In the first five games of the season, Texas had just 26 explosive plays – considered 12-yard runs or 16-yard passes. In the past two games against Oklahoma and Iowa State, Texas has had 21 explosive plays - five of those on runs by Swoopes.
Charlie Strong said Monday offensive coordinator Joe Wickline noticed Iowa State was blitzing Texas every time they lined up in a certain formation.
So Wickline suggested in the fourth quarter, to line up in that formation and run zone read with Swoopes. The result was six carries for 55 yards for Swoopes, including four carries for 27 yards on UT’s scoring drive that put the Longhorns up 45-38 with 1:19 left.
“When we added the quarterback runs, that was all Coach Wickline, something they did at Oklahoma State,” Strong said Monday. “He inserted the quarterback runs, which really helped him.
“He is so strong and physical and has enough arm strength to put the ball in the right places. But when he’s able to become a dual-threat like he’s doing right now, then it just adds another dimension for him.”
Swoopes ended up with 14 carries for 95 yards against Iowa State. Having Swoopes as a running threat is already opening up the passing game.
“If you’re not a threat as a runner, they can play coverage the whole time,” Strong said. “When the quarterback is a runner, they have to bring that extra man down into the box. Now we can win outside with Shipley and Number 9 (Harris).”
The next step for Swoopes as a runner is to simply stay north and south. Swoopes could have picked up a first down against Iowa State if he had just run straight and split two defenders. But instead, Swoopes tried to cut behind a tackler and got stopped short of the sticks. Texas punted.
“Me running north and south and just getting what I can get before sliding or running out of bounds has been a point of emphasis – not trying to run around people,” Swoopes said.
Swoopes said he’s gaining more and more confidence in himself as a runner.
“It’s about making plays for the team,” Swoopes said. “And the more I make plays – with my arm or my feet – the better it is for the team. I had a lot more confidence going into the Iowa State game after the Oklahoma game.”
Strong said that’s a good thing.
“Our offense will go as our quarterback goes,” Strong said. “He made the turn. The Oklahoma game is where the confidence started to grow, and the confidence the team has in him.
“He’s getting us in the right plays. And even with a remade offensive line, he’s standing in there and might take a shot. But he’s getting the ball out.”
When told that Strong said the offense will go as Swoopes goes, Swoopes said, “It comes with the job. If I’m not playing well, I’m not putting the guys around me in the position to play well.
“I know that’s my job. And I know my coaches and teammates have confidence in me to make plays.”
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT Kansas State
#1 … K-State is 5-1 against Texas in Manhattan and has won the last three times at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Texas hasn’t won at K-State since 2002
#2 … The Wildcats have the fewest penalty yards (182 in 6 games) of the 125 teams in Division I.
#3 … K-State’s only loss this season was a 20-14 setback at home against No. 5 Auburn. And the Wildcats missed FGs of 41, 42 and 22 yards in that game, ultimately replacing junior kicker Jack Cantele with redshirt freshman Matthew McCrane.
#4 … K-State has the nation’s 10th-ranked rush defense (100.8 ypg)
Auburn had been averaging 330 yards rushing but was held to 128 yards on the ground by KSU. UTEP had been averaging 314 ypg rushing but was held to 59 yards on the ground by the Wildcats.
#6 … Senior WR Tyler Lockett, who had 237 yards receiving vs Texas last year (and a career-best 278 yards receiving vs OU in 2013), has career totals of 178 receptions, 2,680 yards and 22 TDs.
He is within reach of the KSU school career records for receptions (217), receiving yards (3,032) and receiving TDs (26) – all held by his father Kevin Lockett, who played at K-State from 1993-96.
#7 … Senior QB Jake Waters, who was briefly recruited by Texas out of Iowa Western CC, leads K-State in rushing (61.8 ypg, 4.7 ypc, 7 TDs) while completing 65.1 percent of his passes with 9 TDs and 3 INTs.
#8 … Of K-State’s five captains for the 2014 season, three are former walk-ons, including center B.J. Finney; LB Jonathan Truman, the team’s leading tackler (60); and DE Ryan Mueller, who had a school-record-tying 11.5 sacks in 2013 (he has 1.5 sacks this season).
#9 … Sophomore FB Glenn Gronkowski is the younger brother of Patriots’ TE Rob Gronkowski and is a major receiving threat for KSU. Glenn Gronk has totaled 286 yards on just 9 career receptions (31.8 ypr).
Three of his four career TD receptions have gone for 50 or more yards, including a 62-yarder last week vs Oklahoma.
#10 … Charlie Strong called Bill Snyder for advice when Strong was named coach at Louisville.
“When I took over the program at Louisville, I called him and told him I wanted the Louisville program to be run just like the way it was being done at K-State,” Strong said Monday.
“It’s a balanced attack. There’s nothing fancy about what they do. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Very disciplined team.
“Look at the number of penalties they have - fewest in the country. And they don’t turn the ball over. It’s a disciplined team that plays within themselves, and that’s why you respect them so much.”
Strong said the best advice Snyder gave him was, “You just have to be yourself.”
“He said, ‘You’re going to take ideas and share ideas, but at the end of the day, it’s how you run your program and being consistent,’” Strong said.
3 THINGS ABOUT THE BIG 12
#1 … Baylor is the most penalized team in Division I with 76 flags for 732 penalty yards. That’s an average of nearly 11 flags per game for 104.6 yards.
So it probably shouldn’t have come as a total shock that BU was flagged 18 times for a Big 12-record 215 penalty yards in a 41-27 loss at West Virginia.
Here’s a breakdown of Baylor’s penalties:
7 – Defensive pass interference
4 – Personal fouls
2 – False starts
1 – Offensive pass interference
1 – Defensive holding
1 – Kick catch interference
1 – Illegal block
1 – Delay of game
Speaking of West Virginia, the most impressive aspect of the Mountaineers’ victory over the Bears was the defense, which held Baylor to 318 total yards, including just 95 yards rushing.
#2 … After TCU’s thorough, 42-9 beating of Oklahoma State in Fort Worth on Saturday, the Horned Frogs are now the highest ranked Big 12 team in the AP poll this week at No. 10 (not that it matters).
In a 37-33 victory over OU, Boykin ran 22 times for 77 yards and kept critical drives alive.
Against Baylor, Boykin ran 18 times for 45 yards. But Boykin ran just twice for 6 yards after TCU took a 58-37 lead with 11:38 left to play.
Boykin’s legs are a key part of that TCU offense, and co-coordinators Doug Meachum and Sonny Cumbie may have overlooked an obvious way to keep Baylor’s defense off-balance.
As a result, TCU punted twice after drives of 6 and 3 plays, taking less than 4 minutes off the clock.
Baylor answered by creating a tidal wave of momentum, scoring three TDs on drives of 1) 4 plays, 45 yards, :59; 2) 5 plays, 92 yards; 1:23; 3) 5 plays, 91 yards; :59; in tying the game at 58-58 with 4:42 left to play.
Basically, TCU lost its mind over a 7-minute span in Waco after taking that 21-point lead with decision-making that could haunt the Horny Toads big-time if TCU wins out.
Patterson’s team would likely be in everyone’s Top Four right now if he had used his QB’s legs to help hold onto that 21-point, 4Q lead.
#3 … After winning a game in which it was totally outplayed by Texas, OU got to know the feeling by totally outplaying K-State last weekend and losing, 31-30.
OU outgained K-State 533 yards to 385; led 30-17 in first downs; and 32:18 to 27:42 in TOP.
But the Sooners self-destructed thanks to:
1) QB Trevor Knight throwing an are-you-kidding me pick-six coming off OU’s goal line, right to K-State CB Danzel McDaniel, who totally played Knight’s eyes on a WR screen and went all of 5 yards for the score and a 14-7 KSU lead in the 2Q.
3) K Michael Hunnicutt missing FGs of 32 yards in the 2Q and 19 yards with 3:53 left to play in the 4Q (in addition to having an extra point blocked in the 4Q).
BONUS THOUGHT: The Big 12 is going to need help to get a team into the College Football Playoff.
Kansas State would have an argument if it went undefeated through league play (with its only loss a 20-14 setback against Auburn).
K-State has to play at TCU, at West Virginia and at Baylor in three of its last four games.
If Baylor and Kansas State met as 1-loss teams on Dec. 6 in Waco, there might be some buzz for the winner to be in the CFP, depending on what’s happening at the top of the other Power 5 conferences.
MY TOP FOUR TEAMS:
IF I COULD INVITE FIVE TO NEW YORK TODAY:
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State … All he does is win, win, win ... no matter what.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon ... This guy is really good.
Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss .... Already 7 INTs on the best defense in the country.
GAMES I’M INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:
Ole Miss at LSU … I just don’t think the Landshark defense will let LSU get this one.
Ohio State at Penn State … This is the great recruiting battle in the Big Ten as long as Urban Meyer and James Franklin are in the B10. Buckeyes are on UPSET ALERT. (As good as J.T. Barrett has been playing, PSU’s QB Christian Hackenberg is a monster.)
Texas Tech at TCU … Good thing Kingsbury got a much-needed win against Kansas last week, because the Red Raiders get capped this week.
ANOTHER THOUGHT ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
Texas A&M appears to have leadership issues. Either player to player or coach to player. We’re all watching. Kevin Sumlin has the bye week to figure it out.