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September 10, 2013

Recon Report: QBs go down

In a battle of Bears and Bulls that not even Bill Swerski's Super Fans (Saturday Night Live) would have watched, Baylor pasted Buffalo 70-13. Art Briles' offense posted a school-record 781 yards and Lache Seastrunk found paydirt three times in the win. More impressively, the first-team offense amassed 576 yards in only 11 minutes with ball before making way for the backups. Seastrunk averaged almost nine yards a carry en route to 150 yards on the day. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty had an efficient line completing 13-of-16 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns -- spread around to three different receivers, including an 83-yarder to Antwan Goodley and 61-yarder to Tevin Reese. Petty also notched a rushing touchdown. The Baylor defense gave up 383 yards of offense to Buffalo, and got a 91-yard fumble recovery for a score from preseason-All Big 12 linebacker Bryce Hager. Next up, likely their toughest non-conference matchup: 1-1 ULM. The Warhawks were blanked (34-0) in their opener at Oklahoma, but beat Grambling State 48-10 in Week 2.
The Cyclones have an open date last weekend and thus, two weeks to try to bounce back from Paul Rhoads first season-opening loss at Iowa State (28-20 to Northern Iowa). Some of the Cyclones used to the week to lick their wounds -- and not just those of their broken pride. Quarterback Sam Richardson spent the entire week in a walking boot and did not practice as a precaution. Tight end Ernst Brun is also hindered by a leg injury suffered in the loss to UNI. This week it's the annual "Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series" as the 'Clones welcome the Hawkeyes to Ames. Iowa lost in week one to Northern Illinois but rebounded last week with a 28-14 win over Missouri State. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 39-21 but Iowa State has won nine of the last 15 meetings, including the last two seasons.
The Jayhawks opened their season a week later than most, but found the win column with a 31-14 home victory over South Dakota. The much-anticipated KU debuts of five-star transfers Jake Heaps and Justin McCay didn't return glossy numbers, but the two did hook up for a second quarter score. Kansas trailed 7-0 at the end of the first frame, but finally got the offense going thanks to a ground attack that included 94 yards and two touchdowns from senior running back James Sims. Heaps finished 10-of-20 for 110 yards and the touchdown to McCay. The passing score was from five yards out and was KU's first touchdown caught by a wide receiger since 2011. Defensive tackle Marquel Combs, the top-rated junior college recruit did not start and according to Charlie Weis is still battling for playing time like many junior college additions and newcomers this time of year. KU heads to Rice this weekend to face an Owls team that stunned Kansas in Lawrence a year ago.
One week after losing to FCS Champion North Dakota State, the Wildcats took out their frustrations on the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt, Louisiana, in a 48-27 win. In typical Bill Snyder fashion, KSU used a special teams score (94-yard kick return by Tramaine Thompson) and a defensive score (32-yard pick-six from Ty Zimmerman) to fuel the win. Jake Waters threw two more interceptions for the Cats and wound up sharing time with Daniel Sams who only threw two passes, but rushed for 63 yards and a score on just eight carries. Waters passed for 278 yards and KSU's top receiver was again Tyler Lockett. Running back John Hubert struggled to find running room against the Ragin' Cajuns but scored twice and finished with 56 yards on the ground. KSU closes down it's non-conference slate this week at home against UMass on Saturday night at 6.
Quarterback Trevor Knight added injury to insult in OU's 16-7 win over West Virginia on Saturday. The rookie struggled through the air for the second consecutive game (10-of-20 for 119 yards, TD, 2 INT) before making way for Blake Bell in the fourth quarter. Knight was 1-of-5 with two picks in the second half before heading to the bench -- after the game it was revealed that Knight's knee bruise (suffered at end of the first half) not only hampered him in the Saturday's third quarter, but could sideline him for two weeks. Bob Stoops said yesterday that Knight "in all likelihood" will not play against Tulsa this week and that Bell will start. Kendal Thompson will serve as Bell's backup. Thompson returned to practice yesterday for the first time since breaking his foot in the first practice of fall camp. Among the positives for Oklahoma was senior running back Brennan Clay who led an OU rushing attack that amassed 316 yards on the ground. Clay posted a career-best 170 yards on 22 carries. Defensively, OU forced four turnovers including three fumble recoveries. They'll next face Tulsa (1-1) this Saturday at 11 a.m. The Golden Hurricane was picked by many to win Conference USA and flirt with double-digit wins.
This entire section should probably be devoted to Sports Illustrated's five-part investigative expose of the numerous wrongdoings of the OSU football program. You can read more about that here. Let's spend the rest of our focus on Oklahoma State's 56-35 win at UTSA. The game wasn't as close as the final score would indicate -- the Roadrunners scored 28 fourth quarter points against the twos and threes on the OSU depth chart). When it counted, OSU dominated, thanks in large part to the remarkably efficient J.W. Walsh. Walsh connected on 24-of-27 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Josh Stewart had one of those scores -- part of his five catch, 97 yard and a touchdown day. Former starter Clint Chelf posted solid numbers in mop-up duty once Walsh exited midway through the third quarter, finishing with 192 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. Jeremy Smith only averaged 2.8 yards per carry, but was able to notch his third rushing score of the season. Oklahoma State will finally have its home opener Saturday against Lamar at 6:30 p.m. Expect a week's worth of distractions thanks to SI's five-part report.
Casey Pachall's comeback season was derailed on Saturday afternoon when the preseason media pick for first-team All-Big 12 quarterback broke his non-throwing arm late in the second quarter. The injury required surgery and Pachall could reportedly miss up to eight weeks. Trevone Boykin took over and immediately led the Horned Frogs to three-straight scoring drives to help TCU top Southeastern Louisiana 38-17. Despite the preseason accolades and considerable ink about Pachall's efficiency, Boykin is the tougher quarterback to prepare for so this is no major break for Texas Tech and the other teams on TCU's early-season schedule. Boykin played in the final nine games of 2012 after Pachall was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and went into a substance abuse program, and split time with Pachall in the opener against LSU because of his mobility. Gary Patterson said on Monday's Big 12 Teleconference that a medical redshirt for Pachall isn't likely and that if Pachall is unable to come back this season, Patterson feels he is of the mindset that he'd prefer to graduate and "go on with his life." Boykin wasn't the only Frog to play more than expected. Devonte Fields, a preseason All-Big 12 defensive end, made his season debut in the second half after serving a game and a half of what was initially described as a two game suspension. Patterson said he wanted to get Fields some game reps before Thursday's Big 12 opener at Texas Tech.
After allowing BYU to rush for 550 yards in a 40-21 loss in Provo on Saturday night, Mack Brown made a change atop his defensive unit. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was "reassigned within the athletics department" and former co-defensive coordinator and recent analyst Greg Robinson has taken over the defensive coordinator job. Robinson was once the head coach at Syracuse. He was the defensive coordinator at Michigan as well was with the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. His brief stint as co-coordinator at Texas came in 2004. With the loss at BYU, the formerly 15th-ranked Longhorns fell all the way out of polls. One bright spot was receiver Mike Davis who hauled in eight balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns. In the run game, the Cougar backs weren't the only ones finding room to roam. Texas running back Jonathan Gray gained 90 yards on 13 carries for a 6.9 yards per carry average. Explosive offensive weapon Daje Johnson suffered an ankle injury and has already been ruled out for this week's game with Ole Miss. David Ash's status is also in question, following "head and shoulder" injuries (keep your dandruff jokes to yourself) suffered at BYU. Case McCoy would get the nod if Ash can't go, but freshman Tyrone Swoopes could also get some reps.
One week after a narrow 24-17 win over William & Mary that raised eyebrows around the league, West Virginia gained back some respect by hanging tough with Oklahoma in Norman. The three touchdown underdogs collected four OU turnovers and got a 75-yard touchdown run by Dreamius Smith in the first quarter. The Mountaineers had four turnovers of their own and quarterback Paul Millard was far from efficient, connecting on just 21-of-42 attempts for 212 yards. Millard will need to step it up this week versus Georgia State. Dana Holgorsen had planned on playing Clint Trickett a bit against the Sooners -- based on the quarterback's previous experience against them while at Florida State -- and thought about making a switch during the game several times, but never pulled the trigger. Holgorsen might not be so gun shy next week if Millard's struggles continue. Defensively, the Mountaineers eventually wore down and allowed Oklahoma running back Brennan Clay to gash them for 170 yards, but the defensive effort was very positive overall and was the main reason why Mountaineers stayed in the game.
NON-CONFERENCE: Texas State: The Bobcats improved to 2-0 on the year behind a 28-3 rout of Prairie View A&M. The defense held PVAM to just 45 rushing yards one week after allowing just 23 yards to Southern Miss. Texas State has an open date this weekend before heading to Lubbock on Sept. 21.

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