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Oklahoma win sets up wild four-team race for league title
The Big 12 lost an undefeated team but re-gained another legitimate contender in the league race.
Oklahoma handed Texas Tech its first loss of the season with a 38-30 victory in Norman to give the Big 12 four teams tied in the win column with four league wins. Of course, Baylor and Texas continued to control their own path to the league title with unblemished league records, but the prospect of four teams contending for the Big 12 championship will give the league an exciting November.
Even Oklahoma State, at 3-1, can get back into the mix if the Cowboys can knock off Texas Tech on Saturday.
Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
|1||1||Baylor (7-0, 4-0): The Bears started slow against Kansas, with two punts on the first two possessions, but they returned to form in characteristic fashion. Baylor reeled off four consecutive touchdown drives of 68 seconds, 51 seconds, 92 seconds and 41 seconds. The win — but more a loss by Missouri — vaulted Baylor into the Associated Press top five for the first time since 1953. The 59-14 Kansas win, the second-lowest scoring game of the season for the Bears, was the last game before Baylor begins the critical stretch of the season against Oklahoma on Nov. 7. This week: Off|
|2||3||Texas (5-2, 4-0): A weather delay of more than three hours did little to slow Texas against TCU, keeping the Longhorns tied with Baylor for the Big 12 lead. The most notable development was the first appearance of heralded freshman Tyrone Swoopes. Burning his redshirt signals former starting quarterback David Ash may not return anytime in the next few weeks. Starting quarterback Case McCoy threw two interceptions and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes for the first time this season. Meanwhile, Texas’ defensive front had another standout day with six tackles for a loss. The Longhorns eight tackles for a loss per game in second only to TCU in conference play. This week: Kansas|
|3||4||Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1): The Sooners had one of their most complete games of the season in the 38-30 win over Texas Tech, but it came at a price. Oklahoma lost fullback Trey Millard for the season to a torn ACL. Millard was one of the most valuable players on the offense thanks to his versatility in different formations. He’s the third key player OU has lost for the season, joining linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Leading tackler Frank Shannon also left the Texas Tech game with an injury early in the game. This week: Off|
|4||2||Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1): On one hand, Texas Tech acquitted itself well in its first major test of the season on the road against Oklahoma. With a freshman quarterback and a first-time head coach, Texas Tech lost by only eight points and continued to threaten in the second half. But the Red Raiders still turned the ball over three times and went 5 of 14 on third down in a game full of missed opportunities. Freshman QB Davis Webb had his moments, completing 33 of 53 passes for 385 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but Texas Tech needed more out of a defense that gave up 7.3 yards per play. Tech also learned it would be without starting safety J.J. Gaines for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. This week: Oklahoma State|
|5||5||Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1): Clint Chelf returned to the starting quarterback job, but the biggest news for the offense was the performance of Desmond Roland. The junior rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns against Iowa State after entering the game with 147 yards so far this season. The passing game still stalled with Chelf, who completed 10 of 26 passes for 78 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Chelf still showed some impressive mobility — something that was supposed to be the strength of former starter J.W. Walsh — by rushing for 85 yards on nine carries. This week: at Texas Tech|
|6||6||Kansas State (3-4, 1-3): The Wildcats had their best game of the season on both sides of the ball in a key win over West Virginia. Having receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson back healthy was a major boon for the offense as Jake Waters and Daniel Sams combined to complete 18 of 21 passes for 291 yards as the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points to end the game. This week: Iowa State|
|7||7||West Virginia (3-5, 1-4): The Mountaineers lost their second consecutive game in which they led in the third quarter only to have the wheels fall off. Texas Tech scored the final 21 points last week, and Kansas State answered by scoring the last 28. At least the toughest part of the schedule is behind the Mountaineers. West Virginia will face Texas on Nov. 9 but otherwise faces the three teams ranked below. This week: at TCU|
|8||8||TCU (3-5, 1-4): The good news is that TCU got a rare first-quarter touchdown. The bad news was the TD was all TCU got against Texas. Casey Pachall returned for the first time since the second game of the season, but he did little to spark the Horned Frogs offense. TCU crossed midfield only once in the final 41:31. This week: West Virginia|
|9||9||Iowa State (2-5, 0-4): The Cyclones played wounded as leading rusher Aaron Wimberly missed the game with a hamstring injury. Quarterback Sam Richardson shined early, but suffered a neck and upper back injury to knock him out of the game. Backup quarterback Grant Rohach led a scoring drive, and backup tailback DeVondrick Nealy showed some explosiveness in the first half. In the second half, the injuries caught up with Iowa State as Oklahoma State outscored the Cyclones 30-7 after halftime. This week: at Kansas State|
|10||10||Kansas (1-6, 0-4): Kansas is still without linebacker Ben Heeney and running back Tony Pierson, the top two players on both sides of the ball. The Jayhawks were going to have trouble staying competitive anyway, but this is making matters worse. Charlie Weis has opted for a quarterback rotation with BYU transfer Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart, though neither was effective against Baylor. Kansas has been outscored 174-66 in conference play. This week: at Texas|
Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards
Offensive player of the week: Desmond Roland, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have been stumbling for answers at quarterback and running back all season. Roland may be one of the answers at tailback. The junior rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in the 58-27 win over Iowa State for the best day by an Oklahoma State running back since early 2010. Roland’s day was highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown run in which he broke a handful of tackles and spun away from Iowa State defenders.
Defensive player of the week: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
Texas Tech got its yards in the passing game, but the Sooners still led in the big play department in the 38-30 win over the Red Raiders. Cornerback Aaron Colvin finished with seven tackles and added an interception early in the first quarter. Colvin also recovered a Jace Amaro fumble that negated a key third down completion in the second quarter.
Freshman of the week: Shock Linwood, Baylor
The Bears redshirt freshman backup gets plenty of work spelling running back Lache Seastrunk, but his performance against Kansas was the best of the season. Linwood rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries in the 59-14 rout. Linwood’s seven rushing touchdowns this season is as much as Kansas has as a team.
Team of the week: Oklahoma
The Sooners still need to beat Baylor and watch Texas lose to have a shot at the Big 12 championship, but OU erased the malaise of the last few months with a 38-30 win over Texas Tech. Even if Oklahoma doesn’t win the league, a one-loss Sooners team would still be attractive to a BCS game. Against Texas Tech, the Sooners’ offense came alive in the final three quarters while the defense did enough to force three turnovers.
Coordinator of the week: Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
After several weeks of trying to find its way, the Oklahoma offense finally hit its stride against Texas Tech with a balanced attack. OU’s 277 rushing yards and 5.5 yards per carry were both the best for the Sooners since Sept. 7 against West Virginia. But the real improvement was in the passing game where Blake Bell had his best game of the season. The Sooners passed for 249 yards and averaged a season-high 11.3 yards per attempt.
• Texas burned the redshirt of prized freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in the waning minutes against TCU. Swoopes replaced starter Case McCoy late in the fourth quarter. The move signaled former starter David Ash will be out for at least another week after suffering a concussion.
• Trevone Boykin started at quarterback for TCU, but Casey Pachall returned for most of the action against Texas. Pachall had is non-throwing arm heavily wrapped upon his return from a broken bone. He finished 13 of 34 for 139 yards with an interception.
• By defeating Kansas 59-14, Baylor set a school record with 11 consecutive wins.
• Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett returned from injury to catch eight passes for 111 yards with three touchdowns. Tremaine Thompson also returned to catch three passes for 53 yards with a score.
• Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops improved to 23-1 in the last 24 games in his first meeting against a fellow Big 12 coach.
• Oklahoma State started Clint Chelf at quarterback for the second time this season. Chelf started the opener before he lost the job to J.W. Walsh. Chelf regained the upper hand last week against TCU.
• Iowa State eventually ended up with an all-backup offensive backfield. Running back Aaron Wimberly missed the loss to Oklahoma State with a hamstring injury, and quarterback Sam Richardson left in the second quarter with a head and neck injury.
• Baylor accumulated 743 yards against Kansas, the fifth time Baylor topped the 700-yard mark this season, but Baylor’s 59 points was the second-lowest total of the year.