Big 12 Report

West Virginia strikes a big blow in Austin but the Big 12 excitement is far from over

Tom Herman and the Longhorns had a rough finish to Saturday's game. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Week 10 in the Big 12 held two of the most exciting matchups of the entire 2018 season. The potential Big 12 championship preview matchup between Texas and West Virginia went down to the wire as the Mountaineers scored on a two-point conversion to secure the win with just 16 seconds left. This game was littered with highlight plays and surprisingly became a scoring shootout as both quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.

College football and Big 12 fans alike would be lucky to see these two teams face off again during championship week. But the excitement did not end there. The Sooners escaped Lubbock with a 51-46 win. Texas Tech came just one score away from completing the upset even after starting quarterback Alan Bowman was forced out of the game at halftime with an injury. Up to that point Bowman had thrown for an efficient 227 yards and two touchdowns, leading many to believe that the Red Raiders would have been able to complete the upset if it wasn’t for his unpredicted departure. What this means heading into Week 11 is that both Oklahoma and West Virginia remain just one loss teams and are set to face off in the Big 12 championship game.

Must watch games week 11:

(15) Texas vs. Texas Tech

Despite both teams currently suffering through two consecutive losses, the Longhorns vs. the Red Raiders will without a doubt be one of the most exciting games in college football this coming weekend. This game will carry a lot of significance for each of these programs not only because of their long history of epic battles but also because each of them are in dire need of returning to their winning ways. Texas came just one point away from bouncing back from their upset loss to Oklahoma State in Week 9 but were not able to hold off one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, West Virginia’s Will Grier. The Longhorns will not get much of a break in week 11 as they are tasked with the challenge of containing one of the most exciting freshman this season, Tech quarterback Alan Bowman. Neither team should need much help finding motivation to leave it all on the field in week 11, so fans should be in for a good show.

Oklahoma State vs. (6) Oklahoma

A Week 11 showdown in Oklahoma should also make your list of must watch games this Saturday. The in-state rivalry between the Sooners and the Cowboys should not disappoint as both teams have shown the potential to light up the scoreboard week in and week all season. At this point in the season Oklahoma will be fighting for their playoff lives as they sit just two spots outside the Final Four. OU has not lost a game since losing in the Red River Showdown but suffered a good scare in week 10 when Texas Tech came within just five points of handing the Sooners their second loss. The fact that Oklahoma does not seem to have completely overcome all of their flaws on the defensive side makes this matchup extremely interesting. Though the Cowboys were defeated by Baylor 35-31 last weekend, they proved themselves to be an extremely dangerous team when they took down the Longhorns in week 9. OU knows they cannot take this game lightly.

Baylor vs. (23) Iowa State

The final matchup to keep a close eye on in week 11 will be the 5-4 Baylor Bears vs. the 5-3 Iowa State Cyclones. Both teams notched big wins in their last matchups and will be heading into week 11 with plenty of momentum. The Bears took on a hot Oklahoma State team who was coming off their biggest win of the season and were able to overcome them 35-31. Iowa State easily handled Kansas 27-3 thanks to a big performance by freshman quarterback Brock Purdy and his 6’6 target Hakeem Butler. Purdy threw for almost 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Butler was on the receiving end of one touchdown pass and 164 yards. Look for this game to be become a stat sheet stuffing shoot out.

Players to watch week 11

Texas RB Trey Watson: While you are watching the biggest game of the week, I would recommend paying attention to Texas running back Tre Watson. Watson is coming off his best performance of the season in the Longhorns loss to West Virginia when he accumulated 80 yards rushing, 35 yards receiving and two touchdowns. If Watson's recent performance is not reason enough to keep him on the radar, the Texas Tech defense gave up 206 yards rushing and three touchdowns to Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon in their loss last Saturday. Look for Texas to try to take advantage of this weakness and keep the Red Raider defense guessing all game.

Iowa State RB David Montgomery: Another highly talented player and arguable one of the most underrated running backs in college football to watch in week 11 is the Cyclones David Montgomery. Montgomery has been a key piece to the Iowa State offense and is one of the most difficult backs to bring down in the nation. While his numbers may not always jump off the stat sheet, he must be respected by opposing defenses each week. Montgomery will get his shot at a Baylor defense that was gashed by Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill in week 10, who averaged 6.6 yards per-carry on his way to 119 yards rushing and 1 touchdowns. Iowa State would be smart to establish the running game early, letting Montgomery find his rhythm and taking pressure off Freshman quarterback Brock Purdy.

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace: The final player on Week 11’s watch list is Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace. Although he is only a Freshman, Wallace is fourth in the nation in receiving yards this season and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Wallace has racked up six games with 100 or more yards receiving, on his way to his season total of 1,052 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Cowboy’s will need their electric playmaker to be at the top of his game in week 11 when they face off against the No. 6 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Good news for Wallace is the fact that the Sooner defense gave up 199 yards receiving to Texas Tech star Antoine Wesley who is just two spots ahead of Wallace at No. 2 in the nation for receiving yards.

 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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