Big 12 Report week 9

The top Big 12 teams begin their final push at the college football playoffs

The eyes of Texas will be on Sam Ehlinger's injury. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Must watch game week 9:

(6) Texas vs. Oklahoma State

The Longhorns return to action in Week 9 vs. Oklahoma State after a much-deserved bye week. Texas fans probably appreciated the bye week just as much as the actual team, because it meant a chance for star quarterback Sam Ehlinger to rest his hurt throwing shoulder for UT’s playoff push. Texas now sits just one spot outside of the Top 5 thanks to an upset lost suffered by Ohio State, but have no time to relax with dangerous teams such as No. 13 West Virginia and Texas Tech remaining on their schedule. As for their matchup this weekend, Oklahoma State has lost their last two games after an embarrassing performance against Kansas State in week 8 when they fell 31-12. This weekend will provide the Longhorns with a good opportunity to settle back into the swing of things and make any necessary last-minute adjustments.

Texas Tech vs. Iowa State

Another noteworthy matchup in Week 9 is Texas Tech vs. Iowa State. While Iowa State has not necessarily impressed thus far this season with a 3-3 record, the Cyclones did what they have become known for and provide the Big 12 with a major, tide shifting upset. Iowa State dominated what was an undefeated West Virginia team 30-14 in Week 7, much like they took down No. 3 Oklahoma in 2017. Another point to be made is the fact that the Cyclones have won three of their last four games and seem to be finding a rhythm midway through this season. With all of that said, the Red Raiders have proven themselves difficult for any team to take down this season with a 4-2 record despite battling an abundance of injuries at the quarterback position. This Week 9 showdown will definitely be an interesting one due to the uncertainty surrounding both teams as well as the untapped potential each of them have shown.

Baylor vs. (13) West Virginia

The final game I have pointed out this coming weekend is West Virginia vs. Baylor. There are a few reasons why this game is so intriguing, the first and most prevalent being the fact that the Mountaineers suffered the first loss of the season in Week 7 before going into their bye week. It will be interesting to see how West Virginia responds and if they return any more motivated or driven. The second reason being that the Bears were able to take the 6-1 Longhorns down to the wire in their last game and fell just six points short of pulling off the upset. Both teams will be looking to have bounce back performances and should be bringing a renewed energy to the field.

Players to watch week 9

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger: After being forced out of their Week 7 game vs. Baylor with what was later confirmed as a sprain to his throwing shoulder, Longhorn fans will be paying close attention to Ehlinger's return. This makes him one of the must watch players in Week 9 because Ehlinger's physical and dynamic playing style is instrumental to UT’s offensive success. The young star's powerful running style not only keeps defenses on their toes, but also opens up a dangerous play action passing attack that allows big time playmaking wide receivers Collin Johnson and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey to take advantage of one-on-one matchups. We will see if Ehlinger will be able to continue his strong first half play, or if his normal playing style will be limited.

West Virginia QB Will Grier: Mountaineers quarterback and Heisman hopeful Will Grier was forced to sit through his bye week with the agony of defeat and without a doubt is ready to return to the field for a chance at redemption. Grier cannot help but feel painfully responsible for his team's devastating loss to Iowa State in Week 7, as he put up his worst performance of the year with only 100 yards passing and one touchdown. Keep an eye on one of the nation’s most dangerous quarterbacks who will not only be looking to redeem his team but also himself.

Oklahoma RB’s Kennedy Brooks & Trey Sermon: Since the Sooners lost workhorse running back Rodney Anderson to a season ending knee injury in Week 2, a dangerous backfield tandem has now come to fruition. Freshman Kennedy Brooks and Sophomore Trey Sermon have combined for 492 yards rushing and six touchdowns in the last three games and look to only be heating up. Oklahoma has a favorable matchup vs. Kansas State in week 9 and should look to let this talented duo run free, especially after both backs surpassed 100 yards in their last game vs. TCU.   







 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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