THE BIG 12 REPORT

Big 12 Conference play kicks off with a Texas showdown you will not want to miss

Tom Herman and the Longhorns have another big game. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Big 12 stood at the center of the national spotlight in Week 3 and did not disappoint. The most praiseworth victory came when Texas dominated the 22nd-ranked USC Trojans 37-14. Other notable performances came from Oklahoma and TCU. The Sooners defeated Iowa State to remain undefeated and secure their position as one of the Top 5 teams in the nation, while TCU surprised college football fans across the nation as they gave No. 2 Ohio State a serious run for their money. With week 3 of college football in the books, conference play begins and things should heat up as teams start to make their push at a Big 12 conference title.

Must Watch Games week 4

Texas vs. TCU (17)

With both teams sitting at 2-1 and coming off their most difficult games of the season, this matchup between TCU and UT should be one to remember. Texas will be energized from their most exciting victory in the past two years after defeating No. 22 USC in convincing fashion, and the Horned Frogs will be looking to get back on their feet after falling short in a hard fought game vs. the Ohio State Buckeyes. Texas looked sharp on both sides of the ball as they scored 37 points and only allowed two touchdowns, both of which came in the first quarter. TCU on the other hand found themselves slightly ove matched by Ohio State and could not recover from their mistakes on the offensive side of the ball. This Texas showdown should be full of exciting plays and jaw dropping moments. Both teams have proven their ability to cause havoc on the defensive side of the ball, and with the Longhorns finding their groove on offense there is no telling what types of acrobatic plays will be made by the athletes on each team.

Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State (15)

This Week 4 matchup between the Cowboys and the Red Raiders should be one that will light up the scoreboard. Oklahoma is one of only three teams in the Big 12 that remain undefeated and has scored 157 total points in their first three games of the season. Texas Tech will enter into Week 4 with a 2-1 record but has actually outscored the Cowboys with 167 total points so far this season. Oklahoma State is considerably the more complete team with the help of RB Justice Hill who has eclipsed 100 yards rushing twice this season and has found the end zone four times. Texas Tech on the other hand has proven to be largely one dimensional as freshman QB Alan Bowman threw the football 59 times on his way to a record breaking 600 yard passing performance with 6 touchdowns vs. the University of Houston. If you love fast paced shootouts, you won’t want to miss this one.

Kansas State vs. West Virginia (12)

The final Big 12 game to catch this weekend is No. 12 West Virginia and Heisman Hopeful Will Grier vs. Kansas State. The 12th ranked Mountaineers will head into their first Big 12 matchup with a 2-0 record after their Week 3 game vs. NC State was canceled due to hurricane Florence. While West Virginia remains undefeated, there are concerns that the cancelation of the NC State game could have potential implications on their chances of making the college football playoffs. What this means for West Virginia going forward is that if they do not win the remainder of their games in convincing fashion, they could be forced out of National Championship contention. Luckily the Mountaineers have just the man to help accomplish this feat in QB Grier, who has thrown for 761 yards and 9 touchdowns already this season.

Big 12 Players to watch week 4

Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill

Yes, there is no doubt that the game between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will be an offensive shootout through the air, but the difference maker in this game could be Cowboys running back Justice Hill. Through three games Hill has racked up 277 yards and 4 touchdowns, which is even more impressive considering the fact that he has averaged 8.1 yards per attempt. If coach Mike Gunday can find a good balance on office and spread out the Red Raider defense, Hill will take advantage of wide open running lanes all game long.

TCU WR’s Jalen Reagor & KaVontae Turpin

The biggest matchup of the weekend in the Big 12 will without a doubt be 17th ranked TCU vs. UT. Both teams have shown major potential to control games on both sides of the ball and the ability to make highlight plays at any moment. For TCU there are two players that I believe could cause serious issues for a young Longhorn secondary. Wide receiver’s Jalen Reagor and KaVontae Turpin have combined for 321 yards and have led the TCU receiving corps in receptions in every game so far this season. The duo will be facing off against a Texas secondary that has shown moments of susceptibility to big plays through the air. Not to mention the Longhorn defense will be without starting Safety BJ Foster for the first half of the game after he was ejected for targeting vs. USC and possibly without starting cornerback Davante Davis who left last weekend’s game with an apparent ankle injury. Look for coach Gary Patterson to find a way to get these two speedsters involved often and early.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger

The final player to keep your eye on in this first week of Big 12 conference play is Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. While Ehlinger has had two efficient performances in a row since the Longhorns Week 1 loss to Maryland, the young quarterback seemed to find his confidence last weekend vs. USC. Ehlinger showed trust in his big play wide receivers and his arm strength by taking multiple shots down field. Ehlinger will be going for his fourth straight 200 yard passing game and in all honesty is growing into his pressure filled role as the end all, be all factor for the Longhorns.  

 

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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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