THE BIG 12 REPORT

Two new Big 12 Teams crack the Top 25 but for how long? Find out what Big 12 matchups could alter the college football landscape this weekend

Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia have a big matchup this week. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After the first week of conference play the Big 12 now has four teams ranked in nation's Top 25, but the slate of games did not necessarily live up to the hype. The two prime matchups of Texas vs. TCU and Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State ended up being extremely lopsided affairs. Texas went on to defeat TCU 31-16 and Texas Tech came out on top in a 41-17 victory over Oklahoma State. With this said the Big 12 is still an extremely competitive conference and has the potential to produce nail biting games each week.

Must watch games Week 5

West Virginia (12) vs. Texas Tech (25)

Believe it or not, we have another potential offensive shootout in the Big 12 this coming weekend. The 12th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers will take on the 25th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. Both teams have put up big time offensive numbers so far this season and continue to light up the scoreboard with prolific passing attacks. Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman has burst onto the college football scene and now sits second in the nation in yards passing with 1,557, while his counterpart Will Grier holds the 12th most yards passing with 1,117. With that said Grier has thrown for four more touchdowns than Bowman and has the second highest passer rating in the nation just behind Alabama phenom Tua Tagovailoa. Grier will look to distinguish himself from the pack this week and prove that he should in fact be one of the Heisman front runners early in this college football season.

Iowa State vs. TCU

While Iowa State secured their first victory of the season last weekend against an undermatched Akron team, TCU dug themselves a deeper hole. The Cyclones will be facing off against a TCU team that has now lost two straight games along with a ton of early season momentum and excitement. Though the 2018 season has not gone as expected for either of these teams with both of them already suffering two losses, they are still teams with a tremendous amount of talent and have shown the potential to play at an extremely high level. Expect each of these respected teams to place a lot of significance on this weekend’s game with the hope of getting their seasons back on track.

Texas (18) vs. Kansas State

For a second straight time this season a Top 25 ranked team has left Darrell K Royal Stadium with shattered hopes and spirits. This revitalized Longhorn program has proven just how dangerous they are with back to back dominant victories over USC and TCU. Needless to say, UT will not be taken lightly anymore, but they have no time to slow down now. This coming weekend Texas will face off against an always difficult Kansas State team. This game is a serious opportunity for the Longhorns to establish their recent high level of play as the new norm and continue to build their momentum before they line up against No. 6 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. Texas seems to have found its rhythm on both sides of the football and should expect to continue to get better each week.

Players to watch Week 5

Iowa State QB Zeb Noland

The first player that I am putting on my watch list this week is Iowa State quarterback Zeb Noland. The sophomore quarterback was thrust into action after starting quarterback Kyle Kempt suffered a knee injury in Week 1 and has not looked back since. Noland has thrown for just under 600 yards and three touchdowns in his first two starts with his best performance coming in a 37-27 loss to No. 6 ranked Oklahoma. While Kempt’s return remains, uncertain Noland should get at least one more chance to raise some eyebrows for what is in store for the near future of this program. The young quarterback will certainly be challenged this coming weekend when he faces a talented TCU defense that will be extremely motivated in week 5 after two disappointing performances. Has Iowa State found its quarterback of the future?

West Virginia WR Marcus Simms

One player that deserves some recognition for his high level of play this season and who has the potential to explode this coming weekend is junior wide receiver Marcus Simms. Simms has easily surpassed 100 yards receiving in the Mountaineers last two games and is proving to be a reliable target for quarterback Will Grier. Simms' ceiling for success will continue to rise with a favorable matchup vs. an inconsistent Texas Tech defense. As if Simms' athletic ability isn’t enough for opposing defenses to worry about, he also has the luxury of catching passes from a potential Heisman quarterback each week. Look for Simms to continue his trend of 100 yard receiving performances this coming weekend vs. the Red Raiders.

Texas Defense

To wrap up this week’s list of players to watch is the UT defense. This stout defense has dominated the football field in the Longhorns last two games and will have opposing offenses scrambling for the rest of the season. This young Texas defense has allowed just 10 total touchdowns through four games this season and has forced six interceptions. The Longhorns defense is quickly appearing to be the driving force of energy and momentum for a team that is hard to stop once they get the ball rolling. Texas has a favorable matchup vs. Kansas State this weekend, but if this dangerous defense shows up with full force, things could quickly get out of hand for the Wildcats.


 

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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