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    stormstopper

    Conference Commissioner
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    Everything posted by stormstopper

    1. Offense and defense get all the love, and offense gets most of it. But there are three phases of the game, and special teams seemed to have an outsized impact on the nation's most exciting conference this week. Kickers were particularly high-profile this week--some in good ways, some in bad--and we saw punting make an impact too. (Sorry returners, you'll have your day sometime.) In this edition, we'll definitely talk about how each team fared on offense and defense, but the impact of special teams will get its own section. So with that in mind, let's talk about the games. Thursday Night Texas Tech 16, Marshall 13 Close call: Marshall's defense knocked back Texas Tech a bit, and the Red Raider offense struggled to get going for most of the game. A Cayden Gipson touchdown put Marshall ahead early, though Texas Tech would lead 9-7 at the half on the strength of three field goals. Texas Tech would not score a touchdown until Solomon McLaughlin (who else?) found the endzone in the fourth quarter to cap off a 25-carry, 115-yard day and put his team in the lead for good. Shutdown D: While the offense struggled to get out of bed in the morning, the defense had already eaten its Wheaties, laced up its cleats, and brought the wood to the Thundering Herd. They let up a touchdown in the first quarter, but Marshall struggled to move the ball for most of the game. Brandon Adler completed just 13 of 26 passes for 127 yards; he and Gipson combined for just 55 rushing yards on 21 carries. Those are defensive numbers that you'll take any day. You'll also take 3 tackles for loss, courtesy of Curtis Jones, Austin Callahan, and Hunter Cross. The Third Phase: Special teams matter, y'all, and that's going to be a theme down the line this weekend. Texas Tech couldn't affect the field positioning battle, as true freshman punter Richard Brock averaged just 33.2 yards per punt--that's the sixth-lowest single-game mark since that stat was tracked. This is the second straight season that punting has been a problem for the Red Raiders, and until it improves their defense is going to be playing on short fields any time the offense struggles. On the other hand, special teams worked in Tech's favor as well. Jayden McPherson hit from 28 and 35, but his 46-yard miss wound up being equal to the margin of victory--meanwhile, redshirt sophomore kicker Jeffrey Gauthier was a perfect 3-3 including a 40-yarder and a 45-yarder. Kohler injury: A run-heavy offense like Texas Tech gives its fullbacks a lot of work, and they'll be hoping that Isaac Kohler's hamstring injury isn't too serious. He's expected to play but be limited for the next month or two; look for classmate Walter Hatfield to pick up the slack. Next up: Texas Tech will look to win its third straight as they host Iowa State. First team to throw the ball loses. Saturday Afternoon Baylor 26, West Virginia 23 Gone Wilder: Lamont Wilder was the straw that stirred the drink on Saturday, hauling in 8 catches for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns--one right before halftime, and one to tie the game at 23 in the fourth quarter. With the run game nonfunctional (18 carries for 44 yards) and quarterback Caleb Olmsted struggling to find anyone else (he finished 21-36 for 241 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT), Wilder was the difference-maker in this game. Big Play Defense: While Wilder and Mohamed Mustafa (24 carries for 108 yards, 1 TD) were the only players to have a truly good day on offense, much of the credit has to go to both defenses for making big plays in big moments. Alex Whitney and Ezekiel Sewell combined for 3 tackles for loss, and linebacker Thomas Morton led the team with 6 tackles, an interception, and a pass breakup. And that's not to undersell how tough West Virginia made Baylor's offense's life: Aaron Pagan and Elvis Cornejo had a sack apiece, and a suddenly freshmanlike Caleb Olmsted threw picks to both Marquise Rollins and Lamont Carson. Both defenses also held strong in the red zone, allowing 2 touchdowns apiece while forcing 4 field goal attempts each. Which brings us to... The Third Phase: I'm not trying to call out Felipe Munoz. He's been a fantastic kicker throughout his career, and his 328 points are more than any Big XII kicker not named Chiaverini or Aguirre. While he's 1-4 from beyond 40 yards this season that could still be an aberration considering he was 27-32 his first three years. His missed 42-yard attempt on Saturday is not the only reason that West Virginia lost. But the fact that Baylor's Jesse Cantrell hit from 48 and 43 (and 30 and 27) is a significant reason that Baylor won this game. West Virginia's offense has enough constraints that it can't afford a kicking crisis on top of that; meanwhile, as Baylor's offense cools down they have to be happy that Cantrell has already exceeded last season's field goal total despite fewer attempts. Country Music Awards: The standing bet between coaches TuscanSota and smckenz3 is that the loser of the Country Roads Clash has to sing the greatest song of all time, and I'm sure you can guess which one I'm talking about. For reference, here is the Baylor head man himself singing it last year; we look forward now to hearing smackems's best singing voice. Hyde Out for Season: Baylor Offensive tackle Joshua Hyde appeared to slip while retreating to pass block and stayed down. He was unable to support his weight and had to be helped off the field. MRI confirmed Baylor's fears: Hyde had torn his Achilles and is out for the remainder of the season. Next up: Baylor gets a bye before their lengthy homestand continues with back-to-back games against Texas and Kansas State. West Virginia takes on Oklahoma on Saturday morning, for their part (ask Robert Price and Gary Baldacci about this game on that time slot sometime). Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 10 Fast Start, Fast Finish: Oklahoma State's first-ever trip to Ames was a fairly routine one. The Cowboys took control of this game early, rolling up a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and a 21-7 lead at the half. While their defense never let Iowa State have any room to breathe or any room to get back in it, they didn't truly pull away until a 14-0 fourth quarter brought us to our final margin. Perhaps they were disheartened by losing their shutout bid against the Cyclones in the fourth quarter of last year's 30-7 win in Stillwater. Dunn Dunn Dunn: Jay Dunn could very easily have won OPOTW this week after hauling in 7 catches for 105 yards and a pair of scores for Oklahoma State to pace the team. It's kind of weird to say he was the MVP of the Cowboy offense when his quarterback threw for 4 scores, but the rest of Ian Baldwin's day (58.8% passing, 7.1 YPA) showed that his receivers' playmaking was what carried the offense. Even with Xavier Gant out, Dunn and Jeremy Bridges (3 catches for 79 yards, 1 TD) stepped up and more than made up for his absence. And, of course, don't forget about Barack Holmes's 102 yards and a score on 20 carries flat. Too Early To Call: Oklahoma State has been taking names on both ends of the field this season, ranking 6th in scoring (40.75 PPG) and 7th in scoring defense (12.25 PPGA). Their +28.5 margin per game is more than 20 points better than the next-highest team in the Big XII. Pessimists will say that's come against Virginia Tech (a loss), Florida International (Florida International), West Virginia (having a down year), and Iowa State (inconsistent so far). Optimists will tell you that they're outperforming that schedule by a lot. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but my gut leans toward the optimists. Freshmen Will Be Freshmen: Iowa State's up-and-down offensive start continued as the freshman backfield fell back into struggle mode. Kofi McCullough did all right, ripping off a 37-yard touchdown run but not much else; he'd finish with 92 yards and the one score on 22 carries for the day. They'll usually need more than that to win because of the amount that they rely on McCullough for the offense, but he's pretty far down the list of culprits for the Cyclones. Quarterback Vaughn Sheppard, on the other hand, looked like a true freshman in his fourth career game out there--mainly because he is. He finished 11-25 for 105 yards and 2 picks, and his 63.28 passer rating is the second-worst passer rating by a Big XII quarterback this season. It's also the worst by an ISU quarterback since August Blank put up the literal exact same statline against Texas Tech late last year. The Third Phase: Special teams wasn't anywhere near decisive in this one. Oklahoma State's Ralph Hinson missed his only attempt (from 46), and Evan Shipley hit from 40 but missed from 44. Squall Line: Iowa State's offensive line rating by game: 7.3, 5.3, 6.8, 5.7. Iowa State's point total by game: 24, 13, 38, 10. You can do the math. Next up: Oklahoma State's road tour continues as the Cowboys ride up to Manhattan to take on Kansas State (more on them next). Iowa State, meanwhile, heads down to Lubbock for a matchup between the Fightin' McCulloughs and the Fightin' McLaughlins. May the better McRunningback win. #22 Texas 21, Kansas State 10 Run the Dang Ball...Effectively: Neither team was shy about putting the ball in their respective runningbacks' hands, with Simeon Wells taking 23 carries and Jaiden Givens taking 20. But the effectiveness, not the volume, of the run game was the difference here. Kansas State was consistently unable to make any headway against a Texas defensive front that looked like a completely different unit, as Givens earned just 40 yards on 20 carries. For comparison, Simeon Wells's touchdown run alone went for 67 yards--and if you take that out, Wells still had more than twice as many yards on the day as Givens. As a whole, Texas outgained Kansas State 169-40 in the run game. Pinpoint Accuracy: Both opposing passers had no trouble slicing and dicing the opposing secondary, each hitting a variety of receivers and each missing very few of his throws. Kyler Tackett completed 21 of his 29 passes, the third time in four games that he's been over 72% in a game this season. And those weren't just baby checkdowns, either; he threw for 260 yards and a pair of scores in the first quarter that gave Texas the lead for good. Murrell's accuracy was even better, which is more impressive considering the length of throw he was forced into on third downs due to the aforementioned run game struggles. He completed 22 of 27 passes, an 81.5% completion percentage--that's a career high by more than ten percentage points, and the highest completion percentage by a Kansas State quarterback since Marshall Newman's 16-19 effort against Iowa State in 2016 during the bowl run. That said, one of Murrell's five incompletions was indeed an interception. A Touchdown Every Time Out: Murrell and Tackett are both rewriting the trivia books (and maybe soon the record books), as they each continued their streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to start their careers. Rahim Murrell has now thrown a touchdown pass in all 16 games he's started, which is the fifth-longest such streak in Big XII history; Kyler Tackett has done so in all 17 he's started, which ranks 4th. Ahead of them are Brad Davis (18), Chester Brenner (19), and Norris Brooksheer (33 for 33). The Third Phase: Special teams didn't really have that much of an impact on this one, but until Simeon Wells's backbreaking run in the fourth quarter it very well could have. This was a 14-10 game headed into the 4th quarter, but the two kickers combined to go 1-4 on field goal attempts. Texas's Giovanni Esposito missed opportunities to put the screws on, which you can hardly blame him for because his attempts were from 48 and 56 yards out. Wildcat counterpart Martin Kay made his 28-yard chippie, but if he'd connected from 45 then Kansas State would have been within one possession even after the fourth-quarter touchdown. Next up: Texas's long road trip takes a break next week as they go on bye, but they follow it up with a 100-mile drive to Waco to take on Baylor. Kansas State, meanwhile, gets to stay home to take on red-hot Oklahoma State. Saturday Evening #3 TCU 13, #5 LSU 10 Felix Felicis: It wasn't the prettiest game for Felix Luck. 23-for-40 with 221 yards and a pair of interceptions is a tough statline to overcome in a win. But despite the adversity, despite trailing into the fourth quarter, despite a tough LSU defense, Felix Luck made the throws he needed to make when it came down to it--particularly on 2nd and 10 from the LSU 28 with the clock getting noticeably shorter with every passing drive. The call was play-action to Shamar Burroughs, and Luck sold the handoff well enough that the senior tailback was walloped at the line of scrimmage. But it also drew in the defense and got McHanna in one-on-one coverage. Luck said after the game that he was eyeing Finn Nielsen's side of the field to keep the safety from cheating over, and he delivered a perfect lob to the back shoulder to where only McHanna could catch it for to go-ahead touchdown. Throws like that are why Luck has earned the starting job, and he only needs to make one or two such throws per game the way the defense is playing. Lights Out: Speaking of which, TCU's defense is (to borrow a term from hockey) standing on its head. LSU had entered this game averaging more than 27 points a game and scoring at least 26 all three times out. TCU held them to ten. They made normally reliable Elias Allen-Hollis a nonfactor, holding him to 13-26 passing for 140 yards and 2 interceptions and sacking him twice. Kenyon Randall did break off a 40-yard touchdown run, but his other 21 carries went for a total of 45 yards. They held the Tigers to 3-14 on third down and, again, held them to 10 points total. This is the second opponent TCU's held to 10 or fewer this season and the third that couldn't reach 20 against the Horned Frogs. Their 15.0 points allowed per game is a top-15 rank in the country, but that's against a schedule that's included USC, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and LSU--absolutely no gimmes on that list. Rock Fights: Along with the 9-7 win over Tennessee, TCU has now won two games this season in which they scored 13 points or fewer. That ties a Big XII record with three other teams: 2014 Oklahoma State, 2015 Texas Tech, and 2018 Iowa State. The 2014 Pokes had a laundry list of future NFL players on that defense--Anthony Ortiz, Dewey Tomlinson, and Louis Peterson being among them. The 2015 Red Raiders went 12-0, did not allow a touchdown in conference play, and made the playoffs. The 2018 Cyclones made the playoffs over both participants in that year's conference championship game. That's good company for a defense to be in, and the ability to win consistently with defense can make up for offensive struggles. The Third Phase: Special. Teams. Matter. Both teams missed a field goal in this game, and the final margin ended up being exactly three points. That's not necessarily anything that William Finn should be concerned about; he hit his attempts from 42 and 26 and his only miss was an end-of-half desperation try from 55 yards. No shame in that. But Wyatt Abel's got to be kicking himself after banging a makeable 43-yarder off the upright in the third quarter. Those single kicks are never the only reason that a team loses a close game because there are so many plays on which a game can turn--but you sure would like to have them back when they don't go your way. Best Résumé in the Country: TCU didn't move up in the polls even with a win over a top-5 team, but they've done as much as you could reasonably ask for in non-conference play to boost their playoff résumé. USC was top-10 at gametime, and TCU played them with a healthy Marc Lockwood. Tennessee...well, they have talent and good coaching even though the season's looking like a bust. And LSU was a playoff team last year that remains a bona fide contender this year--and the pollsters didn't punish them for the loss, dropping them three spots and leaving the Tigers as the highest-ranked one-loss team in the poll. TCU will obviously have to take care of business in the conference season, but they will not lack for quality wins when decision time comes. Next up: TCU got their first-ever win against Kansas in a defensive struggle last year, and they'll look to go back-to-back with a trip up to Lawrence next Saturday. Byes: Kansas (2-1), Oklahoma (2-1)
    2. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17gxom5ELNCWktU3BnHjT6qklTvmwvUo7kNQiHo4jtwY/edit?usp=sharing Up to date through the end of week 0. Darman and I will be keeping this updated throughout the season.
    3. [2021] Week #5 - SNF

      Quarterback controversy in Detroit?
    4. [2021] Week #5 - 1 PM

      Surprised not to see on the injury list "Tanner Bowman, QB - Growing Pains" I'm sure he'll bounce back.
    5. Saturday Afternoon West Virginia (1-2) at Baylor (2-1)* Baylor and West Virginia each had an axle break along the country roads last time they were out. They meet up this weekend, and by the time they're done there'll be one team zipping on home and the other one standing on the side of the road with nothing but a song to sing. The Bears had their 2-0 start ended thoroughly on the strength of a bad day from the backfield and a huge day from Iowa State, suffering their worst loss since 2017 at the Cyclones' hands. The Mountaineers did them one better (one worse?), bouncing back from a win over Virginia with a school-worst 52-0 shellacking by Oklahoma State. The good news for both teams is that their opponent can't replicate exactly what caused the damage in the first place. West Virginia will almost certainly try to run it, but Mohamed Mustafa's never had Kofi McCullough's breakaway speed--he's more of a between-the-tackles, get-to-the-chains type of runner. Baylor, meanwhile, can't mimic the sheer depth and variety of downfield playmaking that Oklahoma State's pass offense showed off in spades. That said, though, they don't exactly lack for playmakers. Lamont Wilder, Baylor's all-time leading receiver, is off to a fast start as a junior with 21 receptions for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns. Caleb Olmsted looks for him early and often, and West Virginia's thin secondary will have their hands full with him. But that didn't seem to matter against Iowa State. Wilder put up his stats, but David Tolliver was able to take advantage of several of Olmsted's off-target passes, including one that he ran back for a pick-six. Baylor will need Miles Street to take the heat off of Olmsted. Street did so in the Bears' opener, rushing for two scores and catching two scores. He did so the second time, with another 109 yards rushing and a touchdown. Against Iowa State, he was held to 70 yards on 21 carries. West Virginia knows what it's like to need a runningback to carry that much of the load, as Mohamed Mustafa's suddenly become much more relied upon than ever before. Quarterback play is a serious problem, with Darren Lemons and Bobby Davies combining to complete 52.1% of their passes for 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. (Cut to Big XII career interceptions leader Kyle Cunningham licking his lips.) Mustafa rushed for 41 yards on 14 carries in the shutout loss to Oklahoma State, but if he can probe the same weaknesses that Kofi McCullough found (despite their stylistic differences), West Virginia's offense may be able to keep it in the ballgame. Even so, though, I think Baylor's going to win this game. They have the more reliable backfield, more talented receivers, the better offensive line, and the more deep and talented defense. And, of course, they're primed for revenge after last year's wild 49-42 shootout loss to the Mountaineers. Just don't expect this one to be quite that high-scoring. Baylor 30, West Virginia 14 Oklahoma State (2-1) at Iowa State (1-2)* Inversely, Oklahoma State and Iowa State clash after a pair of massive wins and look to keep the momentum going. The beatdown that Oklahoma State visited upon West Virginia was the largest in the Cowboys' history, and Iowa State hadn't ever previously beaten a Big XII opponent by as much as they walloped Baylor. With almost everybody having either opened conference play or preparing to do so this week or next, now is the time to take that effort and let it snowball into something bigger--just like West Virginia did last year. The Cowboy offense has run wild so far, just as it did with Chester Brenner at the reins. Ian Baldwin's stepped in admirably, and it sure doesn't hurt that he walked into the best situation any quarterback could have asked for with a solid offensive line and a deep set of receivers to throw to. Today, there's a bit of a complication as Xavier Gant is sidelined with a concussion. That still leaves Jeremy Bridges and Jay Dunn working the outside, and promotes redshirt freshman Samuel Barfield to the slot. Iowa State has a solid secondary, just not a deep one. They're strong up front, though, and that will matter because Barack Holmes is carrying more of the load than any Oklahoma State runningback in a few years at 113.3 yards per game and nearly 5.9 yards per carry. The Wisconsin game showed that a team that can successfully run the ball against Iowa State can win; the Iowa and Baylor games showed that Iowa State's still capable of shutting down successful running teams. Meanwhile, the Cyclones themselves have to be a successful running team to have a chance. They've put their offensive chips all on their run game. It's worked because they have an awesome offensive line and a burgeoning stud of a runningback in Kofi McCullough. He's averaging more than 150 yards and an even 2 touchdowns per game, with a 200-yard game and a 166-yard game already under his belt. The Cyclones scored 24 and 38 points, respectively, in those games. Against Iowa, he ran for 92 yards and the Cyclones scored 13--small sample size, but the conclusion is that stopping the run will pay dividends in nullifying the Iowa State offense. Oklahoma State's mostly been able to do that so far, holding West Virginia and Florida International to 92 combined rushing yards after giving up 113 on 26 carries (4.34 YPC) to Virginia Tech. I think that'll carry them to a third straight win this weekend. Oklahoma State 28, Iowa State 21 #22 Texas (2-1) at Kansas State (2-1)* The Texas game has never been kind to Kansas State. The Wildcats have faced this formerly cross-division foe four times and have been outscored by more than 20 points per game. Last year was the first time that Kansas State-Texas was a competitive game, and the Wildcats came awfully close to taking home the win in Austin. Instead, they fell 48-41 in a season that would see them fall one win short of their second-ever bowl game. Now, though, Kansas State gets to welcome Texas right after the Longhorns were humbled in a 30-10 loss to Virginia Tech. Even so, it'll be the toughest game the Wildcats have played this year. Texas is more talented than Akron (and we don't need to rehash that), but sometimes the Longhorns just get in the habit of letting everything go wrong at once. Against Virginia Tech, that took the form of Simeon Wells having the worst game of his career: 76 yards and 2 fumbles lost. It also took the form of Kyler Tackett being okay and not great, and the defense needing a full quarter to wake up (by which point the damage was done). Tackett and Wells aren't known for their volatility, though, so the idea of both of them having back-to-back no-shows would be concerning yet extremely surprising. The defense, though, faces a long-term setback due to the injury of starting defensive tackle Zion Gaines. That could leave the 296-pound Jamal Robinson playing as a 3-4 defensive tackle, or we could see Texas emerge in a 4-3 instead. Kansas State's not really a between-the-tackles team, but the defensive line shakeup might at least mean that Rahim Murrell has more time in the pocket before it collapses. And maybe that means there's more time for the window to open to hit Ricky Seau even with Damani Jeffries all over him. But if Texas decides that they can still rely on linebackers like Jabari Fletcher and Nehemiah Staples to clean up the run game, they'll try and take advantage of Rahim Murrell's high-risk high-reward nature. Murrell threw for 3 scores and 2 picks against Texas last year, he's thrown for 7 touchdowns to 4 interceptions this year, and for his career he's had 27 touchdown passes, 20 passes intercepted, and 3 fumbles lost. Murrell is the type of quarterback who gives you a puncher's chance, and Texas is usually capable of surviving punchers (see: Kansas State last year, Houston this year). I think this is the best shot Kansas State's had to win this game yet. But I'm not sure I trust their ground game, I don't think the defense is going to be able to fully stop Tackett or Wells, and Murrell doesn't usually do well carrying the game alone. I think this will be a close call and a Texas win. #22 Texas 20, Kansas State 16 Saturday Evening #5 LSU (3-0) at #3 TCU (3-0) No one can claim these teams aren't as battle-tested as they come. TCU's already slain a top-10 team on the road, outslugged Tennessee despite an offense that was stuck in park, and burning past rival Texas Tech on the road. LSU, for their part, shut down the UNC offense in their opener before outlasting Mississippi State and Georgia in back-to-back overtime thrillers--but none of those games came on the road. This is one of the biggest--if not the single biggest--non-conference games remaining this season, and I'm sure neither team would mind if it wound up being a playoff preview. And because both teams have not faced a challenge like they're about to see this weekend, this is the best chance we're going to get to learn what they're both capable of. For TCU, so much of this game is going to come down to how Felix Luck handles a traditionally strong LSU pass defense. The Tigers allow opponents to complete 57.3% of their passes for an even 200 yards per game, and they've given up 3 touchdown passes to 4 interceptions. Clay Vereen leads the team with two picks, and trying to avoid him by throwing at Eddie Quarless isn't a winning proposition either. That doesn't even get at the elite safety tandem of Jeremy Whitehead and Timothy St. John, who are each capable of putting a lock on half the field at a time. TCU will be attacking that secondary short Ousmane Seay (out for the season), though the trio of Justice Paige, Elliot Goodrich, and Marc Dobbins should be able to step up as complementary targets after the duo of Finn Nielsen and Griffin McHanna. They don't run the ball a lot, though, so all their chips will be in one Luck-sized basket. Up-and-down is the best way to describe Luck's season, as he's completed just 58.0% of his passes with 5 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. TCU has had the best offensive line in the conference so far this season, so the pressure that Alexander "Reaper" Burton can bring is less of a concern than it would be for most offenses--but if they can't keep Burton (who has 2.5 sacks this season) off the edge, it's going to be trouble. TCU and LSU both consider defense to be a calling card. And while TCU needs their offense to look like it did against Texas Tech if they want to have any chance of winning this, their defense needs to take charge of this game against a capable LSU offense. Elias Allen-Hollis isn't necessarily a star, but he's a capable player and an underrated athlete who has run a steady ship for ages for the Tigers. This season, he's 59-93 (63.4%) for 704 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions; he's also run the ball 14 times for 76 yards. If he has a bad day, you did something really right; if he torches you, you did something really wrong. Like Felix Luck, he's working with a permanently shorthanded receiving corps due to Brandon Lawler's season-ending MCL injury. But unlike Luck, he has a wild card lined up behind him. The book is still being written on bruising tailback Kenyon Randall, but after a low-volume opener he's been a workhorse. For the season, he's rushed 63 times for 305 yards (4.84 YPC) and 5 touchdowns without a fumble. Against an imposing TCU defensive front, that won't be easy to replicate...in theory. In practice, both opponents who've run the ball seriously against TCU had success doing so. USC's Bernard Shook had 112 yards on 21 carries, and Solomon McLaughlin had 129 yards and 2 scores on 27 carries (albeit with a fumble lost). I think the LSU ground game (and consequent run-pass balance) is going to be crucial to this game, and I do think it's going to be enough to carry the visitors to a win in Fort Worth. #5 LSU 13, #3 TCU 10 Byes: Kansas (2-1), Oklahoma (2-1)
    6. [2021] Week #5 - Saturday Morning

      South Carolina had their second-lowest scoring output of the season to date, dropping their PPG all the way down to 53.75
    7. ObliviousLAX

      GTHC, but welcome back!
    8. [2021] Week 5 Headlines

      SKOL SWEEP Bears complete sweep of Vikings with 24-10 win, match last season's win total Norris Brooksheer celebrates a touchdown pass to Donnie Allen during the Bears' 24-10 win over the Vikings. Chicago has now won 5 straight in the series.
    9. Interface bugged out

      Did you scroll down and click on Update before you changed pages?
    10. [2021] Week #5 - TNF

      Correct, and breaks the Navy academy record by 17 points.
    11. [2021] Week #5 - TNF

      Dang, sucks to see Cobb go down like that. Such a promising talent. On the plus side, we've matched last season's win total, neither of our injuries will have any effect after the bye week, and everything looked more like the first three games than they looked like the Tampa Bay game. And Donnie Allen stays winning.
    12. Thursday Night Marshall (2-1) at Texas Tech (1-2) Five days after tearing up Boise State's defense to the tune of 246 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground in Texas Tech's first win of the season, Solomon McLaughlin will look to make it two in a row as the Red Raiders welcome Marshall to Lubbock. Marshall has had experience facing run-heavy teams before. New Mexico State's Shane Walker and Fred Hankins ran it 31 times for 128 yards and a touchdown; Florida International's Mayer Ewing and Gavin Copeland combined for 26 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown; only UTSA (15 carries for 60 yards, 1 TD) didn't make a serious effort at running it. How will the Thundering Herd adjust to that? Probably not well. They have a pair of solid defensive tackles named Watts (Bradley Watts and Jermon Watts), but not much of an edge rush and certainly not a good set of linebackers. Texas Tech has a great interior offensive line, and they should be able to impose their will on the Marshall front. The secondary is much stronger thanks to safeties Riley Goldberg and Kevin Faulkner, but Texas Tech doesn't really test opposing safeties basically ever. And if they can establish the run, why start now? On defense, Texas Tech will have to continue making an impact up front. Curtis Jones has been a wrecking ball, leading the Big XII with 4.5 sacks; the biggest challenge, though, will be Kahau Tupa'i lining up across from star center (and likely future NFL player) Shawn Cortez. Marshall's offense has operated in fits and starts. Cayden Gipson's been crucial, rushing for 111 against NMSU and 140 against UTSA. When he plays well, Marshall scores and Marshall wins; however, he also netted 44 yards on 18 carries in Marshall's loss to FIU. Brandon Adler's been a mixed bag: he was a total nonfactor against FIU with no scores and 2 picks on 13-26 passing; however, he's thrown 4 touchdowns to 1 interception in Marshall's two wins. The offense has tended to rise and fall in sync, and facing a defense like Texas Tech's will strain it across the board. I don't expect Texas Tech to have much trouble here. Texas Tech 38, Marshall 7
    13. [2021] Week 4 Headlines

      PLUNDERED Buccaneers raid Bears for 5 turnovers, Gaines hurt as Bears forced to walk plank The Bucs had plenty of reason to celebrate on Sunday during their second straight blowout win--and their second win over the Bears in as many years.
    14. Lesson learned: football teams don't reach their final form after two games, and they're capable of shocking swerves this early in the season. That said, this was a particularly expectation-shattering week in the nation's most exciting conference. Not only did two ranked teams go down, but they went down hard. Not only did players like Christian Graham, Maurice White, and (especially) Kofi McCullough put up incredible performances, but they all got overshadowed by Solomon McLaughlin's Heismanesque day. Somehow, we exit the week knowing only that all we knew before was wrong. So let's talk about the games. Thursday Night Kansas 41, California 21 Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Coast: A week after a fiasco of a first half cost them any shot of beating Missouri, Kansas wasted no time jumping all over the Golden Bears. The offense fired on all cylinders, with red-hot Christian Graham throwing for a pair of scores and Rod Fulton rushing for a pair of scores before the half. The defense was stifling, with safeties Richard Clemons and Noel Barfield picking off Leonard Norris one apiece. Kansas took a 28-0 lead into halftime and never looked back. The Boys from Basehor: High-school teammates Jamari Callahan and Noel Barfield were all over the place on defense for the Jayhawks. Reigning Big XII Defensive Player of the Year Jamari Callahan sacked Leonard Norris twice and dragged Zachary McFadden down in the backfield once. He also pressured Norris into bad throws, which Barfield took full advantage of. The sophomore safety batted down a pair of passes and intercepted one. Laundry Day: The officiating crew wasn't happy with either team, throwing a total of 22 flags over the course of the game. Kansas got tagged for 10 penalties that cost the team 102 yards, the second-highest penalty yardage Kansas has racked up in a single game since the Big XII Network began tracking that stat (it trailed the 2019 Alamo Bowl, also a Kansas win). Cal's 110 penalty yards, though, are the most that any opponent has incurred against a Big XII team. Graves Out for Season: Kansas's depth crisis somehow managed to get even worse. Chris Burgos missed this game with a hamstring injury, and true freshman Bronson Graves had to be helped off the field after what appeared to be a knee injury. MRI confirmed that Graves had torn his ACL; he'll miss the season, and the school will apply for a medical redshirt for him. Next up: The banged-up Jayhawks will get a much-needed rest next week before playing host to a tough, tough TCU. Saturday Morning Kansas State 24, North Carolina 14 Ricky's Rules: The Tar Heels had no answer for Ricky Seau, who blasted off to a new career high in receiving yardage for the second straight game. He torched the Carolina secondary to the tune of 135 yards--the highest single-game total by any Big XII receiver this season to date. He caught both touchdown passes that Rahim Murrell threw, and his steady hands hauled in 7 receptions for the game. The oldest of the Basehor Boys couldn't ask for a much better start to his senior year. Le Petit de Poteet: True freshman Sammy Schuler made his presence known against the pass-heavy UNC attack. The 5-10 cornerback from Poteet, Texas, showed why Kansas State made him their #1 priority in his class: he intercepted Sebastian Norwood once, batted down another pass, and was a hound dog in man coverage throughout the game. His presence is going to give opposing quarterbacks pause when they try to throw to the boundaries. Greatest Streak: Rahim Murrell's had some issues with turnovers--his interception and fumble (recovered by the offense) being the latest examples. But he's been reliable as they get at making sure the ball gets into the endzone at least once. In 15 games, Murrell has never failed to throw a touchdown pass. Only four other Big XII quarterbacks can truthfully say the same: national champions Norris Brooksheer and Brad Davis, Oklahoma State legend Chester Brenner, and rising star Kyler Tackett. The Greatest is in good company. Parham Concussed: Strong safety Matthew Parham took a hit to the head while making a tackle and was immediately escorted to the sideline. He would not return to the game and was quickly diagnosed with a concussion. His status for next week is in question, but the team is optimistic about getting him back soon. Next up: Kansas State opens up conference play at home against Texas, and they'll look to get revenge after last year's 48-41 shootout loss. Saturday Afternoon Iowa State 38, #22 Baylor 7 Kofi McCullough Is Really Good: We've seen three games from the redshirt freshman that Iowa State's bet their season on, and so far that's been a pretty dang good bet. After rushing for 200 yards and two scores in his debut, he had a pedestrian second game. All that did was lull the haters (and perhaps the Big XII Network) into a false sense of security, and McCullough unloaded in his first conference game. He ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter, scored three times overall, and totaled up 166 yards on the ground on 26 carries. He was the best player on the field (on offense), and with his offensive line paving the way there was no way he was going to be stopped. The damage he's done through three games: 76 carries, 458 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 6.03 yards per carry--which all rank 2nd in the Big XII, but we'll get to why later. Top Dog Tolliver: David Tolliver and Kyle Cunningham have had a friendly rivalry since they both broke onto the scene as freshmen in days of yore. Now as seniors, both rank among the top four in Big XII history in career interceptions. Cunningham is the conference's all-time leader with 21, but Tolliver got the last laugh head-to-head on Saturday. He made Caleb Olmsted's life miserable with a pair of pass defenses and a pick-six. He didn't blank Lamont Wilder, but he prevented the star wideout from having an outsized impact on the game. Dazed and Confused: After a two-game offensive start that left fans breathless with delight and opponents breathless with exhausting, Baylor came crashing down to earth. Hard. Miles Street earned just 70 yards on 21 carries. Caleb Olmsted completed half his passes for just 140 yards, throwing 2 picks in the process. They struggled on third down, in large part because their poor showing on first and second down set them up to fail. Outside of Lamont Wilder (8 for 82 yards) and a 31-yard Street run, the offense was in full gridlock mode. Poking the Bear: And while Baylor's offense was gridlocked, the defense was unable to figure out how to put the Cyclones back on their heels. Andrew Newton and Garrett Powers each had a tackle for loss, but apart from that the defense was largely playing catch-up and triage. You could point to Vaughn Sheppard's 119 yards on 13-23 passing as something the defense did well, but it's just not relevant when Iowa State ran the ball so well. One loss doesn't erase the progress that Baylor's made, but it sure does seem familiar given the course of last season's roller-coaster ride. Next up: Iowa State finally comes home to Ames for their home opener against Oklahoma State, where they'll look to cool down another red-hot offense. Baylor stays home (they won't leave Waco until week 10) and plays host to West Virginia in the Country Roads Clash. Warm up your vocal cords! #23 Oklahoma 27, Fresno State 17 If I Hit 'Em High, Hit 'Em High, Hit 'Em High: Oklahoma's defense did their best to rock Ryan Harris's world on Saturday, sacking the star senior four times on the day. Max Abel, David Kaiser, and Jeremy Green each had a solo sack, and Abel and Kaiser decided to team up on another one. Given that he dropped back 43 times some pressure was certainly inevitable, but a sack on 8.5% of dropbacks sure ain't nothin' to sneeze at. The pressure didn't lead to turnovers, but it did lead to Harris having to rush some throws and lower his completion percentage. Unfortunately, it also led to a thumb injury for him--though he's not expected to miss any time. The Usual Suspects: Maurice White and Eric Pope put together a couple of trademark performances. White rolled up 127 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries, his 16th straight 100-yard game. (Note: there are a total of 10 Big XII runningbacks with 16 total 100-yard games, let alone consecutively.) Pope, meanwhile, stayed efficient through the air with an 11-15, 182-yard day that came with a touchdown pass to Ty Royal. His 182 yards were the third-highest single-game total of his career, and his 12.1 yards per pass attempt were by far a career-best. He also ripped off a 31-yard carry in the fourth quarter that set up the go-ahead field goal. In the Clutch: Tied entering the 4th quarter, Oklahoma locked in on both sides of the ball to make sure they came away with the win. A 28-yard field goal from Louis Dwyer put them ahead, a touchdown run from Maurice White extended the lead, and the defense kept Fresno State off the board for the entirety of the final frame. And that's just what Oklahoma does in the 4th quarter. When they enter the final frame tied, Oklahoma is 9-2 all-time; overall, they now boast 17 wins in which the entered the fourth quarter tied or trailing. Next up: Oklahoma's earned themselves some rest before they embark on a tough road-road-neutral swing: their travels will take them to West Virginia and Fort Worth before going down south for the Red River Shootout. Texas Tech 42, Boise State 17 Solomon McLaughlin for Heisman: Solomon McLaughlin's been a stud from the day that he stepped onto Texas Tech's campus. But what he did to Boise State's defense was beyond jaw-dropping; it was record-setting. The true sophomore set a career-high for rushing yards in a single game with 246. It's the highest single-game rushing total by a Big XII runningback since Arturo Pacheco put 290 down on Florida Atlantic in 2018; before that, you'd have to rewind to Sterling Brown's 294 against Texas A&M. Overall, it ranks 6th by any Big XII ballcarrier, and he scored 4 touchdowns on the ground for emphasis. On top of that, he also caught 3 passes for 32 yards, and one of his receptions was a screen pass that went for a touchdown. He's the first Big XII player to rush for 4 scores and catch a 5th in a single game. He's rushed for 34 touchdowns in 16 career games, which is already 12th in Big XII history--and he's on pace to break Sterling Brown's record of 75 by the end of 2022. He's also at 2277 rushing yards for his career, which only ranks 20th but is still a fast enough pace to pass Brown by the end of 2022. With Regard to All the Records He Can Break By 2022: Solomon McLaughlin's eligibility doesn't run out until 2023. Defensive Gadget: Curtis Jones got some experience playing just about everywhere last year, but he's settled quite well into his role as the starting right end as a redshirt sophomore. Through 3 games he's already recorded 12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and (not to undersell it) a Big XII-leading 4.5 sacks. In other words, the 1.5 sacks he had today "only" matched his season average. Jones led a hard-nosed defensive effort that would have held Boise State to 10 points for the day if it weren't for special teams. Next up: No rest for the wicked, as Texas Tech will have to get right back up and get going against Marshall at home on Thursday night. Saturday Evening Virginia Tech 30, #13 Texas 10 What Happened to Simeon Wells: Texas's junior tailback looked like he'd made a star turn at the beginning of the season. He torched Houston for 184 yards and 3 scores, followed it up with a stellar 148 and 2 against New Mexico, and then...this. He toted the rock 21 times in Blacksburg, and absolutely nothing went right for him. He managed 76 yards, the third-lowest yardage total and second-lowest yards-per-carry average of his career. (Yes, Texas lost the games where he fared worse.) But just as bad as his inability to move the chains was his inability to secure the ball. He fumbled twice, losing both of them. Kyler Tackett's interception made it three Texas turnovers, and that alone put the Longhorns behind the 8-ball to begin with. High-Risk, High-Reward, High Burn Rate: Texas's defense made a point of getting after Beckett Morrison and the Virginia Tech offense. Tristan Priest and Jabari Fletcher each sacked Morrison, Samir Sneed picked off a pass, and Jaylin Dickens flew in to bat down another. But outside of that, Texas's defense was leaking yards and leaking points. Morrison completed 21 of his 26 attempts--over 80%--averaged 11.6 yards per attempt, and had a passer rating of 178.3 for the game. The run defense was better 95.8% of the time. That's not an arbitrarily picked number; Texas did well in stopping 23 of Virginia Tech's 24 rush attempts. However, it also gave up a back-breaking 33-yard touchdown run to Julius Whitaker that kept them from even thinking about just sitting on the pass. Yeah, But How Did Kyler Do: Texas needs to get a good game out of either Kyler Tackett or Simeon Wells every single game, or the offense is going to struggle. The verdict for Tackett: he did okay but not above-average. He was 13-20 through the air for 192 yards, threw a touchdown and a pick, took 3 sacks, and rushed for 33 yards. None of his receivers outside of Shaun Lyles were of much relief, and that combination's just not enough to overcome the toxic cocktail of bad running and bad defense. Credit to the Hokies, Of Course: This is the second time this season that Virginia Tech's taken down a Big XII team after their rally to beat Oklahoma State a couple of weeks back. This team came out to send a message, and that message was that Virginia Tech is a team to be taken seriously. It's one thing to edge a team that was in a coaching transition, and it's one thing to punch out the worst team Florida State's ever fielded. But to knock out a talented and nationally ranked team like Texas? That'll turn heads...as long as Texas doesn't turn out to be overrated themselves. Texas Doesn't Lose Like This Often: You can count on your hands the number of times Texas has lost a game by 20 points or more. But for the first time, you now need both hands. This was the sixth 20-point beatdown Texas has suffered in its history and the fourth since the start of the 2019 season. It's also the eighth time they've been held to 10 points or fewer in a game (though only the second time since the end of the 2015 season). This is the type of game that Texas isn't used to, and it'll be a test of this team's character to see how they bounce back from it. Gaines Will Miss 2-3 Months: Redshirt freshman Zion Gaines struggled to get off the field after missing a tackle, visibly pained and holding onto his upper arm. The team has announced that it was an injury to his rotator cuff and indicated a timetable of 2-3 months. The Longhorns' first backup is Jamal Robinson, who started as a freshman last year. He's more of a 1-gap guy, though, so Texas will have to decide if they want to go with him or go with top backup 2-gapper Evan Muniz. Next up: Texas will head up to Manhattan for their conference opener against Kansas State. The Longhorns lead the Wildcats 4-0 in the series and have outscored them 136-55--though Kansas State came awful close last year in a 48-41 shootout in Austin. Byes: West Virginia (1-2), Oklahoma State (2-1), #4 TCU (3-0)
    15. 2017 National Championship Predictions

      Alabama 21, Georgia 17. And we all agree to forget that this season happened.
    16. Whoops, good catch. Fixed that and a couple others in the week 4 evening slot.
    17. Bumping to make sure people are aware this exists. Fully updated through week 4.
    18. [2021] Week #4 - 1 PM

      The Pipe answers to Ares, to Demeter, and to Hades; hatred of the Titans comes natural to it.
    19. [2021] Week #4 - Saturday Afternoon

      Solomon McLaughlin is the fourth Big XII runningback to account for five offensive touchdowns in a game, joining Trace Buchanan (2013 week 8 vs. TCU), Sterling Brown (2014 week 12 at Texas Tech), and Dylan Stewart (2017 week 12 at Baylor). He's the only one of the four to do so with a receiving touchdown. National Player of the Week barring something truly crazy in the evening. I'm liking what Curtis Jones has been doing this year, too. I guessed way wrong on Iowa State-Baylor. Wasn't sure which of McCullough's first two games was the fluke, but what a game. And that Iowa State defense is no joke either. Nothing insightful comes to mind for the Oklahoma game, they did what they were supposed to do.
    20. [2021] Week #4 - Saturday Morning

      Obscure stat of the day: Rahim Murrell is now the 5th quarterback in Big XII history to throw a touchdown pass in the first 15 games of his career, joining Norris Brooksheer (threw a TD pass in all 33 games), Brad Davis (streak snapped after first 18 games), Chester Brenner (streak snapped after first 19 games), and Kyler Tackett (streak active at 15 as well).
    21. Saturday Morning Kansas State (1-1) at North Carolina (0-2) The Wildcats and the Tar Heels enter this game in need of a big bounceback. Kansas State's coming off of a bye after a shocking 44-25 loss at home to Akron, but North Carolina's been somewhere between dead and lifeless in their two games so far. LSU and Nebraska outscored them by a combined margin of 76-17, and virtually nothing's gone right for them. They average 25 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Sebastian Norwood's thrown 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 57.3% passing. The defense made Elias Allen-Hollis work for it back in week 1, only for Sean Connell and Franklin Riggins to get whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, however they wanted. For Kansas State, the key to replicating Nebraska's offensive success against North Carolina will be through the air. The Wildcats haven't really established a ground game yet, with Jaiden Givens coming off of 26 yards on 12 carries. Rahim Murrell has to be able to manage the game, plain and simple. So far this season, he's 40 of 68 through the air (58.8%) for 452 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. That's very much the same story as last year: he can put up big numbers, but it's going to come with turnovers attached. The turnover battle can be a turning point, but neither defense has forced them at a particularly high rate. Cornerback Nasir Greer has an interception for Carolina, linebacker Joshua Turner has one for Kansas State, and that's it. Carolina's going to try and put pressure on Murrell thanks to two NFL-quality defensive linemen (seniors Daniel Simpson and Mohamed Caldwell), and Kansas State's going to try and put Ricky Seau, Damani Askew, Jhonny Palacios, and company in a position to take advantage of a Tar Heel defense that's so-so in most spots. I think they'll be able to do that. Kansas State is going to be the more talented team on the field, they've shown some ability to fight even when they're down, and with a tight bowl picture they know that they need this game heading into conference play. They'll find a way to get it done. Kansas State 31, North Carolina 17 Saturday Afternoon Iowa State (0-2) at #22 Baylor (2-0)* Who needs an experienced backfield anyway? The Cyclones and Bears have aimed to prove that it's overrated, though they've come up with varying results so far. True freshman Vaughn Sheppard and redshirt freshman Kofi McCullough have helmed the Iowa State offense, which performed surprisingly well against Wisconsin in their opener thanks to McCullough's 200 yards on the ground before the whole thing regressed to the mean in a loss to Iowa. The result is a pair of losses where they've showed signs of what the team needs to grow into: an offense that can be explosive at times and a defense that needs to be the team's greatest strength. Baylor, in the meantime, wasted no time getting their offense going. Redshirt freshmen Caleb Olmsted and Miles Street wasted no time getting started, and the offense has looked as strong as usual. They dropped 45 points on California in the opener, they followed it up with 30 points in a blowout of Minnesota in Kansas City, and they've earned themselves a ranking. And like Iowa State, the offense isn't even supposed to be the biggest strength of the team. The defense is flush with talent on all levels, and the strength of the Baylor linebackers--Zachary McHale, Thomas Morton, Garrett Powers, Maxim Hillman--is especially important against such a run-heavy team with such a good offensive line like Iowa State. The Bears did give up 110 yards on 22 carries to Zachary McFadden in the Cal game, but buckled down to 60 yards allowed on 15 carries to Minnesota. Bottom line: if Baylor stops the run, they're going to win this game. But on the other hand, Iowa State's got a talented defense of their own. Between Jalen Pittman, Kai Voss, and Mekhi Tolbert, their defensive line should be able to challenge Baylor's offensive line. Tolbert against Baylor left tackle Brian Chavez is a particularly juicy matchup. Baylor wide receiver Lamont Wilder against Iowa State corner David Tolliver should be just as interesting. Iowa State's defense is experienced and they're not simply going to let Baylor's offense walk all over them--and I'm not sure that it'll matter. I think Baylor can still win a low-scoring game because of their defense, and if it turns into a shootout then I flat-out expect the Bears to win. #22 Baylor 24, Iowa State 20 Fresno State (0-2) at #23 Oklahoma (1-1) After falling on the road to Nebraska, Oklahoma's ground attack comes back home to face off against Ryan Harris and the flyin' Fresno air attack. The Bulldogs are off to a rough start this season, having suffered a 38-20 loss to Texas A&M and a 30-22 defeat to Louisville--both at home. Both games had the same overarching theme: Harris alone isn't enough to overcome a lot of other trouble spots on the team. Given the scorelines of those games, defense is obviously one of those trouble spots. They couldn't stop Texas A&M from throwing all over them, and they couldn't stop DeSean Dockery from running all over them. With the caveat that defensive tackle Omar Adcock will be playing on Sundays and defensive end Vince Walls has that potential as well, the rest of the front seven hasn't shown much. That's good news for a Sooner team that relies so heavily on the run. Maurice White is third in the Big XII with 135 rushing yards per game, and that's included three touchdown runs. Eric Pope and backup runningback Leon Finley have complemented with another 28.0 yards per game and one Pope touchdown run. The question for the Sooners isn't whether they'll be able to run the ball successfully so much as how successfully they'll be able to run it. On defense, they don't need to concern themselves with the run; Fresno State averages 24 yards on the ground per game. But Ryan Harris is going to sling the ball around. He spreads it out to a variety of receivers, but tight end Frank Moffett is his go-to target in the red zone with all three of the team's touchdown receptions. The Sooner linebackers and safeties will need to keep tabs on him, but the linebackers specialize in coverage. Meanwhile, their secondary is a strength. Elijah Williams and Jaiden Witherspoon are young but have found a rhythm in tandem with each other, and safeties Julian Foster and Andrew Reaves bring the experience. Harris is dangerous, but Oklahoma will make him have to win the game pretty much by himself. That alone will ensure that he can't. #23 Oklahoma 38, Fresno State 14 Texas Tech (0-2) at Boise State (1-1) Continuing with the theme of running the ball, Texas Tech will look to do just that against a Boise State team they've become very familiar with over the years. This is the third straight year that these two programs will have met, and the previous two were defense-first affairs. The Red Raiders won 25-6 in Boise two years ago, then came home to Lubbock last year and took a 17-3 decision. So far this year, though, Boise State's offense looks improved enough to perhaps find the endzone. They opened with a 41-14 win over Kent State, then scored 28 points in the first half against Miami before collapsing in the second half of a 33-31 loss. Roman Green has completed exactly 19 of 27 passes (70.3%) in both games so far, averaging 222.5 yards per game through the air. He's thrown for three scores, rushed for another, and like every other Boise State player this season he has not turned the ball over. Devon Cannon's also been surprisingly effective on the ground, averaging 117.5 yards and a touchdown on 23.0 carries per game. Texas Tech's defense has had inconclusive results so far this season. They slowed down a balanced Arizona attack and held them to 17 points, only to be taken apart by the Felix Luck-led Horned Frogs of TCU. Their offense has been less of a mystery: they're going to run the ball. A team that can slow down the run can jam up the works entirely, but it's really hard to stop the run. Arizona could, TCU couldn't, and I don't really expect Boise State to do so. There's a lot of inexperience up front for them, and that's particularly true on the perimeter. McLaughlin likes to go between the tackles, but if he can get to the outside then he's going to be gone. I think Texas Tech is going to get their first win today. Texas Tech 31, Boise State 17 Saturday Evening #13 Texas (2-0) at Virginia Tech (2-0) Nothing's been able to slow down the dynamic duo of Kyler Tackett and Simeon Wells so far. The pair of juniors have each taken a huge stride forward, and the jolt that they can put into the Texas offense has carried them through their first two games so far. Combine that with a defense that is as good as they come on paper, and there's a good reason that Texas is a top-15 team so far. That said, Virginia Tech hasn't been messing around for their own part. They're 2-0 with road wins over Oklahoma State (via huge second-half rally) and Florida State; for the first time this season, they'll enjoy home-field advantage. Hokie quarterback Beckett Morrison's been on his game to start the season, completing 42 of 63 passes for 576 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions in two games. He's capable of running the ball, too, but he loves to find Isiah Rainey (13 for 186 yards, 3 TD) running deep as well. Julius Whitaker's a threat on the ground and has hit exactly 100 yards twice, but Morrison is their main playmaker. The Hokies also have a pretty solid offensive line, particularly on the left side. But Texas's defensive line is strong all across, and that's going to leave emerging star left end Tristan Priest matched up against redshirt freshman right tackle Max Elmore. Get Elmore on his heels, and the Texas defense has a path to success. And if Virginia Tech's path to success goes through Morrison's arm (which it has so far), then they'll have to contend with a strong Texas secondary. Damani Jeffries and Devon Braxton are in their third year starting together, and they've only gotten better and better with time. Virginia Tech won't beat them one-on-one consistently, and they don't go all that deep either. But if they can get the ball moving on the ground, take some of the pressure off the passing game, and keep Texas honest, then they can put up points like Houston did. Texas's defense is 1-for-2 so far, but their offense is batting 1.000, averaging 39.5 points per game this season. Tacket is completing 79.2% of his passes with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating exceeding 200; Wells is averaging 6.6 yards per carry and 166.0 yards per game. He's scored 5 times on the ground in just 2 games. Look for Wells to get a lot of action, because Virginia Tech is built to stop the pass much more than they're built to stop the run. They've been able to limit both so far, but Texas's offense can strain those limits. Lucas Freeman and Trevor McKinney are dangerous corners, and the Longhorn receivers aren't going to blow by them one-on-one. But I think Texas has more options on offense (see: Wells, Simeon) and they'll parlay that into an advantage on Saturday evening. I think the Longhorns will be tested thoroughly, but pass the test. #13 Texas 27, Virginia Tech 24 Byes: West Virginia (1-2), Oklahoma State (2-1), #4 TCU (3-0)
    22. [2021] Week #4 - FNF

      Trace the Ace Buchanan nods with a smile.
    23. [2021] Week #4 - TNF

      The good news is that Christian and Christy both balled, my tight ends made plays, and the Boys from Basehor (Callahan and Barfield) were awesome. The bad news is that the Pipe's favorite meal is Jayhawk receivers
    24. [2021] Week #4 - TNF

      Bet the Patriots are glad they got Weldon with their #4 pick. Sure would suck if he played for a division opponent.
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