THE BIG 12 REPORT

The Longhorns' collapse in Stillwater re-opens the door for Oklahoma and West Virginia

Kyler Murray and OU benefit most from Texas' loss. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Longhorns' miracle season came to an abrupt ending on Saturday night in Stillwater, Okla. During their six-game winning streak Texas looked to be one of the top teams in the nation with legitimate national champion potential, all of which is distant memory now. After the Cowboys took an early 31-14 lead, the Longhorns fought their way back to just a three-point deficit making the score 31-28 late in the fourth quarter. Just as UT felt like they had the comeback in hand, Oklahoma State scored once again to strike the final blow. What this means for the Big 12 is it has for the time being, it has become a two-team race between Oklahoma and West Virginia, and to make things even more interesting, they are set to face off in the final week of the season. While the Longhorns playoff hopes are lost, they are still not completely out of the picture. If Texas is able to win the rest of their games, they would likely be in a position to contend for the Big 12 championship.

Must watch games week 10:

(12) West Virginia vs. (15) Texas

The most exciting game in Week 10 will without a doubt be the showdown between the Mountaineers and Longhorns. Not only is this game a must watch because both teams will arguably be fighting for a chance to compete in the Big 12 championship, but this will also be a faceoff between two of the most exciting playmakers in the Big 12, quarterbacks Will Grier and Sam Ehlinger. This will be an interesting matchup of opposites as both teams are known for completely different schemes. West Virginia has created a name for themselves through their air raid offense while Texas has grown to rely on a more physical style of play and an option-based offense that utilizes the play action to create big play opportunities. Despite their differences, both teams have found plenty of success this season and will do everything in their power to continue that in week 10. One thing to keep any eye on in this matchup is the Longhorns defense. While Texas has relied heavily on the dominant play of their defense this season, the Longhorns D struggled mightily in their 38-35 upset loss to Oklahoma State giving up over 300 yards through the air and three touchdowns. UT’s defense will need to have a bounce back week if they hope to take down the 6-1 Mountaineers.

(7) Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech

The second premiere matchup of week 10 is Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech. The Sooners will be playing with new life after Texas; the only team to defeat them this season went down in Week 9 to Oklahoma State. Oklahoma now sits atop the Big 12 standings tied with West Virginia, who also holds a 6-1 record and is quickly making a push back into the playoff conversation. While this is all exciting news for the Sooners, the season is far from over for a team that could make a lot of noise if they are able to win out the rest of the season. The Red Raiders on the other hand lost a little life in Week 9 as they fell to a hot Iowa State team 40-31. Texas Tech struggled to stop Iowa State’s offense on any level which is a dangerous problem to have heading into a game against one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. While there is no doubt that OU will be the better of the two teams, don’t count the Red Raiders out with gunslinger Alan Bowman at quarterback.

Players to watch week 10

Texas Tech WR Antoine Wesley: If the Red Raiders hope to have any chance of knocking off the No. 7 Sooners, they will need their big play receiver Wesley to have one heck of a game. Standing at 6’5, Wesley’s combination of size, speed, and ball skills are a matchup nightmare for defensive backs and his stats prove it. The towering target leads the Big 12 with 58 receptions and 977 receiving yards and is tied for fourth in touchdown receptions with seven. Wesley has also surpassed 100 yards receiving in four game this season, three of which have come in Texas Tech’s last four games. Look for Wesley to be targeted early and often in hopes of sparking momentum for a Red Raider team that will need all the help they can get.

Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler: Another physically impressive receiver makes the list of players to watch this week, 6’6 Hakeem Butler. Butler has been a highlight machine for the Cyclones this season, make some of the most acrobatic and jaw dropping catches in all of college football this season. Iowa State's go-to man has been playing his best football as of late with over 100 yards receiving in his last two games and a touchdown reception in each of his last three games. Since Freshman quarterback Brock Purdy took over the starting job he has shown an immediate connection with Butler which can only be expected to grow stronger as the two get more playing time together. This could very well mean that Butler’s best play is still ahead of him and will look to build off his recent success against an inconsistent Kansas team.

Kansas State RB Alex Barnes: The final player to keep an eye on this week is the Big 12 rushing leader Alex Barnes. While being the highlight of Kansas State’s season, Barnes has had a quietly impressive year leading the Big 12 with 816 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Though the Wildcats have struggled this season with just three wins, Barnes has played his best two games as of late when he rushed for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns vs. Baylor and 181 yards and 4 touchdowns vs. Oklahoma State. Kansas State will have a chance to take down a disjointed TCU team in week 10 but will need Barnes to set the tone with the rushing attack.








 

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After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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