- David Ubben, College Football
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We're back with financial terms that make little sense out of context, but some Big 12 trends that make plenty of sense in context.
Let's get to it. Here's what's rising and falling this week:
Rising: Electrifying punt returns
The Big 12 hadn't had a punt returned for a touchdown in conference play all season, but Justin Brown changed that pretty quickly on Saturday, taking a punt back 90 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was the Sooners' first punt returned for a score since Ryan Broyles did the deed in Bedlam back in 2009, and Brown wasn't the only one with a big play in the special teams. Brown, a Penn State transfer, is averaging 19 yards a return this year, the best mark in the Big 12.
Falling: Penalties drawn by Big 12 teams
What a weird, weird stat this is. Iowa State has the most penalties committed against them in the Big 12 this season, with 45 flags for 397 yards, an average of 6.4 yards a penalty. The weird part? That's 44th nationally. Not a single Big 12 team has drawn enough penalties this season to make the national top 40. Another odd part of that stat? Arizona leads the nation in penalties drawn, with 69 for 688 yards. Oklahoma State accounted for 15 of those and 167 yards of penalties, but the Wildcats have had three games since in which an opponent committed double-digit penalties. Last year, four Big 12 teams were in the top 20 of penalties drawn, led by Kansas State, at No. 10.
Rising: Kansas State's turnover margin
The Wildcats are this year's Oklahoma State, apparently. K-State is +13 in turnover margin this year, with a six-turnover gap between themselves and the next-best team in the Big 12. That number ranks seventh nationally, but K-State is one of five undefeated teams that rank in the top seven in turnover margin.
Falling: West Virginia's offense
Your guess is as good as mine for why WVU's offense is struggling. Part of it is the inability to run the ball, but it's hard to not look past Geno Smith's inability to hit the deep ball the past two games. In his first five games, he was 22-of-33 on throws longer than 15 yards, but he was just 2-of-18 against Texas Tech. Last week, he was 0-5 with the first two interceptions of his season. Very alarming.
Rising: TCU's pass rush
True freshman Devonte Fields leads the Big 12 with 7.5 sacks, but he's not the only one making an impact. Sam Carter has three sacks and Davion Pierson has 2.5. The best sign for TCU's future there? All three players are freshmen or sophomores, and the Frogs are the only team in the Big 12 with three players in the top 10 in sacks.
Falling: Defenses vs. Oklahoma in the red zone
The Belldozer is taking care of business, but the Sooners have been unbelievable in the red zone this season, converting 32-of-33 trips for points, including 25 touchdowns. That scoring percentage (96.97) is tied with Clemson for the highest in college football, and will face a big test this week against Notre Dame, who is the nation's only team who has yet to surrender a rushing touchdown. What's most haunting about the red-zone stat? Blake Bell's fumble on a snap that hit him in the belly is the lone failure all season. That came in a loss to Kansas State, a game Oklahoma lost by five points.
Wild card options! Base rates! Default risk!We're back with financial terms that make little sense out of context, but some Big 12 trends that make plenty of sense in context.