THE BIG 12 REPORT

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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After dropping the middle game to the Rangers to split the first two games, the Astros looked for an improved offensive showing in the finale on Thursday night to take the series. Here is a rundown of the rubber game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.

Record: 25-25, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Valdez another Houston pitcher to thrive against Rangers

Much like Jose Urquidy on Tuesday and Lance McCullers JR. on Wednesday, Framber Valdez put up an excellent pitching line on Thursday against the Rangers. After allowing two singles in the first and a single in the second, he would settle in and hold the Rangers to just one baserunner, which came via a walk through six frames.

He would try to get through the seventh, but after a long at-bat and one-out double, Dusty Baker would stop his night and go to the bullpen. Unfortunately, that double would end up scoring as Josh James would allow an RBI-single, charged to Valdez, before finishing the inning. Along the way, Valdez was able to ring up eleven Rangers. His final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Kyle Tucker gets the big hit of the night

Luckily, Houston was still in the lead after the Rangers' run, thanks to a big hit by Kyle Tucker back in the second inning. After Alex Bregman reached base on a walk to become the first runner for the Astros, Kyle Tucker would break out of his recent slump with a two-run home run, putting Houston ahead 2-0 at the time.

Jordan Lyles was otherwise handling the Astros just like Kyle Gibson the night prior, who threw a complete-game shutout. Other than the Tucker homer, Lyles allowed another hit in the second and one in the third before retiring the next 12 Astros in order before an error in the seventh broke that streak, giving Houston their first baserunner since two outs in the third.

Houston takes the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James returned to the mound to start the eighth, and he would get a 1-2-3 inning against the top of Texas' lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it. After another scoreless inning by Houston at the plate, that would set up a save opportunity in the top of the ninth. The opportunity would go to Brooks Raley, and he would notch the save with a scoreless inning, giving Houston the series and moving them back up to .500 at 25-25.

Up Next: The Astros' final three regular-season games played at Minute Maid Park in 2020 are this weekend in a series against the Diamondbacks. In Friday's 7:10 PM opener, Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston while Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will be the starter for Arizona.

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