Through the first four weeks of the new college football season, no more than two Big 12 schools had gone down to defeat in the same week - until this past weekend. Big 12 teams had posted a combined record of 26-4 entering Saturday's games. As a result, two conference games over the weekend featured four unbeaten teams, and a third league tilt paired another unbeaten team against a one-loss opponent.
In one of the games of unbeatens, Kansas State junior transfer linebacker Arthur Brown was the hero in the game. Brown intercepted a pass from Baylor's Robert Griffin III that lead to a game-winning field goal with just a little over three minutes left in the game, and moments later sacked the scrambling Griffin in the Bears' final possession.
The fourth-quarter interception was the first thrown by Griffin in four games, marring another sensational performance that included 23 for 31 passing for 346 yards and five touchdowns, giving him 18 TD tosses for the season. Griffin has thrown only 20 incompletions in four games.
Brown's interception wasn't a sure thing. The University of Miami transfer bobbled the ball three times before finally securing the pigskin. Asked about the catch after the game, Brown said: "It felt like a God-given catch. I just happened to catch the ball. Finally catch the ball."
The Wildcats took a 26-21 lead into halftime, but Baylor struck early in the second half, taking the lead 28-26 and then extending it to 35-26 before the Wildcats started their comeback. Kansas State is hoping the big home win over 16th-ranked Baylor will get the Cats top-25 consideration heading into next weekend's home date with twice-beaten Missouri, which did not play this week.
While K-State was entertaining Baylor, an hour east of Manhattan, Kansas and Texas Tech were engaged in a high-scoring affair in which defense wasn't much of a factor. Playing its first game since suffering an embarrassing 66-24 pounding at the feet of Georgia Tech, Kansas scored 20 unanswered points in its first 15 offensive plays to take a commanding three-touchdown lead before the Texas Tech offense could get untracked. The Red Raiders rebounded with 24 unanswered points of their own, but the Jayhawks regained the lead at 27-24 in a first half that produced 560 yards of combined offense and took almost two hours to complete.
Behind quarterback Seth Doege, who brought Texas Tech back from a big deficit a week ago against Nevada, the Red Raiders scored 21 third-quarter points to pull ahead and finally put away the Jayhawks 45-34. Both Doege and KU's Jordan Webb threw their first interceptions of the year in the game.
Texas converted two fumbles, an interception and a blocked punt into scoring opportunities and handily put away previously unbeaten Iowa State by a score of 37-14. "Last year, Iowa State forced the turnovers and we didn't," Texas coach Mack Brown told the media after the game. "If you take care of the football like we did tonight, you're going to win a lot of football games." Longhorn freshman quarterback Jordan Ash passed for 145 yards and threw the first two touchdowns of his nascent career.
The Texas win avenges two of the Horns losses from a year ago (to UCLA and the Cyclones) and sends them into the annual Red River Rivalry game with Oklahoma next weekend with a 4-0 record, the same as the No. 1-ranked Sooners (in the latest USA Today coaches' poll).
Oklahoma had no trouble in its week-before tune-up for the Longhorns, taking out their frustrations from a 10-point Sooner win a week earlier vs. Missouri, throttling Ball State by a count of 62-6. The Sooners outgained Ball State 665-214 for the game and extended their nation-best home winning streak to 39 games.
In the final contest of the day, Arkansas from the SEC came from 18 points down at halftime to outlast Texas A&M, headed to the SEC next season, 42-38. Both teams came into the contest nationally ranked (Arkansas at No. 18 and A&M at No. 13). The two teams combined for over 1,200 yards of total offense and virtually no defense. Texas A&M fell to 2-2 on the season, while the Razorbacks upped their season mark to 4-1. The Aggies have lost all four games they have played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Three of those losses have been to Arkansas.
Five Things We Learned From Saturday's Big 12 Games
- Kansas State is one of five remaining unbeaten teams in the Big 12 and continues to impress. On Saturday, the Wildcats knocked 15th-ranked Baylor from the among the country's undefeated teams with a thrilling late 36-35 come-from-behind win.
- Coming into the season, no one questioned Texas A&M's offensive firepower, but there was some uncertainty about the Aggies defense after losing the services of one of the best defensive players in the country in linebacker/defensive end Von Miller to the NFL. After giving up huge hunks of yardage the last two weeks in losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas, it's obvious the Aggies are going to have trouble stopping good teams.
- In winning their first three games of the year, Iowa State kept the score close in each one and actually came from behind to steal the victory. Against Texas on Saturday, though, the Cyclones found themselves behind by an insurmountable 34-0 margin, largely because of five forced turnovers. Iowa State was actually favored in this game by a touchdown.
- For the second straight game, Kansas failed to mount much of an attack in the second half, placing additional pressure on a defensive unit that is marginal at best. Georgia Tech reeled off 42 second-half points, and on Saturday, Texas Tech scored three times in the third quarter while holding the Jayhawks to just one touchdown in the second 30 minutes of the game.
- Oklahoma's top two running backs, Dominique Whaley and Brennan Clay, left the field with injuries within three plays of one another in the second half of the Sooners' blowout win over Ball State. Whaley returned to the game and finished with 109 yards rushing on 15 carries. Clay did not return to action.