RED RIVER ROUNDUP
ALEX CHINERY. Sunday 13th September
Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the BIG XII Conference.
Here are this weeks headlines….
Big 12 football is back, and boy were we spoilt on by the games from week 1. A pre-season dark horse humbled at home, stellar offensive performances from three top passers and a sweep by teams from the Sun Belt. There is a huge amount to recap from Saturday; let’s get to it!
All Too Easy For Texas And Oklahoma
Austin, TX; Norman, OK.
No-one expected either Oklahoma or Texas to struggle in their season openers against inferior opposition, and struggle they did not. Winning their games by a combined 107-3, the two perennial favourites for the Big 12 title showed none of the rust that plagued the rest of the conference.
The Longhorns were led from the front by star senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger. A touchdown pass on the first offensive play of the game set the tone – a tone that Texas never let up. A fantastic air attack saw Ehlinger rack up over 400 yards and 5 touchdown passes to 5 different receivers before halftime. Ehlinger was rested in the second half, where backup Casey Thompson came in and threw 2 more touchdown passes. For Texas it was the impressive opening performance that the offense needed coming off a stuttering year in 2019.
The Defense, historically bad in 2019, showed some shoots of improvement under new co-ordinator Chris Ash. They gave up less than 250 yards and snagged a takeaway, Josh Thompson with an athletic interception. At times the coverage still looked like it needed work, whilst the pass rush had a quiet day. There are bigger tests to come for this unit. They need to work hard to improve before they face them.
The Sooners also flew out the blocks against FCS Missouri State, new quarterback Spencer Rattler throwing four touchdowns against his opponent. However, most (myself included) were unable to watch the game due to it being behind a $60 PPV paywall. A price not worth paying for a mismatch of this level.
Postponements Hit Hard Again
Two Big12 games fell foul to the COVID-19 pandemic this weekend. Last week I commented on the postponement of TCU’s matchup with SMU. Well on Friday it was announced that Baylor’s matchup with Louisiana Tech would follow suit.
It was quickly announced on Saturday that Baylor would face Houston in a make up game next weekend after the Cougars game with Memphis (due to be played on Saturday next week) was also postponed.
Quick make up games like this are going to become commonplace in College Football in 2020. However the speed with which this Baylor vs Houston game was organised does beg the question as to why games are organised so far in advance.
Upsets Aplenty As Big 12 Teams Flop In Week 1
Ames, IA; Manhattan, KS; Lawrence, KS.
Whilst the blue chip programs in the Big12 had no issues in their season openers, the same cannot be said for the rest of the division. Across three non-conference matchups against Sun Belt teams, three Big12 favourites were humbled.
By far the biggest casualty of the weekend was Iowa State. Ranked 23 coming into the weekend, the Cyclones were totally inaccurate on offense. Brock Purdy – laughably named as the top quarterback in the Big 12 by College Gameday’s Desmond Howard – struggled mightily as Louisiana brought the pressure and the pocket collapsed around him. That, combined with over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns conceded on special teams, and Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was left embarrassed. The game against TCU in two week’s time has become a must win.
Arkansas State wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr had three touchdowns in a breakout performance against Kansas State. Three different quarterbacks threw touchdowns for the Red Wolves as the Kansas State defense just couldn’t live with Arkansas State in a thrilling fourth quarter. For Kansas State, things get tougher as they face OU in their next game. However don’t be surprised if the Wildcats cause the Sooners some trouble early. This was a disappointing opener for the Wildcats, with their inconsistencies on full display.
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall had five total touchdowns as he torched the Mad Hatter Les Miles and his Kansas Jayhawks. Down 28-3 at half time the Jayhawks looked like they were going to stage a miraculous recovery in the third quarter but just couldn’t get their key players going. Star running back Pooka Williams was held to just 71 yards and was kept out the end zone. Miles needs to find a way to get him going or the season will be in danger of falling very very flat.
Eye Popping Numbers As Texas Tech and West Virginia Win
Lubbock, TX; Morgantown, WV.
The much anticipated matchup between Houston Baptist and Texas Tech lived up to the billing as both quarterbacks piled up the yards in a tight Red Raiders win. Baptist QB Bailey Zappe had over 560 yards and 4 touchdowns with a supreme performance in a losing effort. Meanwhile Red Raiders QB Alan Bowman completed his long road to health with a stellar performance himself, throwing for 430 yards and a couple of touchdowns. The Huskies would roar back into the game late on, but just didn’t have enough to win a very fun shootout. The Texas Tech offense looks to be back to what we expect after a down year in 2019. Their matchup against the Texas Longhorns in two weeks is going to be mouth watering.
In Morgantown the West Virginia Mountaineers were shorthanded, but it didn’t matter as they routed the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Posting over 300 yards rushing and scoring 42 first half points was just the start The Mountaineers wanted after a poor 2019. Starting quarterback Jarrett Doege had a cracking day, throwing for three touchdowns in a measured performance. A big West Virginia win is a fitting way to cap off the column this week because it’s time to take us home, country roads…
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.