Baylor and West Virginia went back and forth, matching long touchdown after long touchdown, while quarterbacks Nick Florence and Geno Smith continued to out-do each other. Sometime around halftime, when it became apparent neither defense had much to say about it, a national buzz grew around the game. As the points kept piling on, jaws began dropping.
West Virginia outlasted the Bears 70-63 in a wild Big 12 shootout that was more prolific than any in conference history. Baylor tied an FBS record for most points scored by a losing team. The 19 combined touchdowns also tied an FBS mark.
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More Conference Notebooks
ACC: WFU unset after Campanaro injury
Big 12: West Virginia, Baylor set records
SEC: Texas A&M faces first SEC obstacle
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Big Ten: RB merry-go-round continues in Iowa
Big East: Louisville, Cincinnati keep pace
Smith, the likely frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, finished with eight touchdowns, tying a conference record. He had two fewer incompletions, jarring considering he threw the ball 51 times (45 for 51).
“It did feel like one of those classic Texas shootouts,” said Smith, after passing for 656 yards. “That’s kind of what the Big 12 is about.”
Smith leads the nation in just about every statistical category. He’s completing 83.4 percent of his passes, with a quarterback rating above 200. He has 20 touchdowns against zero interceptions.
“Can you please tell me how you can improve on that?” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen asked after the game.
The eight other Big 12 teams yet to face the Mountaineers hope it’s not possible.
Baylor (3-1, 0-1)
• Just like that, Robert Griffin III’s school record for passing in a game has been broken. In the loss to West Virginia, Nick Florence amassed 581 yards and five touchdowns.
“It is what it is,” Florence said. “As an offense, you can’t control what happens with the defense. It was a fun place to play. The crowd was good. I think we fed off them a little bit.”
• Receiver Terrance Williams broke another record, setting a conference mark with 314 yards receiving. The previous record of 303 had been achieved earlier in the game by West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey.
Next Game: vs. TCU Oct. 13
Iowa State (3-1, 0-1)
• The Cyclones were held to just 189 yards of offense in a 24-13 loss to Texas Tech. Last season, the Cyclones beat the Red Raiders 41-7.
• Linebacker A.J. Klein took an interception back for a score for the fourth time in his career, tying the NCAA record for touchdown returns by a linebacker.
• Iowa State had just two first downs in the first half, compounded by quarterback Steele Jantz threwing three interceptions, losing a fumble at midfield and recording only 73 yards passing.
Next Game: at TCU Oct. 6
Kansas (1-3, 0-1 Big 12)
• The Jayhawks had quite a bit to work on during their bye week before a date at Kansas State.
“The first thing I wanted to get to was the team being competitive,” head coach Charlie Weis said. “That was the No. 1 thing I talked about. And I think that if there’s one thing you could say, we’re certainly competitive.
“Now, do I like where we are record-wise? Absolutely not. Is it OK? Absolutely not.”
• The Kansas defense, though it is ranked No. 92 nationally, entered the weekend with 13 takeaways, second in the country.
Next Game: at Kansas State Oct. 6
No. 7 Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
• The Wildcats haven’t been ranked this high since 2003 but still think there’s room to move up. “We are one of those teams that could be in the top five, easily,” running back John Hubert said.
• KSU played in the Cotton Bowl last season after finishing second in the Big 12 but was curiously picked to finish sixth in the conference in the preseason.
“A lot of surprise comes from those outside our family, but we expect a lot out of ourselves,” linebacker Arthur Brown said.
Next Game: vs. Kansas Oct. 6
No. 16 Oklahoma (2-1, 0-1 Big 12)
• Quarterback Landry Jones admitted this week he is “underachieving.” “For this offense, I have to get a lot better,” the senior signal-caller said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
• Jones was erratic in a home loss to Kansas State two weeks ago and simply hasn’t played up to the level he’s capable of. As a sophomore, he led the Sooners to big wins against Oklahoma State, in the Big 12 Championship and in the Fiesta Bowl, throwing for 1,239 yards in those three games. This season, Jones has five touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 63 percent of his passes.
Next Game: at Texas Tech Oct. 6
Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1)
• There may not be a better 2-2 in the country right now than the Cowboys, who suffered a heartbreaking 41-36 loss to Texas on Saturday night. OSU would have won the game had it been able to stop the Horns from converting on fourth-and-6. A few plays later, after allowing a long pass downfield, Texas running back Joe Bergeron plunged into the end zone for a touchdown. Replays showed the ball appeared to come loose and OSU emerged from the scrum with the football, but the officials upheld the call on the field.
“They made a play at the end and they happened to make a play when the clock ran out,” head coach Mike Gundy said. “Give them credit.”
• J.W. Walsh certainly doesn’t look like a backup. The redshirt freshman, pressed into action with Wes Lunt suffering a knee injury two weeks ago, picked apart a highly regarded secondary for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Walsh also had a 50-yard run.
Next Game: at Kansas Oct. 13
No. 11 Texas (4-0, 1-0)
• Trailing late against OSU, David Ash, cool under pressure, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a strike to D.J. Grant. A couple plays later, Ash floated a pass down the right sideline to Mike Davis, who out-jumped cornerback Justin Gilbert for the ball. The drive, which finished with a Joe Bergeron touchdown, might serve as a confidence boost to Ash going forward.
“This game kind of means a lot,” Ash said.
• Running back Malcolm Brown left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury.
• D.J. Monroe, with his 100-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, surpassed Fozzy Whittaker for the school’s all-time leader in touchdown returns, with three.
Next Game: vs. West Virginia Oct. 6
Texas Tech (4-0)
• The Texas Tech defense, which held Iowa State to 189 yards in a 24-13 win, is no joke. Through four games the Red Raiders are first nationally in total defense, holding teams to 167.5 yards a game. Following are Alabama, Florida State and LSU. The fact that Texas Tech was 114th defensively last season makes its national status even more impressive.
“We didn’t run blitz tonight,” head coach Tommy Tuberville said after the win. “We felt we could rush the passer with four or five and not have to worry. When you’re doing that and don’t have to take chances you don’t give up big plays and you can play the run. If you’re out there gambling like we had the past couple of years, you’re going to give up big plays.”
• Tied 10-10 at halftime, the Red Raiders scored a touchdown in the third and then added 10 more points in the fourth while holding the Cyclones to six points in the second half.
• Texas Tech shocked Oklahoma last season in Norman 41-38, setting up an intriguing matchup against the Sooners Saturday in Lubbock.
Next Game: vs. Oklahoma Oct. 6
No. 16 TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
• TCU got back at Southern Methodist for the Mustangs’ victory a year ago with a 24-16 win this past weekend and extended its FBS-best winning streak to 12 games in the process.
• It’s been a strong start to the season for the Horned Frogs, but there are still several kinks to iron out. They were penalized 13 times for 140 yards, uncharacteristic for a team coached by Gary Patterson. Casey Pachall, one of the nation’s most accurate quarterbacks, went just 10 for 24.
“Whoever didn’t screw it up was going to win this game,” Patterson said. “I’m not sure we didn’t screw it up more and didn’t just get lucky.”
• Something’s got to give in this week’s showdown between the No. 7 TCU defense and the No. 89 Iowa State offense. When the field is reversed, it will be the No. 18 ISU defense against the No. 63 TCU offense. First to 10 points wins?
Next Game: vs. Iowa State Oct. 6
No. 9 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0)
• It’s hard to fathom somebody stopping West Virginia’s fantastic duo of receivers, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, who combined for 518 yards receiving and seven of quarterback Geno Smith’s eight touchdowns. Bailey found the end zone five times.
• West Virginia’s defense was itself again against Baylor, as it ranks No. 108 nationally in defense. The fast style of play on offense means the defense will be on the field a bunch, and if Smith & Co. are ever stymied, there could be problems. This week’s contest against Texas, which can beat opponents on the ground or through the air, will be telling.
Next Game: vs Texas Oct. 6
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