Around the Big 12: Sooners roll, Cowboys rebound
By Steve Lansdale
The Texas Longhorns earned their fourth consecutive win with a hard-fought victory at Kansas State. But theirs was hardly the only impressive result for a team in the Big 12 over the weekend.
Oklahoma 66, Baylor 33
OU quarterback didn’t play the first series for the Sooners, a punishment for oversleeping and being late to practice Friday — a perfect chance for Baylor to take an early lead and perhaps shock the conference heavyweight?
Not even close. When Murray returned to the lineup, all he did was throw for a career-high 432 yards and six touchdowns as the then-No. 6 Sooners completely dismantled the Bears. The six scoring passes tied Baker Mayfield’s record for the most in a game in program history.
“I’m always scared to say ‘best I’ve ever seen’ – we’ve seen some pretty good ones, but it was pretty damn good,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said. “He’s just got that gear, acceleration-wise, and he can continue to get more aggressive running it and involved in our run game because people just have to account for him, and even when you account for him, the odds still aren’t in your favor, and that’s just one of the things that makes him really good. Right now, what makes him good, though, is he’s beating people from the pocket, and if he can do that, he’s tough to handle.”
West Virginia 42, Texas Tech 34
In a matchup of two of the most potent offenses in the Big 12, Will Grier threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers (4-0 overall, 2-0 in Big 12 games) past the Red Raiders (3-2 overall, 1-1 in Big 12 games) in Lubbock. Tech’s offense was altered by the departure of quarterback Alan Bowman — the freshman was the nation’s leading passer heading into the game — who was injured while being tackled in the first half (it was reported Sunday that he suffered a partially collapsed lung). He was replaced by sophomore Jett Duffey, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 172 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
West Virginia receiver Marcus Simms caught nine passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, and fellow wideout Gary Jennings had seven receptions for 70 yards and two trips to the end zone, and junior cornerback Keith Washington provided what proved to be the deciding points when he returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown with 2:58 to go in the fourth quarter.
“Good teams find a way to win, especially on the road in the Big 12, so we’re happy about that,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We’re thrilled to be 2-0 in the Big 12. (The) defense stepped up and hung in there, made a play at the end to get us some points on the board, which obviously we needed a few to win.”
Oklahoma State 48, Kansas 28
If the Oklahoma State Cowboys were hoping to make a statement a week after getting bumped from the top 25 with a loss to Texas Tech, they accomplished their goal with a 20-point road victory in Lawrence and reclaiming the No. 25 spot in the new Associated Press rankings. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns and Justice Hill led the ground game with 189 yards and a rushing touchdown, allowing OSU to improve its record to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 games. Kansas fell to 2-3 overall, and 0-2 in conference games.
The Cowboys started fast, scoring on their first four drives, reaching the end zone three times.
“I was proud of how our guys started the game,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “Sometimes we’ve not played real good up here (at Kansas) in the first half. I thought our defense and offense really took the field and motivated themselves and played well early in the game, which was very important.”
TCU 17, Iowa State 14
The Horned Frogs started the season as one of the trendy picks as a team that could sneak up through the rankings, challenge for a conference title and — who knows? — maybe even threaten for a spot in the college football playoff if everything fell right. That was before back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Texas, and Saturday’s last-minute 17-14 win over Iowa State.
Jonathan Song drilled a 28-yard field goal with 37 seconds left to account for the final margin.
After a scoreless first quarter, Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar snagged a three-yard touchdown pass from Zeb Noland to put the Cyclones up, 7-0. Less than five minutes later, the Horned Frogs tied the score on a 10-yard pass from Shawn Robinson to Taye Barber. Defensive end Ben Banogu gave the Horned Frogs their first lead in the first minute of the second half when he scooped up a fumble and ran it back 47 yards for the score, but ISU evened things up again midway through the fourth quarter on a David Montgomery touchdown run from a yard out.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said after the game that the Frogs’ recent scuffle doesn’t eliminate them from the race in the Big 12.
“We only have to be one of the top two teams to play in the championship game, so we have to take it one game at a time,” Patterson said. “As I watched things unfold, and I haven’t had a chance to watch everyone play, you could have the first-place team with one or two losses and the second-place team could have three. Every week, whoever plays at home is going to have the advantage, and you have to be ready to go. It’s going to be interesting, to say the least.”