2. The Cowboys appear to have their QB of the future: Oklahoma State pulled the redshirt off true freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph with only two games left, after Daxx Garman was ruled out with a concussion. In his much anticipated collegiate debut, “The Reindeer” electrified a previously dormant Cowboys offense, and Oklahoma State hung tough with the seventh-ranked Bears before they pulled away 49-28. Rudolph wasn’t perfect; he did throw a couple freshman interceptions. But he gave the Cowboys the jolt they’ve desperately been craving, offensively, since J.W. Walsh was injured in Week 2. Displaying veteran poise and an accurate arm, Rudolph threw for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Dating back to halftime Oct. 11 against Kansas, Oklahoma State had scored just three offensive touchdowns coming into the weekend. On Saturday, with Rudolph at quarterback, the Cowboys scored four TDs on the road against the Big 12’s best statistical defense. Overall, this has been a disappointing season for the Cowboys. But with Rudolph behind center, they have plenty to be excited about for the future.
3. Baylor misses a prime chance for style points: Earlier in the day, No. 6 Ohio State struggled at home against Indiana, which opened the door for Baylor to jump the Buckeyes in the playoff rankings with an impressive performance. The Bears appeared to be on their way to doing just that, after they bounded to a 14-0 lead over the Cowboys in the game’s first three minutes. But the rest of the way, Baylor sputtered offensively and had problems stopping Rudolph. This might come off like nitpicking. After all, Baylor did win the game by three touchdowns. But with “game control” being utilized by the playoff committee as a subjective component, Baylor missed out on an opportunity to deliver a statement on the same weekend Ohio State struggled and TCU was off.
4. Mahomes is making a move on the Tech QB job: Coming into the season, the Red Raiders had high hopes for sophomore quarterback Davis Webb. But Webb’s struggles with turnovers, followed by an ankle injury, have given true freshman Pat Mahomes the opportunity to show what he can do with the job. After he threw four touchdowns last week against Oklahoma, Mahomes was terrific again in a 34-31 win at Iowa State. He threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns and led the Red Raiders on a 75-yard, game-winning drive, which he capped with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Williams late in the fourth quarter. Perhaps most impressively, Mahomes has thrown only one interception the past two weeks. Tech coach Kilff Kingsbury said earlier in the week that the quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over would have the best chance to be the program's long-term starter. Right now, that appears to be Mahomes.
5. Iowa State is now on the cusp of a winless Big 12 season: Texas Tech was Iowa State’s best chance to get a Big 12 win to give the program at least a dash of momentum going into 2015. The Cyclones needed one last stop and then one last scoring drive. Instead, they failed to get either, and Tech rallied to take the lead, then held Iowa State on a final fourth-down attempt. The Cyclones entered this season hoping to regain bowl eligibility after going 3-9 last year. But if they don’t knock off West Virginia at home next weekend or somehow pull the upset of the year Dec. 6 at No. 5 TCU, they will finish winless in the conference for the first time since Paul Rhoads took over as coach in 2009.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine set a major college record by running for 427 yards in a driving rainstorm, scoring five touchdowns and leading the No. 21 Sooners over Kansas 44-7 Saturday.
A week after Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon set the mark by rushing for 408 yards against Nebraska, Perine broke it.
Perine set the record on his 34th and final carry, a 42-yard run with 12:16 left in the fourth quarter.
Perine got off a fast start, running for a 49-yard TD on his first carry. He added TD runs of 33 and 34 yards in the second quarter and scored on runs of 66 and 27 yards in the third.
In a game that started 90 minutes late because of lightning, Perine shattered the school rushing record of 294 yards set by Greg Pruitt in 1971.
The Sooners (8-3, 5-3 Big 12, No. 21 CFP, No. 23 AP) led the Jayhawks (3-8, 1-7) by 41-7 after three quarters.
NORMAN, Okla. -- When he learned he was close to breaking Melvin Gordon's week-old FBS single-game rushing record of 408 yards, Samaje Perine approached Oklahoma running backs coach Cale Gundy on the sideline.
"You can put one of the other guys in," the true freshman said to his position coach. "The record is not important."
The Oklahoma offensive line overheard the conversation. And wanting the record more than the eventual record-breaker, it overruled him. Perine re-entered the backfield, and on the Sooners' second play of the fourth quarter Saturday against Kansas, he reeled off a 42-yard run to break the record with 427 rushing yards. He then was subbed out to chants of "Pee-rhine, Pee-rhine" from a rain-soaked Owen Field crowd.
"It really can't -- it's still so real," Perine said when asked afterward how he felt. "I'm not really feeling special in any type of way. I was just looking to do what I had to do to help this team win."
Perine did just that in Oklahoma's 44-7 stomping of the Jayhawks. And then some.
Just last week against Nebraska, Gordon broke the FBS single-game mark previously held since 1999 by TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson, who with 406 yards against UTEP had been the only FBS back ever to run for 400-plus yards in a game.
The No. 21 Sooners and the Jayhawks were originally scheduled to kick off at 12 p.m. ET.
Oklahoma officials have been consulting with National Weather Service meteorologists, who are at the stadium.
Max will be in Waco this weekend covering Oklahoma State-Baylor. I will be in Norman to see if Kansas can give another ranked team a scare.
Now, on to the 'bag:
Trotter: I don't think so. Nobody in the top eight plays a noteworthy opponent.
@Jake_Trotter if the top 8 win on Saturday, is there any movement in the standings?— Mike G (@mikefrogit) November 21, 2014
Trotter: The one thing to keep in mind is the playoff committee has said that it's viewing teams individually and not through the prism of what conference they play in. In other words, the committee is examining Ohio State when it does these rankings. Not the Big Ten. So in the eyes of the committee this is about TCU and Baylor vs. Ohio State. Not the Big 12 vs. the Big Ten. What can TCU and Baylor do? Annihilate their upcoming opponents and hope for the best.
@Jake_Trotter the Big10 got beat up in non-con play this year, but still in a better position to make the playoff. What can the Big12 do?— Nathan Quinn (@NateQuinn11) November 21, 2014
@Jake_Trotter Bowl projection and possible opponent for OU?— Casey (@CaptainRiceCake) November 21, 2014
Trotter: Russell Athletic Bowl against Notre Dame?
@Jake_Trotter what are the chances Stoops moves on after this season. Florida? Michigan? NFL? Rumors have been around awhile now.— Nick Heimann (@nick_heimann) November 21, 2014
Trotter: I put it at less than 10 percent. But the only place Stoops would ever leave for would be Florida. And if he was ever going to do it, it would be now. He loves the weather there, he always talks fondly of his time as a defensive coordinator at Florida and he has a great relationship with Florida AD Jeremy Foley. That said, my money is on him staying at Oklahoma. He has the full support of the president and athletic director. He has 100 percent job security. He has his brother Mike coaching with him. He just built a multimillion dollar home. His kids are coming up on high school age. And I'm not sure he wants to coach all that much longer. Going to Florida would prolong that. I'm not sure that's something he wants at this point.
Trotter: Without a doubt. Texas has played excellent football the last three weeks. The defense has been dominant. The offensive line continues to get better. This will be a very tough test for TCU, whether the playoff selection committee realizes it or not.
@Jake_Trotter what year will Texas be the big 12 favorite in the preseason?— Bears and Brews (@BaylorObserver) November 21, 2014
Trotter: This is an interesting thought. It won't be next year. TCU, with QB Trevone Boykin back, will probably be next year's preseason favorite. But by 2016? Yeah, Texas would have a chance to be the preseason favorite, if it continues on the current trajectory we've seen from Charlie Strong's bunch this season.
@Jake_Trotter will the conference look at adding more teams? Will the big 12 still be a conference 5 years from now?— Chris Cruz (@realchriscruz17) November 21, 2014
Trotter: I've been told that the only way the league would look at expansion is if it got left out of the playoff year after year. That could happen this year. If it happened a couple more times, the league would be forced to rethink its current format.
@Jake_Trotter say Gundy does leave, can't you see some Bad-A like Derek Dooley coming in and taking OSU to the top?— Travis Guidry (@TGuidry25) November 21, 2014
Trotter: I sense you're being sarcastic. But if Mike Gundy did bolt after this season, Oklahoma State would be in a position to court several viable candidates. Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris would make a bunch of sense. Memphis coach Justin Fuente is an up-and-comer with ties to the state. Gundy's coaching tree includes Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken (who is very popular in Stillwater), North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora and TCU offensive coordinator Doug Meacham. The Cowboys would also have an in-house candidate in Glenn Spencer, who has flourished as Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator. The Cowboys would have intriguing options.
The alternative that makes the most sense for him, Florida, is officially open.
- The Big 12 has a problem and it's not just the chance the conference finds itself on the outside looking in when the top four for the College Football Playoff is announced, writes Jonathan Clegg of the Wall Street Journal. The conference dealing with an image problem as Baylor and TCU could be overlooked Clegg contends. I'm sure its frustrating for coaches, players and fans alike to see the Big 12 show the depth and overall parity to rival the SEC but not get the credit for it. The committee's decision to keep Mississippi State in the top four tells you all you need to know.
- Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham still has plenty of passion and hopes his players finally have some success in the Cyclones final few games, writes Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register. It's one thing I've always noticed and respected about Paul Rhoads' teams. No matter how hard things get, his players generally continue to play hard. That's not an easy feat for a head coach.
- Kansas' Nigel King has provided something the Jayhawks haven't had in years: A playmaking threat at the receiver position. Rustin Dodd of the Wichita Eagle details the Maryland transfer's road to Lawrence. King's emergence is yet another example of a change made by Clint Bowen, who felt King was among the Jayhawks' underused talents. King had 17 targets during Charlie Weis' four games as coach before amassing 43 targets in six games with Bowen at the helm. King heads into this weekend's game with Oklahoma after back-to-back games with more than 100 receiving yards.
- The College Football Playoff has changed Bob Stoops' stance on the date of Bedlam, Oklahoma's annual meeting with Oklahoma State, reports Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman. The veteran head coach had previously expressed displeasure about the game's early December date because he felt it was handicapping the Sooners on the recruiting trail with OU losing a week to recruit in December. Now, with the College Football Playoff in mind, Stoops thinks playing in early December alongside the championship games of the other conferences, is a good idea. To me, playing on the final day of the regular season was always a good idea, playoff or not, because few teams get that chance and the added exposure playing in early December brings and any lost time recruiting can be made up during the final stretch of the recruiting cycle.
- The committee's decision to rank Baylor No. 7 is putting the Bears in the position where they have to try to embarrass every team they play and impress the committee, suggests Matt Hayes of the Sporting News. There's plenty of football to be played, so hopefully it works itself out but I just have a hard time understanding how the Bears are behind some of these other one-loss teams, particularly Mississippi State and Ohio State. Considering the committee thinks highly enough to jump OU back into the top 25 after a decent, but not great, win at Texas Tech, why doesn't Baylor's road beatdown of the Sooners carry more weight?
Here’s a ranking of the games, from toughest to easiest, and why:
1. Nov. 14 at Baylor: The Sooners have lost the last two times they visited Waco, Texas, and next season won’t be any easier. Art Briles program seems to get better and better, making next year’s visit to McLane Stadium for the first time likely to be Oklahoma's toughest test.
2. Oct. 10 vs. Texas: The Red River Showdown is never easy, and it's looking even tougher as Charlie Strong’s team is looking as if it's really bought into their first-year coach’s values.
3. Sept. 12 at Tennessee: Oklahoma will head into SEC country for a battle against the Volunteers. This is definitely one game to keep an eye on with the young talent on Tennessee's roster having more experience than it did in its loss to the Sooners earlier this season.
4. Nov. 21 vs. TCU: Gary Patterson’s program looks to be a handful for years to come, and defense tends to travel well, so the Horned Frogs’ visit to Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is a legitimate test. And this one is sandwiched between road trips to Baylor and Oklahoma State.
5. Nov. 28 at Oklahoma State: Bedlam in Stillwater is never easy. Even with Oklahoma State's 2014 struggles, the Sooners' in-state rival will bring their best at Boone Pickens Stadium and the Bedlam matchup comes after back-to-back games against Baylor and TCU.
6. Oct. 17 at Kansas State: Oklahoma will head to Bill Snyder Family Stadium the week following the matchup with Texas. The Sooners will be looking for revenge, but Bill Snyder’s team is never easy to beat.
7. Oct. 3 vs. West Virginia: A bye week before the Mountaineers' visit could make this game much more manageable. It also helps to know Clint Trickett and Kevin White won’t be on the plane to Norman.
8. Oct. 31 at Kansas: The lowest-ranked road game, Kansas tends to put up a fight at home. It’s uncertain who will be leading the Jayhawks as head coach in 2015, but it's another conference road test.
9. Oct. 24 vs. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders upset Oklahoma in Norman in 2011, so don’t just slot this game in the win column. Kliff Kingsbury’s team has the ability to make Oklahoma pay if there’s any hangover after taking on Texas and K-State in the two previous games.
10. Nov. 7 vs. Iowa State: It will be important for the Sooners to focus on the Cyclones instead of their stretch of Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State after this early November game.
11. Sept. 19 vs. Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane visit Norman the week after the Sooners' trip to Tennessee, providing Tulsa’s main reason for hope.
12. Sept. 5 vs. Akron: It’s hard to imagine the Sooners dropping their season opener to a squad that is under-.500 in the Mid-American Conference this season.
West Virginia S Karl Joseph: He's in contention to make some All-Big 12 teams but needs to finish strong to rack up the honors he deserves. At one point against Texas, he knocked both running backs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray out of the game on the same drive. There might not be a harder hitter in the league, so you know he can change the makeup of this K-State game in an instant.
Oklahoma WR Michiah Quick: This freshman is electric and fun to watch when he gets the ball and a little space, but it wasn't thrown his way much last week at Texas Tech. Whether or not Sterling Shepard plays -- seems like he'll be a game-time decision -- Oklahoma coaches should find more ways to utilize Quick against Kansas. He can make Cody Thomas' job much easier.
Texas Tech LB Pete Robertson: Is he the best Big 12 defender you haven't heard of? Maybe so. Robertson is up to nine sacks on the season and will get a shot to rack up a few more on the road at Iowa State. Eight of his nine sacks have come since Mike Smith took over as the Red Raiders' interim defensive coordinator.
Iowa State QB Sam B. Richardson: It's been a tough month for Richardson, but after missing one game and getting a bye week to let his shoulder heal, he makes his return this week against Texas Tech. Having to watch Iowa State's loss to Kansas from the sideline should have him plenty motivated this week. If the Richardson who nearly beat Texas can show up on Saturday, the Red Raiders had better look out.
Oklahoma State offensive line: A group that ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in sacks allowed desperately needs to protect its quarterback(s) this week. Whether the quarterback is true freshman Mason Rudolph playing in (and starting) his first career game or a recently concussed Daxx Garman, they need to be kept out of harm's way as much as possible. And that's easier said than done with Shawn Oakman, Andrew Billings and Beau Blackshear coming after you.