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Big 12 Links and Reflections: Week 3

Southern Miss 31, Kansas 16

I think I came away from this game most impressed with South Carolina, who physically and athletically dominated this Southern Miss team.  The Golden Eagles looked faster than Kansas, and in the end they just outran and out-executed the Jayhawks.  I've been impressed with KU QB Jordan Webb so far, but a) they haven't exactly asked him to do much yet, and b) I'm unimpressed with most of the weapons around him except Daymond Patterson.  I'm curious how the rest of the season plays out for the Jayhawks.  KU indeed has issue on the offensive line (proof that experience doesn't automatically make a bad line better, I guess), and the more risks they take, the more disastrous the results might be.  They can play things close to the vest, avoid blowouts, and maybe pull an upset if the other team makes a ton of mistakes (that recipe worked somewhat for Gill at Buffalo), but I'm just not sure what kind of pure talent/athleticism this team actually has.

Kansas State 27, Iowa State 20

Speaking of competent, nonathletic, and close-to-the-vest, it's Iowa State!  I didn't catch as much of this one as I intended -- my Dave Lapham tolerance was at an all-time low, and Georgia-Arkansas was pretty interesting -- but from what I saw and what I read after the game, K-State just has a stronger identity, and when they stayed out of their own way (A.J. Klein's early-Q3 pick six came from an absolutely atrocious read and throw by Carson Coffman), they pulled away.  Iowa State has decent weapons in Austen Arnaud and Alexander Robinson, but they're only decent.  Meanwhile, Daniel Thomas is still quite the "wear you down over time" back, and he indeed wore the Cyclones down.

In the end, I think our suspicions about both teams were realized.  KSU is more capable of overcoming its athletic weakness with power and a strong identity.  Iowa State, meanwhile, needs some breaks to win Big 12 games.

Colorado 31, Hawaii 13

Hmm.  It appears I need more Buffs feeds on the Google Reader.

Sllllloooooowwwww start for Colorado in this one.  They got the ball only four times in the first half, and here were their results: punt, fumble, punt, punt.  They generated just 107 yards in 34 plays, and Hawaii was able to put together a 10-0 lead that should have been MUCH larger.  They drove to the Colorado 1 on their first drive but fumbled.  Then, after Colorado muffed a punt, they recovered at the Colorado 3 ... and missed a field goal.  It should have been closer to 20-0 or so at half ... and it still might not have mattered.  Colorado got their bearings in the second half, established the run, scored on four of their first five 2H drives, and won going away.  Brian Lockridge and Rodney Stewart combined for 215 rushing yards on 36 carries.

Oklahoma 27, Air Force 24

I may need more CU and Baylor feeds on the Google Reader, but thanks to the Oklahoman and the Tulsa World, finding OU and OSU links are no problem. Oklahoma had their "Mizzou in the Texas Bowl" moment on Saturday, realizing too late that they were attacking the flexbone in very much the wrong manner.  (They would attack the Mizzou Spreadbone incorrectly too.  Just sayin'.)  The gameplan failed, to the tune of 351 rushing yards for the Falcons.  Quite a bit of it came after OU had built a 27-10 lead, but it was still a rather jarring total.  With the game on the line, the Sooners moved the chains and ran out the clock, but this makes two of three non-conference games that were much closer than expected.  I think this Oklahoma team still has what it takes to make a run at their fourth conference title in five years, but I see this club more like the 2006 version than the 2007 or 2008 version.  It's going to be a grind for them this year, but they've still got enough talent (and home-field advantage) to win ten games.

Nebraska 56, Washington 21

As I said on the FO_College Twitter account yesterday, I don't know enough about Washington to know whether I should be impressed by this result or really impressed, but either way, it's pretty clear that Nebraska passed their first test with flying colors.  And in the process, they put the Jake Locker hype out of its misery for a while.  I've gotten a chance to write some Insider pieces through FO, and I never got a more negative response than when I posted a list of the ten best returning QBs according to one of our FO measures, and Locker didn't make the list.  I have nothing against the guy personally, but the hype has far, far, far exceeded the production on the field, so I appreciate the Huskers helping me out there.

I spent a good portion of the offseason talking down on the Nebraska running game; clearly I did not see the Taylor Martinez experience coming.  He has been Vince Young-esque in running the zone read so far, and the attention he gets from opposing defenses has opened things up for Roy Helu, Jr., and Rex Burkhead in a major way.  We'll see if Martinez hits a freshman wall, and we'll see how he responds to the first case of adversity ... but he was good enough to avoid adversity in Seattle.  He makes them a much more interesting team, that's for sure.

TCU 45, Baylor 10

Sigh. I was really hoping Baylor was ready for this challenge, but it was not meant to be.  Instead, I came away with this one with the impression that TCU really might be not only better than Boise State, but a legitimate Top 4-5 team.  (To me, Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon are the clear Top 3 right now.)  Andy Dalton is sickeningly accurate (21-for-23 for 267 and 2 TD's? Seriously?), and the defense still flies around like few others.  Baylor gained just 263 yards, and Hot Tub Griffin III managed just 21 rushing yards.  Total, jarring domination.

But on the bright side ... we have discovered a Baylor blogger!!!  Thee Bears has shown potential thus far.

Oklahoma State 65, Tulsa 28

Kendall Hunter is capable of rushing for 200 yards in any game, and now the passing attack is rounding into shape (if you call leading the country "rounding into shape") thanks to the Weeden-to-Justin-Blackmon combination.  I know they've only played Washington State, Troy and Tulsa so far, and I know that they almost figured out a way to lose to Troy -- I'm not calling OSU a Big 12 contender or anything -- but holy moly would I have nightmares if I were a defensive coordinator preparing for them.  They're off this week, but I can't wait for next Thursday's OSU-A&M game.  It could be 56-52, and it could be magnificent.

Texas A&M 27, Florida International 20

Okay, first things first: Heisman talk?  For Jerrod Johnson?  Um, no.  It was dead before FIU.

We didn't learn much about Mizzou this past weekend -- we just confirmed that their floor, their downside, is still pretty low if things are out of sync.  We confirmed the same about Jerrod Johnson and Texas A&M this week.  Johnson had an absolutely miserable performance (his final line: 11-for-31, 194 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs) against an improving-but-not-this-good Florida International (or as the Faurot Field scoreboard said, back when they actually gave up-to-date score updates, "FLINTLU") squad.  But with 21 fourth-quarter points, A&M escaped with a win anyway.  Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray combined for 204 yards on 30 carries, and Gray's 40-yarder with 4:29 left sealed the game.  A&M dominated statistically -- 400 total yards to 232 -- but five turnovers kept FIU around much longer than they should have.  But hey, A&M's 3-0.

Texas 24, Texas Tech 14

I can't decide whether I'm really high on Texas' defense or really low on Tech's offense now.  I was a little worried about how a new coaching staff would handle Tech's offensive personnel against a good defense, and the initial impression was not favorable.  The Red Raiders gained just 144 TOTAL YARDS and lacked any sort of major identity.  Baron Batch averaged 5.3 yards per carry, but only got 7 carries. Meanwhile, Taylor Potts managed just 158 passing yards in 35 attempts ... and if you include sacks in the passing totals, Tech managed 116 yards in 40 total passing attempts.  Tech!  116 yards!  Under 3 per attempt!  Yikes.

Meanwhile, Garrett Gilbert was ... fine in his first major road test.  He was sacked three times and threw three picks (for the issues Tech's O might be having, Tech's D has figured some things out), but he completed 58% of his passes, and James Kirkendoll (6 catches, 122 yards) came through in a major way.  For a Tech-Texas game, this was far from thrilling, but I think Texas is okay with that.