Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 3

By Andrew Sheridan, @SidelinesKState

Image Credit: David Stacy | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big 12 returned this past weekend in full force as all ten teams took the field for the first time in the same weekend this season. Coming off of two questionable weeks of non-conference play, conference-play started with a bang as the #3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners fell at the hands of K-State for the second straight season, this time in Norman. I mean, what more could you ask for to start a wild season in a wild conference? Elsewhere around the Big 12, Iowa State took care of business as they gave a visit to TCU in Ft. Worth. Max Duggan saw the field in the second half of that game, but wasn’t able to produce quite enough to make the difference the Horned Frogs needed. In Stillwater, the Cowboys handed West Virginia their first loss of the season as Shane Illingworth grabbed his first start at QB for Oklahoma State. Further south, Texas traveled to the land of tortillas where they were upse… wait, Tech blew their 15 point lead with two minutes to go? Seriously?! Alright, let’s try this again. Further south, Texas traveled to the land of tortillas and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat coming back from 15 down to grab the win in overtime! Finally, in Waco, Baylor opened their season against a FCS squ… hold on a minute. Baylor played Kansas. So yeah, Baylor opened their season against a FCS squad and handled them to start with a win.

10) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-2 (0-1) | Last Week: 8/8

Image Credit: Jerry Larson | Waco Tribune Herald via AP

Last Game: @ Baylor, 14-47 L

To nobody’s surprise, Kansas lands in last place once again. The Jayhawks were able to score first against the Bears but weren’t able to find the endzone again until mid-fourth quarter, but by that time, Baylor had already scored forty straight points. Pooka Williams scored both of the Jayhawks’ touchdowns on a pair of runs that went for 16 and 21 yards. Outside of those runs/scores, Pooka only carried the ball twelve other times for a combined 39 yards. Once again, the Kansas coaching staff failed to utilize their strongest asset in Pooka Williams as much as they should have. Pooka only received 12 carries in game one which he turned into 67 yards. Kansas will need to rely more on Pooka throughout the season if they hope to have more success on offense. Defensively, the Jayhawks looked mediocre at best as Charlie Brewer and Co. went for 34 points offensively. Finally, the Kansas special teams unit needs lots of work as they allowed two returns for touchdowns this past weekend. Kansas must improve all the way around if they have any hope at even winning a game throughout the season.

Next Game: vs. #17 Oklahoma State – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | ESPN

9) West Virginia Mountaineers | 1-1 (0-1) | Last Week: 3/8

Image Credit: WVU Football

Last Game: @ Oklahoma State, 13-27 L

West Virginia opened their Big 12 slate with a loss to Oklahoma State for the 6th straight year. Relatively, the Mountaineers kept the score pretty close. The offense was able to move the ball but unfortunately had difficulty pointing points on the board. The Mountaineers actually outgained the Cowboys and won the game in nearly every category except rushing yards and the most important category: points scored. Jarret Doege tossed the ball around nicely for the Mountaineers accounting for 285 yards through the air and a touchdown. Running back Leddie Brown also surpassed the 100 yard mark for the 2nd straight game as he rushed for 104 yards. The Mountaineer defense showed a heavy weakness when it came to defending the run. West Virginia allowed 203 yards on the ground on Saturday with 103 of those yards coming from LD Brown including a 66-yard TD run in the second quarter. Chuba Hubbard tacked on another 101 yards for the Cowboys. West Virginia will need to improve all around as a team if they hope to compete with a strong-looking Baylor team who just whipped Kansas to start their season.

Next Game: vs. Baylor – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM

8) TCU | 0-1 (0-1) | Last Week: Unranked

Image Credit: Brandon Wade | AP

Last Game: vs. Iowa State, 34-37 L

TCU with Max Duggan versus TCU without Max Duggan are two entirely different teams. QB Matthew Downing started the game for the Horned Frogs and while he didn’t necessarily have a bad game, he didn’t look great either. Downing threw for 159 yards on 21 attempts while only connecting on 11 of those. Downing also finished the game with 11 carries for -1 yard, so that’s not great. Despite a very mediocre offensive performance in the first half, TCU only entered the half down nine to the Cyclones. Max Duggan took over the Horned Frog offense in the second half. Almost immediately, the offense flowed better and simply looked more comfortable. Duggan finished with 241 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception on 19 attempts. Unfortunately for the offense, the defense wasn’t able to secure the same momentum and allowed three scores in the second half. On the bright side, Brock Purdy did have a great toss straight to La’Kendrick Van Zandt for a 24 yard fumble return. TCU travels to Austin to take on the Longhorns next weekend in what should be a fantastic duel between Sam Ehlinger and Max Duggan.

Next Game: @ #9 Texas – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM | FOX

7) Texas Tech | 1-1 (0-1) | Last Week: 7/8

Image Credit: John E. Moore III | Getty Images

Last Game: vs. Texas, 56-63(OT) L

To be completely honest with you, I thought there was no way Texas Tech would even remotely compete in this game following the performance we saw against Houston Baptist. However, I am happy to admit that I was very wrong. Texas Tech should have won this game, but a ferocious 15 point comeback by the Longhorns with two minutes remaining took away the opportunity for the Red Raiders to start 2-0 and 1-0 in conference play. Once again, Texas Tech’s downfall was their defense, who allowed 63 points as well as 262 passing yards and 214 rushing yards. Tech also had issues with turnovers as Alan Bowman threw 3 interceptions, including a crucial interception just before halftime that led to a Texas touchdown. Despite the three interceptions, Alan Bowman still had a great game as he threw for over 330 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tech RB SaRodorick Thompson ran for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the Red Raider offense put up 56 on the Longhorn defense. Texas Tech travels to Manhattan this week to face a K-State team coming off their first AP Top 3 road win in school history.

Next Game: @ Kansas State – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | FS1

6) Iowa State | 1-1 (1-0) | Last Week: 6/8

Image Credit: Tim Heitman | USA Today Sports

Last Game: @ Baylor, 14-47 L

Two weeks following a disappointing season-opening loss to Louisiana, Iowa State began Big 12 play with a hard-fought victory over TCU. Offensively, Iowa State looked settled behind veteran QB Brock Purdy and breakout RB Breece Hall. Hall had a fantastic game as he ran for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 18 carries. Brock Purdy threw for 211 yards and a touchdown with only 5 incompletions but did toss a fumble straight to a TCU defender resulting in a Horned Frog touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cyclones looked shaky, especially in the second half when Max Duggan entered the game, as they allowed 400 passing yards. Iowa State’s rush defense did well though as they only allowed 99 yards on 44 attempts, resulting in about 2.3 yards per carry. Iowa State did enough to grab their first victory of the season, but will need to put together a stronger performance next week as they host an angry Oklahoma team if they hope to grab win number two.

Next Game: vs. #18 Oklahoma – Oct. 3 | 6:30 PM | ABC

5) Oklahoma Sooners | 1-1 (0-1) | Last Week: 2/8

Image Credit: Sue Ogrocki

Last Game: vs. Kansas State, 35-38 L

What is it about Chris Klieman and K-State? For the second straight year, Oklahoma was out-coached and outplayed by the Wildcats. Last season, K-State jumped to a big lead in the second half and the Sooners nearly made the comeback only to fall short on a controversial onside kick. This season, the Sooners looked to be easily in control leading by as much as 21 with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter. So what happened? Spencer Rattler looked strong and comfortable to start the game, throwing 17/19, 181 yards, and 3 touchdowns in the first half. He looked a bit uncomfortable as K-State put more pressure on him which caused some loose and inaccurate throws. Rattler finished the game with 387 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions including the game-sealing interception on Oklahoma’s final drive. Oklahoma once again came away with 0 takeaways in the game, causing more frustration among the coaches and fans. Oklahoma travels to Ames this weekend in hopes of righting the ship and putting themselves back in the win column, but Iowa State is always a tough test, so Rattler will need to remain composed from beginning to end.

Next Game: @ Iowa State – Oct. 3 | 6:30 PM | ABC

4) Baylor Bears | 1-0 (1-0) | Last Week: Unranked

Image Credit: Jerome Miron | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Kansas, 47-14 W

Five cancellations later, Baylor finally opened their 2020 season with a dominant win over the Jayhawks. Trestan Ebner put on a show for the Bears as he had not one but two kick-returns for touchdowns along with two more touchdowns. His first score came from the goal-line on a one yard touchdown run. Ebner didn’t stop there though, as late in the second quarter, Ebner brought in an 18-yard pass from Brewer for six. During the second half, Ebner would return two kickoffs for touchdowns, including one that went for 100 yards! Overall, the Bears looked comfortable as they began play here in 2020. Baylor did not outgain Kansas by great amounts (352 to 328 total yards), but Baylor’s 3rd down defense was on fire as they were able to hold Kansas to only 4 3rd-down conversions on 16 attempts. Baylor travels to Morgantown this weekend to face West Virginia in what should hopefully be a better test of what Baylor is capable of. Can first year coach Dave Aranda start his tenure 2-0 with wins against the Jayhawks and Mountaineers?

Next Game: @ West Virginia – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM | ABC

3) Kansas State Wildcats | 1-1 (1-0) | Last Week: 5/8

Image Credit: Kevin Jairaj | USA Today Sports

Last Game: @ Oklahoma, 38-35 W

Last Friday, K-State officials were unsure the Wildcats would even be able to travel and play against the Sooners due to many players being out for COVID reasons. Thankfully for the Wildcats, they were able to put together a roster and traveled to Norman. Against all odds, the Wildcats upset a top-5 Oklahoma team for the second straight season. Oklahoma led 35-14 late in the 3rd quarter and looked to be in full control of the contest, but after a couple big plays, including a 78 yard pass to Justin Garnder to set up a Wildcat touchdown, K-State was on the comeback trail. Following that score which cut the lead to 35-21, the Wildcats defense forced a Sooner fumble which led to another K-State touchdown. Once again, K-State’s defense came in clutch as they forced a punt which AJ Parker would end up blocking to set the Wildcats up with great field position. Kicker Blake Lynch would later make a career long 50-yard field goal to take the lead and the win. Senior QB Skylar Thompson came up with one of his best performances yet throwing for 334 yards, a touchdown, and running for 3 more scores. True freshman RB Deuce Vaughn ran for 45 yards and a touchdown as well as hauled in 4 receptions for 129 yards. K-State put together one of the best team efforts we have seen in this young season, and the Wildcats will hope to use this momentum to carry them through the rest of their Big 12 schedule.

Next Game: vs. Texas Tech – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | FS1

2) Texas Longhorns | 2-0 (1-0) | Last Week: 1/8

Image Credit: USATSI

Last Game: @ Texas Tech, 63-56(OT) W

Sam Ehlinger led the comeback for the Longhorns with two touchdowns in the final three minutes of regulation last Saturday as Texas came back from 15 down to send the game to overtime. Ehlinger would connect with Joshua Moore for the second time that game in overtime to put Texas ahead. Sam Ehlinger finished the game with 5 touchdowns, 262 yards, and an interception on 40 attempts. It was a miraculous finish for the Longhorns as the game looked all but over after Texas Tech scored a 75 yard touchdown run with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter. Cameron Dicker had one of the most perfect onside kicks you’ll ever see late in this game to contribute to the comeback. Quite honestly, I’m still not sure how Texas managed to win this game. This game had to have hurt badly for Tech fans and can’t have felt great for Longhorn fans either. Yes, Texas won, but boy did they look exposed and mediocre doing it. Texas hosts TCU next weekend in what will likely be Max Duggan’s first start of the season. TCU upset the Longhorns a year ago. Will Texas get revenge or can TCU do it again?

Next Game: vs. TCU – Oct. 3 | 11:00 AM | FOX

1) Oklahoma State Cowboys | 2-0 (1-0) | Last Week: 4/8

Image Credit: Oklahoma State Athletics

Last Game: vs. West Virginia, 27-13 W

LD Brown opened the scoring for the Cowboys last Saturday as he raced 66 yards down the field for the opening score of the game. The Oklahoma State defense would make it 14 only two minutes later as they returned a Mountaineer fumble 56 yards for six. Shane Illingworth started his first career game as Spencer Sanders was still out due to the injury he picked up last week. Illingworth performed well in his debut start throwing for 139 yards on 21 attempts. The name of the game for the Cowboys on Saturday was their ground game as both LD Brown and Chuba Hubbard went for over 100 yards each. Chuba remains as Oklahoma State’s primary back but still hasn’t quite come to be what we knew him as last year. Chuba will need to have another strong year this year if the Cowboys hope to run the table and win the Big 12 especially if QB Spencer Sanders isn’t at 100% with his health. The Cowboys should have no issues next week as they travel to Lawrence, but beware, the Cowboys have struggled against Kansas before, and Kansas is still looking for win number one!

Next Game: @ Kansas – Oct. 3 | 2:30 PM | ESPN

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