The Big 12’s Week 2 slate was light, but there was plenty of intrigue around the league.
Oklahoma easily handled in-state foe Tulsa, defeating the Golden Hurricane 52-7 to improve to 2-0. And in other easy victories: West Virginia trounced Towson 54-0 and Baylor gashed Northwestern State 70-6.
Charlie Strong’s debut at Texas resulted in a blowout victory over North Texas, but the Longhorns lost 41-7 to BYU in Week 2. With three starters gone on offensive line from Week 1, along with quarterback David Ash, Texas is a team in transition.
Elsewhere in the Big 12, Texas Tech needed a late score to hold off UTEP, Kansas held off SEMO and Oklahoma State cruised to a 40-23 victory over Missouri State.
Key Takeaways from the Big 12 in Week 2
Seth Russell is a Capable Replacement
Sure, Northwestern State wasn’t the best source of competition, but Baylor has to be confident in quarterback Seth Russell if Bryce Petty is out an extended amount of time. Russell was sharp in his first career start, recording 438 yards and five passing scores on 16 completions. He also added one touchdown on three rushing attempts. It certainly doesn’t hurt Russell’s cause that he’s surrounded by a talented group of skill players – hello KD Cannon and Davion Hall – but Baylor’s offense is in good hands until Petty returns.
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It’s Daxx’s Show in Stillwater
As of Sunday night, Oklahoma State has not released an official diagnosis on J.W. Walsh’s foot injury suffered against Missouri State. However, it’s safe to say the Cowboys will be without Walsh for at least a couple of weeks. Perhaps longer. Walsh will be missed, but Oklahoma State’s offense is in good hands with Daxx Garman at the controls. In his first action since the junior year of high school (2009), Garman completed 16 of 26 passes for 244 yards and two scores. The junior averaged an impressive 15.3 yards per completion against Missouri State and could be a better fit for Oklahoma State’s offense than Walsh. UTSA will be a tough opponent this Saturday, followed by a key conference game against Texas Tech on Sept. 25. Garman lacks experience, but Oklahoma State’s offense will be fine with him at the controls.
There’s Still Fight in Iowa State
After last week’s loss to North Dakota State, it was easy to write off Iowa State for a finish in the middle of the pack in the Big 12. However, one week later, the outlook for the Cyclones looks much better. Coach Paul Rhoads’ team nearly upset Kansas State, losing 32-28 after leading 28-20 going into the fourth quarter. Stopping the run and generating more big plays on offense is a must, but Iowa State got a solid effort from quarterback Sam Richardson and Jarvis West stepped up at receiver to help compensate for the loss of Quenton Bundrage. No, the Cyclones aren’t going to win the Big 12. However, after the loss to the Bison, most expected Iowa State to struggle to earn a couple of wins in conference play. One week later, the Cyclones showed they will not be an easy out in the Big 12 this season.
Texas Needs to Regroup
First-year coach Charlie Strong certainly has his work cut out for him over the next few weeks. The Longhorns lost 41-7 to BYU on Saturday, dropping their record to 1-1. Losing to the Cougars was really no surprise, as Texas played without the services of quarterback David Ash (concussion-like symptoms), center Dominic Espinosa (broken ankle) and offensive tackles Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle (suspension). With a patchwork line thin on depth and a young quarterback, Texas is going to have its share of growing pains on offense. And it comes at the wrong time for the Longhorns, as a neutral site date against UCLA is up next, followed by Kansas and then matchups against two top 10 teams (Oklahoma and Baylor). Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes – who didn’t play bad against BYU – should improve next week, but it’s a lot to ask him to beat Baylor and Oklahoma without more help from the defense, receiving corps, offensive line and rushing attack.
Post-Week 2 Big 12 Power Rankings
W, 52-7, Tulsa
W, 70-6, NW State
W, 32-28, Iowa State
W, 40-23, Missouri State
W, 54-0, Towson
L, 41-7, BYU
W, 30-26, UTEP
L, 32-28, K-State
W, 34-28, SEMO