For as much talk as there has been about Oklahoma and even West Virginia when it comes to the Big 12 championship race, it seems No. 11 Oklahoma State has been flying under the radar. That should not be the case after the Cowboys (9-2, 7-1) picked up yet another win in conference play to set themselves up for a chance to clinch the Big 12 title in two weeks. Oklahoma State’s 31-6 victory on the road against TCU (5-5, 304 Big 12) in Fort Worth also keeps Oklahoma state on the radar for a shot at the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 207 yards and a touchdown and picked up two rushing touchdowns, while two running backs (Chris Carson and Justice Hill) went for more than 100 yards on the ground to power the offense by TCU. The defense also frustrated TCU quarterback Kenny Hill with a pair of interceptions, and Hill was little more than a minor threat with his dual-abilities.
Yes, it’s true. The Cowboys do have a slight sliver of hope to reach the College Football Playoff. Considering both the MAC and Big 12 previously basically confirmed Oklahoma State’s loss to Central Michigan never should have happened, Oklahoma State could hope the selection committee gives them a pass for one blemish on their schedule. Oklahoma State may still need some help elsewhere to move up high enough in the next two weeks, but they should very much be in the discussion for the committee moving forward, if they knock off Oklahoma in two weeks.
That will be Oklahoma State’s next game. After a bye week next week, Oklahoma State travels to Norman to play the rival Sooners on December 3. Oklahoma State won the last time they visited Memorial Stadium, with a 38-35 thriller two seasons ago.
TCU still has two games to play, including a road game at Texas on Black Friday next week. TCU will have two games to try and meet the six-win minimum for bowl eligibility.
Skyler Howard threw four touchdowns to help lead No. 12 West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) to a 34-10 victory over TCU (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) in Morgantown on Saturday. The win keeps the Mountaineers perfect on the season and continues to keep them atop the Big 12 standings with some key games still to be played.
West Virginia had a balanced attack on offense against the Horned Frogs. In addition to Howard tossing four touchdowns and passing for 231 yards in the win, running back Rushel Shell rushed for 117 yards. The defense (and special teams) came to play as well, forcing three TCU turnovers, including on the opening kickoff of the game to setup a quick touchdown. It was a rough start for visiting TCU, but they battled back before the game got out of reach in the second half. West Virginia pitched a shutout in the second half, while tacking on 13 points to pull away. TCU was able to convert just one of nine third downs and Kenny Hill averaged just 4.9 yards per pass attempt.
Is there any slowing West Virginia down? Maybe, but when? West Virginia takes their undefeated record on the road next week with a visit to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State. Then comes a home game against Kansas and a road game at Texas. All three are winnable, with only Oklahoma State expected to be the toughest challenge out of that bunch. The key still looks to be the final three games of the season, with home games against Oklahoma and Baylor with a road trip to Iowa State in between.
The Big 12 should be within reach, but could a playoff spot be in sight for West Virginia? The Mountaineers continue to climb their way up the rankings and fly under the radar. If the wins keep coming, that will not be the case for much longer.
TCU will return home next week to try and bounce back when they host Texas Tech.
Looking to prove they are every much worth respecting, West Virginia is off to a good start at home against TCU in Big 12 play this afternoon. The Mountaineers took advantage of a special teams mistake by TCU on the opening kickoff and now hold a 21-10 lead at halftime.
Deante Gray had the ball knocked out of his hands on TCU’s opening kickoff return. West Virginia recovered the loose ball and setup the offense from the TCU 17-yard line. Skyler Howard completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Daikiel Shorts on a third and short for an early 7-0 lead. TCU’s first offensive possession did not last long, with an interception by Rasul Douglas giving West Virginia a second straight offensive opportunity on TCU’s side of the field, but West Virginia missed a field goal on the possession.
Howard completed a second touchdown pass later with a 22-yard play to Shelton Gibson to put West Virginia up 14-0. TCU got on the board on the ensuing possession with a field goal at the end of an 11-play drive. After a three-and-out by the Mountaineers offense, TCU pulled even closer with a 12-play drive capped by a Kenny Hill touchdown pass to Jaelen Austin. West Virginia wasted little time rebuilding the lead with Howard’s third touchdown pass of the half, this time to Gary Jennings.
West Virginia’s Elijah Battle was ejected from the game in the second quarter following the latest in a long string of controversial targeting penalties around college football.
The Oklahoma Sooners (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) evened their season record after nearly letting a big lead evaporate in Fort Worth. After taking a 49-24 lead into the fourth quarter, No. 21 TCU (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) made the Sooners sweat with three touchdown drives in the final frame. In the end, Oklahoma managed to keep just ahead of Kenny Hill and TCU to leave town with a wild 52-46 shootout victory.
Baker Mayfield completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 274 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception. Mayfield also rushed for 55 yards and two more touchdowns, and Joe Mixon led the Sooners with 105 yards and a score. Samaje Perine also rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Dede Westbrook had himself a ball game with five catches for 158 yards and two scores (133 yards and 2 touchdowns came in the first half).
TCU’s fourth-quarter rally came together as Kenny Hill was getting in a groove, although perhaps too late for the Horned Frogs. Hill ended his day with 449 passing yards and five touchdown passes, with Taj Williams responsible for 210 yards and two of those touchdowns. The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense, but TCU lost the game’s only turnover, which led to an Oklahoma touchdown.
Oklahoma got off on the right foot in their Big 12 schedule. After dropping non-conference matchups against Houston and Ohio State in September, the Sooners were effectively removed from playoff discussion after dropping out of the top 25 of the polls as well. This win, however, suggests Oklahoma still has a chance to have a good season as far as the Big 12 is concerned. The conference will be there for the taking this season, and Oklahoma picked up a road win against TCU to get a jump start on the competition on a day Baylor nearly went down at Iowa State and Texas dropped a game against Oklahoma State. West Virginia pulled out a win at home against Kansas State as well.
Oklahoma heads to Dallas next week for the Red River Rivalry meeting with the Texas Longhorns. Texas is coming off a rough loss at Oklahoma State today and defeated the Sooners last season. TCU will hit the road next week by taking on Kansas.
Oklahoma may not have gotten off to a great start at TCU, but they certainly have found a way to seize all of the momentum as the teams reached halftime. The Sooners dug a 21-7 hole but ripped off 28 straight points in the second quarter to roar to a 35-24 lead over the Horned Frogs.
TCU capitalized on an early mistake by Oklahoma. On the first play after recovering a Baker Mayfield fumble at the Sooners’ 18-yard line, Kenny Hill completed a touchdown strike to Jaelin Austin for a touchdown. Oklahoma would later flip the script for their first score of the game, although the Sooners had to work a little harder to do so. After picking off Hill and getting possession at the TCU 22-yard line, Oklahoma tied the game up four plays later with a Mayfield touchdown run.
This was anything but a momentum shift in favor of Oklahoma, however, as TCU marched right down the field on the next possession for an 80-yard touchdown drive to regain the lead. TCU would push that lead to 21-7 on their next possession with a 61-yard catch and run courtesy of Kyle Hicks, who maneuvered through a few defenders and used his speed to his advantage.
Mayfield’s second touchdown run of the afternoon brought Oklahoma back to within one score in the second quarter. The Sooners would later take the lead with a Mayfield connecting ona 67-yard touchdown pass to Westbrook. Just minutes later, the two connected once more for a score, this time from 40 yards for the 35-21 lead.
Mayfield did take a hard shot that left him getting off the field a little gingerly just before the half. Mayfield lost the football on the play, giving TCU one late shot at the end of the half, but the Horned Frogs were unable to take advantage with a touchdown, but did tack on a field goal.