By Wade Haugen and Darnell Pointer
This was not the outcome Baylor fans had hoped for, as Liberty stunned the Bears 48-45 Saturday.
This game marked the debut of Matt Rhule’s coaching stint at Baylor. This game was also the debut of graduate transfer quarterback Anu Solomon. The Bears went into the second quarter down six but managed to go into halftime tied 17-17. The Flames intercepted Soloman’s pass and returned it for a touchdown to start the second half.
Baylor’s only lead in the game was late in the third quarter when it was up 31-27. Baylor’s defense then gave up two consecutive touchdowns, giving Liberty a 41-31 lead. Liberty managed to score again and the Bears simply ran out of time for a comeback.
Solomon threw for 278 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Solomon was also the leading rusher with 98 yards. Baylor couldn’t control the tempo of the game, as Liberty had the ball for 38 minutes. The Bears look to bounce back against UTSA on Saturday.
Iowa State Cyclones
Matt Campbell’s Iowa State Cyclones avenged their loss to Northern Iowa from last season by defeating them 42-24 Saturday. Although it was not the prettiest game, the Cyclones got the job done.
Jacob Park led the Cyclones offense Saturday night, finishing 27-of-35 for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Park’s leading receiver was Allen Lazard, who had eight catches for 108 yards. Lazard was a preseason All-Big 12 First Team selection and will be the Cyclones’ biggest playmaker this season.
The Cyclones had a formidable rushing attack, rushing for 134 yards on 35 carries.
Perhaps the biggest key to victory for Iowa State was its defense, which forced three interceptions. The Cyclones will take on Iowa on Saturday in the battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy.
Wins have been hard to come by for the Jayhawks in the David Beatty era. Saturday, all those hard times were forgotten as Kansas defeated SE Missouri State 38-16.
Coming into the game, the Jayhawks still hadn’t named a starting quarterback. Peyton Bender took the opening snaps and never looked back. Bender finished the day 23-of-37 for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
Bender’s leading target was Steven Sims Jr. The Jayhawk wide receiver was good for some huge plays Saturday, finishing with four catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
The Jayhawks’ run game struggled Saturday, rushing for only 73 yards on 25 rushes.
Although Saturday was a great start for Kansas, the schedule will only get tougher. Next week, it welcomes Central Michigan to Lawrence.
No. 20 Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats dominated Saturday night, defeating Central Arkansas 55-19.
Jesse Ertz changed Kansas State’s narrative of relying on its rushing attack. Ertz, the Wildcats’ quarterback, finished 10-of-16 for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
The Wildcats used a running back-by-committee approach Saturday, as seven different players got carries.
Bryon Pringle and Isaiah Harris had big days in the passing game. Pringle finished the game with three catches for 121 yards and one touchdown. Harris had three catches for 118 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats used big plays through the passing game to pull away and win the game in easy fashion. K-State will take on Charlotte in Manhattan on Saturday.
No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners
There was a new face patrolling the sidelines of Owen Field on Saturday in the form of Lincoln Riley, first year head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners rolled, defeating UTEP 56-7.
OU’s quarterback play was the story of the day. Baker Mayfield finished the day 19-of-20 passing for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Kyler Murray, the backup quarterback, was 10-of-11 for 149 yards and a touchdown. Murray took over at the start of the second half.
One of the biggest question marks entering Saturday for the Sooners centered around their receiving corps. After his performance Saturday, Mark Andrews answered many of those questions. Andrews had seven catches for 134 yards and a touchdown at tight end.
The Sooners’ starters played only one half, but it was clear this team has a plethora of talent. They will be tested next weekend, however, as OU heads to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU had no struggles as it shutout Jackson State 63-0 Saturday.
The Horned Frogs needed time to adjust to the Tigers’ offense, as they were pushed back to the 7-yard line on the opening drive, but a fumbled snap led to a failed fake punt attempt. TCU held JSU to only 65 yards and forced two turnovers.
Kenny Hill threw for 206 yards, four touchdowns and one interception before being taken out midway in the third quarter. The Horned Frogs rushed for 242 rushing yards with Darius Anderson leading the way with 62 yards. TCU’s real test comes next week when it travels to Fayetteville for a rematch with the Arkansas Razorbacks, who beat TCU in double overtime last year.
No. 23 Texas Longhorns
The Tom Herman era of Texas football did not kickoff the way it wanted to. The Maryland Terrapins upset No. 23 Texas 51-41 Saturday.
The Longhorns suffered from the same problems they suffered from last year: a struggling offense and special teams mishaps.
Holton Hill scored Texas’ two touchdowns in the first half. Hill returned an interception for 31 yards and returned a blocked field goal for 65 yards.
Texas went into halftime down 30-14 and came out with a mission to win. The Longhorns scored 20 points in the third quarter. This included Reggie Hemphill-Mapps’ 91-yard punt return touchdown.
Shane Buechele threw for 375 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Last season, Texas produced a 2,000-yard rusher in D’Onta Foreman, who averaged 184 yards per game. Against Maryland, Texas tallied 98 rushing yards. Chris Warren III was the leading rusher for the Longhorns with 31 yards and Buechele, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Kyle Porter were behind him with 21 yards each.
Next, Texas hosts San Jose State at 2:30 p.m Saturday.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech did not let off the gas as it blew out Eastern Washington 56-10.
Nic Shimonek filled Patrick Mahomes’ shoes, as he completed his first 14 passes. Overall, Shimonek completed 26-of-30 passes for 384 yards before being taken out in the third quarter. One of his touchdown passes was a 75-yarder to leading receiver Derrick Willies, who finished with 126 receiving yards. Keke Coutee had the other two receiving touchdowns, one for 17 yards and the other for 68 yards.
Justin Stockton had two rushing touchdowns and finished with 47 rushing yards. On the defensive side, Willie Sykes returned a 33-yard interception for a touchdown. In the end, the Red Raiders recorded 626 total yards. Tech will have two weeks to prepare for a tough game against Arizona State on Sept. 16.
No. 21 West Virginia Mountaineers
Quarterback Will Grier officially announced his arrival to the Big 12 on Monday night. It was to no avail, however, as the West Virginia Mountaineers fell to longtime rival Virginia Tech 31-24. It was the first time the two teams had played in 12 years, and the rivalry picked up right where it had left off.
Grier finished the night 31-of-53 for 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. His leading target, Gary Jennings, had 13 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown.
The Mountaineers outgained Virginia Tech’s offense by more than 100 yards and turned the ball over only once. Penalties were their kryptonite, however, to the tune of nine penalties for 81 yards, including some in costly situations.
Although it was a tough loss, Dana Holgerson’s squad showed the promise it has. Don’t be surprised if this team is right in the thick of the Big 12 title race in late November.
The Mountaineers will have to bounce back quickly as they welcome East Carolina to Morgantown at 11 a.m. Saturday.