By Krista Pirtle
Big 12 football heats up this weekend as each team now has a conference game under its belt.
Red River Rivalry highlights conference’s weekend action
Of course, College Gameday is in Dallas. If this rivalry does not get these teams fired up, then nothing will.
This is only the second time that both Oklahoma and Texas come in with flawless records at 4-0 each.
Offensively, everyone is looking at the duel between Oklahoma junior quarterback Landry Jones and the tandem of Texas quarterbacks sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash.
However, defensively, both teams are coming in strong. Last week, Oklahoma forced four turnovers while Texas forced three.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Texas will see if it can avenge its 2010 loss, 28-20, to Oklahoma despite this year’s powerful Sooner offense.
3 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0)
Last week, Oklahoma had a warm-up game against Ball State, winning 62-6.
The Sooner secondary went to work, allowing only 95 passing yards and reeling in three interceptions.
Junior quarterback Landry Jones threw for 425 yards and five touchdowns in the blowout, 141 of them to sophomore wide receiver Jaz Reynolds.
Two of the five touchdowns went to Jones’ usual target in senior wide receiver Ryan Broyles, who recorded 109 yards.
This will be great preparation for Texas on Saturday. The defense will have to adjust to reading not one, but two quarterbacks.
11 Texas (4-0, 1-0)
The Longhorns are halfway through avenging their 2010 losses.
Last week Texas took over in Ames, Iowa, defeating the Cyclones 37-14.
The young Longhorn offense is steadily strengthening.
Freshman running back Malcolm Brown is continuing to emerge as the top for his position, with 63 yards against Iowa State.
As for receiving, the familiar name of Shipley leads the Longhorns; however, this season it’s freshman wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. He pulled in 141 reception yards and a touchdown.
McCoy and Ash need to step up their games if Texas wants to compete with Oklahoma’s thriving offense.
Defensively, the Longhorns held Iowa State to under 400 total offensive yards. The Cyclones are nowhere near the offensive fire power of the Sooners, so Texas needs to step up the intensity.
6 Oklahoma State (4-0, 1-0)
The Cowboys are coming off a bye-week well-rested and ready to face Kansas.
The poor first half against the Aggies two weeks ago, where Oklahoma State found itself unable to convert on offense and trailing 20-3, is providing some motivation for improvement.
Senior quarterback Justin Weeden has hopefully spent this off-week targeting his accuracy, since he has already tossed six interceptions.
With the dynamic offense the Cowboys possesses, Kansas provides the ideal opponent against which to take offensively.
This game can be a great preparation for OSU’s matchup against Texas next week, though no opponent can be overlooked in the Big 12.
20 Kansas State (4-0, 1-0)
Two upsets in a row fuel this Wildcat team into its first national ranking since 2007 and its best start in 11 years as it travels to Missouri to take on the Tigers.
Last weekend, Kansas State stunned the Bears with a comeback win in the fourth quarter to make the score 36-35. Collin Klein showed off his speed with 113 rushing yards and his arm with 146 passing yards and a touchdown in each category.
Junior wide receiver Chris Harper reeled in 67 reception yards and a touchdown.
The team will be seeking its first 5-0 start since 2000, hoping two upset victories will produce enough fuel to beat the well-rested Missouri team.
With the defensive play seen last week against Baylor, there are still improvements to be made to corral the rest of its conference schedule.
24 Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1)
What a welcome to the SEC.
The Aggies were only a first-half team last Saturday as they only scored a field goal in the second half, losing 42-38 to Arkansas.
The SEC is known for its defense, something that the Aggies either forgot or undercompensated for.
Senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill led his troops with 247 yards and an interception. Senior running back Cyrus Gray collected 95 rush yards and two touchdowns. Junior running back Christine Michael racked up 230 yards and three scores on the ground.
This weekend, the team looks to come back from its back-to-back losses and defeat Texas Tech, but it’s easier said than done, as the matchup is on the road in Lubbock.
25 Baylor (3-1, 0-1)
After an upsetting loss on the road to Kansas State last weekend, 35-36, the Bears return to Waco to host the Iowa State Cyclones at 6 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium.
After attacking the Wildcat secondary steadily throughout three quarters, Baylor turned to its run game and was denied.
This was the first game this year in which the Bears were held to fewer than 100 rushing yards. Furthermore, three turnovers plagued the Bears on their offensive drives.
Defensively, Baylor needs to step it up. The defense shows occasional sparks of potential, but it needs to turn them into reality soon.
Tempo also slowed down the Bears. In the first three quarters, Baylor scored quickly, once in fewer than 60 seconds. The fourth- quarter idea to run the play clock seemed to throw the Bears out of their rhythm.
The Cyclones’ weak defense, ranking ninth in the conference in points allowed, will provide quite the stage to showcase Baylor’s offensive power.
Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0)
The Red Raiders struggled defensively on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks but won 45-34.
Junior quarterback Seth Doege led his team with 366 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior running back Eric Stephens led the run game with 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
However, if Tech allowed 478 total offensive yards by Kansas, what will the Aggies be able to do?
For this week, Tech needs to realize that Texas A&M will shut down its run game and force the offense to throw the ball.
Slant routes with the occasional post routes have worked for OSU and Arkansas against the Aggies.
If Tech cannot adjust defensively, Saturday night will be a long one for the Raiders.
One thing Tech has working for it: being undefeated and hosting the Aggies. Kyle Field is one place no one wants to play, but so is Tech’s Jones AT&T Stadium.
Iowa State (3-1, 0-1)
The revenge of the Horns corralled the Cyclones 37-14 last weekend in Iowa.
Junior quarterback Steele Jantz led Iowa State with 251 yards and a touchdown.
The Cyclones favored the pass game over the run with 251 receiving yards, 70 of them from senior wide receiver Darius Reynolds.
Three turnovers composed of two fumbles and an interception did not assist in the competitive statement Iowa State wanted to make.
This week, the Cyclones travel to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears.
The Cyclones’ defensive line is last in the Big 12 for sacks made. If Iowa State wants to stop junior quarterback Robert Griffin III, it has to dig around its empty pockets for something.
The Cyclones will also be without senior defensive back Leonard Johnson, who broke his leg against Texas and is out for the season needing surgery.
Kansas (2-2, 0-1)
The Jayhawks could not overcome the Red Raiders with a 45-34 loss in Lubbock.
Junior quarterback Jordan Webb led the Kansas offense with 239 yards and three touchdowns. Webb matched the number of touchdown passes with interceptions.
As for the defense, it showed some improvement from the 604 rushing yards given to Georgia Tech two weeks ago. Against Texas Tech, the Jayhawks allowed only 164.
This week, Kansas travels to Stillwater, Okla., to try and contain the explosive Oklahoma State offense. Kansas has dropped nine straight road games.
Missouri (2-2, 0-1)
The Tigers are coming off a bye-week, hopefully full of rest and healing for its members.
Junior tailback Kendial Lawrence and senior tailback De’Vion Moore both have suffered recent injuries and took the practice field this week. There is no word yet as to their status for Saturday’s game.
Offensively, the Tigers need to play at the tempo they did against Oklahoma, who beat the Tigers, 38-28. Also, the team needs to focus on its third-down conversions, having completed just 16 of 55 on the season.
Defensively, Missouri needs to contain Kansas State junior quarterback Collin Klein. Missouri hasn’t lost to Kansas State since 2005 and hopes to keep it that way.