At the midway mark of the 2013 conference season, only one game stands between three teams and the Big 12 leaders Baylor and Texas. And four of the teams (Oklahoma and Texas Tech in addition to the two league leaders) all have four wins.
Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1) was in a position to take over sole possession of the conference lead, but couldn’t get by the Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, 4-1), who withstood a furious second-half rally by the Red Raiders and handed them their first loss of the season on Saturday.
Baylor (7-0, 4-0) tattooed Kansas (2-5, 0-4) , as has been the Bears’ offensive modus operandi all season long, scoring at will and winning its seventh consecutive game this season, this one by a mere 45-point margin. The Bears led 38-0 at halftime in extending their school-record 11-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Texas (5-2, 4-0) preserved its unbeaten confernce record, but had to wait until after midnight to finish off a 30-7 victory over TCU due to a three-and-a-half-hour weather delay.
Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) kept pace with the other league leaders and found a new offensive weapon in the legs of Desmond Roland, cruising to a 58-27 win over an Iowa State team that has only one win this season.
In the only other Big 12 game in Week 9, Kansas State (3-4, 1-3) got back in the win column, turning it on late against visiting West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) for a 35-12 victory and the defending conference co-champion’s first conference win of the season.
From now on out, things in the Big 12 are going to get very interesting as the teams at the top begin playing each other head to head. The first of those race-impacting matchups was Saturday when previously unbeaten and BCS 10th-ranked Texas Tech traveled to Norman to face the Sooners. And it doesn’t get any better for the Red Raiders. They do get to stay at home for the first time in two weeks, but their opponent next weekend in one-loss Oklahoma State. Then the Raiders get Kansas State at home before closing out the season against another high-scoring offense in Baylor, in a game to be played in Arlington, Texas, and at rejuvenated Texas.
Baylor, which hasn’t been challenged all season long, has about as difficult a closing road as Texas Tech. Next up for the Bears and their nation-best offensive attack, is Oklahoma in a Thursday night game in Waco. The Bears’ remaining four games are against Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, at TCU and home against Texas to end the regular season.
The real excitement is just around the corner. Time to buckle up if you are a fan or supporter of one of the top teams.
What Else We Learned From Big 12 Action in Week 9
- It’s obvious that Kansas State is a different team with wide receiver/return specialists Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson on the field. Both players mised the Wildcats last two games, both losses. Lockett caught eight passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns and Thompson hauled in a 30-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter in K-State-s home win vs. West Virginia.
- Baylor scored 50 points for the sixth time in seven games this season. The nation’s No. 1 offense had over 500 yards and a 38-0 lead by halftime. The Bears have won 11 consecutive games dating back to last season. The last time they lost was Nov. 10 last season against Oklahoma, their next opponent on Nov. 7.
- Baylor is 4-0 in Big 12 play for the first time in program history.
- Oklahoma needed a big passing effort from junior quarterback Blake Bell, who had completed just 25 percent of his passes longer than 15 yards before Saturday’s game against Texas Tech, a team that definitely knows how to sling the ball all around the field and does it well. The Sooners, who have a 4-0 record against the Red Raiders when both teams are ranked, had 526 yards of total offense on Saturday, the biggest offensive production by a Tech opponent this season, and 249 of those yards were by the air, including two touchdown throws by Bell.
- TCU’s loss to Texas was the Horned Frogs’ fifth of the season to go along with three wins, but just one in Big 12 play. The last time TCU had five losses at this point in a season was in 1997, when the Frogs lost their first 10 games of the season.
- Oklahoma State has had difficulty running the ball this season, but not on Saturday. Junior running back Desmond Roland blazed for a career-high 219 rushing yards on 26 carries, an average of over eight yards per carry, including three rushing touchdowns.
- When Texas Tech trailed Oklahoma by 14 points, 21-7, early in the third quarter on Saturday, it was the Red Raiders largest deficit of the season.
- The 48,212 attendance at TCU on Saturday night was the second largest in school history. The game was stopped and delayed for three and a half hours with six minutes left in the second quarter. The game began at 6 p.m. Central Time and ended at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
- Texas has scored 10 touchdowns of 45 yards or longer this season, and they have have scored by eight different Longhorn players.
- West Virginia leads the Big 12 with 11 fumble recoveries in eight games, and the Mountaineers had two against Kansas State.