RED RIVER ROUNDUP
ALEX CHINERY. MONDAY 30th NOVEMBER
Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the BIG XII Conference.
Here are this weeks headlines….
I’ll start off with an apology for missing last weeks column; this one is double packed with action from both weeks to make up for it. The last two weeks have been key in deciding the race to the Big 12 Championship game. Two contenders have stood tall and see their places in the Championship game all but secured after huge wins in big games. Those games have winners as well as losers and it seems that the loss may mean the end of one head coaches tenure. Read on to find out all about it…
Bedlam Blowout Puts Sooners In The Driving Seat
Redshirt Freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler threw four touchdowns and ran in another as the Sooners continued their historical dominance over a sorry Oklahoma State team whose conference championship hopes took a major blow. The Sooners looking to win their sixth straight Big 12 championship title were outstanding on offense as the Oklahoma State defense just could hang with the bevy of playmakers the Sooners have at their disposal.
The Sooners dominance extended to the defensive side of the ball as well. They held the Cowboys to under 250 yards on the day and less than 40% completion percentage in the passing game. Considering the inconsistencies that plagued this team to begin the season, the coaching job done by Lincoln Riley and his staff has been nothing short of wonderful. NFL teams should be lining up to bring Riley and his defensive co-ordinator Alex Grinch to the league.
On the other side of the instate rivalry, major question marks hang over the head of coach Mike Gundy. Technically they aren’t out of the championship race yet, but require one of Iowa State or the Sooners to lose in the next couple of weeks. Gundy has done a fine job in getting this team to consistently be the third best team in the Big 12 conference, but they can’t live with their in state rival and are dogged by the same failings every year. A coaching change would be surprising, but not jaw dropping this offseason.
Win Over Tech Keeps Cowboys Faint Hopes Alive
Oklahoma State followed up that disappointing loss to Oklahoma by staving off a mad Texas Tech comeback to keep their faint Big 12 title hopes alive. Starting in place of the injured Chuba Hubbard and Leddie Brown, Dezmon Jackson rushed for over 250 yards, the best Cowboys performance on the ground this year. The offensive trifecta was complete for State as Spencer Sanders and Tylan Wallace both had much needed impressive games. As good as the offence was, the defence wasn’t, although a crucial pick-six to back up a fabulous special teams play kept the Cowboys ahead enough in the game to stave off a Tech comeback.
Texas Tech has been a tough outfit at times this season, they are 2-6 in conference play but have posted one score losses against Oklahoma State and Texas in overtime earlier in the season. Matt Wells team has some great offensive playmakers some of whom are sure to be a force on Sundays, but inconsistent quarterback play and mad moments on special teams have left them somewhat short. In truth this game was the microcosm of their season, there is stuff to build on but a long way to go.
For the Cowboys this performance is surely going to be too little too late. The losses to Texas and Oklahoma look to be terminal for their chances, however a slip up for Iowa State would make things interesting given the Cowboys hold the tiebreaker between the two. This was a fun bounce back and they will hope to keep the pressure on with a big performance in their final game of the season this week.
Purdy and Campbell Show They Have The Goods When It Matters
Iowa State holds the longest conference championship drought in the FBS. It stretches back over 100 years but it could well end in 2020. A huge win in Austin last Friday, proved Iowa State have the credentials to go all the way this season. It also served to put them in pole position to qualify for the championship game, needing only to beat West Virginia this week to make sure of their spot.
This game was the piece-de-resistance of Matt Campbell’s tenure at Iowa State, behind for three and a half quarters, the Cyclones didn’t panic once. They kept in touch with the Longhorns, believing that they would have a chance to win this game. When the chance came, Brock Purdy and his team delivered. Purdy drove his unit down the field for the go ahead touchdown. The pass was like a needle being pressed into the balloon of hope in Austin. The crowd deflated, the Texas sideline deflated. But on the Cyclones sideline, Matt Campbell smiled a confident smile, although Texas would have a shot to win the game, the damage had been done.
The Longhorns came into this game like a prizefighter who is one loss away from retirement. The offense opened with swagger, landing some solid blows but by the middle of this contest the same mistakes began to creep in. Rocked by the hammer blow of Purdy’s late go ahead touchdown pass, they staggered back out on to the field driving to the brink of kicker Cameron Dicker’s field goal range. At that point, when a quick hit pass would set up a field goal to win the game a deep pass was called. Ehlinger held the ball too long waiting for a receiver to open up and was sacked. The kick was too long and Dicker missed wide. The final drive was a great summation of Tom Herman’s time at Texas, with his players on the field, they came close but ill-discipline let them down once again. This may be one loss too far for Herman in Austin as the shadow of Urban Meyer looms large.
Late Win Gives Aranda Something To Build On
It hasn’t been the perfect start for Dave Aranda at Baylor. So much of their preparation and early season was disrupted by COVID-19 but despite a 2-6 record on the season some signs of life have been there. Of those six losses, none have been by more than 10 points and the loss to one of the conference frontrunners Iowa State came on the back of some late game heroics from the Cyclones. Aranda looks like a smart appointment as we transition towards the end of season one. With a tough finish against both Oklahoma schools, they may not better their mark of two wins, but the performances are more than their record.
That was also the fact in this game. For Baylor, coming back from 9 points down after blowing leads in multiple games this season is progress. Senior quarterback Charlie Brewer won’t be happy to finish his career with a finish in the bottom half of the Big 12 but his presence has been huge for this team this season. The culture that Aranda has been able to begin building this year follows on directly from all the good work Matt Rhule did during his tenure. Baylor won’t be down for long.
For Kansas State the season changed on the Skylar Thompson injury midway through the season but the experience that Freshman Will Howard has gained this season and the emergence of Deuce Vaughn at running back have been successes for this team. Expect Kansas State to also feature in the conversation at the top of the Big 12 in future seasons.
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.