Recap: Week 1 in Big 12 Football

Big 12 Conference LogoIt proved to be a weekend full of surprises in the 2009-2010 Big 12 football season, as many marquee match-ups and big question marks were answered – and more questions begin to emerge for teams in both the North and South divisions. After opening weekend, the Big 12 has five teams in USA Today’s Top 25 rankings (Texas, Oklahoma State, oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas), while Missouri, Texas Tech and Baylor all received votes as well.

Let’s break down week one in the Big 12 conference.

Baylor 24 v. Wake Forest 21
Coach Art Briles has the Bears off to a good start in 2009. On the road, the Bears used trick plays, a balanced offensive attack which amassed 100 more yards than the Demon Deacons, and the stellar play of quarterback Robert Griffin and linebacker Joe Pawelek to secure their first road win in nine attempts dating back to last season. The Bears will be a team to watch this season. Next up: Connecticut (1-0)

Colorado 17 v. Colorado State 23
Ouch. Coach Dan Hawkins’ “hot seat” in 2009 just got a little warmer. Colorado, who named Hawkins’ son Cody the starting quarterback at game time, looked out of sync the entire game and he couldn’t bring the team back from its game-long deficit at home. Prized running back recruit Darrell Scott, now in his second year, saw little action, and there has been talk in Boulder about why he didn’t play more in the game – the Buffs had only 29 yards rushing. On top of their offensive woes, Colorado lost their starting center, Mike Iltis, to a knee injury in the first quarter – his potential return is unknown. Next up: @ Toledo (0-1)

Iowa State 34 v. North Dakota State 17
The Paul Rhoads era in Ames started off well, given the Cyclones played a D-II team, as they pulled out a solid win in week one. Quarterback Austen Arnaud looked solid in his debut as well, leading a balanced offensive attack, with 227 yards passing and two TDs. The Cyclones gave up 388 yards to NDSU, however, so there are still some question marks on the defensive side of the ball. Next up: Iowa (1-0)

Kansas 49 v. Northern Colorado 3
With Northern Colorado dropping back seven and eight defensive players in to the secondary, the Jayhawks adapted their offensive game plan and ran all over the field in their opening weekend win. All told, KU rushed for 328 yards, while quarterback Todd Reesing controlled the game throwing for a paltry 208 yards and two TDs, but rushed for two more. The defense looked solid, although it has yet to be tested after losing several starters from last year’s team. Next up: @ UTEP (0-1)

Kansas State 21 v. Massachusetts 17
It was a special weekend in Manhattan, KS, as “Family Reunion” weekend brought back more than 300 former players for the opening game, although head coach Bill Snyder probably thought the “special” was the worst part. The Wildcats special teams was horrific, and despite an 18-point lead, mistakes in the KSU kicking game let the Minutemen back in to the game. Starting quarterback Carson Coffman struggled, throwing for only 182 yards and two TDs, and the running game was equally as mediocre. Snyder might be in for a long season until he can find the junior college transfers to give his future teams some experience. Next up: Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0)

Missouri 37 v. Illinois 9
Chase who? Head coach Gary Pinkel appears to have found his replacement at quarterback with Blaine Gabbert, who threw for 319 yards and three TDs, while running for another, in a statement game against the Illini. Even more impressive, perhaps, was the Tigers defense, which held Illinois quarterback Juice Williams in check all night, as he threw for only 179 yards and no TDs. Keep an eye on Mizzou wide receiver Danario Alexander, who had 10 catches for 132 yards and seems to be Gabbert’s top target downfield. The Tigers won their 11th straight non-conference game, a school record, dating back to 2005. Next up: Bowling Green (1-0)

Nebraska 49 v. Florida Atlantic 3
The problem with a defensive-minded coach? Giving up only three points to an opponent wasn’t good enough: “soft,” to be exact. In all actuality, head coach Bo Pelini probably should have been a bit disappointed in his defense’s performance, as they gave up 358 yards, but the defense stood tall when it needed to and the offense commanded the game with 490 total yards, 231 passing and 259 rushing. Running back Roy Helu, Jr. turned it on in the third quarter against FAU for two TDs, and is averaging 7.7 yards per carry (662 yards) over his last five regular season games. Next up: Arkansas State (1-0)

oklahoma 13 v. BYU 14
Big. Time. Upset. Playing without tight end Jermaine Gresham, and working with a re-tooled and inexperienced offensive line, the sooners couldn’t get their Mike Leach-esque offense going against BYU. More importantly, and as noted in a previous post, 2008 Heisman Trophy quarterback Sam Bradford was knocked out of the game at the end of the first half with a third-degree sprain of his right, throwing shoulder. Freshman back-up quarterback Landry Jones looked relatively calm and collected in his debut, despite some ridiculous facial hair, but couldn’t will the sooners to the win in Dallas. Head coach Bob Stoops will begin the re-building process in Norman, although he’ll do it without Bradford for at least two games (Idaho State and Tulsa, at a minimum), and now Gresham for the season, who confirmed earlier this week he will have surgery on his injured knee. In addition, former tight end-moved-to-center Brody Eldridge will move back to tight end and play this week against Idaho State despite a broken pinkie finger. Texas, now hear this: ou’s run defense looked stout, giving up only 27 yards on BYU’s 32 rushing attempts (less than a yard per carry), but the secondary suffered to the tune of 329 yards and two TDs. Expect heavy doses of the running game from the sooners in the coming weeks – they’ll still contend, but their season success now has several more question marks than when it began. Next up: Idaho State (0-1)

Oklahoma State 24 v. Georgia 10
What does a $286 million dollar football stadium renovation get you? Well, when combined with an explosive offense and an ever-improving defense, it secured a key win for the ‘Pokes against upper echelon SEC team #13 Georgia. After a slow start, the OSU offense clicked, and quarterback Zac Robinson and standout wide receiver Dez Bryant showcased their lethal passing attack. The defense – under new defensive coordinator Bill Young – after being rolled over in the first Georgia drive of the game, stood up to the challenge and only allowed three points the rest of the game. While it was a solid win, Eyes Of TX believes expectations are still much higher in Stillwater, and the offense still has something to prove, especially as it jumps in to Big 12 conference play. Next up: Houston (1-0)

Texas 59 v. Louisiana-Monroe 20
The ‘Horns don’t look like they’ve lost a step since last season, as they dominated the Warhawks in Austin. The offensive juggernaut continues – a total of 568 yards – as quarterback Colt McCoy (21 of 29 for 317 yards, two TDs, and one INT) and wide receiver Jordan Shipley (180 yards receiving on eight catches) looked unstoppable. The running game still has question marks, as starter Vondrell McGee lost two fumbles – the first in more than a season by the running back core – although Cody Johnson had three short-yardage TDs and freshman D.J. Monroe was the highlight reel, as he returned his first touch of the football in a game situation for a 89-yard kick off return for a TD in a blink of the eye while also rushing for 64 yards on 9 carries (7.1 yards per carry). The defense, however, looked suspect and gave up 20 points – the highest total to an opponent in 10 years. McCoy, who didn’t look quite as sharp as usual and admitted his disappointment, did set a record as he became the first Longhorn quarterback in history to throw for more than 10,000 yards. The ‘Horns are unscathed going in to week two, however, as offensive lineman Michael Huey and linebacker Jared Norton are out indefinitely with ankle sprains (OL David Snow and LB Dustin Earnest will replace them), as well as back-up OL Mason Walters (right foot injury). Next up: Wyoming (1-0)

Texas A&M 41 v. New Mexico 6
Wow, where did that come from? A total of 606 yards on offense, including 349 yards passing and three total TDs (two passing, one rushing) from quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who completed 31 of 41 attempts. To top of the stellar week one performance, the “Wrecking Crew”-style defense that A&M had been known for in the early ‘90s returned, holding New Mexico to 21 yards rushing and sacking the opposing quarterback five times. The running game seems to have potential in 2009 as well, as stud freshman running back Christine Michael rushed for 93 yards and a TD on only 11 carries (8.5 yards per carry). Wide receiver Jeff Fuller also showed up with 10 catches for 111 yards and a TD and continues to be the top target in the passing game. Could the Aggies turn it around in only a year? Even former coach R.C. Slocum hasn’t given them the nod quite yet – but, Eyes Of TX suggests this is “one to watch” in the weeks ahead. Next up: Utah State (0-1)

Texas Tech 38 v. North Dakota 13
Not the usual score we’d expect out of the West Texas desert, but with a new quarterback in Taylor Potts, the Tech offense was obviously struggling to regain last year’s firepower. In fact, despite Potts’ 405 yards passing and the Red Raiders’ 40 yards rushing, three of their five TDs came on the ground. Potts also threw three INTs on the day, although he completed passes to 10 different Tech wide receivers, with Detron Lewis leading the charge with 146 yards on only eight catches. The defense looked good, giving up only 207 total yards to the Fighting Sioux – only a D-II team and not much of a gauge for the Big 12 spread offenses Tech will see later in the year. Next up: Rice (0-1)

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Filed under Aggies, Bears, Big 12, Buffaloes, Cornhuskers, Cyclones, Jayhawks, Longhorns, NCAA Football, Red Raiders, Sooners, Tigers, Wildcats

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