Oh, do we have so much to learn. But it is going to be fun along the way. There is plenty of Big 12 week two takeaways that need to be chewed on. Some are good (programs in the Sunflower state), some bad (Baylor), and some in between (Texas). All teams have two weeks of data points and it is providing some clarity on who these teams are. When all those ingredients get mixed into this Big 12 gumbo, it tastes like the Big 12 is just as open as we thought it would be.
Big 12 Week Two Takeaways
2009 All Over Again
“If only our quarterback didn’t get injured.” It’s a line Texas fans oddly find themselves saying against Alabama after Saturday’s thrilling 20-19 game. The largest Big 12 week two takeaway came in a losing effort. The fact is, with how the game shook out, Texas should have won regardless of who was taking snaps under center for the Longhorns. Alabama committed the most penalties in a single game since Nick Saban became the head coach in 2007. Quinn Ewers did have a fantastic start against The Tide. He was 9-12 passing for 134 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the first quarter.
But even without Ewers, the most impressive unit on the field all game was the Texas defense. The Longhorn defense looked fast, physical, and confused reigning Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young all game. Young’s best Houdini act proved to be the difference in the end. Texas has been recruiting at a high level for years. Their last five recruiting classes have ranked fifth, 15th, ninth, third, and third nationally. But they have been unable to develop that talent or get it to play to its potential on a consistent basis. The effort by both sides of the ball, but especially the defensive side, is an example of what happens when that much talent collectively plays to its ceiling.
The Longhorn team that showed up against Alabama should scare the entire Big 12. However, this is the first example of seeing Texas pull in the same direction for four full quarters. Head coach Steve Sarkisian said that the Alabama game plan was done three months ago. Can he re-group his team and get them to play at a consistent level that lets Texas compete for a Big 12 title? We should have a pretty good idea next week as a tough UTSA team comes to Austin.
Kansas Leads The Big 12
In a rare double-digit final score for a game that was decided in overtime, the Kansas Jayhawks traveled up to Morgantown and left with a 55-42 victory. Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold appears to have this program ahead of schedule. It would be lazy to view this as a random blip on the radar by Kansas. Under most years for Kansas, this 2-0 start would drum up major belief in reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2008. The schedule is brutal as they still have to travel to Houston and welcome a much-improved Duke team to Lawrence in the non-conference portion of their schedule. Even if this team doesn’t make a bowl game this year, this team is primed to give Big 12 opponents fits all season.
- Kansas State trucked Missouri 40-12 as the Wildcats added to the misery of the SEC from week two action. Deuce Vaughn did what Vaughn has done for the last three years in the Big 12; dominate. Vaughn rushed for 145 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. The Wildcats are clearly going to play a style of football resembling an offense the last time Kansas State won the Big 12 outright (2003). Kansas State rushed for a total of 235 yards as a team. Quarterback Adrian Martinez only attempted 20 passes, completing only nine for 101 yards.
- Matt Campbell finally broke through as Iowa State won the Cy-Hawk trophy in Kinnick stadium. The 10-7 victory snapped a six-game losing streak to rival Iowa. The only Cyclone touchdown in the game came on a 21-play, 99-yard drive that chewed up 11:49 of the game clock. As the final score would indicate, this was not the most aesthetically pleasing football game to watch. The teams combined for six turnovers, 12 punts, and a missed field goal by Iowa in a failed attempt to tie the game at the end.
- Of all the Big 12 week two takeaways, fewer were more fun to take in than what we witnessed in Lubbock. Texas Tech knocked off Houston and earned their first victory over an AP top 25 team since 2019. Joey McGuire’s early returns as head coach have been as good as anyone could have hoped for. The Red Raiders travel to NC State in a much-more intriguing matchup than it looked two weeks ago.
Other Notable Big 12 Week Two Takeaways
- Baylor could not survive a trip to Provo against BYU. The Bears lost 26-20 to the Cougars. Blake Shapen struggled all night, finishing 18-28 passing for only 137 yards and one touchdown. Baylor was unable to break 300 total offensive yards for the game as future Big 12 opponent BYU now positions themselves early in the 2022 season as a darkhorse playoff team.
- In the Sooner state, both Oklahoma programs took care of business. Oklahoma State handled a visit from Arizona State by a score of 34-17. Oklahoma struggled with Kent State for a half of football. Eventually, the Sooners turned it on and pulled away with a final score of 33-3. Coupled with the loss by Baylor, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State now are ranked in the latest AP poll at six and eight respectively.