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Winners and losers: How the Big 12 fared after Week 4

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OSU VS KSTATE-36

Spencer Sanders running into the end zone for a touchdown at Boone Pickens stadium.

Week four kicked off in-conference games for most of the Big 12 teams, and it was... eventful, to say the least.

Big 12 teams had a record of 4-6, which sounds pitiful, but four of the six losses came at the hands of other teams in the conference.

With the first week of conference play wrapped up, let’s see how all the Big 12 teams rank in this week's winners and losers.

10: Texas Tech – Lost 70-35 against Texas

Not the most ideal start to conference play.

With Texas coming in only favored by nine points, it seemed like Texas Tech was ready to make a run at the Longhorns. However, come halftime, the Longhorns found themselves up 42-14.

Most of the Red Raiders points came in the second half, which was practically all garbage time because of how well the Longhorns continued to play throughout the game. The Red Raiders defense allowed 336 rushing yards and 303 passing yards, as the Longhorns attacked them from all angles.

To make things worse, their starting quarterback, Tyler Shough, broke his collarbone and is expected to be out until November.

9: Kansas – Lost 52-33 against Duke

This is the third week in a row Kansas finds themselves as one of the bottom two teams on this list.

At halftime, the Jayhawks had Duke on upset alert, which would’ve been a solid win for a program like Kansas. However, after being up 24-21 at the half, they were outscored 31-9 by the Blue Devils.

This scoring output was led by Gunnar Holmberg, who had three of his four rushing touchdowns in the second half. To go along with that, the Blue Devil quarterback threw for 328 yards and a touchdown as well.

The Jayhawks now fall to 1-3, as they continue their two-game road trip with a game against Iowa State next week.

8: TCU – Lost 42-34 against SMU

TCU was given various opportunities to win this game.

Although they had over 100 total fewer yards than SMU, Tanner Mordecai, starting Mustangs quarterback, threw for three interceptions, which accounted for all their turnovers. This compared to only one Horned Frogs turnover.

Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs though, they were only able to account for six points from those turnovers (one of the interceptions, however, came from a 4th and goal with no time remaining in the first half). Because of these missed opportunities, TCU had to rely on their defense, who has allowed an average of 37 points over their last two games.

With the Horned Frogs positioned to start their in-conference play next week against Texas, they will have to step up on defense, as it’s abundantly clear the Longhorns can score quite easily when they aren’t playing a top defense.

7: Kansas State – Lost 31-20 against Oklahoma State

The score for this game doesn’t reflect how badly the Wildcats were outplayed.

Oklahoma State had a 31-13 lead at halftime, as the only Wildcats touchdown was a 99-yard kickoff return from Malik Knowles.

The Wildcats defense did force a shutout in the second half, however, as the Cowboys offense slowed down. Although the Wildcats defense stepped up, the Cowboys defense excelled as well, as even with a struggling offense they only gave up seven points in the second half.

The Wildcats also kept switching between Jaren Lewis and Will Howard, as their quarterback situation is less-than-ideal with the absence of Skylar Thompson.

Next week the Wildcats face off against Oklahoma, who doesn’t seem to have a great offensive identity right now either. Even with their struggles, the Wildcats will have to play up to the superior Sooners team.

6: West Virginia – Lost 16-13 against Oklahoma

West Virginia’s offense let down the defensive unit.

Even with Oklahoma not having a consistent offense this season, it’s assumed that they can explode at any point.

The Mountaineers defense held that Oklahoma offense to a lackluster 16 points, but their offense couldn’t ever get rolling. With only 246 total yards in the game, the Mountaineers couldn’t find the endzone after the five-minute mark in the first quarter.

Although the Mountaineers have proved to be a solid team, they’re already sitting at a 2-2 record with in-conference play just beginning.

5: Oklahoma – Won 16-13 against West Virginia

“We want Caleb,” sums up Spencer Rattler’s performance for not only this game but the whole season so far.

Only two seasons removed from the “We want Spencer,” chants with Jalen Hurts leading the Oklahoma offense, Rattler has the fans calling for him to be replaced now too. Although Rattler didn’t play horribly, this was his second straight outing of average quarterback play.

Even with the offensive woes, the Sooners defense looked rather impressive against a solid West Virginia offense. The second half was a defensive battle, as all the combined 12 points from both teams were from field goals, one of which being the 30-yard game-winning field goal for the Sooners.

Thankfully for the Sooners, they don’t face a currently ranked Big-12 opponent until Baylor, in mid-November, so maybe before then, the Sooners will be able to find their offensive rhythm.

4: Iowa State – Lost 31-29 against Baylor

On paper, this game seems like it should have been an Iowa State victory.

The Cyclones had 479 total yards, compared to Baylor’s 282 total yards, as the Cyclones dominated both the pass and rush game. The Cyclones also won the time of possession game as well, holding the ball for over 11 minutes longer than the Bears.

When it came down to it though, the Bears stepped up, as they intercepted Brock Purdy’s pass on the two-point conversion attempt to send the game into overtime.

With the Cyclones falling to a 2-2 record, it’s unclear how the rest of their season will play out, as the same team that lost a tough game against Oklahoma in last year's Big 12 championship game, is poised to be on the outside on the road towards being conference champion.

3: Baylor – Won 31-29 against Iowa State

Baylor has begun their in-conference play with a 2-0 start.

The Bears beat a well-ranked Iowa State team, who although may have statistically outplayed them, still ended up in the losing column when it was all said and done.

Quarterback Gerry Bohanan played a very consistent game, as he managed the game well for the Bears, throwing at a 74% completion rate, along with 164 yards and two touchdowns.

Without a doubt, the biggest game of the Bears season so far will be their next matchup, as they face Oklahoma State in Stillwater. This will be a prime matchup for both teams, as they are now both ranked in the top 25 for the first time this year.

2: Oklahoma State – Won 31-20 against Kansas State

Oklahoma State played their most complete game of the season so far against Kansas State.

Although the defense has played well all year, and so far, has been the saving grace for the Cowboys in multiple games, the offense had its best outing yet.

A large part of the offenses’ success all started with their offensive line play, who kept Spencer Sanders protected throughout the game. This allowed Sanders to have his best game of the season yet, which was much needed after his recent performances. Jaylen Warren and Tay Martin also had standout performances, as Warren ran for 123 yards and had four receptions for 81 yards, while Martin had nine catches for 100 yards along with a touchdown.

In the second half, the Cowboys’ offensive slowed down, as for the second week in a row they didn’t score any points in the second half. Even with these offensive struggles, the Cowboys held the Wildcats to a mere seven second-half points.

1: Texas – Won 70-35 against Texas Tech

Talk about an offensive explosion.

After scoring 58 points in the previous week against Rice, it didn’t seem likely that Texas could top that offensive performance... however– they did.

This offensive explosion was led by quarterback Casey Thompson, who threw for 303 yards and five touchdowns, along with one rushing touchdown. To make it very clear how electric the Longhorn offense was, other than two drives, the rest of their offensive possessions throughout the game resulted in a touchdown. This is a great showing for the Longhorns, who have played incredible football since their loss to Arkansas in week two.

The Longhorns will be tested these next three weeks though, as they face TCU, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. It’s fair to say that the Longhorns are riding high, as they are about to enter their most difficult three-game stretch of the season. This game is a good sign for Texas moving forward though, as they may just be back... probably not, though.

sports.ed@ocolly.com