Baylor continues to fly under the radar

Big 12 Report: Red River center stage

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Results that matter

Texas Tech 45 Oklahoma State 35

It was the first home win over a ranked team for the Red Raiders since 2013. That's an incredible stretch for a place that in the early 2000's was a hard place to play. Jett Duffey didn't start the year as the starter but injuries led to him taking over and against Oklahoma it was a rough go. He got it going against Oklahoma State to the tune of 424 yards and four touchdowns. This was a huge win for first year Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells.

Baylor 31 Kansas State 12

This was a close one that saw the Bears struggle to get going but eventually finish off Kansas State. It wasn't the prettiest game at all, but it moved the Bears to 5-0 and led to them being ranked yet again. Head coach Matt Rhule got a contract extension before this game and now the Bears have a shot to factor into the Big 12 race. They face a Texas Tech team riding high after a big win. The Bears are in the conversation, until they aren't. Fun stuff for a team that struggled to be relevant for a few years.

Studs of the week

Texas Tech DB Douglas Coleman

Two interceptions but when they happened were key. The Red Raiders were up 13-0 and had just missed a field goal when Coleman came up with his first interception. Momentum was on the Cowboys side but Coleman took it back. His second one ended the Cowboys chances at a comeback in the fourth quarter. He's the nation's leader in interceptions.

Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks

19 tackles. 3 sacks. 4 tackles for loss. What a line for the linebacker. My goodness. What a freaking day for Brooks. He was all over the field and a big key in the Red Raiders keeping the Cowboys at bay throughout the contest.

Texas RB Roschon Johnson

What a great performance from the former quarterback turned running back. With injuries devastating the depth at running back the Longhorns have had Johnson playing for a few weeks now. With Keaontay Ingram banged up, he helped the Horns move the ball to the tune of 21 carries for 121 yards in their win over West Virginia.

Must-watch game: 

6 Oklahoma 11 Texas

Red. River. Shootout. NOT rivalry. Come on now. Loved the name but love the game even more. No matter what the records this is always must-watch TV for the rest of the Big 12 conference. For the Sooners, beat Texas and keep rolling and hope you have their number should they show up in the Big 12 Championship game. For Texas, you have no more room for error if you have desires on making the college football playoff. A loss here likely eliminates you from contention for one of the four playoff spots.

Who better ball?

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger

Can Ehlinger make it 3 for 3 in outplaying Heisman Trophy contending Oklahoma quarterbacks? He has done it the past two years no reason to think he can't do it again. He will have to, honestly. The Longhorns will need Super Sam against the Sooners if they want to win this one.

Big 12 Rankings

1. Oklahoma

2. Texas

3. Baylor

4. Iowa State

5. Texas Tech

6. Oklahoma State

7. West Virginia

8. TCU

9. Kansas State

10. Kansas

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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