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October 8, 2013

Recon Report: Ash sidelined

THE RECON REPORT
The Baylor offense just keeps on rolling. On Saturday the Bears posted a new Big 12 record, 864 total yards of offense in a 73-42 drubbing of West Virginia. 468 of those yards came on the ground, including 172 yards and 2 touchdowns from Lache Seastrunk on just 15 carries. Seastrunk was named the Big 12's Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, despite playing in just one half on Saturday versus the Mountaineers. Bryce Petty had 347 of Baylors 396 passing yards, and 2 scores as well -- including a 61 yarder to Antwan Goodley. That touchdown was part of a 7 catch, 170 yard day for Goodley, who leads the Big 12 in receiving yards and touchdown receptions despite playing in just four games so far this year. The Baylor defense held West Virginia QB Clint Trickett to less than 33% completions and picked him off once as well. Next up for the 15th ranked Bear, is a road trip to Kansas State on Saturday afternoon at 2:30. Last year the Bears derailed the Wildcats national title hopes (not to mention Collin Klein's Heisman chances) with a 52-24 win in Waco, so the 'Cats will have revenge on their minds.
The Cyclones head to Lubbock this weekend after a heart-breaking 31-30 loss at home to Texas on National TV. Lost in all the controversy around the officiating down the stretch and Mike Davis' cheap shot on Deon Broomfield, was several positive strides for the Cyclones -- particularly on offense. The reigning Big 12 Offensive POW, Aaron Wimberly, turned in his second-straight 100-yard game with 117 yards on 29 carries and a score. Sam Richardson showed improvement as well, passing for 262 yards (and two touchdowns) and rushing for 83 more. Richardson appears to have found his top target in Quenton Bundrage, who posted his second 100-yard receiving day (137 and a TD) and almost had that locked up on one play -- a 97-yard TD hook-up from Richardson in third quarter. Defensively, the Cyclones forced two Jonathan Gray fumbles on the final drive, but weren't awarded possession on either. Senior Jeremiah George led the way, tallying a season-high 13 tackles, 2.5 TFL's and 1.5 sacks. George is averaging 10 tackles per game this season as the new face of the defense with AJ Klein and Jake Knott no longer with the program. The 1-3 Cyclones take on Texas Tech at 11 AM this Saturday. Tech leads the all-time series 8-3, including a 5-1 mark in Lubbock.
The Jayhawks fell to 2-2 on the season Saturday, after giving up 54 consecutive points to Texas Tech in a 54-16 loss. The Jayhawks posted a 10-0 edge at the end of the first quarter, but much like their 20-0 lead in 2011 in Lawrence, that 10-point margin quickly evaporated as well. The Kansas offensive-line was overmatched against the Tech defensive front seven, allowing 5 sacks and 10 TFL's on the day. Furthermore, KU mustered just 51 yards on the ground after 390 against Tech a year ago in Lubbock. The absence of departed seniors Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marrongelli was never felt more than it was on Saturday when the Kansas QB's had little time to throw and the running backs little room to run. Kansas lost three fumbles and Jake Heaps also threw an interception. One of the lone KU bright spots was running back turned receiver, Tony Pierson, who hauled in six passes for 118 yards. Pierson suffered a head injury though after a 39 yard catch and run and Coach Charlie Weis said Monday that he's day-to-day as he recovers from those symptoms. Weis also said yesterday that there will be plenty of changes on his latest two deep released later today. KU travels to face 2-3 TCU on Saturday at 11.
Despite being two touchdown underdogs in Stillwater, the Wildcats nearly upset #21 Oklahoma State. Ultimately, a JW Walsh touchdown pass to Charlie Moore with 4:13 to go lifted the Cowboys to a 33-29 victory, but prior to that 6 play, 75 yard drive, the 'Cats were in prime position for a win. Daniel Sams played the majority of the game at quarterback for the Wildcats and showed flashes of promise (299 total yards, including 118 rushing) and plenty of mistakes as well (3 interceptions and a fumble). Ultimately, the Wildcats turned the ball over 5 times and finished -4 in turnover margin. The opportunistic Wildcats benefited from a 10-point swing late in the first half when Kip Daily returned a blocked field goal attempt 65 yards for a touchdown. Other positives included fullback Glenn Gronkowski (Rob's little brother) catching a 67 yard touchdown pass from Sams. Typical studs, WR Tyler Lockett (6 receiving yards and 6 rushing yards) and RB John Hubert (30 rushing yards, 7 receiving yards), were relative non-factors at OSU. Lockett suffered a right hamstring strain in the 2nd quarter and is listed as day-to-day this week. Fellow receiver Tramaine Thompson suited up for the game but did not play in the first half and then was in street clothes in the second half. He's also considered day-to-day. The 2-3 Wildcats now return home to host #15 Baylor on Saturday at 2:30. The Cats will be looking to avenge last year's blowout loss in Waco 52-24 that ended their national title game hopes.
The Sooners improved to 5-0 on the season Saturday night with a 20-17 win over TCU in Norman. While it wasn't the convincing win OU fans were hoping for, there were plenty of positives for the Crimson and Crème in this one and most had to do with rushing stats. Defensively, OU held the Frogs to just 1.6 yards per carry on 27 attempts. TCU had averaged just under 150 rushing yards per game coming in, but managed only 44 on Saturday. Conversley, Brennan Clay sparked the OU running game with 111 yards, including a 76 yard scoring scamper in the fourth quarter that ultimately put the game out of reach. Blake Bell was solid, passing for 152 yards and rushing for 61 yards, while not throwing any interceptions or touchdowns. On a day when fellow Big 12 title-contender, Baylor posted 864 yards of offense, the Sooners outgained TCU 355-210. The day clearly belonged to the defense, who opened the game by forcing seven straight TCU three-and-outs in helping the Sooners to a 13-0 half-time lead. TCU finally logged a first down at the 8:34 mark in the 3rd quarter. One bad piece of news for the Sooners defense is the loss of linebacker Corey Nelson. One week after posting a pick-6 at Notre Dame, Nelson suffered a partially-torn pectoral muscle and is done for the season. Oklahoma has now won 10 straight Big 12 games and will meet Texas on Saturday at 11 in Dallas. Texas leads the all-time series 59-43-5.
Mike Gundy's team nearly suffered it's second-straight loss to open Big 12 play, but escaped with a 33-29 home win over Kansas State on Saturday. The offense had plenty of chances thanks to five takeaways by the defense, but struggled to finish drives, having to settle for 5 field goal attempts (one of which was blocked and returned for a score by KSU). OSU did not record a first down in the entire third quarter. Though he posted just a 55.4 QBR, JW Walsh was clutch when it counted. The Cowboy signal caller lead OSU on a 6 play, 75 yard scoring drive that culminated in the game-winning TD toss to Charlie Moore with 4:13 to go. In the midst of the Cowboys offensive struggles, Clint Chelf was called upon to provide a spark, but didn't. He threw two incompletions after coming on following an OSU takeaway deep in KSU territory. Freshman kicker Ben Grogan picked up Big 12 Special Teams POW honors after connecting on four field goals. It was quite a turnaround from the previous week, when he missed a pair of FG tries at West Virginia. The league's defensive honor went to OSU linebacker Shaun Lewis, who filled up the stat sheet in a major way on Saturday. Lewis registered a forced fumble, fumble recover, interception and team-high 8 tackles in the win. The Cowboys are off this weekend, before hosting TCU next Saturday.
The Horned Frogs offense sputtered mightily at OU on Saturday night. They did not cross midfield in the first half and didn't pickup a first down until almost midway through the 3rd quarter. Ultimately, the managed just 210 total yards (only 44 rushing). TCU trailed by double digits for the bulk of the 2nd and 3rd quarters but cut it to a 3-point deficit twice late on a pair of Trevon Boykin touchdown runs. Boykin was 16-26 for 166 yards passing (0 TDs, 0 INTs) and rushed for 18 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 carries. The Frogs running game was stuffed all night, as Waymon James and BJ Catalon combined for just 30 yards. TCU opened the game with seven consecutive 3-and-outs, thanks in part to some first down struggles that put them in several 3rd and long scenarios. While the offense at times looked hopeless on Saturday night, for Frogs fans seeking hope, they can point to TCU's strength of schedule in the Sagarin rankings. The frogs have the #1 SOS with their three losses coming to teams that are a combined 15-1 (LSU, OU, and TT) and all of which ranked in the top 20. The 2-3 Horned Frogs will finally be favorites again this Saturday when the host a Kansas team that hasn't won in the Big 12 since 2010.
The Longhorns are tied for first place in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma and Texas Tech, although you wouldn't know it from the enthusiasm of the fan base. Mack Brown remains the target of intense criticism as his Longhorns prepare for Oklahoma this week as two touchdown underdogs. Texas escaped Ames with a 31-30 victory last week but all anyone wanted to talk about afterwards were blown calls and a controversial hit by receiver Mike Davis on ISU defensive back Deon Broomfield. Davis, ultimately, received a reprimand -- not a suspension -- but didn't sound very remorseful on Monday when he told the media, "If we have another run-pass situation, I'd do the same thing. If the DB's loafing, he deserves to get cut." Quarterback Case McCoy was 26-45 for 244 yards and a touchdown (and end of the first half hail mary) and also ran in the game winning score with :51 seconds remaining. He'll be the starter again this week vs. Oklahoma as David Ash has already been ruled out with the lingering effects of a head injury. The Longhorns will also be without cornerback Sheroid Evans, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear at Iowa State. Texas leads the Red River Rivalry series 59-43-5 all-time.
One week after holding the Oklahoma State Cowboys to 21 points in Morgantown, the 3-3 Mountaineers gave up 73 points and a Big 12 record 864 total yards to Baylor in Waco. Baylor won 73-42, and half of the Mountaineer points came in the 4th quarter in mop-up duty. Both Clint Trickett (9-28 for 161 yards, a TD and INT) and Paul Millard (8-13 for 115 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs) were used and afterwards Dana Holgorsen described his communication with the QBs as "very average" pointing to instances in the first half in which he told Trickett to execute one thing and something very different was done. On the bright side, RB Charles Sims had another solid line of 108 total yards (92 rushing) and a touchdown and WR Kevin White hauled in seven passes for 130 yards and 2 TDs. WVU would like to get more big plays in the running game. Through six games, they have just 10 runs of 20+ yards and one was from a receiver. Half of that total came versus Georgia State. Holgorsen said the O-line didn't give the runningbacks much of a chance against Baylor, "They were five yards in our backfield just about every time." The lack of big plays from the running game has put more pressure on a quarterback rotation that has clearly struggled over the first half of the season. WVU finally has a bye week this week before hosting Texas Tech on October 19th at 11 AM.




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