Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Scoring runs the rage in open-throttle Big 12

Kansas state defensive back Nigel Malone (24) looks on as Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon (81) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter of Saturday's game in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State, 52-45.

Kansas state defensive back Nigel Malone (24) looks on as Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon (81) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter of Saturday's game in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State, 52-45.


It’s often said that basketball is a game of runs.

In the Big 12 these days, so is football.

The nation’s most explosive offensive league has seen a number of games turn on a big scoring spurt, a trend highlighted by No. 2 Oklahoma State’s wild 52-45 win over No. 17 Kansas State on Saturday night.

The Cowboys (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) opened a 14-0 lead, which in a league like the Big Ten might seem insurmountable. The Wildcats (7-2, 4-2) then reeled off 24 points, only to watch Oklahoma State score the next 20. Oh, and all that came before a fourth quarter that saw the two combine for 32 points.

This is not unusual in the Big 12 this season.

“When you put in the personnel, the scheme and the tempo, it’s a challenge as a defensive coordinator in the Big 12 to be able to handle all the different things that people didn’t handle for a long time,” said Texas A&M; coach Mike Sherman, whose Aggies gave up 28 points in the third quarter of a 41-25 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.

In a league as wide open as the Big 12, scoring in bunches isn’t just a fun way to light up scoreboards and keep fans entertained.

On many days, it’s a necessity.

Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden threw for a school-record 502 yards against the Wildcats, but Kansas State was still just five yards away from forcing overtime in the closing minute. Baylor (5-3, 2-3) broke its school record with 697 yards of offense against Missouri (4-5, 2-4) and yet only won by three, 42-39.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who has been on both sides of big runs this season, believes they have as much to do with strong defense as a powerful offense.

“In that run in the third quarter of the last couple of games, the defense has come up with three-and-outs and given the ball back in good field position or come with one play and a turnover, and you’ve got the ball right back and the offense strikes right back,” Stoops said. “I think, in my eyes, it’s more the team really complementing one another offensively and defensively.”

Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4) has been on the wrong end of runs in each of its last two games, a big reason why its season has taken a turn for the worse.

The Red Raiders stunned Oklahoma 41-38 on Oct. 22 by reeling off 24 points in less than 15 minutes. It lost its next two: Texas Tech let Iowa State score the first 21 points, and Texas raced out to a 31-6 halftime lead in a 52-20 win. Up next for the Red Raiders is Oklahoma State, which is averaging 50 points a game.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy credited his staff for keeping his players focused during the Kansas State shootout.

“I thought our assistant coaches did a tremendous job of keeping their composure,” Gundy said. “When they handle things well like that game Saturday night — it was roller coaster, big play after big play, four or five or six of them back to back to back — they did a nice job of making adjustments and handling the pressure.”

Texas A&M; (5-4, 3-3), once considered a contender for the Big 12 title, sits in the middle of the pack partly because its defense let the Cowboys run up 27 straight points, Missouri score 17 points in half a quarter and the Sooners score four straight touchdowns last week. The Aggies play at Kansas State on Saturday.

“You’ve got to handle the tempo. You’ve got to get your calls in fast enough. You’ve got to be able to make adjustments to multiple formations that we get,” Sherman said. “In a lot of these offenses, there’s a lot of movement and things going on, so you have to match up on that. It’s tough.”

Of course, high-powered offenses are nothing new in the Big 12, whose identity has long been defined by shootouts.

Five Big 12 teams are in the top 20 nationally in scoring offense, led by Oklahoma State in second. TCU, which will join the Big 12 next season, ranks eighth and West Virginia, which hopes to do the same, is 13th with 38.2 points a game.

Only two teams, Iowa State (5-4, 2-4) and Kansas (2-7, 0-6), are averaging less than 30 points in Big 12 games.

“You can’t start slow in this league. If you start slow, it’s almost impossible to come from behind,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “It’s not a necessity to start fast, but if you do start slow, you better be good on offense because it’s just so hard to catch up.”


johnnyhrdwd 10 years, 6 months ago

Did it say anything about Georgia Tech hitting a bunch of home runs right up the gut against us?

Chris Condren 10 years, 6 months ago

No big runs for the KU offense other than the 20 points against Texas Tech. KU has helps many teams with their scoring runs with KU's historically bad defense.

Gary Wirsig 10 years, 6 months ago

DJ had a nice touchdown run against Iowa State.

Robert Brock 10 years, 6 months ago

The Big XII is softer than Charmin. Mr. Whipple would be amazed.

squawkhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

As fun as it is to see a lot of points put up on the board I think this new style of offense is less fun than the more traditional, smash mouth style of football. Give me a little less offense and a lot more defense any day.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm older, so I'm a little more " old-school ".

Switching back and forth Saturday night between the K-State / OSU game and Alabama / LSU - I got the feeling watching the KSU game that it was like watching 12 year olds play a pickup game after school and the LSU game was like watching men play.

Smashmouth football.

Old Bears vs Packers.

Ray Nitschke.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

sorry squawk - you said almost the same thing right before me and I wasn't even looking!

KGphoto 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm pretty much with you on "old-school", but that Bama, LSU game was boring. It was a bunch of "men" kicking field goals. In the day, you had some exciting offensive plays sandwiched in between crushing defensive stops. but those two SEC offenses are average and can't throw it a lick.

I definitely want to see the Cowboys get a shot at LSU. A great offense against a great defense, and a suspect offense against a suspect defense on the other side. Should be a good game.

Now that Broyles is out, it would seem nothing is standing in their way, but I'll be tuned in Dec. 3rd anyhow.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

lol - KG - a lot of non Big 12 games are boring! More fundamentally sound, but boring.

I thought about OSU / LSU matchup this morning - I hope we get to see it. It should be an interesting game.

Ryan Shelton 10 years, 6 months ago

Pokes fans around here (I live 1/2 hr. from Stillwater) are already counting their chickens. As fun as OSU is to watch, and as much as I would love to see their offense pitted against LSU's defense, I forsee them tripping, maybe even before the OU game. Fact is that Gundy is coming along as a modest head coach, but relies too much on Weeden's arm to get it done, and KSU showed the gameplan to beat them. Play physical defense, force turnovers. If they play that wrecklessly against OU, it's game over.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

Gundy hasn't beaten Stoops yet...don't expect that to change.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

I couldn't tell if the offenses were that bad or the defenses were that good in the LSU/Bama game.

In the KSU/OSU game I thought the defenses were just that bad, and the offenses are good.

I watched more of the LSU/Bama game, but thought the OSU/KSU game was more entertaining. Game of the Century was overhyped, expecially when it ended with a bunch of field goals and no highlights.

Gary Wirsig 10 years, 6 months ago

As I've read this thread, I think that the OSU/KSU game could be somewhat like an OSU/LSU game. As KGPhoto says, a great offense (OSU) against a near-great if not great defense (KSU - I know they stunk it up against OU, but pretty good otherwise). Also the so-so offense of KSU (except for the QB runs) vs OSU's suspect defense.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.