It was a great weekend of football for the teams of the Big 12. That is, unless you are Texas.
The Longhorns got their 2012 season off to a rousing start a week ago. They were a little slow getting out of the gate in their season opener against New Mexico State, but once they got things rolling in the second quarter, it brought back shades of the Texas teams of old, pounding their opponents into submission and leaving no prisoners in their wake.
Texas was ranked as high as 15th in last week’s AP media poll, and a number of experts were predicting that this would be the year for the Longhorns rebound and return to glory atop the Big 12 football standings. But after coach Mack Brown’s team’s surprising ill-fated performance at BYU on Saturday night, resulting a a 40-21 beatdown, some of the luster has come off of the Horns’ prospects for a big-time bounce back from several average-to-below-average seasons by high Texas football standards.
BYU literally ran roughshod over, around and through the Texas defense, thought to be much improved this season, bulldozing to a school-record 550 yards rushing, the most ever given up by Texas in well over a century of playing college football. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill accounted for 259 yards and three touchdowns all by himself. The Cougars, who lost their season-opener on the road a week ago at Virginia, 19-16, ran the ball 72 times against the Longhorns out of their 99 offensive plays.
By contrast, Texas, which has as much depth at the running back position as any team in college football, managed a very pedestrian and un-Texas-like 132 yards rushing for the game. BYU scored first, on a34-yard field goal three minutes into the game, but Texas got on the board late in the openinbg quarter on a37-yard TD pass from David Ash to wide-receiver Mike Davis to take a 7-3 lead. BYU countered with a 68-yard touchdown run by Hill, but Texas responded with a 76-yard drive, capped off by a two-yard TD run by senior Joe Bergeron to go up by four at 14-10. That was the last time the Longhorns would lead in the game.
Things got off to a very ominous start for Texas, even before the opening kickoff. Bad weather and lightning in the area delayed the start of the game for two hours. If only the Big 12 visitors had known, the worst storm of the night was yet to come.
“We didn’t get done what we needed to to do on either side of the ball,” Texas head coach Brown said in his post-game comments. “We couldn’t stop the run. That’s basically the story of the game.”
The loss was a costly one for the Longhorns. The way they lost to BYU, not necessarily the defeat itself, is why Texas fell all the way out of both the AP and the USA Today coaches’ poll this week. This week’s USA Today rankings have Oklahoma State 11, Oklahoma 13, Baylor 22, and TCU at No. 24.
Were it not for the Texas loss, the Big 12 would have posted a perfect 7-0 record against nonconference opponents over the weekend. The first conference game also was contested, in Norman, Okla., as Oklahoma outlasted heavy underdog West Virginia 16-7 in an error-filled game for both teams.
Watch out for the Baylor Bears this season. Just when you might have thought the Bear’s offense might drop off a bit this season, what with Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence now done and gone and Baylor is one of the seven Big 12 teams with a first-time starter at quarterback, all head coach Art Briles team has done in its first two games of the 2013 season is run up 139 points, an average of 70 points per game, which is exactly what they scored on Saturday in a 70-13 win over easily overmatched Buffalo.
Next weekend, we should get a pretty good read on how good this Baylor team really is this season when the Bears host Louisiana-Monroe, which was beaten 34-0 by Oklahoma in Week 1.
Another Big 12 team that has started off the new season better than many would have thought is Texas Tech. Behind walk-on freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Red Raiders pounded Stephen F. Austin 61-13 on Saturday behind a 21 for 30, 367-yard passing performance, and three passing touchdowns, from Mayfield. In his first two games this season, Mayfield has passed for 780 yards and seven TDs.
This coming week, the stakes will get much higher for the Red Raiders. They host 24th-ranked TCU on Thursday.
Both Kansas State and TCU got in the win column for the first time this season, with comfortable wins over Louisiana-Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana, respectively.
K-State, which has been a run-heavy offense in the past, took to the air for 305 yards in rolling over the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette 48-27. Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder wasn’t all that pleased with his team’s performance, however, despite the victory. “There were some things that were on the field that would allow you to believe we were better than last week,” he said, “but consistency was not one of them.”
Sophomore quarterback Trevone Boykin came on in relief of injured TCU starter Casey Pachall in the second quarter and led the Horned Frogs on three straight scoring drives en route to a 38-17 win.
In other conference games this past weekend, Oklahoma State rolled over the University of Texas-San Antonio and Kansas equalled its win total of all of last year with a 31-14 victory of South Dakota that wasn’t as impressive as the final score indicated.
Five Things We Learned From Last Week’s Big 12 Play
- Talk about a difference in styles. Last year’s game between Oklahoma and West Virginia featured 1,044 yards of combined offense and 99 total points in a 50-49 Oklahoma win in Morgantown. This year’s rematch produced 232 fewer yards of offense and 76 fewer points. Does that mean the offenses of both teams are that much worse than a year ago, or the defenses are much better? Mostly the latter, but there is no question that both offenses are less lethal than last season.
- If you don’t think the Baylor offense, even with a new starting quarterback this season, has the ability to strike and score pretty much at will, or so it would appear with 139 total points in two games, consider this: The Bears have scored in less than a minute on 17 touchdown drives in their first two games.
- Oklahoma State’s 518 yards passing (326 by starter J.W. Walsh and 192 by Clint Chelf) in the Cowboys’ 56-35 win Saturday over the University of Texas-San Antonio was the second most in program history and only the third time they have passed for more than 500 yards in a single game.
- Kansas State senior wide-receiver and return specialist on special teams Tramaine Thompson scored on a 94-yard kickoff return to open the second half in the Wildcats’ first win of the season, over Louisiana-Lafayette, on Saturday. It marks the ninth consecutive season that Kansas State has returned at least one kickoff for a touchdown. Thompson almost scored again that same quarter, returning a punt 79 yards to the one-yard line.
- Five of Texas’ 12 touchdowns in its first two games of the 2013 season have come on scoring plays of 50 yards or more. A year ago, the Longhorns had only 10 such scoring plays the entire season.