Five Big 12 teams went into the weekend unbeaten on the season, the most of any conference in college football. After Saturday's action, just three conference teams - Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State - remain that way.
A "Soon-ami" hit the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, as the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (No. 3 in the AP media poll) lived up to their national ranking in the 106th game in the Red River Rivalry series between OU and Texas, leaving massive destruction to the Longhorn Nation in their wake in a 55-17 rout. The Oklahoma 38-point victory margin was the fifth most all-time in the historic series between the two schools, three of which have been during the Mack Brown (Texas)-Bob Stoops (OU) coaching era.
The Oklahoma defense, which had been maligned for a lackadaisical effort against Missouri two weeks ago, put constant pressure on Texas' two young quarterbacks all afternoon and converted three interceptions and two Texas fumbles into 30 points. Sooner defenders had eight quarterback sacks and 17 tackles for a loss, totaling 113 yards in negative rushing yardage by the Longhorns, who came into the game ranked 10th and 11th in the two major national polls. The loss dropped Texas to 21st in the new USA Today poll.
"There's nothing more fun than a defensive touchdown," Stoops said after the game. OU had three of them on Saturday. Overall, the Sooners logged 453 yards in total offense on 71 plays. The Longhorns actually ran ten more plays than OU, but managed only 250 total yards.
If Kansas State wasn't getting the respect it felt it deserved after knocking off nationally ranked Baylor, cracking the top 25 in the national polls and following that up with a second straight conference win at home over always dangerous Missouri, the Wildcats should start showing up now on the radar screen of football fans. Coach Bill Snyder has his team a perfect 5-0 and 2-0 in the Big 12, with four of the wins coming before the home folks at Bill Snyder Family Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats head out on the road the next two weeks (at Texas Tech and Sunflower rival Kansas) before returning home in three weeks to host Oklahoma over homecoming weekend. It's very conceivable that K-State could come into its home date with Oklahoma still undefeated at 7-0.
On Saturday, quarterback Colin Klein scored three touchdowns and his primary backfield mate, John Hubert pounded out 128 yards rushing, but the K-State defense was the deciding factor in this game. The Cats rushed four most of the afternoon and held the Missouri offense at bay for the better part of the game. Mizzou managed a net zero yards of total offense in a disastrous first quarter: 20 yards passing and minus-20 on the ground.
There's only one word to describe Kansas' 70-28 pounding by Oklahoma State: Ugly! The Jayhawks' lone highlight in the game was on their opening possession, in which quarterback Jordan Webb led them on an 80-yard scoring drive to take a short-lived 7-0 lead. From there, the rout was on. Oklahoma State, ranked sixth nationally in this current AP media poll, ran off 35 unanswered points in the opening quarter, the most an OSU team has scored in the first quarter in the modern era, and led 56-7 after the first 30 minutes of play. Coach Mike Gundy started pulling his starters at that point. The Cowboys scored on all eight of their offensive possessions in the first half.
Following the game, Kansas head coach Turner Gill said: "We have some work to do on that (defensive) side of the ball. Or on all sides of the ball, for that matter." You think?
In other conference games over the weekend, Texas A&M came dangerously close to dropping its third consecutive game, but the Aggies were able to stave off another second-half comeback, this time by Texas Tech, to preserve a hard-fought 45-40 road victory. A&M led at halftime, 30-21, as it had in its previous two games with Oklahoma State and Arkansas, but this week the Aggie defense showed up for the entire game instead of collapsing in the second half. A&M moved up to No. 21 (from 24) in this week's AP poll.
Baylor got off to a sputtering start before turning on the jets for a 49-26 win over Iowa State. The positive thing about this Bears victory, their fourth of the season, was that they didn't have to do it on Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III's shoulders alone. This time, it was running back Terrance Ganaway who led the charge, rushing for a career-best 200 yards and three touchdowns. "The holes were about as big as this room," Ganaway said in postgame locker room comments.
Five Things We Learned From Saturday's Big 12 Games
- The Bill Snyder magic is very much alive and well in the Little Apple. For two weeks in a row, Kansas State has been cast as an underdog playing at home. Despite this, the Wildcats have come out on top in successive games against Baylor and Missouri. In both contests, the Kansas State defense came up big when it had to, keeping the game close against Baylor and allowing the Wildcats to come back for the win, and in holding off Missouri's late comeback bid this past weekend. As a result, K-State, perfect through five games, is one of 13 Division I teams nationwide that remain unbeaten.
- An illustration of how dominating the Oklahoma win over Texas was: The final score could have read, OU offense 34, OU defense 21, Texas 17.
- Where, oh where, has the running game gone? That was the question Baylor was asking itself after Kansas State held the Bears to just 83 yards on the ground the previous weekend. On Saturday against Iowa State, Baylor reeled off 391 rushing yards, 200 alone coming from running back Terrance Ganaway. Baylor leads the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 240 yards a game as a team.
- Senior quarterback Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State completed 24 of 28 passes before exiting the game just before halftime in the Cowboys' 42-point blowout of Kansas on Saturday. His 85.7 percent completion percentage set a single-game OSU record. Weeden, who turns 28 this week, is a couple of months older than Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.
- Kansas' loss to Oklahoma State was the Jayhawks' 11th consecutive road loss and their sixth successive road defeat under Turner Gill.