The Big 12 Report

One of the most historic rivalries in college football history will have all eyes on the Big 12 in Week 6

Sam Ehlinger will need to have a big game. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The chips fell into place in week 5, as the top teams in the Big 12 were able come out on top in each of their matchups.The two lead dogs and only remaining undefeated teams in the Big 12, (7) Oklahoma and (9) West Virginia are now both considered among the Top 10 programs in the Nation. Texas (19) and Oklahoma State (25) also remain in the championship hunt, each with only one loss. Big 12 action will be a little light in Week 6 with TCU and Texas Tech both enjoying their bye week. With that said, all eyes will be on one classic Big 12 matchup, Oklahoma vs. Texas in the Red River Showdown.

Must watch games Week 6

(19) Texas vs. (7) Oklahoma

Once again, the Red River Showdown looks like it could turn out to be another instant classic. Both the Longhorns and Sooners are legitimate competitors in college football this season and will both undoubtedly put on a show this coming Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. This historic rivalry with have a new chapter written with two new stars at the helm of each team. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger and OU QB Kyler Murray will go head to head for the very first time, and fight to etch their name in the story books. The big questions of the day will be can the Longhorns defense can slow down the high-powered Sooners offense? And can Ehlinger be the difference maker Texas will need to bring down a college football Goliath? Since 2010 the Sooners have won 6 of the last 8 showdowns, but the last three games have been decided by 7 points or less. There is no telling who will take home bragging rights in 2018.

Iowa State vs. (25) Oklahoma State

Another Week 6 matchup in the Big 12 worthy of attention is Iowa State vs. No. 25 Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys held on to a spot in the Top 25 with a win over Kansas, Iowa State fell to TCU in a 17-14 nail biter. Iowa State now sits at a disappointing 1-3 but could possibly be one of the best 1-3 teams in the nation and have the potential to turn their season around at any point. Do not count the Cyclones out of their matchup vs. the Cowboys.

Players to watch week 6

Texas RB’s Keaontay Ingram & Tre Watson:

While there is no question that the Longhorns defense is talented, they are sure to have they hands full against one of the most dynamic and elusive playmakers in the country, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Alongside Murray, the Sooners have an abundance of athletes that create matchup problems for any defense. With that said, I believe that UT’s best defense vs. the Sooners will be a good offense. What I mean by that is, the best way for the Longhorns to defend against Murray and the high powered OU offense is to control the clock and limit their time on the field. What this will require is strong performances by young running backs Keaontay Ingram and Tre Watson. Ingram and Watson have split time in the backfield all season and have both shown their ability to make big time plays at any moment. Look for this duo to have a major impact on whether or not the Longhorns can knock down their arch rivals.

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray has lived up to every bit of the hype so far this season and set the field on fire in week 5 with 432 yards passing and 6 touchdowns vs. Baylor. Through 5 games Murray has racked up nearly 1,500 yards passing with 21 total touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. There could be an argument made that Murray has yet to play a worthy opponent or on a big-time stage, both of which he will experience in full force on Saturday. Murray has a prime opportunity vs. Oklahoma’s biggest rival to solidify himself not only as one of the elite quarterbacks in the nation, but also as an unquestionable Heisman candidate.

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace

Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace has quietly been having one of the top receiving seasons in college football. Wallace currently has the seventh most receiving yards this season and will be looking to move up in the rankings with a Week 6 matchup vs. the 1-3 Iowa State Cyclones. With the help of four 100 yard receiving performances already this season, Wallace has collected 546 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Expect head coach Mike Gundy to look to get his reliable playmaker involved early and often.

 

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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