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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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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