Athlon recaps the Week 1 action in the Big 12.
Week 1 in the Big 12 was filled with non-conference games and some surprises. Oklahoma struggled in a 24-7 win at UTEP, while Texas Tech’s defense appears to be improved after a solid performance in the opener against Northwestern State. West Virginia was impressive against Marshall, while Baylor did not miss Robert Griffin against SMU.
Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Smith was nearly perfect in Saturday’s win over Marshall, as he threw only four incompletions and passed for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein didn’t have to do much with Kansas State in control in the second half against Missouri State, finishing with 223 total yards and two touchdowns.
3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle barely broke a sweat in Saturday’s win over Savannah State, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts.
Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat didn’t have a spectacular debut, but he led the team with six tackles and recorded one quarterback hurry.
2. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State – The Cyclones have one of the best linebacking corps in the nation, and Knott picked up where he left off last year. He recorded 11 tackles and one forced fumble in the win over Tulsa.
3. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia – Bruce turned in an impressive performance in the first game of his West Virginia career, recording 16 tackles, one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery.
Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – The Mountaineers’ offense will be a handful for Big 12 defenses, but the defense has to get better if this team wants to win the conference championship.
2. Art Briles, Baylor – Robert Griffin will be missed, but Baylor has more depth than it has in years, and the defense showed improvement in Sunday’s win against SMU.
3. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State – Beating Savannah State won’t win Gundy any coach of the year honors, but he should be in the mix for this award if the Cowboys push for the Big 12 title once again.
Post-Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 1
Week 1 Result: Beat UTEP 24-7
It wasn’t pretty, but the Sooners left El Paso with a 24-7 victory over UTEP. The offseason concerns about the offense continued in Saturday’s win, as Landry Jones was sacked three times, and this unit never seemed to find its rhythm. Dominique Whaley returned to the lineup after missing the final five games of last season with a significant ankle injury and rushed for 54 yards on 11 attempts. The rush defense struggled to slow down the Miners, especially with Casey Walker and Stacy McGee missing the game. Week 1 was a less than perfect effort, but the Sooners still have plenty of time to find the right answers.
This week: Florida A&M
2. Texas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 2
Week 1 Result: Beat Wyoming 37-17
The Longhorns weren’t particularly impressive in the season opener but turned in an overall solid effort. The rushing attack generated 280 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback David Ash was an efficient 20 of 27 for 156 yards and one touchdown. Texas’ defense allowed Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith to throw for 276 yards but held the Cowboys’ offense to just eight points in the second half. The Longhorns will get another tuneup in Week 2 with New Mexico visiting Austin.
This week: New Mexico
3. West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Week 1 Result: Beat Marshall 69-34
The Mountaineers’ offense picked up where it left off in the Orange Bowl, scoring 69 points to easily defeat Marshall. Quarterback Geno Smith was unstoppable, throwing for 323 yards and four touchdowns on 32 completions. He added 65 yards and one score on the ground. The offense wasn’t just about the pass, as Shawne Alston added 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Mountaineers’ new 3-4 defense still needs some work, but the offense should score plenty of points in 2012.
Next Game: James Madison (9/15)
4. Oklahoma State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 4
Week 1 Result: Beat Savannah State 84-0
Savannah State was one of the worst FCS teams last season, so it’s hard to takeaway much for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys easily cruised to an 84-0 victory and was able to play a ton of players thanks to the blowout. True freshman quarterback Wes Lunt was perfect in his first start, completing all 11 of his passes for 129 yards. Running back Joseph Randle was also effective in limited work, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts. The road gets tougher for Oklahoma State this Saturday, as it travels to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Cowboys beat the Wildcats 37-14 last year, but this will be a huge test for Lunt in his first road start.
This week: at Arizona
5. TCU (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 5
Week 1 Result: Did not play
The Horned Frogs had the rare Week 1 bye, so they will have to wait until this Saturday to play their first game as a Big 12 member. TCU will open a newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with FCS opponent Grambling, a team that lost 22-21 to Alcorn State in Week 1. The Horned Frogs should have no trouble opening up the 2012 season with a victory, but the coaching staff will be eager to see how much a revamped offensive line and linebacking corps will perform.
This week: Grambling
6. Kansas State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 6
Week 1 Result: Beat Missouri State 51-9
Bill Snyder kept things basic in the Wildcats’ 51-9 blowout win over Missouri State. Kansas State led only 9-6 at halftime but scored 42 points in the second half to cruise to the victory. Quarterback Collin Klein threw for 169 yards and two scores, while adding 54 yards on the ground. The Wildcats’ secondary was tested by FBS transfer quarterback Ashton Glaser, as he threw for 257 yards on 22 completions. Expect Kansas State to pickup the intensity in Week 2, as it hosts Miami this Saturday.
This week: Miami (Fla.)
7. Baylor (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Beat SMU 59-24
Robert who? Nick Florence showed Baylor’s offense still has plenty of firepower, throwing for 342 yards and four touchdowns in the 59-24 rout over SMU. The senior quarterback also completed 70 percent of his throws and did not toss an interception. Florence had plenty of help from his receiving corps, and a rushing attack that was led by Jarred Salubi. Baylor’s defense allowed over 500 yards but showed signs of improvement after struggling in 2011. The Bears do not play in Week 2 and will return to action in Week 3 against Sam Houston State.
This week: Sam Houston State (9/15)
8. Iowa State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 9
Week 1 Result: Beat Tulsa 38-23
The Cyclones weren’t given much respect going into the Week 1 matchup against Tulsa, as the folks in Vegas listed Iowa State as a home underdog. However, the Cyclones rallied from a 16-7 deficit after the first quarter to win 38-23. Steele Jantz won a close competition with Jared Barnett for the starting quarterback spot, and he responded with 281 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Shontrelle Johnson showed no ill-effects from a neck injury that sidelined him most of last year, rushing for 120 yards and one score on 18 attempts. Beating Tulsa is just one victory, but with a difficult schedule, Iowa State needed this one to have any shot at making a bowl.
This week: at Iowa
9. Texas Tech (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat Northwestern State 44-6
Northwestern State wasn’t the toughest of Week 1 tests, but Texas Tech has to be pleased with its performance. The defense did not allow a touchdown and limited the Demons to just 84 yards. After struggling on defense the last two years, Saturday’s performance was a welcomed sight for coach Tommy Tuberville. The other good sign was the return of running back Eric Stephens. After suffering a significant knee injury last season, Stephens looked ready for Big 12 play by rushing for 58 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts.
This week: at Texas State
10. Kansas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 10
Week 1 Result: Beat South Dakota State 31-17
The Jayhawks opened up the Charlie Weis era with a much-needed 31-17 victory over South Dakota State. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak and should help this team build some confidence. Quarterback Dayne Crist completed 17 of 36 throws for 169 yards and one touchdown in his Kansas debut, while running back Tony Pierson chipped in 124 yards and two scores. The defense was awful last season, and there’s still plenty of work to be done after allowing 411 yards in the opener.
This week: Rice
by Steven Lassan
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