Big 12 image tarnished following week one losses

MORGANTOWN-For most conferences, going 7-3 to open a new season would be reason to cheer.

But, when two of those three losses came to schools that are FCS members, you find yourself defending the strength of your conference. And, that’s what happened during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference.

“I don’t think we will stray too far from what we normally tell our kids following a loss,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said. “We’ve got a lot of improvement to do. We’re not as efficient as we need to be.

“We had some issues on offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball with third down situations.”

North Dakota State’s 24-21 victory over KSU topped the list of seven FCS schools that went on the road to beat their ‘big brothers’ in the FBS. Big 12 member Iowa State also was on the hit list, losing 28-20 to Northern Iowa.

Plus, West Virginia needed a 17-0 second half to avoid seeing its name there as the Mountaineers overcame a lackluster first half of play to come back and defeat William and Mary by a 24-17 margin.

“Obviously, it grabs your attention,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorson said when asked about the league’s play in week one. “It’s happened in the past. Anybody that was surprised with North Dakota State’s win isn’t very knowledgeable of the past.”

That doesn’t mean the third-year head coach is going to worry about the Big 12’s national image.

“I don’t worry about it,” said Holgorsen. “I worry about what we do on the field. There are going to be a lot of positives in the Big 12 this year, so I’m not worried about what happened this past weekend.”

And with good reason as Holgorsen’s Mountaineers and Bob Stoops Oklahoma Sooners are slated to open conference play at 7 p.m. this Saturday at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

The Sooners (1-0) are coming off of a 34-0 victory over the University of Louisiana-Monroe, a game in which the Sooners’ first-year starting quarterback, Trevor Knight, completed only 11-of-28 attempts for 86 yards and one interception, but rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries.

“He (Knight) did some things really well,” said Stoops. “Especially with his legs. Throwing the ball early wasn’t very good, but I expect him to throw the ball better when he gets comfortable with the offense.”

While WVU and OU open Big 12 play this weekend, the remainder of the 10-team conference will continue non-conference play with Texas Christian University, which is 0-1 after dropping a 37-27 decision to LSU, playing host to Southeastern Louisiana.

Also playing at home will be Baylor (1-0) taking on Buffalo, a 40-20 loser at The Ohio State last weekend, Kansas State (0-1) hosting Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas Tech (1-0) taking on Stephen F. Austin, and Kansas (0-0) opening its season in Lawrence against South Dakota.

Oklahoma State (1-0), which beat Mississippi State by a 21-3 margin, plays at the University of Texas-San Antonio while Texas (1-0) travels to Provo, Utah to face Brigham Young.

Taking the week off will be Iowa State (0-1), which entertains state rival Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 14