Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
Oklahoma State reasserts itself in title race
Finally, in the first week of November, the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 started to look the part.
Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech 52-34 in Lubbock in its most complete game of the season, just in time for the Cowboys’ toughest part of the year. Like Baylor, Oklahoma State’s schedule is backloaded against Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma — all of which are ranked ahead of the Pokes in the power rankings for now.
But the Big 12 is shaping up as Athlon and others predicted it with four teams with realistic expectations to reach the Fiesta Bowl or more. Texas Tech all but bowed out of the race, but Oklahoma State gladly stepped into its place.
Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
|1||1||Baylor (7-0, 4-0). Baylor had the week off as it prepares for the toughest portion of its schedule. The Bears’ final five opponents are 30-12 combined and 18-9 in the Big 12. Five of those league losses belong to TCU. Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU all rank in the top 25 nationally in fewest yards per play. This week: Oklahoma|
|2||2||Texas (6-2, 5-0). This week was another game in which Texas controlled both ends of the ground game. Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray combined to rush for 187 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries while Kansas rushed for 140 yards on 36 carries. The Longhorns are third in the Big 12 in run defense in conference games, both in yards per game and yards per carry. Texas’ run game game been tough to stop at home (232.8 rushing yards per game in Austin, 5.5 yards per carry), but the Longhorns go on the road to face a West Virginia team that has played well in Morgantown this year. This week: at West Virginia|
|3||3||Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1). A stat to note: Oklahoma’s defense has done a good job of keeping opponents off the field. The Sooners’ defense has been on the field for 63.8 plays per game, the fewest in the Big 12. Baylor is averaging 79.4 plays per game. This week: at Baylor|
|4||5||Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1). There are probably a handful of reasons Oklahoma State’s offense is starting to find some consistency: Clint Chelf has taken hold of the quarterback job, improving his passing output from 78 yards in his second start to 211 in his third. Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs have become the most reliable run threats. Coordinator Mike Yurcich also has adapted to his new job and personnel after moving up from Division II. Let’s also consider that Oklahoma State had the same starting lineup on offense in consecutive games for the first time all season. This week: Kansas|
|5||4||Texas Tech (7-2, 4-2). The Red Raiders’ defense has returned to Earth after building a 7-0 start against TCU, Kansas and Iowa State. The Red Raiders allowed 526 yards to Oklahoma and 492 yards to Oklahoma State, the two highest totals of the season against Texas Tech. The offense hasn’t helped with six turnovers in two games (plus a blocked punt). Texas Tech is minus-7 in turnover margin this season while leading the Big 12 in penalties. This week: Kansas State|
|6||6||Kansas State (4-4, 2-3). Kansas State has been much improved the last two weeks, defeating West Virginia and Iowa State by a combined score of 76-19. Granted, both wins were in Manhattan, and neither were against Big 12 contenders. The Wildcats will get an idea of where they stand this week when they visit Texas Tech. Jake Waters and Daniel Sams have continued to improve the the two quarterback system, helped by the return of top receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Against West Virginia and Iowa State, the quarterback duo has combined to complete 31 of 39 passes for 512 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. They’ve added combined 160 yards rushing in that span. This week: at Texas Tech|
|7||7||West Virginia (4-5, 2-4). The Mountaineers won a key game for their bowl hopes by holding off TCU 30-27 in overtime. West Virginia must score two wins over Texas, Kansas and Iowa State to reach the postseason for 12th consecutive season. Charles Sims had his best game of the season in his return to Texas, rushing for 154 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Sims also caught three passes for 35 yards with a score. This week: Texas|
|8||8||TCU (3-6, 1-5). The Horned Frogs finally got the offensive production they needed, especially early when the took a 17-3 lead on West Virginia. Casey Pachall returned to form by completing 40 of 58 passes for 394 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, including a furious comeback in the final four minutes to send the game to overtime. Meanwhile, former starting quarterback Trevone Boykin became Pachall’s top target with 11 catches for 100 yards. But TCU still had its setbacks, starting with the 30-27 loss and continuing with the ongoing absence of receiver Brandon Carter. With three games remaining against Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor, the Frogs' bowl hopes are slim. This week: at Iowa State|
|9||9||Iowa State (1-7, 0-5). The news keeps getting worse for struggling Iowa State. Running back Aaron Wimberly missed his second consecutive game with injury. Linebacker Luke Knott, who missed the last two games, is now out for the season. Both quarterbacks Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach were similarly ineffective against Kansas State , combining to go 17 of 36 with three interceptions. This week: TCU|
|10||10||Kansas (2-5, 0-5). As it did against Texas Tech and Oklahoma, Kansas was competitive for a time against Texas before losing by a significant margin. If there’s a silver lining, linebacker Ben Heeney returned to lead Kansas with nine tackles. This week: at Oklahoma State|
Big 12 Week 10 Awards and Recap
Offensive player of the week: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
Chelf may have had the rug pulled out from under him when J.W. Walsh replaced him as the starter in the second game of the season, but the senior is making the most of his return to the lineup. Chelf completed 18 of 34 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the road win over Texas Tech. For the second consecutive game, Chelf produced in the run game with 88 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
Defensive player of the week: Will Clarke, West Virginia
The Mountaineers defense has struggled away from Morgantown, but they came up with a solid effort against feisty TCU in Fort Worth. Clarke led the way with four tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. The defensive end played a key role in West Virginia’s 24-0 run with a sack and a forced fumble that gave West Virginia the ball in the red zone. The Mountaineers capitalized by taking a 27-17 lead.
Freshman of the week: Daikiel Shorts, West Virginia
Shorts has developed into West Virginia’s top receiver, a position group reeling from the loss of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Shorts finished the game with six receptions for 98 yards against a strong TCU secondary. Shorts leads the Mountaineers in receptions (37) and yards (430).
Team of the week: Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State had been a flawed team even through a 6-1 start, but the Cowboys are starting to round into shape just in time for the critical part of the Big 12 schedule. With 58 points against Iowa State in Ames and 52 points against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Oklahoma State has scored 50 points in consecutive road games for the first time in school history.
Coordinator of the week: Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State
The coordinator Mike Gundy plucked from Division II Shippensburg is starting to feel his way through the Big 12. The Cowboys had their most complete offensive game of the season, rushing for 281 yards and passing for 221. Oklahoma State also converted both of its fourth down attempts. Texas Tech entered the game holding opponents to 379 per game before Oklahoma State amassed 502.
• Chris Whaley became the first defensive tackle in Texas history to have two defensive touchdowns in the same season. Whaley scored on a 40-yard interception return against Kansas on Saturday and a 31-yard interception return earlier this season against Oklahoma.
• Oklahoma State became the first team to beat Texas Tech three times in a row in Lubbock since Nebraska in 1994, 1996 and 2000.
• TCU has lost three games in a row for the first time in 12 years under Gary Patterson.
• Former starting quarterback Trevone Boykin was TCU’s leading receiver against West Virginia, catching 11 passes for 100 yards. Boykin’s 11 catches is the most for anyone under Patterson.
• TCU wide receiver Brandon Carter, a breakout candidate who struggled for most of the season, did not play against West Virginia due to a family issue.
• Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro had a prolific day, even for his standards. Amaro caught 15 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown, but he had his second fumble in two games.
• Kansas State running back John Hubert had his second 100-yard rushing day of the season with 105 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against Iowa State. His season-high is 118 against UMass.
• Sam Richardson started at quarterback for Iowa State after a head injury scare last week against Oklahoma State. Richardson was 6 of 12 for 38 yards with an interception before he was relieved by Grant Rohach in the second quarter.