It was great to have a full slate of Big 12 games to watch on Saturday. Oklahoma State and Kansas State remained undefeated in the league, Oklahoma and Texas both won to remain in the race and Texas Tech had a somewhat surprising win against West Virginia. Let’s take a look at coach and player reaction from Saturday’s games…
“Overall, I thought our plan was way better and was executed better than it was when Brock Purdy was here as a freshman. I thought Jim Knowles and them rallied today, had a good plan and were able to keep us in the game and force some three-and-outs.”…Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach
JM: The Oklahoma State/Iowa State game was the only Big 12 battle of the weekend between two ranked teams. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy passed for just 162 yards and Mike Gundy gave defensive coordinator Jim Knowles credit. The Cowboys were ranked second nationally in scoring defense and No. 6 in total defense going into the game and held the Cyclones to 21 points in the 24-21 victory.
“We’ll tip our hat to Oklahoma State. Hard-fought football game. They made some plays when they had the opportunity to make them. We had opportunities to make plays and just didn’t.”…Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach
JM: It was fun watching the top two running backs in the league during this game. Chuba Hubbard ran for 139 yards and a touchdown for Oklahoma State and Iowa State’s Breece Hall ran for a career-high 185 yards. Oklahoma State hosts Texas next week and Iowa State travels to Lawrence to take on Kansas. Speaking of Kansas, there were some head scratchers from Les Miles this week….
“I think some of those were directional kicks out of bounds, so that’s the problem. We were looking for out-of-bounds only, and some of those punts didn’t go out-of-bounds only.”…Les Miles, Kansas head coach
JM: K-State punt returner Phillip Brooks returned a first-quarter punt 55 yards for a touchdown and had another 40 yard return early in the second quarter to set up a field goal. KU had to punt on a 4th and six from their own 20 yard line with eight seconds left until halftime. Everyone watching the game figured Miles would instruct his punter to kick the ball out of bounds or at the very least kick it anywhere that Phillip Brooks wasn’t. Nope. The punter kicked it right to Brooks and Brooks returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to give K-State a 34-7 lead at the half. Perplexing to say the least. When asked about it after the game, Miles said at least a couple of those kicks were supposed to go out of bounds. If that’s the case, then why didn’t they? Was it a miscommunication with his punter or is Miles not being truthful?
“When we were at North Dakota State, we were better than everybody offensively and defense, so why would we waste a chance at roughing a kid on special teams. Here, it’s much more competitive, so you better find an advantage on a week-in, week-out basis. That has to be the edge.”...Chris Klieman, K-State head coach
JM: Klieman was responding to a question about his special teams unit. K-State returner Phillip Brooks set a school record in this game with 187 punt return yards and two touchdowns. K-State was oftentimes called “Special Teams U” under Bill Snyder and the trend of great special teams play is continuing under Chris Klieman despite the fact that there is no special teams coach on staff.
“We’re a good football team, we’ve got talent and good coaches, and we’re going to put it together.”…Les Miles, Kansas head coach
JM: That’s right, Les Miles said this after losing the game 55-14.
“Bottom line to it is you’ve got to play a lot better. The biggest thing is finding out who we got and regroup and get ready for Baylor.”…Gary Patterson, TCU head coach
JM: After the 33-14 loss to Oklahoma, Patterson mentioned the team has probably lost cornerback Noah Daniels and offensive guard Wes Harris for the season. TCU has also lost its first three home games to open a season for the first time under Patterson. It looks like TCU has a long ways to go in order to get things turned around.
“Yeah, don’t fall down. That would help. Don’t fall down.”…Gary Patterson, TCU head coach
JM: This was in response to a reporter’s question asking what went wrong on long touchdown plays of 50 and 61 yards by the Sooners.
“I commend our players, staff, everybody. It was a really productive two weeks after the Texas win. Thought we had a good plan. Guys executed the plan. We got better. Came down here and got a win on the road against a tough opponent.”…Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma head coach
JM: Is Oklahoma back? They’re still two games back in the league standings with a game against Texas Tech in Lubbock next Saturday and a game against Kansas in Norman the following week before getting two weeks to prepare for a big home game against Oklahoma State on November 21st.
“That’s my guy. What makes it so much better, what makes it so much sweeter is he’s a humble guy. That’s rare for a freshman to come along, show no sense fear of any sort and actually just come to play. He just comes to play. He balls. He does his thing. He knows his job. He knows his assignment. I love having him as a teammate. He’s exciting to watch. And I’m just ready for the rest of the year, see what he can do and years forward.”…Brendan Radley-Hiles, OU defensive back
JM: After the win against TCU, Radley-Hiles had glowing praise for OU freshman wide receiver Marvin Mims. Mims has 19 catches for 328 yards and six touchdowns on the season. His six touchdowns are a freshman school record through five games, passing Ryan Broyles and CeeDee Lamb.
“We had a lot of deep ball plays dialed up in the playbook for this game, just going through this week of practice. That was a weak part of their defense that we could attack, and we did that pretty well this game.”…Spencer Rattler, OU quarterback
JM: So who gets the credit for Oklahoma’s long touchdown pass plays? The OU offense for exploiting TCU’s weaknesses, according to Spencer Rattler, or TCU’s secondary for “falling down,” according to Gary Patterson?
“We made a decision as a team to stand out and sing ‘The Eyes.’ Moving forward, I would assume that’s what it’s going to be.”…Sam Ehlinger, Texas quarterback
JM: There was a lot of controversy the last couple of weeks regarding the Texas tradition of singing “The Eyes of Texas” after games. Most of the team left the field without staying to sing after Texas’ first two home games and again in Dallas after the loss to Oklahoma. It appears this controversy is behind them, but stay tuned…
“Really, really happy for our program, for our university, for our fans to get a much-needed victory. We know that we’ve got a big one this week, too. We’re going to celebrate this with our teammates and our families tonight and get right back to work — 10 a.m. lift tomorrow with meetings and practice in the afternoon to try to get ready for Oklahoma State.”…Tom Herman, Texas head coacc
JM: Texas got out to a 27-3 lead against Baylor before settling for a 27-16 victory. They have a huge game next Saturday in Stillwater if they want to stay in the race for the conference title.
“I feel in the second half we came out and let it rip and played no holds barred football. Going forward that’s what we need to do from the beginning, play with nothing holding us back.”…Gavin Holmes, Baylor wide receiver
JM: Baylor hadn’t played a game in 3-weeks due to positive Covid tests within the program. The Bears took a 3-0 lead in this one but gave up 27 unanswered to Texas before making the margin respectable at the end. Were they just rusty or is there more to the story?
“Just so proud of our players. Man, that was a 15-round fight. You traded blows, you just kind of went back and forth and we made one huge play at the end. That’s what it comes down to. Find a way to make a play and win a game.”...Matt Wells, Texas Tech head coach
JM: Texas Tech Cornerback Zech McPhearson returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown with 8:44 left in the game to give Texas Tech the 34-27 victory over West Virginia.
“They won the fourth quarter. They won the game. We lost the fourth quarter. We lost the game. It’s pretty much that simple. They returned it and then we didn’t answer. This game’s not complicated. That was the story.”…Neal Brown, West Virginia head coach
JM: Brown should have just said “it is what it is” and walked out of the presser. They won. We lost. Move on.
“What a punt by Austin McNamara there in the third quarter where we flipped the field.”…Matt Wells, Texas Tech head coach
JM: I watched this punt live as it happened. Tech was punting from their own 13 yard line with the game tied at 27 and McNamara boomed an 87 yard punt. This wasn’t a “typical” long punt that may land and bounce for an additional 20 yards or so. This one landed on the Mountaneers four yard line and went bouncing into the end zone. I was dumbfounded because I have never seen anything like that before. This punt forced West Virginia to start from their own 20 yard line instead of having decent field position. Check out video of the punt when you get a chance. It’s pretty amazing.
That’ll wrap up this week. I’m looking forward to more great games in the Big 12 next Saturday. The race for the league title is getting interesting.