Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Big 12 notebook: TCU looks to bounce back against Texas

MORGANTOWN — TCU nearly delivered the Big 12 its best non-conference win of the season, but self-inflicted mistakes cost the Horned Frogs late in a 40-28 loss to Ohio State at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
TCU was outscored 27-7 in the game’s final 22 minutes after setting the early tone.
“It was fun to watch them play on that kind of stage,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “They have to not play outside of themselves. We couldn’t go over the top emotion-wise.”
TCU certainly looked capable of challenging for the Big 12 title game thanks to its speed at the skill positions.
“Ohio State has a different speed factor than the rest of the big ten, but we probably were faster than what they’re used to seeing in their league,” Patterson said.
Next up is a trip to Austin to face Texas, which is coming off a 37-14 win over USC. The Longhorns used to dominate this series, beating TCU every year from 1968-91 in Southwest Conference play. It’s been a different story since they became reacquainted in the Big 12: TCU has won the last four games by a combined total of 153-33.
“I think any time you play a team in your league, in your state, there’s an element of a rivalry,” said Longhorns coach Tom Herman. “We were not in the same conference for many years. But right now, yeah. They’ve won the Big 12 more recently than we have. They’re definitely one of the teams to beat in the Big 12. That adds the element of a rivalry to it.”
QB conundrums
Two Big 12 teams have unsettled situations at quarterback, albeit for different reasons.
It’s touch-and-go for Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt, who missed the Oklahoma game with an ankle injury. ISU coach Matt Campbell isn’t sure when he will have his starter back, though it should be by the time the Cyclones host WVU on Oct. 13.
“I don’t think it’s a long-term deal, but a matter of how he heals,” Campbell said. “He’s out for this week and I would say probably questionable for next week.”
Zeb Noland is starting in place of Kempt. He was no slouch against the Sooners, completing 25 of 36 passes for 360 yards.
For Baylor, the question is whether it’s time to go from playing two quarterbacks down to one. The Bears have given time to Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon. Brewer has seen about two-thirds of the snaps, but hasn’t pulled away just yet.
“We feel good about both guys. It’s not an easy decision to settle on one guy because of the skills each guy brings,” said Baylor coach Matt Rhule. “As the week goes on, we’ll see if we eliminate one guy. But if we were to play today, we would play both.”
Pooka on the loose
Laugh if you must at Kansas’ football history — and, well, you should — but the Jayhawks once produced one of the greatest talents the game has seen in Gale Sayers. KU true freshman running back Pooka Williams has already accomplished a feat not even the Kansas Comet can boast of, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in his first two games as a Jayhawk.
Kansas won those games against Central Michigan and Rutgers, giving the Jayhawks their first winning streak over FBS opponents since 2009.
Though Williams has superstar potential, Kansas coach David Beaty is keeping him on a close pitch count this season — a noble move for a coach who entered the year on a very hot seat.
“As a staff we can’t put too much on a young guy. He’s still a freshman. You can ruin him,” Beaty said. “We’re going to be very careful, because he still has a career ahead of him.”
Beaty used a defensive player — former South Carolina star Jadaveon Clowney — as his model of how he wants to use Williams.
“Jadaveon Clowney was limited to about 15 snaps a game with the Old Ball Coach [Steve Spurrier], but still set the freshman sack record,” Beaty said.
OK tackling
The coaches at the Oklahoma schools came away from Week 3 with very different opinions of their defenses.
Mike Gundy is pleased with his squad’s defensive improvement after a 44-21 win over Boise State. He credits new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles with changing the Cowboys’ mindset.
“He’s a great teacher. He’s a taskmaster. He stays on every little detail,” Gundy said. “The players appreciate that. Those are the areas he’s made an impact at Oklahoma State. Our guys understand their responsibilities and gap control. Good form-tackling has given us the best chance.”
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is a bit more concerned with the Sooners’ tackling after they allowed some explosive plays in their 37-27 win at Iowa State. However, he doesn’t see it being a season-long affliction.
“Do I see it as a glaring problem I’m worried about us not being able to fix? No. We’ve played against some good skill guys,” Riley said. “It’s a game we didn’t tackle as well, especially in the first half. But we have the guys to do it. It absolutely will be an emphasis point this week.”
Mahomes the man
Former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes is off to a scorching start to his NFL career. The Kansas City Chiefs gunslinger already has 10 touchdown passes in his first two games, tying the league record for the first two weeks.
Not even Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury saw this coming so quickly.
“I think we all have a ton of belief in Patrick. But I thought it would take longer to make this kind of splash,” Kingsbury said. “I think after being around Alex [Smith] and seeing what it takes to be the face of the franchise, he’s pouring himself into it. I don’t know [that I’m] surprised, but he’s certainly exceeded expectations.”