THE BIG 12 REPORT

Can the Big 12 shock the nation this weekend? Must watch games and players in week 3

Can the Big 12 shock the nation this weekend? Must watch games and players in week 3
TCU has a big matchup with Ohio State. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Big 12 came out looking strong in week 2 as eight of their 10 teams defeated their opponents and by considerable margins. Nationally ranked teams Oklahoma (5), Oklahoma State (24), TCU (15), and West Virginia (14) remained undefeated and Texas sneaked away with their first win of the season. Week 3 will be an eventful one for the Big 12, with a few of its most popular teams looking at nationally spotlighted matchups. Let’s take a look at exactly what you should look for this coming weekend.

Must watch games week 3

TCU (15) vs. Ohio State (4)

The top matchup to watch of week 3 in the Big 12 and arguably the nation is No. 15 TCU vs. No. 4 Ohio State. TCU has come out strong this season outscoring their opponents 97-15 through their first two games. The Horned Frogs and head coach Gary Patterson will have a chance to knock off one of the nation’s best teams and stamp their name in the college football playoff conversation. One big factor to recognize as a potential advantage for TCU is the fact that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will be serving the final punishment of his three game suspension. While Ohio State has looked unaffected by the absence of Meyer, TCU will be their first real challenge of the season and could take advantage of the missing leadership if things come down to the wire.

Texas vs. USC (22)

UT secured its first win of the season at home against Tulsa this past weekend, but things were far from perfect. The Longhorns walked away with a 28-21 victory, but Tulsa missed three field goals in the game that could have spoiled UT’s night. If Texas is not able to work out the kinks in practice this week, they could be looking at a long night vs. a talented USC team. The atmosphere should be electric Saturday night as Longhorn fans have not forgotten about how close their team came to stealing a win away from the Trojans in 2017, which should motivate Texas players to perform in front of their home crowd. This game could be a season defining one for coach Tom Herman, and UT team that received a lot of attention and praise heading into 2018.

Oklahoma State (24) vs. Boise State (17)

The final game I recommend keeping an eye out for is Oklahoma State vs. Boise State. Both teams have cracked the Top 25 early this season, but chances are that one will find themselves on the outside looking in after week 3. The Cowboys have won big in both of their games so far this season but have yet to face a formidable opponent. Boise State and their always reliable defense should provide a good test for an offensive heavy Oklahoma State, led by first year starting quarterback Taylor Cornelius.

Big 12 Players to watch week 3

Texas WR’s Lil’ Jordan Humphrey & Collin Johnson: The University of Texas has yet to find its groove in its first two games this season, and I believe a lot of their offensive struggles have to do with the inconsistent utilization of wide receivers Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson. Humphrey and Johnson have combined for 287 receiving yard and two touchdowns so far this season and have arguably been the only sources of big play excitement for the Texas offense. If the Longhorns hope to upset the Trojans this coming Saturday, they will need to find life in the passing game by giving these two dynamic athletes opportunities to make plays down the field.

Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman: Texas Tech is looking at an interesting matchup in week 3 vs. a Houston team that seems to be hitting on all cylinders. While the Red Raiders had their way with Lamar University last weekend, they chose to lean on Freshman quarterback Bowman. Bowman finished with nearly 300 yards passing and 2 touchdowns while only throwing three incompletions. With that said Bowman will be facing a much different challenge against a Houston team that has impressed on both sides of the ball so far this season. Tech will have to hope Bowman continues his speedy maturation and can keep his composure against the cougars, who are sure to make things tough for the young quarterback.

TCU Defense: TCU has scored 97 points already this season, but on a considerably more impressive note, have only allowed 15 total points to opposing offenses. Looking ahead at their matchup with the Buckeyes in week 3, the Horned Frogs will need an impressive performance from their defense if they hope to keep up with an Ohio State team that has scored 129 points in their first two games. While it would be crazy for TCU to expect to run stride for stride with the top offense in the nation, the Horned Frogs may be able to grind out a close win if their defense is able to fluster Ohio state’s young quarterbacks. TCU has already collected 7 sacks this season, and will need to add a few more this weekend if they want any chance of taking down the national powerhouse that is Ohio State.

 

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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