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Baylor takes top spot, Texas makes leap after OU upset
The seventh week of the season shook up the Big 12 race, making Baylor’s offense and Oklahoma’s defense look vulnerable for the first time all season.
Texas’ dominant win over Oklahoma shows the Longhorns can be a realistic contender for the league crown. Kansas State’s performance against Baylor in a 35-25 loss makes the Longhorns’ 3-0 start in Big 12 look a little stronger.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, looked nothing like a team ready to compete for a conference title Saturday. Texas moved the ball with ease on the Sooners’ 3-3-5 and could have have won by a more significant margin if not for overthrown passes on deep routes.
In Manhattan, Baylor’s fate was up in the air deep into the fourth quarter, a time when the Bears’ starters haven’t even played this season. Kansas State may have given a blueprint to upsetting Baylor, controlling the clock with the run game led by a mobile quarterback and stifling Lache Seastrunk in the run game.
The Big 12 race appeared to be a hotly contested competition among flawed teams in the preseason, and Week 7 only further proved that perception.
Big 12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
|1||2||Baylor (5-0, 2-0): The Bears learned there’s a big difference between facing overmatched teams in Waco and facing a quality team on the road. Baylor needed two fourth quarter touchdowns to defeat a Kansas State team that wouldn’t go away in the second half. The Wildcats were able to limit Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin in the run game, and Antwan Goodley dropped a couple of passes. Still, Baylor was able to win by 10 points on the road thanks to its explosive passing game. Bryce Petty averaged 15.5 yards per pass attempt, raising his season average to 14.8. One major concern: Kansas State’s run game was able to keep the Baylor offense off the field. Baylor ran only 59 plays against the Wildcats after entering the game averaging 81 plays per game. This week: Iowa State|
|2||5||Texas (4-2, 3-0): The Longhorns finally played like a Big 12 contender for the first time all season. The Longhorns were physical up front on both sides of the ball and flummoxed quarterback Blake Bell. Reaction to Greg Robinson’s elevation to defensive coordinator was lukewarm at best, but it’s tough to argue the switch didn’t help. Texas has allowed only 3.7 yards per carry in the last three games after allowing 6.0 in the first three. And keep in mind: This is without standout linebacker Jordan Hicks in the last two games. This week: Off|
|3||3||Texas Tech (6-0, 3-0): It seems Kliff Kingsbury can plug and play any freshman quarterback with Davis Webb becoming the second rookie to hit the 400-yard mark this season for the Red Raiders. One thing not to overlook: Texas Tech has a quality run game, rushing for 251 yards against Iowa State and a total of seven rushing TDs in the last two games. Why isn’t Texas Tech higher in the power rankings? The Red Raiders’ opponents are a combined 6-11. No team in one of the five major conferences has faced a weaker schedule in terms of raw wins and losses. This week: at West Virginia|
|4||1||Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1): The Sooners felt the absence of defensive tackle Jordan Thomas and linebacker Corey Nelson. And in the 3-3-5 alignment, Oklahoma can afford few letdowns in the front six. Just as disconcerting was the play of Blake Bell, who had his worst game of the season. With the run game ineffective, Bell completed only 12 of 26 passes for 133 yards with two interceptions and four sacks. The Sooners have had only four offensive touchdowns in Big 12 play this season. If Bell’s struggles continue, will Bob Stoops go back to Trevor Knight or give Kendal Thompson a shot? This week: at Kansas|
|5||4||Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1): The Cowboys are in the mix for the Big 12 title as much as any team, but the Pokes have little margin for error after losing to West Virginia. Oklahoma State’s run game is averaging 3.2 yards per carry since the season-opening win against Mississippi State. This week: TCU|
|6||6||Kansas State (2-4, 0-3): That record isn’t pretty, but does any really want to face Kansas State in the Big 12? Despite the loss, Kansas State still proved to be an opportunistic team, converting a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns. Daniel Sams is becoming more comfortable at quarterback, especially as a runner. He rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards with an interception, sharing the passing duties with Jake Waters. This week: Off|
|7||7||West Virginia (3-3, 1-2): The Mountaineers needed the off week in the worst way after a 73-42 loss to Baylor. Coach/quarterback/receiver communication has been major hurdle for Clint Trickett, who transferred from Florida State during the summer. Meanwhile, the defense has been beset by injuries all season. This week: Texas Tech|
|8||TCU (3-3, 1-2): The Horned Frogs beat Kansas 27-17, but their slow starts on offense persisted. TCU ended the first half tied 10-10 thanks to three turnovers (two Trevone Boykin interceptions and a Waymon James fumble). The Horned Frogs finished with five total turnovers. During the same week TCU learned Devonte Fields would be lost for the season, the Horned Frogs may have found a new defensive stud in linebacker Paul Dawson. The junior college transfer amassed 17 tackles and three tackles for a loss. This week: at Oklahoma State|
|9||9||Iowa State (1-4, 0-2): Give Iowa State credit: The Cyclones wouldn’t go away against Texas Tech. The offense struggled mightily, but Jarvis West kept Iowa State in the game with standout play in the return game. Still, Aaron Wimberly managed only 65 yards on 19 carries and quarterback Sam Richardson missed 11 consecutive passes at one point. This week: at Baylor|
|10||10||Kansas (2-3, 0-2): Yet another game for Kansas where the Jayhawks are competitive in the first half but watch things fall apart in the second. Kansas had one sustained drive all day against TCU, but it ended in an interception. At least basketball practice has started. This week: Oklahoma|
Big 12 Week 7 Recap and Awards
Offensive player of the week: Tevin Reese, Baylor
With Baylor’s run game struggling, Tevin Reese made sure the Bears still had big-play potential in the 35-25 win over Kansas State. Reese finished with five receptions for 184 yards and two touchdown catches. Reese had an 83-yard touchdown catch early, but snuck behind the Kansas State secondary for a 54-yard go-ahead touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
Defensive player of the week: Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
Despite the loss, Kansas State’s Mueller was the best defensive player on the field. Mueller turned in one of the best plays of the game with a sack, strip and fumble recovery on Bryce Petty in the third quarter. Mueller finished with seven tackles and two tackles for a loss.
Freshman of the week: Davis Webb, Texas Tech
Another week and another freshman quarterback thriving for Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. Webb replaced an injured Baker Mayfield and didn’t miss a beat, completing 35 of 56 passes for 415 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in a 42-35 win over Iowa State.
Team of the week: Texas
Tough to argue with a Longhorns team that changed the fortunes of its entire season with a 36-20 win over Oklahoma. Texas is 3-0 in the Big 12 and finally played to its talent level, particularly on defense. Texas held Oklahoma to 276 total yards. Oklahoma managed to convert only 2 of 13 third downs. The Longhorns, in bad shape after losses to BYU and Ole Miss, could build quite the Big 12 resume against TCU, Kansas and West Virginia in the next three games.
Coordinator of the week: Major Applewhite, Texas
The defense was off to a bad start for Texas, but the offense has been nearly as disjointed this season for Texas. Not against Oklahoma. Quarterback Case McCoy missed some open deep throws, but he still finished 13 of 22 for 190 yards. They key for Applewhite’s offense though was third down conversions (13 of 20) and a two-headed rushing attack from Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray that combined for 253 yards on the ground.
• Not only did Texas pick up its first win over Oklahoma since 2009, the Longhorns got their first lead over OU in four years. The Longhorns took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and led for the final 48:25.
• Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray became the first duo in Texas history to rush for 100 yards apiece against Oklahoma.
• Oklahoma’s 147 yards in penalties against Texas was the sixth-highest total in school history.
• Oklahoma gave up a punt return for a touchdown for the first time since 2002 when Colorado’s Jeremy Bloom ran one back for 80 yards against the Sooners. Texas’ Daje Johnson returned a punt 85 yards for a score against OU.
• Kansas State held Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk to 56 rushing yards on 12 carries, the first time Seastrunk failed to rush for 100 yards in 10 games.
• Baylor didn’t have a three-and-out in its first four games, but K-State held Baylor to two of them Saturday.
• Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro caught nine passes for 143 yards, giving him five consecutive games with eight receptions.
• Texas Tech rushed for 251 yards, the most for the Red Raiders since the pre-Mike Leach days with a 257-yard performance against Iowa State in 1999.
• TCU’s 27-17 win over Kansas was the Horned Frogs first Big 12 win at home.