic four turnovers. On the other hand, he showed why he’s a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy, firing four touchdown passes to lead the Mountaineers to a 16-point win over the Jayhawks. The road victory improved West Virginia’s record to 5-0 overall, and 3-0 in Big 12 games.
Grier threw three interceptions in the first half, two by KU cornerback Hasan Defense, but still did enough to earn praise from WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen.
“It’s a combination of not doing a very good job in the run game and them dropping a lot of people,” Holgorsen said when asked about Grier’s performance. “Especially in the red zone, those windows become very tight. (Grier) has the confidence to make any throw and every throw. That’s why he’s a hell of a quarterback. But those windows become small. I thought their defenders did a better job of attacking the ball than our receivers did.