11 Sep

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Around the Big 12: Kansas ends road losing streak

Freshman running back Pooka Williams ran for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help Kansas knock off Central Michigan, 31-7, and end the second-longest road losing streak ever (photo courtesy of kuathletics.com).

By Steve Lansdale

Kansas 31, Central Michigan 7
It’s not often that any recap of Big 12 football starts with a mention of the Kansas Jayhawks, but KU did something Saturday that it hadn’t done in its previous 46 road games: win. The Jayhawks traveled to Mount Pleasant, Mich., and whipped Central Michigan, 31-7, to snap the second-longest road losing streak in college football history, thanks in large part to 125 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns by freshman running back Pooka Williams.

"We're looking forward to starting a new beginning and starting a little win streak here," Kansas head coach David Beaty said. "We think we've got a pretty good football team if we continue working and continue limiting the mistakes that we make."

No. 6 Oklahoma 49, UCLA 21
Nobody in Norman, Oklahoma, is going to forget former star quarterback Baker Mayfield for a while, but Kyler Murray is doing his part to help the Sooners’ fans acknowledge that their football program didn’t end when the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Browns. Murray threw for three touchdowns and ran for a couple more Saturday as the Sooners ran away from the Bruins, despite losing star running back and team captain Rodney Anderson to a season-ending knee injury.

"You think there would be a big drop off when you go from a Heisman Trophy winner, but that kid's very special," UCLA head coach Chip Kelly said of Murray.

No. 14 West Virginia 52, Youngstown State 17
Another week brought another ho-hum four-touchdown performance by West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, who threw a quartet of scoring tosses — three ended up in the hands of wideout Gary Jennings — and completed 21 of 26 passes for 332 yards in the air to lead the Mountaineers to a 52-17 victory over Youngstown State.

"I'm glad this week is over, honestly, coming off the big win last week over Tennessee," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said afterward. "We talked all week about respecting our opponent, which I think we did.
"I thought Will did a really good job of getting us into the right plays. We're a big-play offense, always have been, and I told Will at halftime, 'Don't get anxious and do dumb things because we're frustrated with 5 or 6 yards per play. Just continue to manage the game' … and he did."

No. 18 Mississippi State 31, Kansas State 10
K-State’s loss to the visiting Bulldogs had an abnormal look, as the Wildcats’ normally stingy defense allowed 347 rushing yards, including 211 and a pair of rushing touchdowns (plus one receiving touchdown) by sophomore running back Kylin Hill.

“I wouldn't take anything away from Mississippi State because they are a very fine football team, but as I've said so many times, it's not about who we line up and play, it's about us,” KSU head coach Bill Snyder said. “We just haven't played as well as we're capable of. I thought there was some promise up until maybe the last 5-6 minutes or so in the ballgame. I saw some things, maybe things you don't see but I saw some things that tell me that maybe we're making some headway in areas that had been an issue for us, but we didn't finish the game that way.”

Texas Tech 77, Lamar 0
Remember when Mike Leach was running the “Air Raid” offense out in Lubbock? It seemed like it didn’t matter if the Red Raiders ever played any defense because their offense was potent enough to simply outscore any team Tech played, and perhaps blow up the scoreboard in the process.

Tech hammered Lamar, 77-0, Saturday by scoring the most points since 2005 — care to guess who was coaching the Red Raiders that year? The difference is that this time, much of the damage was done on the ground. True freshman Alan Bowlman ran for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the Red Raiders set a modern-day team record with seven rushing touchdowns. Despite his team’s complete dismantling of its opponent, Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he thought room for improvement remained.

"Defensively, I thought it was good to get a shutout," Kingsbury said. "It wasn't the cleanest game. Offense, there were way too many penalties. That's something we talked about, doing the little things and not hurting ourselves. We didn't get that accomplished. That was disappointing."

Iowa 13, Iowa State 3
Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 4:47 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Hawkeyes’ defense turned in a sterling performance, allowing Iowa to spoil Iowa State’s season opener and ensuring that the CyHawk trophy given annually to the battle between the state’s top programs will remain in Iowa City for another year. Iowa allowed just 188 yards of total offense on 56 plays and allowed the Cyclones inside their 20-yard line just once all day. Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said the game, like so many others, was decided in the trenches.

"At the line of scrimmage, where games are still won in this sport, they dominated,” Campbell said, “and we didn't respond."

TCU 42, SMU 12
Senior KaVontae Turpin returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown and took a short slant 42 yards for another score to help the Horned Frogs rally from a 9-0 deficit to knock off crosstown rival SMU, 42-12. In a game that was delayed more than two hours by lightning, the victory gave TCU its first seven-game winning streak in the 98-year rivalry. After the game, which ended well after midnight Friday night, Frog coach Gary Patterson said his players would be allowed to recuperate Saturday, while he planned to start immediately evaluating his team’s performance and then preparing for this week’s matchup against Ohio State.

“This is a Friday game, it’s 12:30 a.m. and the guys will get a chance to sleep in — the guys will, you and I won't,” Patterson said. “You know, I didn't order the rain. I did not. I would rather be in my own bed right now, like you guys."

Oklahoma State 55, South Alabama 13
How often does a coach say, “we’ll take what the defense gives us”?

Against the Cowboys Saturday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, South Alabama loaded the box in an effort to stop the OSU rushing attack. So quarterback Taylor Cornelius, in just his second game as Mason Rudolph’s replacement, completed 25 of 40 passes for 428 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, despite the emphasis on the run by the South Alabama defense, the Cowboys still scored four rushing touchdowns, including two by Justice Hill.

"They had really low safeties and more of an opportunity to throw the ball," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said of South Alabama's defensive strategy. "Offenses have to base what we do on what the defense does, to a certain extent, and we have to be versatile enough that if they're going to let us run it, we got to run it and throw it (if they let us) throw it."

Baylor 37, Texas-San Antonio 20
Sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns to help lead Baylor past UTSA in San Antonio. The performance came a week after Jalen McLendon’s strong performance in the Bears’ season opener. After the win over UTSA, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said both quarterbacks would continue to play, and that his team still had room for considerable improvement.

"I think what you see is a situation pushing both guys to play at a high level," Rhule said. "We found a way to be 2-0 — certainly not perfect, certainly not where we need to be."

The victory was Baylor’s second in as many games, meaning the Bears already have doubled the victories achieved last season, when BU went 1-11 in Rhule’s first in Waco.