The college football season has started, and the Big 12 provided plenty of conversation. Naturally, there was National Championship talk about Texas.
Oklahoma got quite a scare, but survived and picked up their 800th win in school history.
Nebraska came out in impressive fashion and clunked Western Kentucky.
Kansas lost to North Dakota State 6-3.
It’s time to bring all of the football machines into the Big 12 body shop to find out who needs a few bolts tightened and who needs to scrap it and start over.
Washington State isn’t exactly the best team that the Pac-10 has to offer. They were still made to look like they belonged in the FCS, as Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns.
Oklahoma State was a team whose offense many were concerned about due to loss of proven play-makers. Quarterback Brandon Weeden did an excellent job, throwing for 218 yards for three touchdowns, all to Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon added a little "razzle dazzle" to his resume, scoring on a seven-yard blocked punt return.
The Oklahoma State defense kept Washington State to a paltry 5-for-18 third-down conversion ratio and denied two fourth-down attempts.
After coming out on top 65-17, all one can say to Oklahoma State is, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”
A score slightly shocking to some, Texas A&M comes out revving the engine before stepping on the gas in the second half versus Stephen F. Austin.
Going into the half up 20-7 is a solid start. Finishing off the Lumberjacks 28-0 in the second half is a great way to start your football season.
Jerrod Johnson showed what he can do when the light bulb turns on, completing 66 percent of his passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns.
Christine Michael showed what the Aggies’ running game can provide with a 105-yard performance.
Showing complete offensive versatility, Ryan Swope caught 13 balls for 106 yards as Texas A&M’s leading receiver.
Regardless of the competition, the Aggies’ offense came to play, executed well and put up enough points to beat anyone. If they can continue at this level, good things lie ahead.
Defensively, nothing stands out dramatically except for the score. While the Wrecking Crew wanted the shutout, stopping Stephen F. Austin cold in the second 30 minutes should be satisfying.
Nebraska came out playing three quarterbacks. The starter shocked the fans and the nation.
Taylor Martinez took the first snaps under center as the Cornhuskers' signal caller. Dynamic as he may be, the mistakes were minimal, and if Taylor Martinez is the signal-caller from this point on, he showed few mistakes versus Western Kentucky.
The running back situation is yet to be determined and the wide outs are capable, yet sloppy.
Defensively, the Cornhuskers came out firing on all cylinders before regressing somewhat in the second half. The defensive line didn’t nearly get initial penetration and linebackers were confused. I chalk that up to inexperience due to injuries.
Nebraska’s secondary looked like it already had a few games under its belt.
Kicker/punter Alex Henery and kicker Adi Kunalic barely had to get their legs warm.
The Cornhuskers budged some and get another opportunity to make necessary tweaks this upcoming week, as Idaho comes calling.
When Texas has played Rice the past few years, the story seems to repeat. Rice keeps the game interesting for about a quarter or so, then Texas steps on the accelerator and breaks their hearts.
It took a little too long for that to happen this past Saturday, especially when the Owls were only down by two scores at the half.
Texas blew out of their funk with a 24-point second quarter behind the feet of Tre Newton, who had a 61-yard day. The performance wasn’t what Texas head coach Mack Brown had to have been looking for in front of a Rice “home crowd” that was mostly burnt orange.
Garrett Gilbert had a rather disappointing start to his season, throwing for a mere 172 yards.
Newton, Cody Johnson (59 yards), and Foswhitt Whittaker (51 yards) all had respectable days running the football.
Overall, Texas just didn’t seem to have much spark. Sure, 34-17 isn’t a poor margin of victory, but the performance put forward by the Longhorns seemed lackadaisical.
All of the pieces are there. They just need to get coordinated.
Missouri’s rivalry with Illinois usually produces a tight football game, but the Tigers’ performance still leaves quite a few questions.
The Tigers went into halftime down by 10 with a completely ineffective offense.
Kudos to both offensive and defensive adjustments made, as quarterback Blaine Gabbert was able to respond with two touchdowns in the second half.
Derrick Washington’s absence is obvious, and any team facing the Tigers at this point needs to find an effective blitz package and concentrate on keeping Missouri’s running game stuck in the mud.
Gabbert had several receivers step up in T.J. Moe (101 yards), Michael Egnew (60 yards), and Jerrell Jackson (50 yards).
Defensively, Missouri’s heart and soul is defensive back Carl Gettis, whose fantastic interception and special teams work helped Gabbert and the Tigers come out on top versus the Illini.
Offensively, the Tigers are in big trouble if they can’t find a running game. Defensively, If Gettis is the only man teams have to gameplan for, look for Missouri’s opponents to follow Illinois’ lead as they racked up 200 yards rushing.
Much like with Texas A&M, Baylor’s abilities won’t truly be known until the next few weeks. What was put on display for the first week of the season was above-average work even for the Bears.
Robert Griffin was able to display his dual-threat capability throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns, along with rushing for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Jay Finley complimented the heavy dose of Griffin with 59 yards and a score, while tight end Brad Taylor led Baylor receivers with 69 yards and a touchdown catch.
Baylor looks to have done precisely what Nebraska did with Martinez, and that’s get Griffin some much-needed confidence. He was able to do both, along with supplement the running game and get the passing game in rhythm.
The Bears’ defensive numbers aren’t staggering, but a few tackles for loss across the board show a good start and room for improvement.
Baylor has made some strides under Art Briles, but Griffin needs to be less of a key element in the coming weeks as the Bears don’t have much star power besides him.
Oklahoma’s 800th win wasn’t pretty. In fact, if not for Utah State’s poor judgment and three interceptions, it may not have happened at all.
The main point here is that there should’ve been a mud hole on the field where the Aggies once stood, and now some Sooner fans look to Florida State coming to visit and shiver.
Landry Jones looked, and was, confused at times, throwing for 217 yards and two touchdowns, but he also had two interceptions to his credit.
DeMarco Murray and Ryan Broyles both looked comfortable in their roles with 208 yards rushing and 142 receiving, respectively. Both scored twice for the Sooners.
The problem is simple: Landry Jones isn’t making good decisions. Broyles can do a lot with a little, but he isn’t a miracle worker and can’t simply be expected to make catches in traffic every time.
Jones finds himself telegraphing his aim a bit too much as well. Murray is a workhorse, and the Sooners are going to have to rely on him while Jones gains confidence, or this season may turn out to be a severe disappointment for Oklahoma.
Defensively, Oklahoma was able to disrupt, but not nearly to the amount expected with Jeremy Beal and Travis Lewis. The Sooners’ secondary was stupefied, as Diondre Borel dropped 341 yards passing and two touchdowns on a unit that is very difficult to penetrate.
Borel is good, and perhaps Oklahoma took him and the Aggies lightly, but Christian Ponder and the Florida State Seminoles are a bit more difficult. Bob Stoops needs to rally the troops, and fast.
Don’t let the statistics fool you. If you didn’t get a chance to see Texas Tech take on SMU, Mike Leach took the Air Raid offense adored by many with him.
The Red Raiders’ offense led by Taylor Potts did put up plenty of passes, as Potts threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns in the 35-27 victory.
Running back Baron Batch scraped out a mere 52 yards, and Tech had its handful of receivers who contributed well, Lyle Leong being the most prominent with 142 yards and three touchdown catches.
While all of that may sound like Texas Tech was an offensive juggernaut, 35 points with all of those passing numbers should say something. The Red Raiders completed only half of their 18 third-down attempts and went 0-for-3 on fourth-down attempts.
Texas Tech’s defense held up shortly before eventually breaking in the second half allowing 20 points. The Red Raiders’ 35-14 lead was preserved, thanks in large part to SMU quarterback Kyle Padron’s poor decision-making. This cost the Mustangs three interceptions and any chance at a win.
Offensively, Tuberville seems to have Texas Tech clicking, but SMU had ample opportunity to win this game thanks in large part to defensive stops that are being glossed over.
In order for the Red Raiders to compete with anyone in the Big 12 South, they need to correct mental errors primarily on defense. If they don’t, they will find themselves attempting eventual shootouts, but being on the bad end of defensive mismatches, as Leong will now likely be isolated.
The Wildcats welcomed the UCLA Bruins into Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and an appropriately close game ensued. While Kansas State came away with a season-opening win, there’s still much that needs to be done for KSU to even have a shot at the Big 12 North crown.
If you didn’t know about Daniel Thomas, you do now. His 235 yards and two touchdowns were crucial for the Wildcats to pull out a victory against UCLA.
During the course of the game, it was obvious that whichever team made the fewest amount of errors would win. The game showed Kansas State’s future opponents that if you can stop Thomas, you stop the Wildcats.
Kansas State wasn’t particularly dazzling on offense, minus Thomas gaining only 64 yards through the air, and had to attempt 16 third-down conversions completing half.
Defensively, the Wildcats can thank UCLA for being just as sloppy and even less effective due to lack of a playmaker like Thomas. They were able to contain quarterback Kevin Prince, who looked like he got to his second read before he had to make a decision.
Aside from repeated Kai Forbath field goals, UCLA’s offense was non-existant.
The bottom line for fans of the Kansas State Wildcats is that Daniel Thomas had better not run out of gas or get injured. He’s the workhorse that will get Kansas State anywhere, and he cannot win every game by himself.
Iowa State showed that it might have another weapon besides quarterback Austin Arnaud. Alexander Robinson rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns against Northern Illinois in a game many had penciled in as a likely upset.
Arnaud showed his usual dual-threat capability, with 265 yards passing and a touchdown run, but did throw a pair of interceptions.
The real story isn’t necessarily Robinson. Iowa State’s defense will be putting the opposition to the test this year, it seems.
The Cyclones held Northern Illinois to 249 total yards, only allowing 3-of-13 third-down conversions to be converted, and picked-off the Huskies three times.
While Iowa State now appears to have someone other than Arnaud to go to for an offensive threat, it will be interesting to see if anyone else will be tripped up by an intriguing Cyclone defense.
Conveniently, a very potent Iowa team is up next for the Cyclones. They will likely answer any questions regarding what Iowa State can do on defense.
Colorado State provides about the same amount of competition that Washington State can, and 24 points and 307 yards against this sort of opposition isn’t going to cut it.
Colorado’s Tyler Hansen threw for 192 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, while the Buffaloes’ Scotty McKnight became Colorado's career receptions leader. The game provided other notable statistics, such as Colorado having more penalty yardage (104) than any ball carrier (Rodney Stewart with 67) or receiver (McKnight 78).
The Buffaloes’ defense did hold Colorado State to 245 total yards, but actually gave up more yardage through the air than they produced (196 to 192 yards).
Overall, the game was flat, uninspired and did nothing but to show that any team with a pulse should defeat Colorado handily. If the Buffaloes aren’t playing intramurals yet, they might want to consider the option.
Is there any other pick?
New Jayhawks head coach Turner Gill couldn't have seen this home-opening embarrassment in his worst nightmares.
"I was very surprised when I walked in the locker room after the game, and Coach Gill didn't even show any phase of being angry or anything," KU linebacker Steven Johnson told the Wichita Eagle. "He just stayed positive."
Quite the statement, considering Gill’s Jayhawks scored one field goal…and that’s it. An FCS team walked into Lawrence, Kansas, kicked a couple of field goals...and won?
Kansas actually gained more yardage than the Bison (293 to 168). Each team struggled heavily on offense. The Jayhawks fumbled three times, losing two, and both teams combined for 526 punting yards.
Where do the Jayhawks go from here? They need to score a touchdown. This is officially a psychological issue, not a physical one. Kansas has not seen the end zone under Gill. They haven’t scored any points in three quarters.
The news gets worse for the Jayhawks. Georgia Tech is coming to town, and if you know your college football history, the Yellow Jackets know a thing or two about scoring.
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