There are 15 weekends to the college football season. Seven have been completed, which brings us at hump week.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Time to sort out the first half of the Big 12 season and identify some superlatives.
Pick your Baylor Bear. Running back Lache Seastrunk leads the league at 128.6 yards per game and eight touchdowns. Quarterback Bryce Petty tops the conference with 338 yards and 13 touchdown passes. Even an offensive lineman like guard Cyril Richardson deserves mention. Let’s say Petty.
Texas Tech’s Kerry Hyder has moved inside on the Red Raiders’ new 3-4 defense and has lead a defensive resurgence in Lubbock. Tech leads the Big 12 in rushing defense (113.2 yards allowed) and Hyder tops the league in tackles for loss at 1.5 per game. He has also forced two fumbles.
Walk-on freshman Baker Mayfield was third in line as Texas Tech’s starting quarterback when fall camp started. But sophomore Michael Brewer suffered a back injury during the summer, and Mayfield beat out fellow freshman Davis Webb, who practiced with the Red Raiders last spring. Mayfield didn’t play in Tech’s recent victory over Iowa State because of a knee injury, but he remains the Big 12’s second-leading passer at 297 yards per game.
Not much was expected from Ryan Gosling, er, Kliff Kingsbury, in his first year as a head coach. But Kingsbury has Tech off a 6-0 start while juggling injured quarterbacks. The rugged part of the schedule remains but the Red Raiders are already bowl eligible and Kingsbury has proved to be more than just a pretty face.
Art Briles of Baylor, the Big 12’s highest-ranked team at No. 12, is equally praise-worthy.
Could a Big 12 leader be considered a disappointment? It could if it’s Texas. The Longhorns are flying high after the convincing victory over Oklahoma, and perhaps that outcome bounces Texas to the Big 12 title. But an embarrassing loss at Brigham Young cost defensive coordinator Manny Diaz his job, and the home loss to Mississippi the next week ended any illusions of a special season.
Kansas State, which opened the season with a home loss to North Dakota State and stands 0-3 in league play, deserves mention in this category, as does TCU.
Texas 31, Iowa State 30
Big plays, a final minute twist, a Texas escape and major controversy which prompted a news conference blowup by Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads, this wildly entertaining Thursday night game had it all.
Best individual effort
In a losing cause, Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett turned in a monster game at Texas with 237 receiving yards on 13 receptions. Throw in kick returns and Lockett finished with 333 all-purpose yards.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.