Things to watch in Week 2 of Big 12 play, including the first conference game:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 20 Kansas State at Iowa State in the season’s first game that counts in the Big 12 standings.
Iowa State opened with a 34-14 loss to North Dakota State, the FCS champion that also beat Kansas State in the 2013 season opener. Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said having the conference opener after a disappointing loss is “really good for our focus and concentration.”
K-State is playing its earliest league opener since being in the very first Big 12 game the opening week of the 1996 season.
“Normally, you would like for (conference games) to start later on. That would be my feeling,” Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said. “Ask me probably about 4 o’clock in the afternoon Saturday, and I’ll probably have a better answer for you one way or another.” The last time Iowa State played a Big 12 game so early was the second game in 2002, also its last win in a conference opener.
BEST MATCHUP: Dual-threat QBs Jake Waters and Sam Richardson.
Iowa native Waters was 19-of-28 passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 17 times for 55 yards and two more scores in K-State’s opener. Richardson accounted for 209 of Iowa State’s 253 total yards (20-of-31 passing for 151 yards, with 15 carries for 58 yards).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Texas is home Saturday against BYU, whose school-record 550 yards rushing last year were the most ever given up by the Longhorns. The Cougars now have two freshmen listed as offensive line starters.
The Texas OL has changed just since last week, with a season-ending injury to the center and both tackles being suspended.
Texas Tech QB Davis Webb completed 39 of 52 passes for 452 yards with four TDs in a tougher-than-expected 42-35 win over Central Arkansas. Bradley Marquez had 11 catches for 184 yards with two fourth-quarter TDs (70 and 27 yards). While Webb has multiple TD passes in eight of his last nine games, Marquez had averaged three catches for 36 yards his previous 29 career games.
On top of that, Red Raiders RB DeAndre Washington is the Big 12 rushing leader after his 104-yard opener.
LONG SHOT: Towson at West Virginia.
While the Big 12 has first-week losses to FCS national champion North Dakota State two seasons in a row, 2013 FCS runner-up Towson lost eight returning offensive starters and was upset at home by Central Connecticut in its season opener.
The Mountaineers play their home opener after a 33-23 loss to No. 2 Alabama in which they felt they missed several opportunities.
IMPACT PLAYER: Baylor defensive line. The defensive front accounted for seven of the Bears’ school record-tying nine sacks in the season-opening 45-0 win over SMU, which was held to only 67 total yards on 64 plays.
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