What we learned in the Big 12: Week 4
K-State is all kinds of bad news. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder loved what his defense did. "They just kept rowing the boat," Snyder said. Indeed. Oklahoma got all the way to the 1-yard line and fumbled a snap in the Belldozer. It settled for field goals of 28 and 34 yards, going without a touchdown in the first half at home for the first time since TCU sprang a season-opening upset in 2005. There wasn't an ounce of quit in the defense, and the Wildcats made big plays when they were in position. This team is remarkably consistent despite a few slow starts. The defense is disciplined, though not very speedy. The offense is efficient and doesn't make mistakes. If K-State keeps playing like that, preventing big plays and squeezing the life out of opposing defenses, can anybody in the Big 12 beat it?
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiBill Snyder's defense keeps "rowing the boat" for Kansas State, which made a big statement with its win over Oklahoma.
West Virginia's offense can be slowed. Maryland's a pretty good defense, and became the first team this season to frustrate the Mountaineers. They harassed and hit Geno Smith more than anybody and forced an offense that had punted three times in two games to do so seven times in 60 minutes. That was a big-time performance from the Terps, which fell 31-21. Look for Big 12 defensive coordinators to be watching that film for hours on end in the weeks to come. WVU's got more speed and explosiveness in the passing game than anyone in the Big 12, but it can be contained to some extent.
Kansas still has a ton of work to do. Northern Illinois is a pretty good team, but Kansas yet again coughed up a late lead, and it's about to get much more difficult for the Jayhawks. When you've got a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, you've got to prevent the big play and not turn the ball over. Unlike two weeks ago versus Rice, Kansas didn't have a late turnover this time, but it gave up a 65-yard touchdown pass just 10 seconds after taking a 23-13 lead in the eventual 30-23 loss. It also gave up three fourth-quarter sacks. The Huskies were dominant in the fourth quarter, and that's got to be seriously alarming for the Jayhawks, even early on in this attempted reclamation project.
TCU needs to figure out what's going on in the red zone. You don't have to start pounding any alarms quite yet, but TCU has left a ton of points on the board in consecutive weeks now. In a 20-6 win over Kansas, TCU made seven trips to the red zone and came away with points on just three. In Saturday's 27-7 win over Virginia, Skye Dawson fumbled the ball out of the end zone and Casey Pachall threw his first interception of the season inside the Hoos' 5. Yes, it's out of character for each player, but that margin of error is about to disappear as Big 12 play heats up.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.