Aug 31, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Zack Craig (23) and linebacker Joe Mitchell (29) celebrate after Craig makes an interception during the fourth quarter against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 Rewind: League Looks Tough Vs. SEC, Not So Much Against FCS Teams

The 2013 college football season got under way with a flood of games this past weekend, and right out of the gate we’ve seen some surprises, including in the Big 12.

Six Big 12 teams came away winners in Week 1, but three league schools came up short in their season openers. Two of the contests over the weekend pitted the Big 12 and the SEC, believed my a number of college football analysts and media personnel to be the two strongest football conferences. Oklahoma State, one of the favorites to win the Big 12 this season, handled Mississippi State with relative ease in one of the games, and TCU, another strong contender is the eyes of some of pundits, put up valiant effort before falling to LSU, one of the top teams every year in the SEC.

Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor came away with dominant wins over heavily overmatched nonconference foes, while West Virginia got its act together late against William & Mary to avoid becoming a third Big 12 upset victim to a smaller Football Championship Subdivision school.

Defending Big 12 co-champion Kansas State and Iowa State weren’t as fortunate in the home openers against FCS teams.

Kansas State fell behind early against North Dakota State, then rallied to go up 21-7 early in the third quarter. But the Bison showed no quit, putting up 17 unanswered points, the last of which came on an 18-play, 80 yard touchdown drive that ate up eight and a half minutes in the fourth quarter and ended with a one-yard touchdown run with under 30 seconds to go in the game.

In fairness, though to K-State head coach Bill Snyder and his Wildcats, North Dakota State was not your average FCS team. The Bison are the two-time defending FCS national champion, and they are capable of beating a number of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams. “We’ve had a lot of these type of wins, but never over a program like this” said Craig Bohl, North Dakota State head coach and a former assistant at Nebraska.

Iowa State played host to in-state Northern Iowa, another FCS school. The Cyclones gave up 457 yards of total offense and never led in the game, won by the visitors from  Northern Iowa 28-20.

Both Oklahoma and Texas got off to sluggish starts in their home openers against Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State, respectively. The 16th-ranked Sooners went almost 20 minutes before reaching the end zone for the first time and were up jist 13-0 at halftime. The Sooner Schooner got rolling in the second half, however, as OU, behind a pounding running game and new quarterback Trevor Knight, a redshirt freshman, pulled alway for a 34-0 shutout. ULM drew some notoriety last season when the Warhawks upended then top-10 ranked Arkansas and came very close to doing the same against Auburn and Baylor in successive weeks.

New Mexico State scored first against Texas, and the Longhorns didn’t record their first score of the game until just two minutes before halftime. The Longhorns pushed across two TDs, both on long scoring passes, in the final two minutes of the first half to go up 14-7. The rout was on in the second half, as Texas 42 unanswered points, 21 each in the third and fourth quarters on 721 yards of total offense for the game.

Meanwhile, Baylor scored 28 points in the opening quarter and rang up 692 yards of total offense for the game in overwhelming much smaller Wofford College out of South Carolina 69-3.

Kansas State opened with a brand new starter at quarterback, as did five other Big 12 teams that played this past weekend. Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech, West Virginia and Iowa State all began the 2013 season with new quarterbacks who had not started in this league before.

All told, it was a 6-3 opening weekend for the Big 12 teams, with three of the four teams that were nationally ranked coming into the first weekend of the season victorious (Oklahoma State, Texas and Oklahoma). The fourth, 20th-ranked TCU, played well enough against 12th-ranked LSU in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas, to, in all likelihood retain its top-25 ranking.

Kansas was the only conference team not to open its season over the past weekend. The Jayhawks open the 2013 season Saturday, hosting South Dakota.

Six Other Things We Learned From the Week 1 Big 12 Games

  • Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters’ 280 yards passing against North Dakota State was the most in a Kansas State home opener since Dan Manucci threw for 343 yards in 1978 against Auburn.
  • The Oklahoma win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday was the 150th as the Sooners’ head coach. That places him just seven behind Barry Switzer, the all-time winningest Oklahoma football coach, with 157 wins.
  • Sophomore Trevonne Boykin, who started nine games at quarterback for TCU a year ago, started the game vs. LSU at wide receiver. When Boykin replaced starting TCU QB  Casey Pachall on Saturday, Pachall moved to the wide receiver position.
  • Four of Texas’ touchdowns vs. New Mexico State were of 50 or more yards. The Longhorns only had six plays of 50 or more yards all of last season. Also, the 715 yards of total offense by Texas in its season opener was a school record.
  • Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield completes 43 passes in his QB debut for the Red Raiders on Saturday at SMU. That is the most completions by a Texas Tech QB in his career debut. Also, the Red Raiders’ win over SMU was their 15th consecutive win against their former Southwest Conference foe.
  • West Virginia’s Nick O’Toole averaged 50.6 yards on five punts in the Mountaineers win over William & Mary in his initial start as the WVU punter.


Tags: Big 12 Football College Football Kansas State Wildcats Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma State Cowboys TCU Horned Frogs Texas Longhorns

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