Lariat sports writer takes a look at the teams of the conference
By Krista Pirtle
It shocked no one that the Sooners broke open the 2011 season with a 47-14 win over Tulsa. Heisman candidate junior quarterback Landry Jones threw for 375 yards and one touchdown. His favorite target, senior wide receiver Ryan Broyles, caught 14 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown.
The big surprise for Oklahoma was the offensive presence found in junior running back Dominique Whaley, who rushed for 131 yards and 4 touchdowns. Cumulatively, the Sooners had 663 total offensive yards.
The one snag for the No. 1 team in the nation was their allowance of 400 offensive yards by Tulsa. Oklahoma has this weekend off to prepare to defend its top ranking.
7 Texas A&M
Despite all the drama with the Aggies, the fact that they have a strong football program cannot be overlooked. Texas A&M defeated the SMU Mustangs 46-14.
Senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns to junior wide receiver Ryan Swope, who led in receiving with 109 yards for one touchdown.
Senior running back Cyrus Gray lived up to his face on the cover of Texas Football Magazine with 132 rushing yards for two touchdowns.
The Aggies have a bye this weekend, which allows them time to sort through the complications of the realignment. They also could use a little strengthening for their defense as they allowed SMU to gain 347 offensive yards. If they continue to play their games with no turnovers, they could surprise some big-name organizations.
9 Oklahoma State
Even though Heisman candidate receiver Justin Blackmon didn’t find himself in the end zone against University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his 144 reception yards assisted the Cowboys to a 61-34 win. Senior quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 388 yards; however, his three interceptions show that he still has room for improvement. Sophomore running back Joseph Randle led the way rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns. As a whole offensively, OSU gained 666 yards. Thursday the Cowboys hosted Arizona. The battle between Wildcats quarterback senior Nick Foles and Weeden will decide the winner of this game.
The Bears opened up their 2011 season with a nationally televised win over the No. 14 TCU Horned Frogs. Junior quarterback and Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III threw for 359 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior running back Terrance Ganaway led the rush with 120 yards and one touchdown and senior inside receiver Kendall Wright led with 189 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense looks to have improved since 2010; however, the unit is still not up to par with defensive coordinator Phil Bennett’s expectations. Defensive stands were made when they were needed, but the 25 points scored by TCU in the fourth quarter leaves room for improvement.
Baylor also lost 116 yards due to 11 penalties. The Bears have this weekend off before they host SFA Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.
The Tigers also had a weak offensive effort; however, they were able to claim the victory over Miami of Ohio, 17-6.
Sophomore quarterback James Franklin threw for 129 yards and rushed for 72, scored 2 touchdowns but threw one interception. Franklin is a young gun in the pocket, and looks like he is still trying to find his way around. He leads his team to face Arizona State on the road Friday.
Arizona State comes off an easy victory against UC Davis. Arizona State accumulated 517 total offensive yards. Because the Tigers are on the road, Arizona State has the prime opportunity to come out on top.
It’s interesting how beating Rice 34-9 can earn a team the No. 24 spot in the country. Junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert looked to have improved some over the offseason as he threw for 239 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore wide receiver Mike Davis was Gilbert’s target of the night with 115 receiving yards. This weekend, the Longhorns host BYU, who narrowly defeated Ole Miss 14-13. Offensively, BYU only totaled 208 yards, not even reaching 100 yards rushing. This matchup depends on Gilbert and both teams’ defenses. If Gilbert cannot effectively command his troops, the Longhorns will fall down to a resilient BYU. These two will face 6 p.m. Saturday.
Texas Tech entered the 2011 season with a 50-10 dominant performance over Texas State. Junior quarterback Seth Doege threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, proving his talent in the pocket. Tech’s offense consisted of 348 passing yards and 157 rushing yards.
Junior wide receiver Darrin Moore caught 12 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown while junior running back Eric Stephens rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Whether this reveals the talent of the Red Raiders’ receivers or the weakness of Texas State’s secondary is debatable.
Tech, as well, is off for the weekend. This will allow the Red Raiders time to spread their offense. As they expand their targets offensively, they will threaten at more than one angle and can become more intimidating.
Despite five turnovers, the Wildcats managed to pull out a victory over Eastern Kentucky, 10-7, last weekend. Four fumbles and an interception showed a less than impressive offensive performance by Kansas State. It is not clear whether this performance was a one-time fluke or a preview of what the season will look like.
Junior quarterback Collin Klein threw for 128 yards, 61 of them to junior wide receiver Chris Harper. Sophomore running back John Hubert rushed for a total of 91 yards.
The Wildcats did not score until the fourth quarter, hitting a field goal with 10:11 left and finally a touchdown with 1:39 left to take the lead. Kansas State needs this bye week to strengthen its offense and get ready to play the remainder of the season.
The Jayhawks brought in the 2011 season with a decisive victory over McNeese State, 42-24.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb threw for 146 yards and three touchdowns while sophomore running back James Sims led the rushing game with 104 yards and one touchdown, and freshman wide receiver JaCorey Shepherd led the team in receiving with 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Kansas favored the run game over the pass, acquiring 301 yards rushing and only 146 passing, totaling 447 yards for the evening. This large number is impressive, but they allowed 420 yards to McNeese. The Jayhawks need to step up their game defensively if they have any hopes of containing Northern Illinois, who beat Army 49-26 last weekend.
This game is the second game in a row at home for Kansas, but Northern Illinois has the offensive potential to beat the Jayhawks on their own turf 6 p.m. Saturday.
Iowa State won a close one with Northern Iowa, 20-19. The Cyclones accumulated 328 offensive yards on the night but gave up 385.
Junior quarterback Steele Jantz led the team in passing and rushing yards with 187 and 80, respectively, scoring three touchdowns but throwing three interceptions.
Receiving yards were slim as junior wide receiver Aaron Horne led the receivers with 69 yards. To win more games, Iowa State will need to expand its offensive threats. Jantz appears to be their lone weapon, and one-dimensional teams can be easily stopped.
Defensively, the team needs to get stronger and faster. This defense will not be able to contain in-state rival Iowa, who defeated Tennessee Tech 34-7. That matchup will be 11 a.m. Saturday. Only half the Big 12 is in action this weekend.