Preview: This Week’s Big 12 Action

Bedlam buddies Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – the two top-ranked teams in the Big 12 – both hit the road and head east Saturday.
Bedlam buddies Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – the two top-ranked teams in the Big 12 – both hit the road and head east Saturday.

The Texas Longhorns Football team does not take the field this weekend. The bye week comes at the perfect time. There are some injury situations that need to be worked out and new starters to catch up to speed.

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While a nation of burnt orange wearing, Texas Longhorns supporters may not have a team to root for this weekend, there are still a few games with Big 12 implications to keep your eye on. Wendell Barnhouse from gives us a run down of all the Big 12 action this weekend.

Thursday's game
All times Central

Iowa State at Tulsa
Need to know: 6:30 p.m., H.A. Chapman Stadium, FS1.
Records: Iowa State 0-2, Tulsa 1-2.

Scouting Iowa State: The Cyclones hope the return of junior center Tom Farniok will improve offensive line play. In two games, Iowa State doesn't have a rushing touchdown and is averaging just 3.3 yards per attempt. The defense needs to get better stopping the run as opponents are averaging 223 yards per game on the ground.

Scouting Tulsa: Both of the Golden Hurricane's losses have been blowouts and they've allowed a total of 85 points in their losses. Opponents have had success running the ball as Tulsa is 76th nationally in rushing defense. The offense relies on a running game that is led by quarterback Cody Green and running back Trey Watts, who is also a capable receiver.

This and that: This is the third time these teams have played in just over a year. Iowa State beat Tulsa in the season opener while Tulsa beat the Cyclones in the Liberty Bowl. … Iowa State has won its road opener in three of four seasons under coach Paul Rhoads. … Through two games, the Cyclones have had 15 players record their first career starts.

Saturday's games
All times Central

Oklahoma State at West Virginia
Need to know: 11 a.m., Milan Puskar Stadium, ESPN.
Records: Oklahoma State 3-0, 0-0; West Virginia 2-2, 0-1).

Scouting Oklahoma State: The 11th-ranked Cowboys have been dominant and balanced in their three victories. Oklahoma State is a perfect 15-for-15 in red zone conversions, scoring 15 TDs. Quarterback J.W. Walsh has been outstanding. He is the only Big 12 QB with a 300-yard passing game and a 100-yard rushing effort. The defense has been aggressive and dominant.

Scouting West Virginia: The Mountaineers are coming off a disappointing loss and hoping that their offense can start producing. West Virginia's 12 turnovers are the most in the Big 12. Redshirt freshman quarterback Ford Childress has been good and bad in his two starts. The Mountaineers completed just one pass to a wide receiver vs. Maryland.

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This and that: Oklahoma State is outscoring its opponents 108-13 in the first three quarters. … In its 37-0 loss to Maryland, West Virginia had 10 drives out of 14 that lasted four or fewer plays. … The Mountaineers finished third in scoring in the Big 12 last season but enter this game last in that category.

Need to know: 11 a.m., Amon Carter Stadium, FS1)
Records: SMU 1-2, TCU 1-2.

Scouting SMU: Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert is a sixth-year senior and the Mustangs' starter. … Gilbert leads the nation in completions per game (37.67) and ranks seventh in both passing yards (338.3 ypg) and total offense (372.7). SMU lost to Texas Tech in its opener and to Texas A&M last week; its only victory was a 31-30 victory over Montana State.

Scouting TCU: The Horned Frogs have been idle for 16 days following their loss at Texas Tech. Sophomore running back B.J. Catalon leads the team in rushing but TCU needs more consistency from quarterback Trevone Boykin and the passing game. Sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields has been ineffective.

This and that: TCU leads the Big 12 in sacks (eight) and interceptions (five). Last season the Horned Frogs had five interceptions of SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert. … Dating back to 2006, TCU has a seven-game winning streak in contests following an open date. … Over the past 31 games, SMU is 16-0 when scoring first but 0-15 when the opponent scores first. … SMU is in its first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Oklahoma at Notre Dame
Need to know: 2:30 p.m., Notre Dame Stadium, NBC.)
Records: Oklahoma 3-0; Notre Dame 3-1.

Scouting Oklahoma: Junior quarterback Blake Bell, who had a record-setting debut as a starter, will make the first road start of his career. The No. 12 Sooners' defense has been impressive in three games but will need to adjust to face Notre Dame's style. OU needs to force the Irish to throw the ball and might use a four-man front to slow the running game.

Scouting Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are No. 22 and senior quarterback Tommy Rees will make his 23rd start. He is averaging 277 yards passing per game and has thrown for eight TDs. Notre Dame's run game has struggled, averaging just 114 yards per game and 3.7 yards per attempt. The defense is anchored by lineman Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III.

This and that: The Irish have a 9-1 lead in the series. The only victory by OU came in 1956. … Notre Dame is one of just three FBS programs to have not faced a non-FBS opponent since the current setup was established in 1978. … Oklahoma is seeking to become the current member of the Big 12 to defeat Notre Dame since Texas posted a 21-17 win in the 1970 Cotton Bowl.



James Schleicher

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.