By Steve Lansdale
How weird is it to be leading off a recap ot the weekend’s Big 12 action with Iowa State? Except it’s not weird — it’s merited, and not just because the No. 18 Cyclones are the No. 13 Longhorns’ next opponent.
Iowa State 28, Baylor 14
The Cyclones became bowl-eligible with their home win Saturday over Baylor, stretching their winning streak to five (the first time in the history of the program that ISU has won five straight conference games in a season; it happened two other times, but they were stretched over two seasons) and improving their record to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in games against Big 12 opponents. Baylor, meanwhile, slipped to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 games.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said that despite his team’s winning ways in recent weeks, he sees a lot of ways in which his team can improve.
"There's still a lot of work to be done. We're still a young football team," Campbell said. "I think what's exciting is that I sit here right now knowing that our best is still out there."
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy threw for a touchdown and ran for another, and even converted a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. His 13 touchdown passes this season are a freshman record.
The Cyclones will head to Austin knowing they will be without starting running back David Montgomery for the first half, after he was ejected from Saturday’s game with Baylor for fighting.
Texas head coach Tom Herman said on Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference that he expects the Cylones to rally around the suspension.
“Montgomery is a heck of a player,” the Texas coach said on the Big 12 teleconference Monday. “Anytime you have to sit a guy of his ability level for a half, what really good teams do — and they certainly are — is that they rally the troops and everybody gives extra effort to compensate for the loss of him.
“I don’t know if the game plan changes very much who they are.”
Montgomery will be replaced in the lineup by some combination of Sheldon Croney, Kene Nwangwu, Mike Warren or Johnnie Lang.
Oklahoma 48, Oklahoma State 47
The No. 6 Sooners needed every point their offense could muster to escape against their in-state rivals by a single point, thanks in part to the Cowboys attempting, and failing to convert, a two-point conversion late in the game.
“That's why they call it Bedlam,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “It lived up to the name, lived up to the rivalry — tremendous game.”
OU quarterback Kyler Murray ran for 66 yards and threw for 349 to lead the No. 6 Sooners in Norman, as they continued their push for a berth in the Big 12 title game and perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff. He got ample help from the Sooners’ gifted skill-position players, including running back Kennedy Brooks (165 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns), running back Trey Sermon (124 yards on the ground and a pair of scores) and speedy receiver Marquise Brown (eight receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown).
Oklahoma improved to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in games against Big 12 opponents, while OSU fell to 5-5 overall and 205 in conference games.
Oklahoma State racked up a video game-like 640 yards in the game, led by quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who threw for three scores and a career-high 501 yards in the loss.
"Were we at our best tonight? No … especially in the first half,” Riley said. “Especially there. We did miss more tackles than we have been missing. It's something that we're going to have to do better."
No. 7 West Virginia 47, TCU 10
When the season schedule was made, this probably looked like it had the makings of a marquee game.
Oh, how times have changed.
The Horned Frogs continued the skid that is their 2018 season, as West Virginia quarterback Will Grier threw three touchdown passes — this was the third time this season he has thrown at least that many — to lead the Mountaineers to a lopsided win in Morgantown, West Virginia.
WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said he appreciated the victory, but quickly turned the focus toward next week’s game at Oklahoma State.
“Morale's good, confidence is good, work ethic is good,” Holgorsen said. “It's why we're winning. You're only as good as your next one, so these guys have to continue doing that."
TCU, which started the season with fans and members of the media touting the Horned Frogs as a dark horse candidate for the Big 12 title or even a run at the College Playoff, now has to win both of its remaining games (against Baylor this week and then at hoem next week against Oklahoma State) just to gain bowl eligibility.
The victory was the Holgorsen’s 61st at West Virginia, breaking a tie he shared with former coach Rich Rodriguez. The program record for victories by a coach is 149, set by Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen.
Kansas State 21, Kansas 17
The Wildcats struggled in all three facets of the game … and still were able to beat their in-state rivals for the 10th consecutive time.
Running back Alex Barnes rushed 22 times for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns and quarterback Alex Delton scored on a 21-yard touchdown to give Kansas State the victory; in the process, Barnes also went over the 1,000-yard mark for rushing this season.
Barnes acknowledged the significance of his milestone, but deflected credit to his offensive line.
"It's a really big honor," said Barnes, who now has 2,296 career rushing yards. "Our o-line's really paved the way for me, really made it easy. A lot of my (touchdown) runs I've been untouched and I'm just been able to get to the house. So, kudos to them."
The Wildcats improved their season record to 4-6 overall, and 2-5 in games against Big 12 opponents, and still could qualify for a bowl game with victories in their final two games. Kansas stumbled out of bowl contention, falling to 3-7 overall and 1-6 in conference games.
“Our state deserves that game to be a good game and it was a good game today,” said Kansas head coach David Beaty, who will coach out the remainder of the season — Saturday’s game at Oklahoma — after being fired by athletic director Jeff Long. “It wasn't good for the Jayhawks because we want to finish with a victory, but it was a good game."