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's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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