Around the Big 12: Texas Tech falls to Oklahoma, awaits Texas
By Steve Lansdale
Some Texas fans were sick to their stomachs Saturday, when the Longhorns went back and forth with West Virginia, only to lose in gut-wrenching fashion when Will Grier raced into the end zone for the deciding two-point conversion.
But as disappointed as UT fans are, it’s not like the season is over. Texas is a game behind the co-leaders of the Big 12: Oklahoma and West Virginia have 5-1 records in games against conference opponents, while the Longhorns are 4-2. Remember, if Texas can pick up a game and tie Oklahoma, it is the Longhorns who hold the primary tiebreaker over OU, thanks to their victory last month in the Cotton Bowl over the Sooners.
So while the final weeks of the season play out, it’s worth noting what happened around the league.
Oklahoma 51, Texas Tech 46
The great thing about games between the Sooners and Red Raiders is that the defenses on each team can take the night off … or at least it seems that way. This year’s scoreboard explosion featured fireworks by each side before running back Trey Sermon ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns to lift the Sooners in Lubbock. Quarterback Kyler Murray recovered after throwing a pair of early interceptions to throw for 360 yards and three touchdowns and to run for 100 yards and another score in the victory.
Tech quarterback continued his incredibly efficient freshman season for the Red Raiders, who host Texas Saturday, completing 21 of 26 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“We have been fighting hard,” Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We just got to find a way to win these games. We’re not getting it done at the end of these close games.”
OU head coach Lincoln Riley said he was impressed that Murray didn’t fold after the early interceptions.
“Sometimes a guy can get a little gunshy when you have a start like that, and he wasn’t,” Riley said. “He kept flinging. He ran the ball well.”
Iowa State 27, Kansas 3
While UT fans are going through the mental gymnastics needed to figure out how Texas can earn a spot in the Big 12 Championship game, don’t leave out Iowa State, which quietly has joined the Longhorns at 4-2 in conference games. With a little luck in the right places, ISU, like Texas, has a chance to play for the Big 12 title.
The Cyclones got 263 passing yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Brock Purdy, including first-quarter strikes of 83 and 51 yards to standout receiver Hakeem Butler, to rout the Jayhawks. The Cyclones’ defense held Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender to 19-for-41 passing, for just 195 yards and no touchdowns.
“(Purdy is) a guy that, when we have needed him the most this season, has stepped up and made big plays,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “”I know that he’s straining to be the most consistent player that he can be, and I see him really attacking that. Brock … some of those throws were pretty impressive.
“The reality of it is, Hakeem certainly is a big (6-foot-6) target, and sometimes it takes two to have to be able to cover him in certain situations, and different matchups. But give credit to Hakeem, because he has really worked on that early in the season.”
Despite the lopsided score, the statistics in the game were remarkably even. The teams each had 20 first downs, and ISU’s edge in total yardage was surprisingly small: 394-332. Neither team threw an interception, and KU lost the game’s only fumble.
Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 31
The Bears have seen a lot of Homecoming celebrations in recent years … as the team schools target on the schedule as a likely victory for their fans. This time, it was Baylor that got the victory, rallying past visiting Oklahoma State.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer didn’t start after missing practice time during the week, and completed just four of eight passes for 56 yards, but two of those throws resulted in fourth-quarter touchdowns, a 36-yard strike to Jalen Hurd with 5:43 to go and a six-yard toss to Denzel Mims with just 0:07 left on the clock.
“I think when the game comes down to the end, Charlie is not too rattled,” Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said. “He’s not too high, he’s not too low, and he just keeps playing, and I think the rest of our team does that.”
Oklahoma State quarterback Taylor Cornelius completed 24 of 41 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown, while running back Justice Hill ran 18 times for 119 yards and a touchdown.
“I don’t even need a stat sheet to know what happened,” OSU head coach Mike Gundy said. “We’re not a good enough football team to have that many penalties (12 for 133 yards) and a special teams blunder and give up a touchdown. What I told the team was, ‘even after all that, you had a chance to win the game.’ But I’m really disappointed in being undisciplined, with all the personal fouls, the facemask, chop block, late hit. Those are things that shouldn’t happen.”
TCU 14, Kansas State 13
Sophomore transfer quarterback Mike Collins threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Reagor in the third quarter to help lead TCU, and Kansas State missed a potential game-tying extra point in the fourth quarter in a battle of two teams with sub-.500 records in Fort Worth. TCU improved to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in conference games, while KSU dipped to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in Big 12 games.
Kansas State held the Horned Frogs to just 57 rushing yards, and outgained TCU, 301-275.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson and Collins expressed relief after the narrow victory. The Horned Frogs lost all three games they played in October.
"Well, win by one,” Patterson said. Isn't that what I said on Tuesday? Finally, we get a little luck. We'll take it one at a time."
"It feels really good to get a win,” Collins said. “October was a tough month and that wasn't the best win, but a win is a win and we will take it. It felt really good in the locker room after. Our defense played really well, our offensive line played really well, the receivers made plays when they had to. In the end, it ended up being the difference."