Big 12 Report: Texas looks to rebound against West Virginia after tough road loss

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brad Tollefson/AP/Shutterstock (13420077a) Texas coach Steve Sarkisian yells out to his players before an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, in Lubbock, Texas Texas Texas Tech Football, Lubbock, United States – 24 Sep 2022

Big 12 Report: Texas looks to rebound against West Virginia after tough road loss

The Longhorns’ season has reached a critical point as they prepare to host West Virginia this Saturday night. Texas lost another game where they had the lead at halftime and led in the fourth quarter. Despite signs of growth earlier in the season, the program is still wrestling with an inability to finish games and put opponents away when the chance arises. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said he blamed much of the loss on “self-inflicted wounds,” citing mistakes on both sides of the ball that came at inopportune times.  Sarkisian also claimed that overall the program is much improved, “Sometimes it’s easy to look at the result and think ‘we’re not better,’ but I see a lot of improvement where we’re at.”  For this claim to stand up to scrutiny, Texas must show an ability to close out games against quality opponents. Their next opportunity to do so will come this Saturday night versus West Virginia.

Texas has been without starting quarterback Quinn Ewers since the first quarter of the Alabama game three weeks ago, but reports are that his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule, and the possibility exists that he could play this week against the Mountaineers.

Wide receiver Xavier Worthy is also day-to-day with a lower leg injury suffered against Texas Tech. His status for this week’s game may not be known until game time. Sarkisian did expect Worthy to return to practice this week.

Around the Big 12

Texas Tech defeated Texas this week thanks mainly to the aggressive approach of first-year head coach Joey McGuire.  McGuire elected to attempt eight fourth-down conversions, and the Red Raiders converted 6.  This unconventional game plan allowed Tech to dominate time of possession in the second half, wearing out a Longhorn defense that had performed well up to that point.  The Red Raiders’ defense also held Texas to only 154 yards in the second half, a crucial factor that assisted Tech’s comeback from a 24-14 halftime deficit.  McGuire also became only the second coach in Texas Tech history to defeat the Longhorns on his first try; the other was David McWilliams.

West Virginia, Texas’ next opponent, defeated rival Virginia Tech 33-10.  The Mountaineers rode a strong defensive performance and the timely passing of JT Daniels to their second win of the season.  West Virginia held the Hokies to only 228 total yards, and Daniels passed for 203 yards and a touchdown.

Kansas State continued its up and down season this week, upsetting No. 6 Oklahoma 41-34 in Norman a week after falling to Tulane.  The Wildcats were led by quarterback Adrian Martinez who completed 21 of 34 passing attempts for 234 yards and chipped in 148 yards rushing.  Martinez accounted for five touchdowns, rushing for four and throwing for another score.

No. 17 Baylor outlasted Iowa State 31-24, a loss that ended the Cyclones’ 11-game home winning streak.  The Bears took control of the game with a ten-play 93-yard drive that gave Baylor a ten-point lead and allowed them to survive a rally by Iowa State. The Cyclones scored 10 points in the final 8 minutes but could not complete the comeback when the Bears secured an onside kick with less than a minute remaining.

The Kansas Jayhawks remain undefeated after outscoring Duke 35-27.  Quarterback Jalon Daniels accounted for five touchdowns in front of the first sell-out crowd to watch a Kansas home game since 2019.  The Jayhawks continue to score points in bunches but will face their toughest test so far when they host Iowa State this weekend.

TCU won the Iron Skillet defeating SMU 42-34 in Sonny Dykes’ first return to the hilltop after departing to take the reins at TCU.  TCU was able to control the SMU offense just enough to secure the win and extend the Horned Frogs’ record to 3-0, but a wounded Oklahoma team is on the horizon.

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