RED RIVER ROUNDUP
Alex Chinery. Monday 9th November
Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the BIG XII Conference.
Here are this weeks headlines….
But first the intro.
We entered November and the Big 12 race is hurtling towards a conclusion. All the contenders won this weekend but none looked convincing and chaos reigned…
In true Big 12 fashion, both Iowa State and Oklahoma State looked like they were going to blow it in games you’d expect them to win. Texas had to rely on its defense to stop West Virginia over and over again in the red zone. And Oklahoma beat up on Kansas State, but not without issues of its own. Read on to find out all about it…
Halloween Hangover As Big 12 Gets Wild
Fort Worth, tx.
When Game Brkic had a field goal on 2nd down blocked during overtime in this year’s Red River Shootout, I thought we had seen the last of weird field goals for the season. I was wrong. Down 9 points, with just under 3 minutes left in the game, Texas Tech decided to kick a field goal. That doesn’t sound too bad. Now realise its only 2nd down. To make matters worse, it isn’t 2nd and 30, it’s 2nd and 4. A down and distance that should be simple to pick up with the potential of getting in for a touchdown. But wait, it gets worse! Tech kicker Trey Wolfe missed, and TCU went down the field, scored a touchdown and won by a wide margin. Expect this to feature on you had one job next weekend…
But, barely an hour before this, a wild first quarter was happening in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners were facing a Kansas side they were expected to blow out comfortably. They ended up doing so with five rushing touchdowns from four different players. However the first quarter of this game saw five takeaways! Yes, five takeaways, including the very rare double takeaway play! Kansas quarterback Jason Daniels was picked off by Oklahoma defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles who tried to return the pick for six. During the return the ball was punched loose and Kansas recovered. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, the fumbled was forced by a player who was out of bounds at the time. A truly unique event in an otherwise pretty straight forward Sooners win…
Oklahoma State Survive A Scare to Stay In The Race
Going to a 4-1 conference rival without your best offensive player seemed like a potential trap game for an Oklahoma State team with Bedlam on its mind. Of course, Kansas State isn’t the team it was before Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson got hurt. But the Wildcats still gave the Cowboys a run for their money. Keeping Oklahoma State scoreless through the first two quarters, it looked like Oklahoma State’s Big 12 challenge was falling apart after last week’s loss to Texas. But a second half comeback led by La’Darren Brown on the ground saw Oklahoma State home.
The offensive performance from the Cowboys will be concerning to coaches and fans alike. However, it underlines just how important Tylan Wallace is to this team. It feels like the passing game is predicated on Wallace either taking a double or even triple team away from the other receivers or Sanders just throwing up a jump ball for Wallace. As good as Wallace is (he’s first round pick good), I am not sure it’s a strategy that will work for much longer.
Breece Hall, Heisman Contender
Usually a Big 12 Heisman Trophy contender is a quarterback plying their trade in Norman, Oklahoma. But like so many other aspects of life, this season is different. Iowa State running back Breece Hall is having an incredible season so far. With over 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns in just 7 games, Hall may well earn himself an invite to New York.
Yet to be kept under 100 yards this season, Hall topped the mark again rushing for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Cyclones win over Baylor on Saturday. Hall also added his first receiving touchdown of the season as the lads from Ames fought back and overcame a disastrous first quarter. Kudos should go to Head Coach Matty Campbell for prioritising his best offensive weapon week in and week out. No-one has been able to stop Hall yet this season. With games running out could he carry the Cyclones to a Big 12 Championship?
Texas Topples West Virginia To Stay Alive
For a Texas team that has disappointed more often than not in Big 12 games, the phrase do-or-die is probably not one their fans want to hear. Going into this week with already two losses in conference play, they couldn’t afford to drop this game at home to West Virginia if they wanted to retain their chances of winning the Big 12. The number 22 ranked Longhorns would grind out another unconvincing win against a potential championship game rival. The defense was stout in its bend but don’t break philosophy, only allowing a single touchdown and getting three fourth down stops in the red zone. An admirable performance given the lack of cohesion on offense, which did the defense no favours in terms of keeping them off the field.
On offense for the Longhorns we saw the breakout game of true freshman runner Bijan Robinson. The number 1 running back recruit in the nation earlier this year, Robinson went for 151 yards from scrimmage including a 54 yard run and the catch that iced the game. Robinson also averaged 9.7 yards per carry on the ground, looking like a guy who could be a star immediately. Texas should feed him more touches and in doing so they might have unlocked the weapon they need as the season hits crunch time.
For West Virginia, Jarrett Doege looked assured all day but the offense lacked any big play or red zone ability. The running game was non existent, as a banged up Leddie Brown struggled to a measly 3.1 yards per carry. Although the defense played convincingly, it wasn’t quite enough to extend their winning run in Austin. The Longhorns are still in the Championship Game conversation, whilst West Virginia bow out without the opportunity to realise what was already a very slim chance. For the Mountaineers and the rest of us, its time for country roads to take us home…
A texas and Green Bay Packers Fan alex is our head of football analytics, a college football and Nfl draft scout for the touchdown he will be popping up all over. he is also The host of the touchdowns Seven Step Drop NFL podcast and one third of the college chaps.