It's time to close the books on the opening weekend in the Big 12. All-in-all, not a great weekend, not a bad weekend. The league went 9-0 but considering the competition, it shouldn't be entirely surprising.
West Virginia had an impressive debut. Oklahoma did not. Iowa State picked up a very big win and Kansas State had a fourth quarter explosion. And who says Baylor would miss RGIII?
Here's a rundown of Saturday's action (Sunday for Baylor) and a few quick thoughts on each.
Outside of a couple of special team blunders and a 98 yard touchdown drive by Marshall in the second quarter, there wasn't much not to like in the season debut for West Virginia.
The offense was everything people thought it would be. Explosive. Playmakers everywhere. And Geno Smith distributes the ball to his different weapons about as good as you can.
Maybe it's not entirely surprising, but the Mountaineers running game was outstanding. People always make a huge deal of Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense, but believe me, he knows the importance of running the football. Shawne Alston was a force finishing with 123 yards on 16 carries on two touchdowns
As for Geno Smith's Heisman campaign? I'd say it got off to a solid start. How's 32-36 for 323 yards and four touchdowns? Toss in 64 rushing yards including a nifty 28 yard touchdown scramble on a broken play and what you have is one heck of an opening day performance.
We already knew this but Big 12 defenses are going to have their hands full slowing that unit down.
The Cyclones picked up a very big win over a good Tulsa team. Iowa State fell behind 16-7 after the first quarter but then outscored the Golden Hurricanes 38-7 the rest of the way.
Steele Jantz was money in his first start of the season at quarterback. He finished 32-45 for 281 yards and two touchdowns and outside of one first quarter interception, took good care of the ball.
The return of running back Shontrelle Johnson to the lineup was the story of the day, however. Johnson missed most of last season with a serious neck injury but showed no signs of that on Saturday. He darted and dashed through the Tulsa defense for 120 yard on 18 carries. Johnson's return not only adds depth to the Cyclone backfield but gives them a guy that can be a difference maker when Big 12 plays rolls around.
In Stillwater, Oklahoma State beat Savannah State 84-0. That is all. We'll talk more about the Cowboys after they play at Arizona next week.
Hey, Charlie Weis is 1-0 which means Kansas is 1-0! It wasn't a thing of beauty, but any win for Kansas at this point can't be considered a bad thing even if it came against South Dakota State.
The running game looked solid even without James Sims who is suspended for the first three games. Tony Pierson finished with 124 yards and junior college transfer Taylor Cox added 121 more.
Dayne Crist's debut can probably best described as mediocre. He completed 17 of 36 (47.2%) of his passes for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
What about the defense? It's tough to say, but SDSU did end up with over 400 yards of total offense and the Jackrabbits first score of the game was a 99 yard touchdown run that gave the Jackrabbits a 7-0 lead. So even if there were a few bright spots, there's plenty still to work on as KU gets ready to take on Rice next weekend in Lawrence.
In Lubbock, Texas Tech's defense gave up just 84 yards on the night. Sure, it was only Northwestern State, but holding anyone to 84 yards is an impressive number. We likely won't know exactly what Tech has on defense until Big 12 play begins considering their next two opponents are Texas State and New Mexico, but Saturday night was certainly a good start.
Running back Eric Stephens also made his return to the lineup. He finished with just 58 yards but most reports are saying he didn't show any ill effects of his injury and should only get better as he works he way back into game shape.
It was an interesting night in Manhattan. The final score, a 51-9 KSU win over Missouri State, doesn't begin to tell the story. The Wildcats went into the locker room at halftime holding a 9-6 advantage and the Bears tied it up at 9 early in the third quarter.
K-State didn't score a touchdown until mid-way through the third quarter and held a 16-9 lead after three quarters.
But then the fourth quarter happened and the Wildcats reeled off 35 straight points highlighted by John Hubert's 95 yard touchdown.
As Collin Klein said after the game, "first games are weird," which about sums it up, heck, it about sums it up for most of the Big 12 in the opening round of games.
Texas is back! Is that actually true? Who knows, but it was by most accounts a decent if not good opening win for Mack Brown's team. David Ash was mostly efficient and didn't turn the ball over in completing 20-27 passes and the running game was solid with both Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown both rushing for over 100 yards.
Manny Diaz isn't likely happy with the final defensive stats given that Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith threw for 276 yards which included a 82 yard TD throw and a plethora of missed tackles. Here's guessing New Mexico doesn't cross the 50 yard line next week.
The headline on NewsOK.com Sunday read: "Quarterback Landry Jones was not the Sooners' problem against UTEP" which probably wasn't the headline most expected to wake up to Sunday morning.
The blame for the Sooners inconsistencies on offense largely fell on the O-line that was missing starters Ben Habern and Tyler Evans. Well guess what Oklahoma, those two guys aren't coming back and if you can't block UTEP, stopping the Longhorns' onslaught of rushers isn't going to be any easier.
Yes, it was the first game and no team is at their best - especially when they have to travel away from home - but it still wasn't the way Oklahoma hoped to get their season started.
The good news - at least I think it's good news - for the Sooners is they have two bye weeks over the season's first month to get their offensive deficiencies figured out. Of course, they also play Kansas State during that stretch who figures to be a heck of a lot better than UTEP was on Saturday night.
On the bright side, Oklahoma's defense didn't allow any points. UTEP's only score came on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.
Baylor's offense didn't miss a beat with Nick Florence running the offense on Sunday night. That Oklahoma, is how you run an efficient offense against an undermanned team. The Bears finished with 613 total yards, 341 yards of which came from Florence's arm throwing to what very well may be the best set of receivers in the Big 12 behind only West Virginia.
Baylor's defense looked better holding SMU to just three points for most of three quarters. The Mustangs did finish with 507 total yards but that included a few long passes once the game had already been decided. To go along with the common theme of the night, yes, it's only one game but it was definitely a step in right direction for a unit that was shredded routinely a season ago.
So that's that. It's over. The first weekend is already in the books after all those months with no football.
We'll be back at it on Monday with an updated Big 12 Power Poll and a few notes from the Big 12 coaches call, as well.
Thanks for taking a minute to stop by and enjoy your Labor Day Holiday.