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Recap: Week 2 in Big 12 Football

Big 12 Conference LogoWow, it was another big weekend to forget in Big 12 football last Saturday. Big time upsets, a few scares, and some teams maintaining their focus and continuing their string of non-conference wins. In fact, it’s only been two weeks, and the Big 12 is already being considered the most overrated conference in all of college football – ESPN has an interesting segment arguing the conference’s value at this point in the game. For the record, Eyes of TX would never hire Lou Holtz to represent the Big 12 – can you even understand him? – no wonder he gets taken to task by Mark May. Thanks, ESPN.

Let’s take a quick look back at week two in the Big 12 football.

Baylor Bears
Bye week. Can the Bears continue their good start this week in their first home game of the 2009 season? Connecticut has been one of the better teams in the Big East over the past few years, although their starting quarterback is out for this game in Waco, which is expected to bring more than 40,000 Bear fanatics to the season-opener. No dancing allowed, though. Next up: Connecticut (1-1)

Colorado 38 v. Toledo 54
The story in Boulder just keeps getting worse for head coach Dan Hawkins. Playing for the second time in five days, the Buffaloes looked horrendous against the Rockets. The Buffs defense gave up a whooping 624 yards of offense, more than 300 in both passing and rushing. Watching this game, it shouldn’t have even been this close – the Rockets thought they had it sealed at halftime, and Colorado crept back in to the game before the Rockets exploded for more points in the second half. The rushing game continues to be a struggle, only 95 yards the entire game, but running back Darrell Scott accounted for 85 of those yards on 12 carries, all in the first half. To their credit, the Buffs were throwing the ball trying to catch up all game. Think Hawkins might be out as coach next season? Don’t be so sure – former coach Dan McCarthy stepped up to defend Hawkins this week, and the cash-strapped CU athletic budget might not allow for a buy-out. Next up: Wyoming (1-1)

Iowa State 3 v. Iowa 35
Apparently the Hawkeyes got their wake-up call last week when they nearly lost to Northern Iowa. And, playing for the annual CyHawk trophy, the Cyclones were outplayed in this game from the start, and turnovers played a huge role in the result, as Iowa hawked five INTs in the game, four from starting quarterback Austen Arnaud and one from back-up Jerome Tiller. All told, the Cyclones only culled together 303 yards of offense. A tough loss for Iowa State, but they should be able to get back on track next week against Kent State, especially with a freshman quarterback expected to start for the Golden Flash. With a tough road schedule in 2009, this could be the Cyclones only chance for a road win this season. Next up: @ Kent State (1-1)

Kansas 34 v. UTEP 7
Who knew? The Jayhawks defense showed up in a big way in El Paso, and held the Miners to seven first downs on the game, only four yards rushing, and kept them scoreless until late in the 4th quarter. While quarterback Todd Reesing was 25-of-41 for 260 yards, with one TD and one INT, it was the KU running game that surprised coach Mike Price’s UTEP team this week, as senior running back Jake Sharp accounted for 104 yards and two TDs on only 16 carries to lead the Jayhawks to another solid victory. The return of suspended wide receiver Dezmond Briscoe didn’t hurt either, as he notched 8 catches for 154 yards on the day. This week, Reesing faces the only other D-I football program to offer him a scholarship – Duke – and he should have no trouble showing the Blue Devils how his SAT scores have helped him command the KU offense. Next up: Duke (1-1)

Kansas State 15 v. Louisiana-Lafayette 17
Ouch. While several Big 12 teams lost last weekend, this could be the most embarrassing. Wildcats coach Bill Snyder might be writing his own team’s obituary before his own. Despite outgaining the Ragin’ Cajuns by almost 100 yards on the day, the KSU defense gave up a late, 42-yard field goal for the win – the first of the Ragin’ Cajuns junior kicker’s career. Wow. Wildcats running back Daniel Thomas continues to be the highlight of Synder’s offense, as he rushed for 136 yards and one TD on 27 carries. With the resurgence of UCLA in the Pac-10, and head coach Rick Neuheisal leading the charge in L.A., you can bet (sorry, Rick) that the Wildcats are in for another tough ride this weekend. Next up: @ UCLA (2-0)

Missouri 27 v. Bowling Green 20
After looking amazing in his first career start, Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled in week two against Bowling Green, but managed to finally get things on track in the second half to lead Mizzou to the win in Columbus. Behind 20-6 in the third quarter, the Tigers’ offense picked up behind the strong running effort of Derrick Washington who had 120 yards on 23 carries, and one TD. Can you believe this stat – Bowling Green had more passing yards than Missouri. Yep, it’s true. Even the Tigers’ punter got used seven times on Saturday, after being used only 26 times all of last season. Gabbert’s still got some growing up to do, but fans can see the potential, and that should once again be on showcase this weekend against lowly Furman. Next up: Furman (2-0)

Nebraska 38 v. Arkansas State 9
Granted, it was Arkansas State, but the Nebraska offense looked unstoppable on Saturday, as the Cornhusker scored on five of their first 6 possessions to take 24-6 lead at halftime. Quarterback Zac Lee continues to impress, as he completed 27-of-35 passes for 340 yards and four TDs, completing passes to 11 different receivers. It’s funny, now, to think of Nebraska as a wishbone offense back in the day. Nebraska seems to be clicking on all cylinders, although they’ll get their biggest test this weekend at Virginia Tech. Next up: @ Virginia Tech (1-1)

oklahoma 64 v. Idaho State 0
Well, something sure clicked in Norman since week one. With stars Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham out, freshman quarterback Landry Jones used his work with the first team offense to absolutely decimate the Bengals in week two. Jones threw for 286 yards and three TDs – all to wide receiver Ryan Broyles – as ou put this game away early in the first half. The stout sooners defense held Idaho State to minus-2 yards in the first half, and only 44 yards of offense on the day, and the Bengals never made it past ou’s 49-yard line in the game. Running back Demarco Murray also rushed for 101 yards on 12 carries, scoring two TDs. The re-tooled offensive lane appears to be working for coach Bob Stoops in week two, but they will have a tougher test against one of the most proficient offenses in NCAA football the last few years in the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes this Saturday. Next up: Tulsa (2-0)

Oklahoma State 35 v. Houston 45
Whoops. Someone forgot to tell Oklahoma State that they play more than one game in a season. After defeating former #13 Georgia in week one, the Cowboys looked flat all game against the potent Cougars offense, which racked up 512 yards on the day, behind quarterback Case Keenum’s 366 yards passing. ‘Pokes quarterback Zac Robinson, on the other hand, threw for only 240 yards, including a TD and INT on the day. In addition, the Cowboys lost starting running back Kendall Hunter for the game in the second quarter, and standout wide receiver Dez Bryant also suffered through cramps all day while accounting for 85 yards on five catches. All told, the Cougars outplayed the ‘Pokes on their home turf (with a little luck to go along with their courageous play), and the Sports Illustrated cover jinx continued this week in Stillwater. Head coach Mike Gundy finally has a chance to get his team in rhythm and on track this week against Rice, and with a few key victories could bring the ‘Pokes back in to the top 10 by season’s end. Next up: Rice (0-2)

Texas 41 v. Wyoming 10
So, the altitude WAS an issue. In front of the third biggest city in all of Wyoming (the stadium) last Saturday, thriving at more than 7,000 feet above sea level, the Cowboys and their fans were jacked up and ready to play – and it was very evident from the get-go that the ‘Horns were either flat or pushing too hard, looking miserable in the first half on the offensive side of the ball. Thankfully, the defense showed up ready to play and basically pitched a shut-out as Wyoming only put points on the board after Texas special team’s mistakes – a blocked punt for TD and a missed fake punt conversion. Quarterback Colt McCoy turned it on the second half, and ended up 30-for-47 for 337 yards, three TDS, and an INT. While wide receiver James Kirkendoll might have led the team in receiving yards, it was the play of tight end/flex receiver Dan Buckner that raised some eyebrows in Laramie. Buckner ended the day with six catches for 86 yards and a TD, and it appears he has adapted to the position and has become a go-to outlet for McCoy. The defense really was the story of the game, giving the ‘Horns a chance going in to the second half, as they held Wyoming to 273 yards of total offense. This week, the ‘Horns secondary gets their big test against head coach Mike Leach’s lethal spread offense. Can the ‘Horns overcome last year’s disappointment – it’s the question everyone wants answered. ESPN’s College Gameday will be in town for the early season conference match-up. Next up: Texas Tech (2-0)

Texas A&M Aggies
Bye week. This year’s Big 12 mystery team suits up for their second game on Saturday against Utah State. After a big win in week one against New Mexico, the Aggies need to show they’re not a one-show circus. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson looks much more comfortable this year in the pocket, and the running game behind freshman Christine Michael looks solid. Two in a row, Ags? Yell practice might be paying off in College Station. Next up: Utah State (0-1)

Texas Tech 55 v. Rice 10
Has there ever been a quarterback that has thrown 10 TDs in a game? And, if not, has head coach Mike Leach called the Guinness Book of World Records to have them come to town for the fireworks? Geez. Well, the Red Raiders got their offense on track in week two, as quarterback Taylor Potts nearly tied a school record for TDs thrown with seven against the struggling Owls. With three quarterbacks playing for Rice, the Owls couldn’t get much of an offensive rhythm, managing only 257 yards on the day. Potts’ ended the day with 456 yards, and he completed passes to 13 different wide receivers, including his high school teammate Lyle Leong, who caught three TD strikes. The defense looked solid, but not remarkable – especially after losing NFL talent off the defensive line since last year. Once again, Potts didn’t have to deal with any pass rush, and it will be interesting to see how Potts reacts under pressure from the front seven and his first road game in a hostile environment in Austin. Next up: @ Texas (2-0)

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

Other Texas-state Football Week 1 Recaps

In addition to the Big 12 Conference’s opening weekend of football, here are the outcomes of other Texas-state football squads that opened their 2009-2010 campaign over the Labor Day holiday, as well as what teams they’ll be facing this Saturday.

Conference USA

Conference USA
Houston 55 v. Northwestern State 7
It’s like Andre Ware was back in red and white! Houston quarterback Case Keenum completed 23 of 30 passes for 359 yards, four TDs, and no picks to absolutely demolish the demons. No need to run when you can throw, as the Cougars racked up 91 yards rushing. Can their pass-happy offense stand up to Okie State’s stout defense? We’ll find out Saturday.
Next up: @ Oklahoma State (1-0)

Rice 24 v. Alabama-Birmingham 44
The Owls defense got taken to the barn on Saturday, to the tune of 516 yards of UAB offense, in their opening game loss. Rice gave up 295 yards rushing and 221 yards through the air – not a good sign going to Lubbock next week – and the Owls look undecided at quarterback between Nick Fanuzzi (12/20, 154 yards, 1 TD) and John Thomas Sheperd (10/22, 81 yards, 1 INT).
Next up: @ Texas Tech (1-0)

Southern Methodist (SMU) 31 v. Stephen F. Austin (SFA) 23
SMU scrapes by, as the Mustangs scored on fourth-and-one with 7 minutes to play to overcome a 9-point deficit and win their home opener. Running back Shawnbrey McNeal looked solid, rushing for 158 yards on 19 carries and accounting for one TD, while quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (could this be the second best Texas-state quarterback name behind Texas’ Colt McCoy?) completed 23 of 45 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Next up: Alabama-Birmingham (1-0)

Texas El-Paso (UTEP) 17 v. Buffalo 23
Even though UTEp outgained the Bulls on offense, Buffalo was efficient and capitalized on UTEP mistakes to take the lead in the second quarter and hold on for the win in west Texas. UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe threw 45 attempts, completing 27, for 233 yards but no TDs.
Next up: Kansas (1-0)

Mountain West Conference
Mountain West Conference
Texas Christian (TCU) – no game in week one
Next up: @ Virginia (0-1)

Southland Conference
Southland Conference
Sam Houston State 28 v. Western Illinois 35
One yard. One measly yard – and a bit of pass defense by SHS – and this game potentially ends differently. SHS drove to the WIU 1-yard line with 21 seconds to play, down by seven, but couldn’t score on three straight plays to end the game and the Leathernecks pull out the victory in Huntsville. Just criminal, if you know what we mean.
Next up: North Dakota State (0-1)

Stephen F. Austin (SFA) 23 v. Southern Methodist (SMU) 31
A tough night defensively for the Lumberjacks, as SFA had more total yards of offense than the Mustangs (460 to 355) but couldn’t come out with a win. Quarterback Jeremy Moses threw 52 times for 391 yards and 2 TDs, but also completed five passes to the Mustangs for INTs.

By the way, who the heck is SFA’s next opponent – Texas College? The Steers have no logo and play only five football games on the year (wrap it up in October) – watch out, Texas College, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder might come calling next year.
Next up: @ Texas College (0-1)

Texas State 48 v. Angelo State 28
Texas State quarterback Bradley George threw for 328 yards and three TDs in the win, while the Bobcats racked up 463 yards in total offense.
Next up: Bye

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
North Texas 20 v. Ball State 10
North Texas put up 512 yards of offense on the road for the win, including quarterback Riley Dodge’s 216 yards passing and one TD, as well as 296 yards on the ground from Cam Montgomery, Dodge, and Lance Dunbar.
Next up: Ohio (0-1)

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Filed under Bearkats, Bobcats, Conference USA, Cougars, Horned Frogs, Lumberjacks, Mean Green, Miners, Mountain West Conference, Mustangs, NCAA Football, Owls, Southland Conference, Sun Belt Conference, WAC

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

2008-09 Texas Longhorn Game Previews

For all my Texas Longhorn readers, I’ve added my 2008-2009 Longhorn football game previews to the Eyes Of TX. You can find the previews and recaps under the Resources page, or utilizing the Eyes Of TX Resources sidebar links on the right-hand side of the page.

I hope you enjoy last year’s content, and look forward to seeing more football content coming soon — football season is almost here!

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