What mattered and what’s important from Week 3 of the Big 12 college football season?
Who and what is THAT? What did you do with Kansas? The program did absolutely nothing or two weeks to look capable of doing anything interesting, and Boston College was fantastic over the first two games, and then came … this.
The Jayhawks executed well, they were explosive, and they looked and played like a real, live team. This wasn’t a quirky performance with a slew of takeaways to pull off some sort of a fluke, Kansas was fantastic. So yeah, it’s like everyone forgot – Les Miles is a damn good football coach. Now the expectations are higher. Now we all know what this program is capable of.
Boston College played well in several ways – AJ Dillon rumbled for 151 yards and a score – and it still didn’t matter. The Jayhawks ran for 329 yards and three scores, Khalil Herbert and Pooka Williams each ran for over 100 yards, Carter Stanley hit 20-of-27 passes for 238 yards and three scores, and this all worked against a very good Power Five team on the road.
THERE’S the West Virginia we’ve been waiting for. The offense was balanced, Austin Kendall was terrific, and the defense didn’t let NC State do a thing down the field. The Wolfpack coaching staff tried a slew of things to get the O going, but the pass rush and a good-tackling day from the back seven kept State to just 4.6 yards per pass.
There were way too many penalties. It was a good performance against a strong team, but the Mountaineers still aren’t good enough to get flagged 12 times and – usually – survive. The offense was able make up for the mistakes by keeping the pressure on with an even performance. When it needed to score to close things out, it came up with a great fourth.
After what Kansas did against Boston College, the trip to Lawrence next week is hardly a given. And then comes Texas. And then comes Iowa State. and then comes the trip to Oklahoma, and on and on … there are no breaks the rest of the way. WVU needed this.
The Cyclones couldn’t seem to get that one big break needed late. The defense held up well enough to force field goals – giving up only one touchdown – but the offense couldn’t get the ball back in the final moments to go on a drive for a possible game-winning field goal. This was a dead-even battle, and Iowa State fell just short.
+2 in turnover margin, including the Iowa game-sealing fumble on the late punt return – there’s your difference. The Cyclones outgained the Hawkeyes by more than 100 yards, but they couldn’t go on the longer, sustained drives Iowa did. The Hawkeyes always seemed to have the ball, because they did.
It was a fun and creative gameplan early on, and the big plays set the tone. The Cyclones couldn’t hit on the little ones. Brock Purdy hit 24-of-34 passes for 276 yards and a score, and Tarique Milton and LaMichael Pettway hit the big plays in the passing game. Now the Cyclones have to be more consistent, and that’s what the ULM game next week is for.