Big 12 Football Preview: Week Eight

Call it Separation Saturday for the Big 12. The six league teams receiving votes in the major football polls square off in a trio of games, while the four teams in the bottom part of the standings battle for respectability.

HOT AND HEAVY ACTION

Last week all five games involving league teams went down to the wire and were decided by a touchdown or less. The average margin of victory in the games was four points. Two conference contests were decided by game-winning field goals and another on a 99-yard kickoff return.


STINGY

Kansas State is by far the league's toughest defense to score on through the first third of the season of Big 12 play. The Wildcats have yielded just 41 points in two conference games, but will get their toughest test of the season to date against Oklahoma this Saturday.


NICK SABAN AND RANDY EDSALL ARE NOT PLEASED

The nine Big 12 teams in action last week averaged 87.5 offensive plays and 467.1 yards. Of 32 scoring drives, 18 took less than two minutes and six were under a minute.


PICKS

  • Baylor visits West Virginia in the third installment of what has been a scorefest in each of the past two seasons. The Mountaineers have improved a great deal, but don't figure to be able to match the Bears' expected 50+ points.

  • Oklahoma has looked spotty over its past two games. Kansas State is built to frustrate foes with its fundamental play. Despite the road venue, the Wildcats get the upset pick.

  • If it were any team other than Kansas, Texas Tech wouldn't get the nod for a win this week after its last-second stomach-punch loss to West Virginia. However, it's Kansas. The Red Raiders find a way to win in what figures to be the least energized home venue of the week.

  • TCU, like Texas Tech, will have mental and emotional challenges after yielding a 21-point second half lead to Baylor. The Frogs are a bit better overall, but Oklahoma State has the talent to make them pay if TCU isn't ready to go. This has all the makings of a hangover game, but the Horned Frogs appear to be built of stern stuff, and get the slim pick in this game.

  • Despite repeated attempts to give Iowa State the benefit of the doubt, the Cyclones just won't take it. A narrow win over Toledo last week gives little indication it can overcome Texas' stout defense. The Longhorns bounce back with a win.



    Baylor

    6-0 / 3-0
    at West Virginia
    Sat Oct 18
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    Fox Sports 1
    Baylor’s 21-point comeback to beat TCU 61-58 tied the largest the Bears have overcome in program history (1980 vs SMU, 2011 at Kansas). The team earned Big 12 National Team of the Week for the performance.

    Quarterback Bryce Petty earned Big 12 and national off ensive player of the week honors as he set career-highs of 510 yards through the air and six touchdowns, two of which came in the game’s final 6:39 of play.


    Iowa State

    2-4 / 0-3
    at Texas
    Sat Oct 18
    8:00 PM E / 7:00 PM C
    Longhorn Net/Cyclones.tv
    Quarterback Sam Richardson completed 37-of-53 passes for a careerhigh 351 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-30 win over Toledo. Richardson’s 37 completed passes set a school record.

    Place kicker Cole Netten remained perfect on the season (7-of-7), drilling field goals of 32, 36 and 38 yards, all in the first half. Netten was responsible for all of ISU’s first half points.


    Kansas

    2-4 / 0-3
    at Texas Tech
    Sat Oct 18
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    Fox Sports Net
    Quarterback Michael Cummings set career highs with 20 completions for 288 yards in his first start since 2012. The junior also added a touchdown on the ground.

    Senior linebacker Ben Heeney racked up 14 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and a sack last Saturday. Heeney ranks second in the Big 12 in tackles (10.5) and first in tackles for loss (1.67) per game.


    Kansas State

    4-1 / 2-0
    at Oklahoma
    Sat Oct 18
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    ESPN
    K-State travels to Oklahoma Saturday where it won two years ago, 24-19, in its first road win against Oklahoma since 1997.

    Wide receiver Tyler Lockett became the first Wildcat to record 11 100- yard receiving games in a career, with 125 yards and two touchdowns in K-State’s last game two weeks ago versus Texas Tech.


    Oklahoma

    5-1 / 2-1
    vs Kansas State
    Sat Oct 18
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    ESPN
    Oklahoma recorded a special teams (Alex Ross kickoff return) and defensive (Zach Sanchez interception return) touchdown last Saturday, marking the ninth time under Bob Stoops the Sooners have achieved the feat.

    Oklahoma is 14-1 at home under Stoops vs. ranked Big 12 foes. That lone loss was a 24-19 decision vs. K-State (9/22/12).


    Oklahoma State

    5-1 / 3-0
    at TCU
    Sat Oct 18
    4:00 PM E / 3:00 PM C
    Fox Sports 1
    Tyreek Hill is the only player in the country to return kickoff returns for touchdowns in back-to-back weeks this season having accomplished it in the past two games.

    Defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah recorded 10 tackles, including five for loss and two sacks against Kansas last Saturday.


    TCU

    4-1 / 1-1
    vs Oklahoma State
    Sat Oct 18
    4:00 PM E / 3:00 PM C
    Fox Sports 1
    BJ Catalon totaled 213 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns against Baylor. He had 48 yards rushing, 71 yards receiving and 94 kickoff return yards.

    Paul Dawson put up a career-best 18 tackles, including two sacks at Baylor. It marked the third-highest single game tackle total for a TCU player in the 14-year Gary Patterson head coaching era.


    Texas

    2-4 / 1-2
    vs Iowa State
    Sat Oct 18
    8:00 PM E / 7:00 PM C
    Longhorn Net/Cyclones.tv
    Tyrone Swoopes completed 27-of-44 passes for a career high 334 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma. Swoopes also added 50 yards and a score on the ground.

    The Longhorn defense held Oklahoma to season-lows in total yards (232) and rushing yards (103). The Sooners are averaging 488.2 yards of off ense on the season.


    Texas Tech

    2-4 / 0-3
    vs Kansas
    Sat Oct 18
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    Fox Sports Net
    Running back DeAndre Washington set career highs in both rushing attempts (29) and yards (138) last week versus West Virginia.

    Davis Webb was 28-of-46 passing for 348 yards and three touchdowns against WVU. The sophomore’s three scores moved him to No. 8 on the Texas Tech career passing touchdowns list.


    West Virginia

    4-2 / 2-1
    vs Baylor
    Sat Oct 18
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    Fox Sports 1
    Place kicker Josh Lambert hit his second game-winner of the season when he drilled a 55-yarder with no time left to lift the Mountaineers to a 37-34 victory at Texas Tech.

    Last Saturday marked the first game of the Dana Holgorsen era that WVU had two 100-yard rushers, with Wendell Smallwood going for 123 and Rushel Shell adding 110.


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