Big 12 Wire: Texas stands out in Week 1

Hallie Hart & Cameron Jourdan

Sports Bloggers

@theozoneonline

Baylor

The Bears demolished the Northwestern State Demons 55-7 on Friday night. Many had wondered how Baylor would fare under new acting coach Jim Grobe. Time will tell how the rest of the season unfolds, but the Bears scored more points against Northwestern State this weekend than any other team had scored in a game under Grobe before.

Another question on football fans’ minds was how quarterback Seth Russell would perform after recovering from an injured neck. Russell proved to be a success on the field, throwing for four touchdowns and had 163 passing yards in the first half. Freshman quarterback Zach Smith replaced Russell a few seconds before halftime.

Although the offensive game was strong, it was Baylor’s defensive talent that ensured the huge difference in points between the Bears and the Demons. Northwestern State’s sole touchdown was scored toward the end of the third quarter.

The Bears easily beat Northwestern State, but this result was expected. It will be interesting to see what happens when Baylor faces tougher opponents once Big 12 play begins. However, next week should continue to be smooth sailing for the Bears against the SMU Mustangs at home Saturday.

Iowa State

Coach Matt Campbell knew the key to his team’s success this season was the ability to run the ball, but Northern Iowa stopped Iowa State’s ground game and came from behind to upset the Cyclones 25-20 in Ames, Iowa on Saturday night.

Star sophomore running back Mike Warren was held to 30 yards on 12 carries, and quarterback Joel Lanning completed 18 of 28 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns, but he also tossed two interceptions.

Iowa State had a 20-19 lead with seven minutes left in the game after a Lanning touchdown pass, but Northern Iowa scored with 2:49 left to seal the upset.

The Cyclones were unable to sustain drives and turnovers killed them.

The Cyclones (0-1) road ahead doesn’t get any easier as they travel to take on in-state rival Iowa at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Kansas

The Kansas Jayhawks have a better record than the Oklahoma Sooners, and no, this isn’t 2007.

The Jayhawks beat Rhode Island 55-6 for the program’s first win in over a year and first under coach David Beaty.

Montell Cozart threw three touchdown passes, Ryan Willis had two more, and third-string quarterback Carter Stanley also tossed .

The Kansas defense held the Rams to 219 yards of offense.

The Jayhawk students even rushed the field after the victory, to the dismay of the stadium PA announcer, who urged fans to get back in the stands.

Kansas (1-0) started off in the right direction, and they have a chance to win their second in as many games when Ohio comes to town at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Kansas State

Kansas State couldn’t stop Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey in a 26-13 loss in Palo Alto, California, on Friday night.

The Wildcats had a tough challenge in Week 1, going up against a Heisman favorite on the road. The play of the offense didn’t help much either, as the offensive line gave up eight sacks, including one that resulted in a safety.

Quarterback Jesse Ertz threw for 207 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Collectively, K-State rushed 32 times for 92 yards, with Charles Jones having eight carries and 43 yards.

K-State (0-1) returns to Manhattan for the home opener against Florida Atlantic at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Oklahoma

The last time OU opened its season in Texas, they lost Heisman-Trophy-winner Sam Bradford to injury and the game to BYU. They didn’t lose Baker Mayfield to injury, but the game result was the same as the Sooners lost to the Houston Cougars 33-23.

Oklahoma started fast with a touchdown on the opening drive, picking up where it left off last season, but the defense came out and showed some gaps.

Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. picked apart the Sooner secondary to the tune of 321 yards and two touchdowns; the Sooner corners and safeties repeatedly got beat in man coverage.

The offensive line was a mess for the Sooners. With three sophomores and one freshman starting, the inexperience showed with the inability to pick up blitzes from the Houston defense.

Mayfield passed for 323 yards with two scores, but OU only rushed for 70 yards. Samaje Perine had only six carries for 31 yards. Perine also left in the second quarter with what appeared to be a shoulder injury but later returned for the remainder of the game.

OU has to figure things out fast, with Ohio State coming to Norman in two weeks.

The Sooners (0-1) host Louisiana Monroe at 6 p.m. Saturday in Norman.

TCU

The Horned Frogs achieved a win over South Dakota State on Saturday evening, but it was no easy path to victory. The lead often alternated between the two teams, but the final score was 59-41 in favor of the Horned Frogs.

Although TCU faced some challenges, the wide receivers didn’t disappoint. Taj Williams, a junior transfer from Iowa Western Community College, was a standout for the Horned Frogs, ending the night with 11 catches, one touchdown and 158 receiving yards. Sophomore wide receiver KaVontae Turpin scored on an 81-yard punt return in the second quarter.

The battle against SDSU highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of TCU. Likely, coach Gary Patterson now knows where to direct his focus as the Horned Frogs prepare to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks at home Saturday.

Texas

Texas coach Charlie Strong and the Longhorns started 2016 with a 50-47 upset over Notre Dame.  (Kurt Steiss, Flickr)
Texas coach Charlie Strong and the Longhorns started 2016 with a 50-47 upset over Notre Dame.
(Kurt Steiss, Flickr)

In the second overtime, senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes dove into the end zone to give the Longhorns a 50-47 victory over Notre Dame.

It was Swoopes’ third touchdown of the night, and it was the one that mattered most. After a devastating loss to Notre Dame to begin the 2015 season, Texas was able to get revenge on the Fighting Irish on Sunday.

The entire game kept fans on the edges of their seats. The lead constantly bounced back-and-forth between the Longhorns and the Fighting Irish. Swoopes crashed into a cameraman as he scored a touchdown in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame defensive back Shaun Crawford returned the ball for a defensive PAT conversion after an extra point for the Longhorns was blocked. It was an intense battle, but Texas coach Charlie Strong was able to achieve his first win in a game that the Longhorns’ opponent was the first team to score.

Texas quarterbacks displayed talent on the gridiron. Swoopes was a standout in the season opener but true freshman Shane Buechele also gave a brilliant performance. Buechele was the starting quarterback, ending the game with 280 yards and two touchdowns.

If this opening game is indicative of the rest of the season, the Longhorn football program is making a comeback. The next matchup for Texas is a home game against UTEP on Saturday.

Texas Tech

Guided by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Red Raiders conquered the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 69-17 on Saturday. Tech’s 69 points set a school record for number of points scored in the first game of a season. This was mainly due to the efforts of Mahomes, who scored two rushing touchdowns and four passing touchdowns against the Lumberjacks. Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks struggled on both sides of the ball. Some had doubted the Red Raiders’ defensive abilities during preseason but the defense delivered a fairly strong performance. Notable players included defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins, who tallied five tackles, and defensive end Kolin Hill, who sacked SFA quarterback Zach Conque. Cornerbacks Thierry Nguema and Keenon Ward each ended the game with an interception. The Red Raiders had an energetic start to their season, and Mahomes is definitely a quarterback to watch. The Red Raiders’ competition level will greatly increase when they face the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday.

West Virginia

West Virginia backup running back Justin Crawford rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, filling in for injured Rushel Shell to help lead the Mountaineers to a 26-11 victory against the Missouri Tigers.

Quarterback Skyler Howard also played through a rib injury to break a five-game losing streak against the Southeastern Conference.

Howard went down hard after scrambling and getting tackled by Missouri’s Donavin Newsom right before half. Trainers worked on him during halftime and he came back out in the second half.

Howard didn’t attempt a rush in the second half, but finished 23-for-35 for 253 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

West Virginia dominated on ground, rushing for 241 yards on 48 carries. Holgorsen looks to build upon that production as the season progresses.

West Virginia (1-0) plays host to Youngstown State at 1 p.m. Saturday.

ozone@ocolly.com

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