Big 12 control resides in West Virginia
Notebook: ISU not calling it an upset; Baylor unconcerned with D
It's only October, so handing anyone the Heisman Trophy right now would be premature. But after West Virginia's Geno Smith put up another almost unbelievable performance with four more touchdowns, 268 yards in a 48-45 win at Texas, the trophy is clearly his to lose.
Better news for the Mountaineers: the road to the Big 12 title now goes through Morgantown, W.Va. Undefeated Kansas State will have to beat them at home and so will Oklahoma. And they now hold the tiebreaker against the Longhorns and Baylor, which they earlier dispatched in eye-popping fashion 70-63.
West Virginia's passing attack gets much of the acclaim, and for good reason, but Saturday it was the ground game that really shut the door on the Longhorns. The Mountaineers milked the clock in the final drive and running back Andrew Buie scored what ended up being the game-winning touchdown with a little more than a minute left before the defense held on at the end. Buie ran 31 times for 207 yards. It was a surprising — and frustrating — wrinkle for the Texas defense, which wanted to force WVU into running the football but did not expect so much success.
"We just lined up and ran it right at them," head coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Smith fumbled twice, which almost ended up dooming the Mountaineers in the tightly contested matchup, but he was efficient, completing 25 of 35 pass attempts and helping WVU convert on all five of it's fourth-down situations.
"No matter what it takes to win the game, that's what we're going to do," Smith said. "Coach did a great job managing the situations. He kept us out there on the field and trusted us to get the first downs. I think for the most part we did."
Baylor (3-1, 0-1 Big 12)
• With Baylor's defense the worst in the nation -- it ranks 120th by allowing 571.3 yards per game -- its offense will have to continue to put up huge numbers. That's a burden the Bears feel they are able to carry.
"It is what it is," quarterback Nick Florence said. "As an offense, you can't control what happens with the defense."
• The Bears were off this past weekend, already their second bye week of the season.
Next Game: vs. TCU Oct. 13
Iowa State (4-1, 1-1 Big 12)
• The Cyclones pulled off a 37-23 road win against No. 16 TCU, which was without its starting quarterback Casey Pachall. Just don't call it an "upset."
"I don't think they are so much upsets now," linebacker Jake Knott said. "There's a lot of people now who respect us on a new level."
• Jared Barnett, the starting quarterback toward the end of last season, reclaimed his job from Steele Jantz. It's unlikely after his three-touchdown day that he'll lose it anytime soon.
Next Game: vs Kansas State Oct. 13
Kansas (1-4, 0-2 Big 12)
• The Jayhawks kept it close through two quarters but slipped in the second half against Kansas State, falling 56-16. The Wildcats outscored Kansas 35-2 after halftime.
"It was like big play after big play," coach Charlie Weis said. "It seemed like the third quarter went on forever because they were scoring so quick."
• Quarterback Dayne Crist threw three interceptions. He now has seven picks this season, to just three touchdowns.
Next Game: vs. Oklahoma State Oct. 13
No. 6 Kansas State (5-0, 2-0 Big 12)
• Running back John Hubert scored four touchdowns in the 56-16 win against Kansas. It was a career high and tied for the third-most in a single game in school history.
• Quarterback Collin Klein wasn't overly flashy, but he was steady. Klein had 116 rushing yards and two of his seven completions were touchdowns. He'll likely need to throw more often against an Iowa State defense that's No. 31 nationally in rush defense.
Next Game: at Iowa State Oct. 13
No. 13 Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1 Big 12)
• The Sooners silenced some doubters with a 41-20 win on the road against a Texas Tech team that shocked them at home a year ago. It was a nice set up to a Red River Rivalry showdown against Texas that might not have national title ramifications but could have a say in the conference race.
• Quarterback Landry Jones chose a nice time to get hot. After struggling in the team's loss to Kansas State, Jones passed for 259 yards and two scores. He was sensational in a big win against Texas in 2011, with 367 yards and three scores.
Next Game: vs. Texas in Dallas Oct. 13
Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12)
• Oklahoma State had its second bye in three weeks, giving true freshman quarterback West Lunt more time to heal his injured knee. If Lunt isn't ready to play Kansas on Saturday, it shouldn't matter. J.W. Walsh, the backup, is No. 2 nationally in passer rating, right behind West Virginia's Geno Smith and ahead of Texas' David Ash.
• Until kickoff against the Jayhawks, Oklahoma State will have only played one football game in the last 27 days.
Next Game: at Kansas Oct. 13
No. 15 Texas (4-1, 1-1 Big 12)
• Contests against high-flying offenses like Oklahoma State and West Virginia haven't helped, but it's fair to wonder what in the world has happened to the vaunted Texas defense? The Longhorns are No. 76 in total defense and 56th in passing D despite a talented roster.
• Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium saw its attendance record fall Saturday night, as 101,851 fans crammed to see Texas fall to WVU 48-45. Head coach Mack Brown said, in his 15 years in Austin, he's never heard it louder.
• The past two weeks, the Longhorns have had trouble against the run. OSU ran for 275 yards, while WVU picked up 192 yards. It doesn't get any easier against Oklahoma in Dallas as the Sooners average 190.5 yards per game.
Next Game: vs. Oklahoma in Dallas Oct. 13
Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1 Big 12)
• It was somewhat of a disappointment for Texas Tech to come out flat at home against OU and lose 41-20. The defense, ranked No. 1 nationally entering the game, gave up 5.51 yards per play against the Sooners.
• Quarterback Seth Doege struggled, giving way to backup Michael Brewer in the fourth quarter. Brewer then led the Red Raiders down the field while completing 4 of 5 attempts. While Brewer did well, there isn't any question about Doege's ability.
"Seth's our quarterback," head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "It looked like Brewer did good, but he did good against a second-team defense."
Next Game: vs. West Virginia Oct. 13
TCU (4-1, 1-1 Big 12)
• It was not a good week for the Horned Frogs. Starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested on suspicion of DWI in the middle of last week and was suspended indefinitely. In Pachall's place, backup quarterback Trevone Boykin threw three interceptions in the 37-23 home loss to Iowa State.
• The loss snapped TCU's winning streak of 12 games, which was the nation's longest. The streak began last season after an opening loss to the Baylor Bears, who the Horned Frogs face this weekend.
Next Game: at Baylor Oct. 13
No. 5 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12)
• There isn't a better quarterback in the country than Geno Smith, who has 1,996 yards and 24 touchdowns without an interception. There may not be a better duo of wideouts than Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, who combined for 177 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-45 win against the Longhorns.
• Bailey and Austin are first and second in the nation, respectively, in receiving touchdowns with 13 and eight. Austin is tied for first nationally with 58 receptions.
Next Game: at Texas Tech Oct. 13