Writing off the Big 12 seems to be a trend early in the 2016 college football season. Without a truly dominant team, nor one ranked in the top 15 of last week’s AP Poll, some criticism is justified. Nonetheless, it was an exciting, however abbreviated, week four for the conference. Only six Big 12 teams were in action this week, with only one intraconference game, but several teams still made important statements. This look at the Big 12 week four in review examines the biggest and most important performances of the week.
Game of the Week – BYU 32, West Virginia 35
It’s not surprising that only two teams in the Big 12 remain undefeated. However, it is a surprise that one of those teams is West Virginia. Dana Holgorsen’s team hasn’t been particularly flashy through three games, but they’ve posted positive results anyway. In week four, West Virginia narrowly edged out a 35-32 win over BYU.
After West Virginia took a quick lead on a Rushel Shell touchdown run, BYU bounced back and took a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. That was their last lead of the game, however. After another Shell touchdown, the Mountaineers led for the final 39:50 of game time. BYU kept it close, though; the Cougars scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter before falling by three points.
WVU quarterback Skyler Howard played one of the best games of his career in week four. He passed for 332 yards and a touchdown with one interception, good for a 150.5 passer rating. BYU’s Taysom Hill struggled with turnovers down the stretch, throwing two of his three interceptions in the fourth quarter.
Player of the Week – Kenny Hill, QB, TCU
SMU hanging around with TCU through one half Friday night was shocking to many. The second half was a different story, however, as the Horned Frogs caught fire, mostly thanks to quarterback Kenny Hill. Hill’s excellent performance led the Horned Frogs to a 33-3 win at SMU’s Ford Stadium. The Texas A&M transfer threw for 452 yards and two touchdowns against SMU in the battle for the Iron Skillet. This was Hill’s second 400-yard passing performance this year, the first coming in a season-opening win versus South Dakota State.
Statement Win of the Week – Oklahoma State 24, Baylor 35
While Oklahoma, Texas and TCU have all struggled at times this year, Baylor’s record remains unblemished. This remained status quo after a 35-24 win at home over Oklahoma State. As usual, Baylor’s offense shined when the spotlight was on. Quarterback Seth Russell continues his dominant 2016 campaign, passing for four touchdowns versus OSU. More impressive than the offensive firepower, however, was Baylor’s defense, specifically in the second half. The Bears forced two fourth quarter Cowboys red zone turnovers, one on downs and one on a fumble. Baylor proved in week four they’re a complete team that can handle both formidable conference foes and weak non-conference teams.
Other Games Around the Conference
Iowa State pulled out their first win of 2016 in week four, a 44-10 victory over San Jose State. The Cyclones never trailed, scoring their first points 4:20 into the game and never relinquishing that lead. Iowa State averaged just 14.3 points per game in their first three contests before blowing out the Spartans.
Kansas State cruised past Missouri State 35-0 in a shortened game. With ominous weather looming and the score out of hand, both teams agreed to stop the game at halftime. Wildcats quarterback Jesse Ertz completed seven of his eight passes, two of which went for touchdowns. He also led K-State in rushing yards with 85. Kansas State is now above .500 heading into next week’s conference showdown in Morgantown versus West Virginia.