Big 12 has star matchups this week

MORGANTOWN – The race for both the top and bottom of the Big 12 Conference continues this weekend, but with two of its primary combatants – No. 8 Baylor and No. 10 Oklahoma – taking the week off as they prepare for their showdown a week from Saturday.

“It allows our guys, before this last push, to get their legs under them a bit,” Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said during Monday’s Big 12 Conference teleconference. “And, it helps us get ready for Baylor.”

A feat none of the Bears’ previous seven opponents have been able to accomplish as Baylor leads the league in scoring offense (63.9 ppg), scoring defense (15.9 ppg), total offense (718.4 ypg), rushing offense (301.1 ypg), passing offense (417.3 ypg), pass defense (177.3 ypg), pass efficiency (207.1), pass defense efficiency (95.9) and red zone defense.

“The kids are playing well, but there are still areas that we still need to improve upon as we head into our open week,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “We understand the importance that surrounds every game we play the rest of the season, beginning with Oklahoma.”

While fans will have to wait for that matchup, the remaining eight teams will take to the field today with Kansas playing at Texas, Iowa State at Kansas State, West Virginia at TCU and No. 18 Oklahoma State playing at No. 15 Texas Tech.

The Longhorns (5-2, 4-0) are one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the conference take on a Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4) team that has yet to win a league contest under the tutelage of second-year head coach Charlie Weis.

“I think we are making improvements,” Weis said. “Whether or not they are enough to beat a team like Texas we will have to see on Saturday. One thing is for certain, their defense is playing much better under Greg (Robinson).”

  • Big 12 Players of the Week were awarded to offense: Desmond Roland (Oklahoma State), defense: Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas) and special teams: Anthony Fera (Texas).
  • Baylor broke a school record with its 11th straight win dating back to the last four games of the 2012 season. The previous record was 10 straight wins in 1936-37.
  • The Bears’ Bryce Petty completed 20-of-32 passes for a career-high 430 yards and three touchdowns, and he added his sixth rushing touchdown of the year.
  • Iowa State has had at least one touchdown pass in each of its last 10 games, its longest string since 1997.
  • The Jayhawks’ defense forced a season-high five Baylor fumbles, two of which were recovered by Kansas.
  • Wide receiver Tyler Lockett recorded his fourth 100-plus yard effort with 111 receiving yards against the Mountaineers. Quarterback Daniel Sams went 8-for-8 passing versus WVU for 93 yards and a touchdown while Jake Waters threw 10-of-13 for 152 yards and three scores.
  • OU held Texas Tech to 72 yards rushing, the fourth opponent the Sooners have held under 100 yards this season and well below TTU’s average of 131.7 yards per game.
  • OSU’s Desmond Roland, making his first career start, had a career-best 58-yard carry and finished with a career-high 219 yards rushing against Iowa State.
  • TCU’s Jon Lewis made his first career start at defensive tackle for the Horned Frogs and posted career-highs with nine tackles and 2.5 for loss. TCU has two interceptions and has five games this season with at least two picks.
  • Texas has scored 10 touchdowns on plays of 45 yards or longer this season and those have been scored by eight different players.
  • TTU’s Jace Amaro had eight receptions for 119 yards at OU. He has at least eight catches in seven consecutive games and is only the second player in school history (Michael Crabtree, 2007, nine consecutive games) to accomplish that feat.
  • Quarterback Clint Trickett’s 6-yard rushing touchdown was his first rushing touchdown this season. Trickett also had a season-best 50-yard pass completion.
  • West Virginia has forced at least one turnover in 14 straight games and 26 of the last 27 games.