Big 12 Football Week Two was very telling in many ways. For some teams, weaknesses were exposed, and for others, promise emerged.
Here’s how Big 12 teams stacked up.
10. Iowa State
Iowa State had a lot of promise headed into this season, and with good reason. The Cyclones had one of the more impressive turnaround seasons last year. With its first game of the year cancelled due to weather, Iowa State knew they had to put everything into the Week Two road matchup against in-state rival, Iowa. Unfortunately, the Cyclones left much to be desired in all three phases of the game, and took a 13-3 loss.
Iowa State faces No. 5 Oklahoma in Ames next weekend, and have a very real possibility to start the season at 0-3 if things don’t start clicking.
9. Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s Wildcats are off to a very poor start. After winning their season opener last weekend against South Dakota, Kansas State dropped a big one against the No. 18 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs at home. It wasn’t just a loss, however, it was a 31-10 route, and K-State only amassed 213 total yards of offense despite having possession for about half the game. As if those statistics weren’t bad enough, K-State is ranked 120th in the nation in passing yards after Week Two.
With UTSA on the schedule this weekend, the Wildcats have time to turn this around, but offensively, there’s a lot to be desired.
With its 31-7 win over Central Michigan over the weekend, Kansas has finally snapped its 46-game road losing streak, and the Big 12 couldn’t be prouder for the Jayhawks. Kansas put up 361 total yards of offense, and capitalized on six CMU turnovers to go 1-1 before hosting Rutgers on Saturday.
Rutgers hasn’t played well this season, and the odds predictors already have the scales tilting in the Jayhawks’ favor. Could Kansas be 2-1 before the start of conference play? It’s certainly likely, and believe David Beaty’s team will have momentum in their favor this week.
Following Texas’ loss at Maryland, they needed a win last weekend to build momentum headed into Week Three against the USC Trojans. While the Longhorns took the W against Tulsa, it wasn’t pretty, and it raised more question marks than it answered.
Tulsa missed a few field goals which could have flipped the script, and second-half adjustments appeared to move Texas backwards. Those aren’t the halftime adjustments you need to be making.
Quarterbacking issues have been highlighted with Sam Ehlinger over the past two weeks, and while interceptions haven’t been an issue, his speed and inability to extend plays on the ground have been. It’s tough to win in the Big 12 if quarterbacks can’t extend plays, and if Texas is going to be truly competitive against video game numbers, they have to work through that.
Baylor is a team that has been in rebuilding mode under head coach Matt Rhule, and in its 2-0 start to open the season, you can see noticeable changes in how receptive players have been to Rhule’s coaching style. What’s more, quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 328 yards against UTSA for three touchdowns. If that doesn’t scream “Big 12 cannon,” I don’t know what does.
Baylor had seven penalties for 70 yards, which is something they need to clean up headed into conference play, and of its 492 total yards of offense, only 92 yards were on the ground. With Big 12 defenses catching up to the passing game, that could also present an issue down the road.
5. Texas Tech
Texas Tech pitched a 77-0 shutout against Lamar on Saturday for the first time since 2006, which was the most points Tech’s hung on an opponent since 2005. Moreover, while Texas Tech ended their season opener win streak last week, Tech won their 19th consecutive home opener. To say Texas Tech rebounded from the loss against Ole Miss would be an understatement, and while Saturday’s win was against a team Tech should have handled easily, it not only showed the country what true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman was capable of, it also gave Tech an opportunity to let all quarterbacks see playing time, which impressed both in the air, and on the ground.
The Red Raiders were impressive in all three phases, and continue its turnover streak, but one area of concern is in penalties. Granted, there were plenty of fresh bodies who were rotating in for the first time, but Texas Tech had 14 penalties for 139 yards. That will not fly against a team like Houston this week, and throughout Big 12 play.
4. West Virginia
West Virginia has looked good against Tennessee and Youngstown State to start the season, but against teams in a rebuild (regardless of whether they’re in the SEC or not), and an FCS team, you’d expect more defense from a team trying to prop its quarterback up for the Heisman.
The Mountaineers racked up an impressive 625 yards of offense, and wide receiver Gary Jennings managed to haul in three touchdowns off just six catches bringing his yards-per-catch to an impressive 16.2 yards. This, coming off an offseason involving speculation as to how productive he’d be, or how much he’d contribute to the Grier Show. It’s safe to say West Virginia is positioning itself to have a nice showing against NC State on Saturday, but the Wolfpack has had a 2-0 start with double-digit victories, too, so that should be an interesting matchup.
3. Oklahoma State
South Alabama tried to limit Oklahoma State on the ground last weekend They didn’t have much success, as they allowed four rushing touchdowns to the Cowboys’ already potent quarterback Taylor Cornelius’ passing game. Cornelius finished the day throwing for 428 yards which moved the football quite well, but one thing Oklahoma State will have to watch for in their young quarterback are turnovers. As previously stated, Big 12 teams are figuring out how to stop passing attacks, and if given the opportunity to snag two interceptions per game, opponents will, and have a much higher likelihood of returning them for a score.
The Cowboys take on No. 17 Boise State at home this week, and the two teams seem fairly even in terms of statistic this season. While Boise State is a Group of Five school, expect for the Broncos to treat this game as if it were the Rose Bowl.
TCU looked good on defense and on the ground. In the air, quarterback Shawn Robinson left a lot to be desired. He only passed for 146 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the H0rned Frogs’ 42-12 victory over SMU.
Head coach Gary Patterson has a very short window to fix TCU’s quarterbacking issues, as TCU takes on No. 4 Ohio State in Prime Time on Saturday.
Oklahoma remains the team to beat in the Big 12, but last weekend’s 49-21 win over UCLA wasn’t without a major hit. Top running back Rodney Anderson sustained a knee injury during the game that will sideline him for the rest of the season. Anderson has had three season-ending injuries in the last four years. so that’s a tough situation all around.
Thankfully for the Sooners, the talent up and down is abundant, and human highlight reel, quarterback Kyler Murray has people saying “Baker who?”
The Sooners face Iowa State this week. With the way the Cyclones have been playing, it could be a long afternoon of continued OU dominance.
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