We may have just witnessed the most important 25 minutes in the history of Oklahoma State football. With a national television audience watching, the high-flying Pokes turned a 20–3 deficit into a 30–20 lead in 25 minutes of breathtaking football in front of a stunned crowd at Kyle Field. Oklahoma State improved to 4–0 on the season and recorded a breakthrough win that vaulted it into the top-5 in the Associated Press poll.
The sleeping giant in the Big 12 is no longer asleep. A program with tremendous facilities and seemingly unlimited financial resources is well-positioned to be a major player in a reconfigured league that no longer includes Nebraska and Texas A&M.
“You should be able to recruit there,” said one Big 12 assistant coach in the ‘Scouting the Cowboys’ section in our 2011 preview magazine. “Their facilities are unbelievable. They have a very personable head coach. They have a good recruiting base. In my opinion, they should be able to recruit better than Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Their facilities are like the Taj Mahal.”
The Pokes have been consistently competitive throughout the past four decades with some pockets of tremendous success — Pat Jones won 10 games three times in a five-year stretch in the ‘80s — but the program has never been a major player on the national level.
That could be changin, as Athlon's Braden Gall writes. The right coach is in place. The school has solid leadership. And the team is winning big games and doing so in exciting fashion — with an explosive offense. This will only help the Cowboys continue to attract top-flight talent to Stillwater.
Some might claim that Oklahoma State has a ceiling due to the presence of the University of Oklahoma — a top-5 program nationally — in its own state. I don’t buy it. Auburn recently won a national title, and the Tigers are a clear No. 2 in their own state. Florida and Florida State each won a national title in a four-year stretch in the late 1990s. (And yes, I realize that Florida produces a ton more talent than the state of Oklahoma, but both OU and OSU make a killing in nearby Texas, equally as fertile as Florida.)
Obviously, we don’t know how the rest of the 2011 season will play out, but if O-State continues to win games — and take a look at the schedule; it’s not overly taxing — we could be looking back at the comeback in College Station as the defining moment of a special season in Stillwater.
• K-State quarterback Collin Klein is very quietly having a great junior season. Klein has been efficient throwing the ball (34-of-57 for 335 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception) and is averaging over 100 yards per game rushing. In last week’s win at Miami (Fla.), Klein threw for 133 yards and two touchdowns and added 93 yards rushing and one TD.
• Missouri tailback Henry Josey’s 12.4 yards-per-attempt average leads the nation among players with at least 20 attempts. Josey has 533 yards on 43 carries.
• The Kansas defense has given up 14 plays of 30 yards or longer. That is tied with Clemson and North Texas for the most in the nation.
• In three games, Kansas has not forced a turnover. The Jayhawks’ offense has only committed one turnover.
• Baylor’s Robert Griffin III leads the nation with a completion percentage of 85.4, but the Bears have also completed five of the six passes that Griffin has not attempted this season. Backup quarterback Bryce Petty is 3-of-4 for 53 yards, and receiver Kendall Wright is 2-of-2 for 55 yards and one touchdown.
• Texas Tech ranks 111th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing an average of 225.7 yards in wins against Texas State (256 yards), New Mexico (109) and Nevada (312 yards). Good thing the Raiders don’t have Georgia Tech on the schedule.
The Aggies look for revenge after a bitter loss to the Cowboys last season.
This Big 12 contest should be one of the more fun college football games all season. The high-octane offenses of Oklahoma State and Texas A&M will meet in College Station on Saturday afternoon in what is only the third game in the history of Kyle Field involving two Top-10 teams.
The Big 12 was on its deathbed earlier this week, but has somehow survived for the second year in a row. Thanks to the Pac-12’s decision not to expand and add Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech, the Big 12 will continue to exist – for now.
There are two things you need to know about Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz.
The first: He might have the most normal name in his family. Jantz’ father is named Foxx, who has a twin brother named Wolf and another brother named Stig. Steele has brothers named Truk and Brogan.
The second, and far more important to Cyclone fans: He is a winner.
Jantz, a transfer from junior college who won the job in preseason camp, has led Iowa State to a 3–0 start by making the right plays at the right time. The Cyclones have won their three games — over Northern Iowa, Iowa and UConn — by a total of eight points and have trailed in those three games a combined 10 times.
Jantz recovered from a slow start against UConn — he was intercepted three times in the first quarter — to rally Iowa State from a 10–0 deficit in the first half and a 20–17 deficit in the fourth quarter. The week before, ISU trailed Iowa on five different occasions, including twice in overtime, before winning 41–38 on the final possession of the third extra session.
Jantz, a native of Agoura Hills, Calif., has made plays with his legs as well as his arm. In the first two games, he combined to rush for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He was bottled up against UConn (negative-10 yards rushing on three attempt due in part to a leg injury suffered just before the half), but his ability to tuck the ball and run will cause problems for opposing defenses all season.
Iowa State is 3–0 for the first time since 2005 and one of only five 3–0 teams in 2011 that already has two wins over BCS conference opponents.
“The confidence continues to build as we find a way to win football games,” says Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. “I have a confident group of young men to begin with. They have to focus on improving and moving forward.”
Moving forward, Iowa State’s schedule will become far more difficult. After a week off, the Cyclones begin a five-game gauntlet that features home games with Texas and Texas A&M and road dates against Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech. In addition, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma await in the month of November.
AROUND THE BIG 12
• Kansas has allowed 45 points or more in six of its last nine games vs. BCS conference opponents. The 2011 Jayhawks rank 119th in the nation in rushing defense and total defense.
• Of the five quarterbacks who have not yet thrown an interception on the list of top 25 leaders in passing efficiency, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Texas Tech’s Seth Doege have the most touchdowns — eight each.
• Western Illinois had 44 total yards against Missouri last week and only one of the Leathernecks possessions lasted for more than three plays.
• Last Saturday against UCLA, Texas true freshman Malcolm Brown had what figures to be the first of many 100-yard games in a Longhorn uniform. Brown carried the ball a season-high 22 times for 1110 yards and scored the first touchdown of his career in Texas’ 49–20 win over the Bruins.
• Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 with 24 plays from scrimmage that have gone for at least 20 yards.
• Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones attempted only 27 passes in the Sooners’ win at Florida State. It was the fewest he has thrown since becoming the starter at OU early in the 2009 season.
• Texas A&M will not play a game outside College Station in the month of September for the first time since 1984.