Big 12 teams look solid on opening weekend

Shane Lewis

TCU escapes devastating upset 
No. 15 TCU avoided a major upset in its first game of the season, pulling away from FCS foe South Dakota State in the fourth quarter to win 59-41. The game was tied at 24–24 at halftime, and the Horned Frogs held only a four-point advantage with less than 10 minutes left in the final quarter. 

The TCU offense impressed — amassing 662 yards of total offense — but the defense struggled. The Horned Frogs gave up 461 yards to the Jackrabbits and surrendered points on eight out of 15 possessions.

Head coach Gary Patterson made defense a point of emphasis this offseason after the unit struggled at times last season — the team gave up 27 points per game in 2015. He was blunt when addressing his team’s defensive performance. 

“We’ve got to play better across the board,” Patterson said.  “We’ve got to tackle better, we’ve just got to play better.”

TCU hopes to mend its defense against Arkansas on Saturday.

Mahomes impresses for Red Raiders 
Texas Tech junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes showed why many consider him to be a dark horse candidate for the Heisman trophy on Saturday against

Stephen F. Austin.

Mahomes accounted for six touchdowns — four through the air and two on the ground — and racked up 540 yards of total offense in just over two quarters of action.

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury cherishes Mahomes for his ability to improvise. He said the junior’s ability to make decisions on the fly and extend plays helps the team’s offense stay afloat when opposing defenses adjust.

“I thought he was a little loose, kind of doing his own thing a few times,” Kingsbury said. “When things are there within the system, let’s take it. And then when it’s not, get out and work your magic.”

Texas Tech will take on Arizona State on Saturday. 

Sooners playoff chances take hit
No. 14 Oklahoma opened the season ranked No. 3 and as the favorite to represent the Big 12 in this year’s College Football Playoff. However, the Sooners’ chances of making their second-straight Final Four appearance took a hit with a 33-23 loss to No. 6 Houston.  

Oklahoma has more opportunities to pad their playoff resume, most notably with matchups against No. 6 Ohio State and TCU in the upcoming weeks.  

But the Sooners have likely lost all margin of error. No team with more than one regular season loss has qualified for the playoff in its two years of existence. 

Still, head coach Bob Stoops brings a resume of improving after early losses. Oklahoma finished 11–1 and stormed into the playoff in 2015 after losing to Texas in its fifth game of the season. 

The Sooners will try and get back on track this Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.