RED RIVER ROUNDUP
ALEX CHINERY Sunday 27th September
Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the BIG 12 Conference.
Here are this weeks headlines….
What a weekend. A huge upset, an incredible comeback and breakout stars filled the action. College football has stuttered it’s way back as more and more conferences join the party. This weekend college football showed all the reasons we love this game. The madness in Norman, the lunacy in Lubbock – three out of five games ended within one score. It’s what the Big 12 is all about…
Oklahoma Rattled By Kansas State
Just under a year ago, the College Chaps and I were in a bar in London with Matt Miller and Connor Rogers of Bleacher Report, as Skylar Thompson led Kansas State past Oklahoma in a huge shock. History repeated itself in Norman this past Saturday.
Kansas State, playing from behind for much of the game, produced a monster fourth quarter behind their talismanic quarterback. Thompson accounted for four total touchdowns – including three on the ground – as the dual threat playmaker once again outperformed a Heisman favourite from the Sooners. Another star was born on the Kansas State offense, with freshman Deuce Vaughn putting up 150+ yards from scrimmage:
Deuce Vaughn for Heisman... Deuce is on the loose baby!— Alex Chinery (@byalexchinery) September 26, 2020
For Oklahoma this performance was a mess. Spencer Rattler, playing in only his second start at the college level, had a wildly up and down day. Three brutal interceptions punctuated a day of accurate and impressive throws. When the pressure was on in the fourth quarter. Rattler looked rattled, his offensive line allowing near constant pressure and his defense unable to get off the field. But as the clock ticked down and the pressure rose, the poise in the pocket that Rattler showed earlier in the day was missing.
It was a rough conference opener for Oklahoma who look about as far removed from their top 25 ranking as any team. The preseason favourite for the Big 12 fell at the first hurdle. The door has been opened.
Texas Pull Off A Spectacular Late Comeback
Down 15 with time running out. An offense spluttering since half time. Receivers dropping passes. A defense not tackling. Staring down the barrel of a 1-1 record for the fourth season in a row: Texas needed someone to step up. Enter senior quarterback and Austin native Sam Ehlinger. Super Sam would lead two touchdown drives, punctuated by a successful onside kick, to take the game to overtime from the brink. Ehlinger stepped up. Whilst this performance wasn’t perfect, Ehlinger cemented his place in the Heisman Trophy race.
The madness didn’t stop there. Texas would score first in overtime, giving the ball back to Texas Tech. It was seemingly over as Texas edge Joseph Ossai looked to have forced and recovered a fumble. That play was called back, ruled an incomplete pass and Tech had another shot. Bowman dropped back in the pocket and uncorked a deep shot towards the end zone when star safety Caden Sterns undercut the receiver to pick off the pass and win the game for his team. A fitting end to a crazy game.
Bowman himself was at his crazy gunslinging best all afternoon; both he and Ehlinger threw five touchdown passes. But it was also Bowman at his worst. Three brutal interceptions in key moments, two of which came after great special teams plays stole possessions for this Red Raiders team. The wasting of these possessions was ultimately what cost Tech the game.
An incredible opener to Big 12 conference play. These two served up a game of the year candidate. It had everything.
Baylor Wins Big In Aranda's First Game
Two Trestan Ebner kick return touchdowns helped Baylor to a season opening win over Kansas in the first game in charge for new head coach Dave Aranda. With an offense built on a powerful run game which contributed 200+ yards and 3 scores, Baylor looked more impressive than many had imagined against the perennial Big 12 basement dwellers.
The two-headed monster in the Kansas rushing game combined for almost 150 yards on 28 carries, with star running back Pooka Williams contributing two scores on the ground. However quarterback Jalon Daniels struggled to make an impact, carrying 14 times for just 23 yards and throwing for little over 150 yards on just over 50% completion percentage.
After having games cancelled in each of the last two weeks, this blowout win was much needed for the Bears. Between the delayed start to the Aranda era and the amount of talent from last season’s team that left for the NFL, many (including me) had been down on this Baylor program coming in to the year. Now a win over Kansas isn’t going to vault the program into the top 25, but a good performance is where Baylor would’ve wanted to be coming into the year.
Iowa State & Oklahoma State Open Conference Play With Wins
Fort Worth, TX.
A star was born in Fort Worth this weekend. Coming off a bad opening day loss to Louisiana, Iowa State needed a spark against TCU. They got it from Breece Hall. The talented sophomore runner went for over 150 yards and three scores on the ground as he and his offensive line dominated TCU in the trenches. Despite quarterback Brock Purdy being up and down again, including this brutal turnover, Iowa State were able to escape with a much needed win:
ISU's Heisman hopeful Brock Purdy pic.twitter.com/FdXvaNiHcu— HeavensFX (@HeavensFX) September 26, 2020
For TCU it was a missed opportunity. Quarterback Max Duggan had an impressive game but split time with sophomore Matthew Downing. Duggan played pretty well and the split was somewhat mystifying. Had Duggan been out there all game, TCU probably wins this one. The Horned Frogs are still looking for their identity; until they find it, they won’t be successful.
Up in Stillwater, Oklahoma State demolished West Virginia with a strong performance on the ground. Running backs Chuba Hubbard and La’Darren Brown both went over 100 yards with a touchdown as a 20 point third quarter took the Cowboys to an opening win in conference play.
For West Virginia, quarterback Jarret Doege struggled to move the ball in the same way he did in the season opener. Red zone struggles defined the offense in this game and probably somewhat dampened the hype around this West Virginia team. With Baylor on a high coming to town next week, this Mountaineers team will need to improve to reach its goals this season. Speaking of Morgantown, I guess 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.