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Everything posted by stormstopper

  1. Back when I was with the Browns, Cincinnati was always the opponent I most wanted to beat. All-time, the Bengals and Browns are 8-8 against each other, but that evenness of matchup is really more just mutual streakiness. Cincinnati won the first, then Cleveland won three straight. Cincinnati won 7 of 8 from 2016 to 2019, but the Browns have bounced back strong and are on an active 4-game winning streak in the series. Four games into the season, both defenses are in the top 10 in adjusted points allowed: the Bengals are holding opponents 6.66 points below their scoring averages, and the Browns are holding theirs 3.8 below. Cleveland's offense is scoring 2.67 more points per game than their opponents are allowing, and Cincinnati's only at 1.09 in that metric--both of those are in the middle tier of the league but still above the median. If you remove Cincinnati's Tommy Jones-led game against Kansas City, though, they improve to nearly +4.0 on offense and a league-best -9.5 on defense. Joel King's been on fire while Ryan Clark's struggled (not sure that the fans are calling for Jordan North yet buuuut); Ron Thomas has been doing well on about 12-13 carries per game while Sean Bell is second to only Kenyon Randall in rushing yardage this season. As others have said, this would be a great opportunity to gain a foothold in the wild card race. Right now, the Browns are projected at 10.2 wins (which would be good for the first wild card) and the Bengals at 9.45 wins (which is 0.24 wins off of the second wild card), and given that we're only four weeks in that's extremely volatile. In a vacuum, a Bengals win would put them into the top wild card spot by projection, whereas a Browns win would push their projection into the 10.8+ win range. GO BROWNS!
  2. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #4 - MNF

    Two fumbles lost, three drops, four sacks allowed, and Tampa was still in this game until the fourth quarter. DeNorris Jackson still hasn't found the endzone yet This is their third straight game giving up 27+ though, and their only opponent they held below that mark was Denver (who they only held 3 points below their scoring average anyway). Panthers finally get a convincing win; I believe they were 1-2 and not 2-1 entering this game right? Lost to Las Vegas and Detroit? They've gotta love seeing a lotta yards from Latta, because he's who really opens up the offense for Skaggs and co. The NFC is wide open, so an early stomp like this is a good sign for them going forward.
  3. stormstopper

    [2022] Injured Reserve

    The Chicago Bears place: OLB Trevor Reed 5-11 223 5 Alabama [Coverage] [0] 85 on injured reserve. He suffered a severe ACL rupture in week 4 and is out for the season.
  4. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #4 - 4 PM

    Orly? Yarly!
  5. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #4 - Saturday Afternoon

    On the bright side, positive results on offense on a scheme change. Still a lot of kinks to work out, but night and day from where we were games 1 and 2. On the other hand, the defense got wallopped...
  6. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #4 - Saturday Morning

    *Googles how to talk to my kids about an undefeated NC State*
  7. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #4 - FNF

    This is West Virginia's largest-ever shutout win and their first shutout win since 2015. Previously, they beat Iowa State 21-0 and Texas Tech 14-0. It's their third-largest win of any kind; the only larger ones were 55-11 over Iowa State and 49-3 over TCU, both in the lategoing of the 2020 season. Martin Lake's 367 yards passing are the most by a West Virginia quarterback since Mohammed Foster's 484 against Baylor, also in the 2020 season. His passer rating of 208.1 was the fifth-highest in school history (Richmond King holds the school record), and it was the highest since Foster's 218.8 against Baylor, also in the 2020 season. Corey Easley's 180 yards receiving are the most by a West Virginia player since J.C. Weldon's 247, also against (you guessed it) Baylor in the 2020 season. Easley's 381 receiving yards are *already* 3rd by any West Virginia freshman. Todd Sykes (832) and Elias Langston (856) are the only ones ahead of him; on this pace, he would pass them both in 7 games. (For the uninitiated, Weldon's freshman year was spent at Marshall. His 4 receiving touchdowns are tied with Langston for second-most by a West Virginia freshman; the school record is 6 by Sykes. Easley's average of 127 receiving yards per game would be a Big XII freshman record if it holds up. First place belongs to Tai Miller, who averaged 119.9 receiving yards per game before he was brutally murdered by Ray Lee Coia injured on a freak play against TCU. The Big XII record for total receiving yards by a freshman belongs to Lamont Wilder at 1082; Easley's pace is for 1524.
  8. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #4 - FNF

    Rumor: the Patriots are already planning on how they can trade down to let the Dolphins draft Corey Easley.
  9. Now we start to get into the thick of things. A pair of intriguing non-conference matchups whet the appetite on Thursday and Friday for fans of the nation's most exciting conference, as Baylor looks for their first win of the year against Western Kentucky and West Virginia does the same against Marshall, both at home. Then on Saturday, conference play finally begins in earnest. TCU looks to continue its dominance over Iowa State, Kansas looks to find some new way to pull one over on Oklahoma, and Texas Tech and Solomon McLaughlin look to prove that they're for real as they host a juggernaut Oklahoma State offense. Every team comes in with something to prove, and every team's going to emerge with a road map through the forest as we close the first quarter of the season. So let's talk about the games. Thursday Night Western Kentucky (0-2) at Baylor (0-2) (-7) Neither Western Kentucky nor Baylor envisioned their season starting this way. When the dust settles on Thursday evening, one side will emerge with its first victory of the season and the other will have its tailspin extended for at least another game. Both teams have had issues crop up that need to be addressed--some expected, some unexpected. For Baylor, the play of sophomore backfield duo Caleb Olmsted and Miles Street hasn't been what they've needed. Olmsted has completed just 55.9% of his passes with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and Street has carried the ball 25 times for 94 yards; in his past five games dating back to last year, Street has rushed for a total of 189 yards and 1 touchdown. (Solomon McLaughlin would call that a pretty good first half.) What's the best way to get traction? Square off against a defense that has had its own issues stopping the run. Western Kentucky gave up 216 yards on the ground to Hawaii in their opener and 130 more to Eastern Michigan week 2. Their defense is pretty strong up the middle, don't get me wrong: defensive tackle Felix Jennings is worthy of the legendary Jennings name, and mike linebacker Miles Freeman immediately draws comparisons to Alexander Hardison. But there are barbershops that set edges better than this defense, which is frankly more of a personnel issue than a coaching issue. The outside linebackers are freshmen and sophomores, and only one defensive end is an upperclassman. You should also look for Baylor to alternate between finding Lamont Wilder on the perimeter of the defense and looking for Wilder and true freshman slot receiver Curtis Sheppard confusing and misdirecting the defense across the middle. On defense, Baylor needs to focus on quarterback Riley West. The gunslinger who hurled 33 touchdown passes to 13 interceptions last year has been asked to shoulder most of the offense (Trevor Workman has rushed for 37 yards on 16 carries, so...) and the Hilltoppers have seen mixed results. He looked good in the first quarter against Eastern Michigan with two touchdown passes--then Western Kentucky failed to score a touchdown in the final 45 minutes as the Eagles turned a 14-7 deficit into a 34-20 win. West has thrown 3 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions, and he's also fumbled the ball once. The Hilltopper offensive line is an interesting matchup for Baylor's front seven because both are significantly stronger in the interior. Still, you'd expect Baylor to make their plays through the A- and B-gaps because Garrett Powers and Thomas Morton are a thing, and Zachary McHale around the edge is a difference-maker no matter what. Baylor's safeties haven't acquitted themselves well yet, but Western Kentucky doesn't have the receivers to challenge them deep. This really should be a Baylor win. If it isn't, then it'll be time to hit the panic button. But I like their chances of holding serve at home. Baylor 30, Western Kentucky 17 Friday Night Marshall (0-2) at West Virginia (0-2) (+1) Way back in 2017, Marshall was three things: a bowl team led by future NFLHC participant Rob Zeko (it's true! He threw three touchdown passes in three whole games!), a member of the American Athletic Conference, and an opponent on West Virginia's schedule. For the first time since West Virginia's 24-14 win five years ago, the Friends of Coal Bowl will be played again. Marshall's strategy has been hard to get a handle on through two games, mostly because their strategy for each game couldn't have been that much more different if they tried. In a week 2 thriller against Buffalo, the Thundering Herd got 212 total yards and 3 total touchdowns on 35 passes and 2 rushes from quarterback Brandon Adler, but a missed field goal by Albert McGinnis and a monster game from Buffalo's Denzel "Mama-who?" Porter fueled the Bulls' fourth-quarter comeback to win 29-28. But in round 2, Marshall turned to senior Marc Sargent at quarterback, only to have him hand the ball off to Cayden Gipson all day. Gipson put up 147 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, to his credit, but Marshall managed just 10 points. If Simeon Wells's performance against the Mountaineers last week is any indication, that might not be the approach to take--but honestly, who knows what they're going to do? Sargent is still this week's starter, so maybe that hints at another Gipson-focused game? West Virginia's defense is plenty talented and shouldn't really be worried about anyone on the Marshall offense but tight end Travis Pressley and center Shawn Cortez...the latter of whom is more talented against the pass rush than at getting downfield to wall off linebackers. But even if Marshall's offense catches West Virginia by surprise, can their defense get stops? So far, the answer's been no. Buffalo and Bowling Green have averaged more than 5.6 yards per carry against the Marshall defense. They've also completed more than 70% of their passes for 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Both of those offenses featured dual-threat quarterbacks, which is music to Martin Lake's ears. There's no one below the safety level who puts fear in your heart on the Marshall defense, though they'd likely upgrade significantly if redshirt freshman Milo Mize were starting. Watching wide receiver Corey Easley work against this secondary should be interesting. One-on-one, you'd take him against Alexander Henley. In traffic with Henley and safety Riley Goldberg converging? Well, you'd better hope Lake's delivery is accurate. Either way, I expect West Virginia to find a way to move the ball. Maybe Bryce Madison finds his footing, maybe Martin Lake tears it up, maybe Corey Easley makes it look easy. The books have West Virginia as a slight underdog, but I would be shocked if they lost this game. West Virginia 28, Marshall 13 Saturday Afternoon #4 TCU (1-1) at Iowa State (1-1) (+18.5)* One day, Lucy may let Charlie Brown kick the football. One day, peace may be achieved throughout humankind. One day, we may find out for sure one way or the other if there is other intelligent life out there in the rest of the universe (or in Chapel Hill). And one day, maybe Iowa State will beat TCU for the first time. There are five matchups in which one Big XII team has a perfect record against another Big XII team. Kansas State is on the wrong end of four of them, but TCU's 7-0 mastery of Iowa State is what's on the line on what should be a warm Saturday afternoon in Ames. These programs are run by two of the longest-tenured coaches in the Big XII and in the country, both of whom have seen their program moribund and both of whom have seen their program to the College Football Playoff. Their expectations for 2022 are far apart. TCU may be sated with another playoff appearance, but they won't be truly happy with much short of a national championship. Iowa State's just looking for a foothold right now, having posted a 5-21 record in their last 26 games. But if there's hope for the Cyclones, it comes in the form of last week's 24-20 win over Iowa--not just because it was their first P5 nonconference win since 2019, but also because the offense looked two-dimensional and the defense looked effective. That's something that needs to continue if they want to have a shot against the heavily favored TCU. If Kofi McCullough tries to run into the teeth of this TCU defense, he's not going to make it past this defensive line (and that's assuming the line doesn't just plug up the gaps and let TCU's elite linebackers flood through to handle him). They still need McCullough to grind out yards, maybe break out an explosive play or two, if only so that the offense has room to breathe. And they definitely need Vaughn Sheppard to make a positive impact as he did against Iowa. The main problem is that doing so would require Iowa State's offensive line to put up any kind of challenge against the TCU front, and Iowa State's offensive line is particularly bad. On the flipside, Iowa State's defense might have an interesting matchup against the TCU line. They're probably not expecting the defensive line to win the battle outright (maybe Savion Pryor lined up against Hayden Breaux, certainly not Demetrius Clay against Tyson Chadwick), but they have playmakers at linebacker and they're not afraid to use them. Paul "Baby Bear" Bryant is the only Big XII player who's already recorded a sack and either a pass breakup or interception this year, so expect the Cyclones to keep using him in both facets. If they can't get a pass rush from the whole of this front seven, though, then TCU's going to feast on the perimeter. Finn Nielsen on the outside, Griffin McHanna on screen passes getting some space, F.T. Grady crossing over the middle of the field, tight end Miguel Aguilera poking holes wherever he can--is this something a thin Iowa State cornerback corps can handle? Strong safety Laurent Daniel can't be everywhere at once, you know. Felix Luck has too many options for Iowa State to handle, and even if TCU's offense slows down the defense won't. Lucy isn't letting Charlie Brown kick it this weekend. #4 TCU 33, Iowa State 10 Kansas (0-2) at #6 Oklahoma (2-0) (-5.5)* There are three programs Oklahoma has a sub-.500 record against with at least two games in the books. They're 0-2 against Auburn, 1-2 against Florida State, and 2-6 against the Kansas Jayhawks that they host on Saturday. Of course, there's very good reason to believe it's Oklahoma's turn to notch a third win in the series. It's not just the fact that Kansas has never won three straight against Oklahoma and is already riding a two-game winning streak. It's more the fact that Oklahoma has looked good in a demolition of Boise State and a three-phase win over Missouri, while Kansas has struggled mightily on offense in an 0-2 start. The Transitive Property of Football would suggest a 19-point win for Oklahoma, but I suppose we should provide actual analysis rather than lean on that. The first and biggest question: what will Kansas do to try and put some points on the board? Christian Graham's been asked to shoulder a lot of the load, and the results haven't been pretty: 50% passing, 3 touchdowns to 3 interceptions, and a passer rating of 97.6. Without a reliable running game (Andre Black has 24 yards on 16 carries) and without reliable receivers beyond tight end Jaime Bautista, Graham's been spinning his wheels. It's rumored that the Jayhawks will be making some significant changes this week, but implementing that is often just as difficult as struggling through an ill-fitting plan in the first place. They have to hope their interior line can hold up against David Kaiser and Jeremiah Melvin, who have combined for 4 sacks and 4 tackles for loss in two games, because those two will swallow up the run game otherwise and you can bet Oklahoma will have someone all over Bautista at all times to close off Graham's only pressure safety valve. Kansas probably isn't winning any one-on-one matchups on the edge and probably isn't going to see much success downfield. So as long as Oklahoma holds serve there, the Sooners just need enough offense to get by. Against Missouri, Maurice White was the source of that offense. He rushed for 164 yards on 25 carries after rushing for 160 on 23 carries in the Boise State game; in each game, he found the endzone twice. To spring him loose, Oklahoma's offensive line will have to hold off Kansas's defensive line led by Jamari Callahan and wall off an improved (but still shaky) linebacker corps. If White maintains that level of production, Oklahoma will win. If not, then they're probably still favored but it would help if Eric Pope looks like Game 1 Eric Pope (where he threw for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns) and not Game 2 Eric Pope (where he completed 10 of 19 passes and got picked off twice). Look for a lot of Lucas Dykes in this one; he's got 3 inches and 62 pounds on Javier Blount, so you'd expect him to win the muscle battle on those one-on-one matchups. Rangi Salanoa remains a deep threat, but Kansas's safeties ought to keep vertical threats more contained. Still, I think Pope will bounce back and be the spark Oklahoma needs, I think White will be productive even if it's not 160-yard productive, and the Oklahoma defense is going to be too much for the Kansas offense. It seems like I always take Oklahoma in this game, but they really ought to win this one going away. #6 Oklahoma 27, Kansas 10 Saturday Evening #5 Oklahoma State (2-0) at Texas Tech (2-0) (+13.5)* The Big XII is blessed with a number of incredible runningbacks, with NFL scouts absolutely salivating over no less than half the starting tailbacks in the conference. Capping off the night, we'll see one of the most hotly anticipated showdowns in the country as the nation's best runningback takes on the most intriguing newcomer at the position in primetime. Solomon McLaughlin has already rushed for 486 yards and 7 touchdowns in just two games this year (both of which lead the Big XII despite Simeon Wells and Jaiden Givens having had an extra game), and he's coming off of a Big XII-record 307 rushing yards against South Alabama. His offensive line is better than ever and tailored to his strengths, and McLaughlin's just been breaking off chunk play after chunk play so far. Oklahoma State's defense has its work cut out for it--and more specifically, Amir Pryor has his work cut out for him. The 6-6, 312-pound defensive tackle hasn't recorded any stats this year so far, but he had 3.5 sacks and 5 rushing tackles for loss last year; they'll need him to get a handle on the Texas Tech interior line to clog up the holes up the middle that McLaughlin loves to exploit. If they can't hold strong at the point of attack, things start to get relatively (but not absolutely) iffy when the linebackers and safeties have to be the ones making the plays. The Cowboys have yet to record a rushing tackle for loss this year, relying more on their secondary against pass-heavy opponents. In the meantime, Texas Tech's defense will be tested against the most well-rounded offense it's faced so far. Amral Brown has been a bowling ball of terror, rushing for 326 yards and 5 touchdowns on 50 carries, which are really good numbers when you're not comparing them to McLaughlin. He's also a power runner, he's shown excellent vision and decisiveness, and he's picked up steady chunks of yardage even if he hasn't taken the top off of a defense. But coming into this season, he was viewed as the complementary threat to Ian Baldwin, who is himself having a whale of a season. Baldwin has completed 46 of 57 passes (80.7%) that he's thrown this season, gaining 536 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Samuel Barfield has been his favorite target so far, with 14 catches for 202 yards and 2 scores from the flanker spot. Jeremy Bridges is the main other field-stretching threat, but Albert Wenzel and Misael Farias have each caught a touchdown pass as well. Texas Tech has a secondary that should actually be able to hang with them, but what will make or break their defensive effort is the pass rush. The twin pincers of Samir Sample and Curtis Jones should give any quarterback happy feet. They've already combined for 4 sacks and 6 rushing tackles for loss. Despite that, they still gave up 29 to South Alabama as Rafael Higgins accounted for 4 touchdowns. That's a week after taking care of Temple and shutting down their passing attack. I'm not quite sure I have a good read on this defense yet, but I think Oklahoma State's offense will find some way to get to work on it. And while I expect McLaughlin to get his due, Oklahoma State's capable of containing the damage, maybe forcing a turnover or two, and grinding out a win on the road. #5 Oklahoma State 23, Texas Tech 16 Byes: Kansas State (2-1), #24 Texas (3-0)
  10. Week 3 is in the books, and 60% of non-conference play is in the rear-view mirror. While there are still 12 non-league games remaining, they'll be scattered throughout the remainder of the schedule as the round robin battle royale of the nation's most exciting conference kicks into gear. Now is one last opportunity to take stock of where everybody's at, what everybody's doing well, and what everybody needs to improve on as we transition into the next phase of the season--so let's talk about the games! (Thanks so much to @smckenz3 for holding down the fort!) Friday Night South Carolina 31, Baylor 19 Kenny Kick It (Yes He Can): Explosive plays on the ground were the driving factor in South Carolina's win on Friday night. They were led by Kenny Ames, who put up 185 yards on just 23 carries and found paydirt three times--including a 60-yard rush. Quarterback Aidan Peters added 43 yards on 7 carries for himself, meaning the Gamecocks as a team averaged over 7 yards a pop for the game on the ground. It's not like Baylor was dominated up front, though. They got good penetration and had 4 rushing tackles for loss combined from Charles Brock and Ezekiel Sewell--it's just that when they didn't make the initial stop, they were liable to give up massive gains. Red Zone Danger Zone: And explosive plays were a problem on the other end: namely, Baylor lacked them and found themselves stalled out in the red zone too often. After trailing 21-3 at the half, they kicked field goals from the 3-yard line and the 12-yard line in the third quarter and kicked another one from the 19-yard line in the fourth. Turn those red zone field goals into touchdowns, and you're looking at 12 potential extra points in a game that was decided by exactly 12 points. Baylor couldn't muster more than 9 yards on any single run and averaged just 10.9 yards per completion, however, and being unable to take the top off a defense means they can afford to go bend-don't-break as South Carolina did. Sophomore Slump: Two games in, and sophomore backfield duo Caleb Olmsted and Miles Street are both still looking for the flashes of brilliance they displayed at the beginning of last season. Olmsted completed 60.4% of his passes last year with 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions; this year, he's at 55.9% passing with 3 scores and 3 picks in his first 68 attempts. His 108.2 passer rating on Friday was the third-worst single-game mark of his career and just his second-ever game with more interceptions than touchdowns. His completion percentage of 57.6%, however, is the best it's been in his last five games dating back to last season--but even that's still below his career average. Street, meanwhile, finished with 60 yards on 15 carries--and both of those marks (as well as his 4.0 yards per carry) are his best in his last five games as well, which is itself a problem. He has not had a carry go for 10 yards or more in that span. Getting these two back on track will be paramount if Baylor wants to right the ship. Next Up: Baylor closes its nonconference slate at home against Western Kentucky, who was beaten soundly by Hawaii and Eastern Michigan in their first two games. The Hilltoppers can't be looking forward to facing another green team. Iowa State 24, Iowa 20 I Shall Not Want: Fourteen games into his tenure as the Iowa State starting quarterback, Vaughn Sheppard has arrived. Prior to this game, his career highs were 13 completions, 25 attempts, 146 yards, 1 touchdown, 66.7% passing, 8.0 yards per attempt, and a 155.9 passer rating. He tied his mark for pass attempts and shattered his personal record everywhere else across the board with his 19-of-25, 267-yard, 2-touchdown, 1-interception performance that produced a 184.1 passer rating. It's the highest single-game passer rating by any Iowa State quarterback since Clifford Wilcox in the 2019 Liberty Bowl against Georgia State, and if Sheppard can maintain anything even remotely close then Iowa State's offense has a whole extra dimension to play with. Hands Team: Sheppard's counterpart, Otto Kirkland, didn't have nearly as much fun on Friday. He completed 51.4% of his passes, but he could have been closer to 65.7% if it weren't for the active hands of the Iowa State defense. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Ian Johnson recorded his second career interception, which also happens to be his second in as many games. Redshirt sophomore free safety Antoine Spivey hauled in his first career pick. And even when the Cyclones weren't forcing turnovers, they were batting down passes like one would batten down the hatches--most notably, Paul "Baby Bear' Bryant had 2 passes defended and a sack while strong safety Laurent Daniel added another pass defended with a tackle for loss. Don't Forget Kofi: Star runningback Kofi McCullough was almost--not quite, just almost--an afterthought despite picking up 138 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. But what was noticeable in this game was a level of patience and vision that he didn't show so often his freshman year. Last year, there were moments where he would have gaping maws to run through thanks to the offensive line; this time, he was crunched for time and space and still made big plays happen. Even when he wasn't busting off big runs, he was still getting a few yards at a time and setting up third-and-short situations that Sheppard could convert. Outside of the offensive line play, Iowa State has to be incredibly happy with the offense and incredibly happy with the way they won the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Next Up: Iowa State opens conference play at home against TCU. To call this game a test for the Cyclones would be an understatement. Saturday Morning Kansas State 56, Liberty 9 Julius Caesar: It might be easier to list the career highs reinstated starter Julius Minnow didn't set on Saturday in Lynchburg. Much like Vaughn Sheppard, he didn't just have his best career game--he had his best game by a mile and a half. His career high for completions went from 19 to 27, for yards from 240 to 456, for completion percentage from 70.4% to 87.1%, for passer rating from 167.9 to 253.2. He didn't set the school yardage or touchdowns mark because of Harvey Fagan's legendarily mercurial performance against SMU in 2014, but he did become the first Wildcat to throw for 400 yards or 4 touchdowns in a win. While Liberty is by no means a benchmark for what the rest of Kansas State's schedule will be like, there's nothing like a game of perfect execution to bolster a quarterback's confidence. Murder, She Wrote: And speaking of execution, that's what this was against a program that has yet to win its first game through 14 attempts. This was the largest win in Wildcat history (by a lot) and the 5th-largest beatdown Liberty has suffered so far. They held the Flames to just 122 yards for the game while gaining 573 for themselves. Oswaldo Stevenson took 4 sacks, threw 3 interceptions (to 3 different players), and completed just 7 passes. Kansas State punted just once all game, and it was fair-caught. The Flames scored a couple times in garbage time, but only after the game was long since over. Kansas State basically got to name its score. The Little Things: But part of why this was such a large margin rather than, say, a 20- or 30-point win was because Kansas State did almost all of the little things right. They were strong up front on both sides of the ball. They converted 7 of 8 third downs (87.5%), a conversion percentage that set a new Big XII record and shattered the prior school record of 46.7%. They converted their turnovers into points. When they reached the red zone, they scored touchdowns and not field goals. And even on special teams, Daniel O'Hara took a Liberty punt to the house. Kansas State had more punt return yards (147) than Liberty had offensive yards (122), and that really says everything about this game. Next Up: Kansas State's non-conference ends with a 2-1 start, and they now have a bye before they begin the quest to find four conference wins to make their first bowl game in six years. Their first challenge will be TCU. Saturday Afternoon Texas Tech 52, South Alabama 29 Three Oh Seven: Solomon McLaughlin ran for 307 yards and 5 touchdowns on 30 carries on Saturday. I'm going to repeat that so it has time to sink in: Solomon McLaughlin ran for 307 yards and 5 touchdowns on 30 carries on Saturday. The touchdown count is tied for the second-most in a single game in Big XII history, trailing Trace Buchanan in 2013 but matching Sterling Brown in 2014 and Dylan Stewart in 2017. It's the 12th time a Big XII player has rushed for at least 10.0 yards per carry in a game on a minimum of 10 carries, and the first time since Mohammed Foster in 2018. But the headline stat is the 307 yards, which is a school and conference record with no other qualifiers added. It beat out the 304 yards J.J. Hammond put up way back in 2013. It's a record that will likely stand for quite a while, unless McLaughlin manages to break it again. Feast Or Famine: For as many yards and points as these two teams racked up, they both had a surprising amount of negative plays. South Alabama recorded 7 rushing tackles for loss and a sack--it's just that when they didn't get McLaughlin in the backfield, he was off to the races more often than not. (Even on his 86-yard touchdown carry, he had to slip out of a tackle in the backfield only to find nothing but daylight afterward.) The same was true when Texas Tech was on defense. They recorded 4 rushing tackles for loss, and Curtis Jones accounted for all 3 of the Red Raiders' sacks for the game. While Texas Tech did keep Ray Jay Dougherty contained, they had a lot more trouble with the South Alabama quarterback... Undercard Higgins: Rafael Higgins's day was completely overshadowed by the monster performance Solomon McLaughlin was putting on, but 21-of-27 for 280 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air with 22 yards and a rushing touchdown is a strong effort nonetheless. Higgins kept South Alabama right on pace with Texas Tech through the first quarter, but things got away from the Jaguars in the second. The momentum turned into a cascade when Josh Poe, Jr. stripped Dougherty of the ball and Ralph McAdams ran it back the other way for a touchdown right after the Red Raiders had taken a 21-14 lead. Higgins kept firing in the second half where he accounted for two of his four touchdowns, but it was too little too late. That won't stop Texas Tech's defensive coaches from pulling up the film to point out areas for improvement next week. Next Up: Undefeated Texas Tech opens up its conference schedule with a showdown against Oklahoma State. A win would instantly vault the Red Raiders into the tier of conference title contenders. Saturday Evening #6 Oklahoma 26, #10 Missouri 21 RTDB: This fight between top-10 teams was won and lost on the ground. With both quarterbacks mired under 54% passing and interceptions outnumbering touchdown passes for each team, finding a way to move the ball the tough way proved paramount. For Missouri, it came in the form of 124 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries from Aaron Johnson, as well as a one-yard touchdown plunge from fullback Richard Michaud. But Oklahoma turned to their familiar font of football, Maurice White. He finished the day with 164 yards on the ground (topping the 160 he had against Boise State last week) including a 50-yard touchdown scamper to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Throw in Eric Pope's production, and the Sooners finished with 192 yards on the ground. Non-Traditional Scoring Methods: Missouri's offense outscored Oklahoma's offense. But football games are won in all three phases, and in this case Oklahoma found their points in all three phases. Obviously they scored 17 points on the offensive end. But after Eric Pope's touchdown pass to Lucas Dykes put the Sooners ahead, the Oklahoma special teams made their impact known. Missouri punter Ilan Rector didn't sense the punt block team coming in, and his delivery was just slow enough to give Aiden Caldwell time to get his hands on the ball and block it. Caldwell scooped it and took it to the house to put the Sooners up 14-0. That lead slipped away in the second quarter as Oklahoma led 17-14 at the half, but the third quarter would see the defense score as well. This time it was defensive tackle David Kaiser ripping his way through the offensive line and sacking Travis Ricketts in the endzone for a safety. While that alone didn't seal the game, the extra two points meant Missouri couldn't go for a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation and instead finished well short of the endzone on their last drive. Keepaway: Meanwhile, Travis Ricketts and Eric Pope's respective attempts to throw the ball ended up being a game of keepaway against the opposing defense--and not one that the quarterbacks won often enough. Ricketts fired a pass right into the arms of Moises Contreras for his only interception of the day, and Pope couldn't stop Erick Babcock from taking advantage of an imperfect throw--twice. The quarterbacks combined for 281 yards passing on the day with 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, and 24-of-45 passing. The joy of having Maurice White is that Oklahoma is capable of winning games like that. Next Up: Oklahoma begins conference play with a visit from the Kansas Jayhawks, who have won the last two meetings as part of their 6-2 all-time record against the Sooners. Oklahoma will be the favorite in Norman, but in this series you never quite know. #5 Oklahoma State 42, Northwestern 10 Lakefront Chill: Northwestern came into this game red-hot on the offensive end of the field. They opened with 38 points against Central Michigan thanks to 381 yards and 4 touchdowns from E.J. McGuire, then kept things rolling in a 45-31 shootout win over East Carolina due to another 365 yards and 4 scores from McGuire. When the Evanston E...something-or-other (this man really needs a nickname) found Cory Carradine over top of the defense for a touchdown pass to put Northwestern up 7-0, it seemed like another high-scoring affair was in store. Instead, Oklahoma State settled in like gray clouds over the Cook County sky, and they spent the rest of the day erasing the Northwestern offense. They gave up just 3 points the rest of the way while scoring 7 on Prince Pruitt's pick-six. McGuire finished with 205 yards on 19-of-38 passing with the one touchdown and 3 interceptions. He also had five passes batted down and another one dropped, so not all of it was his fault. No receiver other than Carradine crossed the 40-yard mark for the day. Unstoppable: Meanwhile, Oklahoma State's backfield duo of Ian Baldwin and Amral Brown put together another absurdly efficient game. Baldwin finished 20-of-25 for 240 yards and 2 scores, and Brown had a masterpiece effort of 26 carries for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns. The latter would be one of the great rushing performances of the week if Solomon McLaughlin weren't a thing. The team only had 8 third downs (and converted on half of them), didn't give up a sack or a reported tackle for loss, and after a scoreless first quarter proved to be extraordinarily tough to slow down and impossible to stop. Who Wore It Better: The biggest question opposing teams are going to have to answer about this Cowboy team is whether the passing game or the run game is the bigger threat. So far Oklahoma State hasn't really given any indication that either side of the offense is even vulnerable in the first place, but let's assume these players are still human since that's what they are. A defense that goes all-in on stopping Amral Brown will probably get burned over the top by Baldwin and his receivers, a defense that goes all-in on stopping the air attack will get bruised on the ground, and a defense that splits the difference might get split by both. How do you stop that? That's the question Oklahoma State's betting can't be answered. PSA: Because Evanston is not in Chicago, Northwestern's claim to being Chicago's Big Ten team is false. Because there are more Michigan fans and alumni in Chicago than Northwestern fans and alumni, I would even claim it to be false even from a metaphorical perspective. Please do not spread Northwestern's false claim without this context. Next Up: Oklahoma State stays on the road and heads down to Lubbock, where they'll take on the Fightin' Solomons of Texas Tech. Texas 20, West Virginia 17 Tackett Is Backett: After spending the first two games on the bench in favor of Lucas Beckwith, Kyler Tackett has taken back the reins. The result? A third straight Texas win to open the season, and season highs for the team in pretty much every passing category across the board. Tackett completed 18-of-23 passes for 250 yards and a pair of scores (though he did throw a pick to Lamont Carson). It was his highest passer rating against a conference opponent since the 202.4 he recorded against Kansas late in the 2020 season, and the performance more than likely has won him the starting job for the time being. It can't be comfortable knowing that Beckwith is an option if Tackett slips up down the stretch, and whether Tackett uses that discomfort as an excuse or as motivation will say a lot about how this Longhorn season unfolds. The Ground: In a funhouse mirror image of the Oklahoma-Missouri game, this one was characterized by both teams struggling to move the ball on the ground. West Virginia had just 47 rushing yards on 17 carries, none longer than 7 yards. Bryce Madison just wasn't much of a factor. Surprisingly, so was Simeon Wells: after performances of 129 and 167 yards to open the season, Wells was held to just 97 yards on 23 carries and out of the endzone entirely by the Mountaineer defense. Longhorn fans are certainly hopeful that it's just a coincidence that this happened at the same time as their quarterback switch. The Lake: West Virginia may have fallen just short, but it was everything Martin Lake could do just to keep his team in the ballgame. He completed just 17-of-35 passes, but his efforts went for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns against one interception nonetheless. Once again Corey Easley (6 for 84 yards, 1 TD, 1 drop) was his favorite target; Christian Nash complemented him with 4 catches for 53 yards and a score as well. Lake found himself under siege often, taking three sacks on the day; his ventures out of the pocket netted 0 yards on 2 carries as well. But when he stood and delivered in the pocket, he was effective and came close to leading a huge fourth-quarter comeback for the Mountaineers. Capture The Flag: This was one of the most penalty-heavy games of the year, with Texas being flagged 12 times for 89 yards and West Virginia committing 10 fouls for a Big XII-record 116 penalty yards. It will go down as the 6th time since this stat was tracked that both teams in a game involving a Big XII team would be flagged 10 times or more in a single game. Next Up: West Virginia will continue to seek its first win of the season when they host Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl. Texas gets a bye with their second conference win in hand, and they continue to square off with a conference-dominated slate when they host Iowa State on the other side of the bye. Byes: Kansas (0-2), #4 TCU (1-1)
  11. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - 1 PM

    Eric's time to shine! *checks stats* Okay that was just a warmup, it doesn't count.
  12. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - Saturday Afternoon

    Solomon McLaughlin's 307 single-game rushing yards broke the Big XII conference record that dates back to week 3 of the 2013 season (JJ Hammond's 304 vs. UCLA). He also passed Arturo Pacheco for second place on the Big XII career rushing touchdowns list with his 57th. He is 18 away from Sterling Brown's conference record of 75.
  13. stormstopper

    How are you doing?

    As a good portion of you know (not everybody, I didn't advertise it widely but didn't keep it a secret), I've spent the last 15+ months working on JB Pritzker's campaign for governor. Campaigns are inherently stressful. It's a job that requires you to throw your whole self into it, first of all--nobody works a campaign for the pay or the job security, but because it's something they believe in. It's a job with an absolute, implacable deadline to convince as many people as possible that your value and your candidate's values match their values. It's a job that requires long hours and mental endurance. It's a job where every piece of news can change your odds of success. And in the end, everything you've done for weeks, months, or close to two years on end can be fully validated or entirely and mercilessly erased on one bad Tuesday night in November. So that's been my baseline level of stress lately. Add on the fact that late in an election cycle you start having to put off things that you want and/or need to do because you don't have the time or mental headspace for them. Add on the need to do my job as well as I possibly can because I know people rely on me and because I'm always putting pressure on myself. Add on the knowledge that there's a lot at stake nationwide that I know I can't do anything about but wish I could. Add on all the residual frustration from the elections in 2014 and particularly 2016 that I never truly got closure from. The fact that I'm doing something that matters, something I'm good at, something that keeps me constantly motivated is great--I regret nothing. But I'm not sure I ever really took stock of how constantly I was feeling on edge. That was my life up through Tuesday night. Ever since I woke up on Wednesday, I've just felt a lot more relaxed. I feel like I can come up for air finally. It feels good.
  14. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - Saturday Afternoon

    It's not only scorigami, but it also is the 4th time a team has won with exactly 11 points scored (8th time overall that a team has scored exactly 11, win or loss). Wins: Ole Miss 8-11 Tennessee (2013 week 12) Purdue 11-10 Indiana (2014 week 13) California 11-3 Ohio (2018 week 7) Kent State 9-11 Louisville (today) Losses: Alabama 14-11 Arkansas (2015 week 10) Air Force 11-20 Navy (2016 week 5) Iowa State 11-55 West Virginia (2020 week 14) Georgia Tech 35-11 North Carolina (2021 week 14) So every time a team has scored 11 points in a game, it has been an act of scorigami.
  15. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - Saturday Afternoon

    Kent State-Louisville: great game or greatest game ever? Solomon McLaughlin: great runningback or greatest runningback ever?
  16. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - Saturday Morning

    Oops, that was supposed to be yards per attempt
  17. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - Saturday Morning

    Kansas State set school records for: Margin of victory (47, passing last year's 32-point win over West Virginia) Points scored (56, passing the 51 scored in 2014 in a loss to SMU) Passer rating (253.2, passing Marshall Newman's 229.5 against Iowa State in 2016) Completion percentage (87.1%, passing Marshall Newman's 84.2% in the same game) Yards per pass attempt (14.7, passing Marshall Newman's 13.2 also in the same game) 3rd down conversion percentage (87.5%, passing the 46.7% Kansas State converted against BYU week 1 of this season)--this is also a Big XII record
  18. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - FNF

    Not sure who's in more early trouble: Baylor or Kansas. Olmsted and Street really haven't made the progress you would hope they would have made after starting off so well in their debuts as freshmen. Massive day for Vaughn Sheppard, though. First 200-yard game by an Iowa State quarterback since August Blank in week 3 of the 2020 season and first 2-touchdown passing game for the school since Blank the week before. First time a QB has done both in the same game since Clifford Wilcox mashed Oregon State in 2019, and just the 5th time an Iowa State quarterback has gone for 200 & 2 against a P5 opponent. Sheppard had a rough freshman year, but this is far and away the best effort he's put together in his career and being able to do so makes Iowa State a completely different team.
  19. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #3 - TNF

    With Charlotte's win, UNLV now owns the longest losing streak in the country with 15 straight defeats. Liberty and Georgia Southern are at 13 apiece. Purdue's active 9-game winning streak is the longest in the country. Nobody else is sitting on a streak of more than 6 (Texas A&M, Michigan State, BYU)
  20. stormstopper

    [2022] Injured Reserve

    Chicago Bears place WR Aaron Pagliei 6-3 185 5 Florida [Speed] [-1] 82 on injured reserve. He suffered a Severe Achilles Rupture in week 2 and is out for the season.
  21. stormstopper

    2018 Midterm Pick 'Em

    Link to pick 'em: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdUt5lTOLobTRqbktOQMZoTYtY7pt6dxdIbAfUsUKDu5L_J8Q/viewform?usp=sf_link The rules: For every Senate and gubernatorial race that's expected to be competitive, you can make a pick indicating who you think will win, and at what level of confidence between "lean," "likely," and "solid." If your pick is correct, you get 1 point if you picked lean, 2 points if you picked likely, and 3 points if you picked solid. But if you get it wrong, you lose 1 point for lean, 2 points for likely, and 3 points for solid. There's also a category for longshots, where you may opt to make a high-risk bet worth 5 points if you're correct or -5 points if you're wrong. This is optional. You may pick as many or as few races as you want. Anything you don't pick is 0 points. For the House, pick how many seats you expect Democrats to control. If you get it right, you get 50 points. If you're off by 1 seat in either direction, you get 49, and each additional seat you're off by costs 1 extra point. (There is no floor on this, by the way--if you're off by 52 seats, for example, you wind up with -2 points for this question.) All picks must be submitted before 6:00 PM ET tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/6) as that's when the first polls begin to close. Please keep this thread civil and preferably nonpartisan. If you are eligible to vote but have not done so yet then please make a plan for when and how you will cast your ballot tomorrow. If you have any questions, either quote or @ me in this thread to ensure I get the notification. I can't guarantee I'll be able to respond, but I'll try.
  22. This is the sixth time these two teams have met, but only the second in the 24-team era (let alone the 32-team era). They last met in 2019, a 42-17 Rams win; the Rams are 4-1 overall in the series. These two teams have played almost opposite schedules so far. The Rams lost close to a pair of teams that could both make the playoffs, and the Saints destroyed a pair of teams that might both pick in the top ten. (The fact that they've cruised to victory is meaningfully different from merely winning both games.) The Rams have one of my favorite defenses and the Saints have one of my favorite offenses, so this ought to be a fun one.
  23. stormstopper

    [2022] Week #2 - Saturday Evening

    Good game. But also no.
  24. stormstopper

    [2022] Texas Post Week 2 Press Conference

    Storm Stopper, Big XII Network. Is Lucas Beckwith's job as starting quarterback in any danger through two weeks?