Coming into the week, it felt like something was brewing in the Big 12. Week six did not disappoint as we saw three close games come down to the wire. They included a double overtime contest, a massive upset, and a controversial call on a final potentially game tying drive. Let’s get to the games.
Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the Kansas Jayhawks, 65-19
Let’s get this one out of the way. The only interesting thing about this game was how long it took. Fox Sports had to bump a large portion of the fourth quarter of this blowout to FS2 and push the kickoff of the WVU vs TCU back ten minutes, just to get the marquee game of the week on the air for kickoff.
Kansas remains at the bottom of the conference. They turned the ball over four times, and the Red Raiders held Khalil Herbert to 65 yards on 10 carries. Somewhat remarkably, Texas Tech was able to put up 65 points while throwing for fewer than 300 yards. The Red Raiders remain a somewhat unknown commodity, as their lone loss was by a single score to Oklahoma State, and they have looked a little inconsistent in their wins. Mountaineer fans will get to see for themselves next week.
Up Next: Texas Tech @ WVU, Kansas @ ISU
Texas Longhorns beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 40-34 2OT
Texas outlasted KSU in double overtime. After the wildcats failed on a 53 yard field goal attempt, Texas punched it into the end zone from two yards out. Texas quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, had himself a day. He completed 60% of his passes and threw for 380 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 107 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
Texas had twice as many first downs as Kansas State and out gained them 546-394. Kansas State a woefully inefficient 2-11 converting on third downs. Texas still needed two overtimes to get the job done at home. I’m not sure if this says more about the stubborn nature of a Bill Snyder team, or how much more UT needs to mature. Either way, as unlikely as it may sound, Texas is tied atop the conference standings.
Up Next: Texas vs Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, TCU @ KSU
Iowa State Cyclones beat Oklahoma Sooners, 38-31
Upset of the week! The Cyclones came into Norman as massive underdogs. Coming off an announcement earlier in the week that starting QB, Jacob Park, was taking leave from the team for an undisclosed personal health reason, Iowa State was starting a complete unknown at QB. No one gave them a chance.
The Sooners jumped out to a 24-10 lead early, but never put the game away. Iowa State slowly began chipping away. The upset alert started to circulate. The Cyclones took their first lead 31-24 early in the fourth quarter. The teams traded TD’s and Baker Mayfield was unable to complete a late game tying drive.
A young man named Kyle Kempt got the start for ISU and all he did was complete 18/24 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception. What’s even more amazing was that this incredible debut was overshadowed in the game’s narrative by a LB named Joel Lanning. On defense, Lanning had 8 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. He also played QB. Splitting snaps with Kempt, Lanning recorded 9 carries for 35 yards and completed 2/3 passes for 25 yards.
Iron Man performances are rare enough in the modern game of football. Maybe a DB will get some snaps at receiver to set up a reverse or a quick screen. Sometimes a defensive lineman will come into the backfield for a “heavy” goal line set. For a starting linebacker, captain, and leader of the team’s defense to take 12 snaps at quarterback is remarkable. To do it in an upset on the road against the number three team in the country, even more so. This game was the definition of chaos.
This loss, and the subsequent planting of the Iowa State flag at mid field, will sting Oklahoma and Baker Mayfield badly. They’ll plummet in the rankings, find themselves a game back in the B12 conference standings, and still have to play the Cowboys, the Horned Frogs, the Mountaineers, and the rivalry game against Texas.
Up Next: Oklahoma vs Texas in the Red River Shootout, KU @ ISU
TCU Horned Frogs beat the West Virginia Mountaineers, 31-24
A lot will be and has already been said about this one on the Smoking Musket. The Mountaineers out gained the Horned Frogs by more than 100 yards. They made 28 first downs to TCU’s 16. They committed fewer penalties for fewer yards and had a slight advantage in time of possession. They committed two turnovers to TCU’s zero and lost by a touchdown.
I’m not going to bother with the blow by blow here. Everyone here knows about the muffed punt, the missed field goal, and the controversial calls late. I’ll offer my humble opinions. I do not think that Elijah Battle maintained full control of the ball through the entire catching process. He had a foot inbounds, got two hands on the ball, his second foot came down out of bounds, and then the ball bobbled. As I understand the rule, that’s not a catch. Granted, there have been a lot of problems in both the NFL and CFB in trying to interpret and define what a catch actually is in recent years.
As to the offensive pass interference call, I thought that was a horrible call. Sills and the defensive back had been very physical back and forth throughout the route. As Sills came back to the ball it may have looked like a very light push off. The DB then full on grabs his shoulder. I don’t think they should have called defensive interference either. I think both players were equally physical throughout the play, and Sills was making a play on the ball. Sills made the catch, in that spot, under those circumstances, you cannot make that call.
After watching OU go down, everyone knew that this game was for first place in the conference. TCU enjoys that position for now. The Mountaineers and their fans can decide to feel cheated by the referees or they can acknowledge that the special teams issues and turnovers earlier in the game were under the team’s control, should have been better, and may have made the end of the game a moot point. I suppose its entirely possible to do some of both.
Up Next: TTU @ WVU, TCU at KSU
Who’d have thought at the beginning of the season that at this point we’d have TCU and Texas tied atop the conference rankings? This conference looks like it has more parity than most thought coming into the year. We’ll have to see how WVU, OSU and Oklahoma rebound from losses and see if TCU is really the real deal. For now, the Frogs have complete control of their own destiny.