Whole Nine Sports

Big XII Week 2 Preview

Sam Ehlinger
Brandon Olsen
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Week 1 has come and gone and now, we’re here for week 2 of the college football season. Above all, Big XII football is back. The Big XII is looking at mostly cupcake match-ups this weekend but we do have one top-10 game between LSU-Texas. Although the games may not look as intriguing at first look, this is college football; any team can win any game on any given Saturday.

Bowling Green @ Big XII Kansas State

Bowling Green Kansas State

12:00 PM EST

What to expect: Two teams that are coming off of cupcake victories in week 1, I wouldn’t be surprised if both struggle against better competition. Kansas State is the heavy favorite and as long as they play smart they should walk away with the victory.

Bowling Green keys to success:

Get Andrew Clair and Davon Jones going on the ground. Clair and Jones form a bit of a two-headed monster in the backfield for BGSU and if they want to upset KSU, they’ll need to have a solid ground game.

Protect the ball. Darius Wade has been relatively efficient from what we’ve seen of him in his college career. He’s got to keep being efficient in order for Wade to compete this week.

Force turnovers. Bowling Green only forced one turnover last week but that won’t get the job done this week. Forcing turnovers and capitalizing on those turnovers will be key for the upset.

Kansas State keys to success:

Establish dominance early. Kansas State going up early will keep Andrew Clair and Davon Jones as neutralized as possible.

Take care of the football. Taking care of the football will keep Bowling Green from starting with good field position and make this game a lot more difficult for the Falcons.

Contain Darius Wade. If Kansas State does manage to go up early over Bowling Green, the game will be put in the hands of BGSU’s QB Darius Wade. Contain him, hurry him, force some mistakes, because if you don’t this game might be closer than you’d like.

Big XII West Virginia @ Missouri

West Virginia Missouri

12:00 PM EST

What to expect: West Virginia is coming off a tightly contested victory over James Madison University in head coach Neal Brown’s first game. Missouri started the year off on the wrong foot with an ugly loss to Wyoming and is looking to rebound here. Both of these teams have something to prove so expect a possible slow start but a great game.

West Virginia keys to success:

Force takeaways. Missouri played an ugly game last week losing the turnover battle 3-0 but still only lost by one score. West Virginia has to force mistakes from Missouri if they’re going to walk out of Columbia with a win.

Stop the run. A big reason that Wyoming upset Missouri last week was because Wyoming was able to stymie the triple-threat rushing attack of QB Kelly Bryant, RB Tyler Badie, and RB Larry Rountree III. If WVU wants to win, they’ll have to adopt the same physicality up front.

Establish the run. West Virginia mustered up just 34 rushing yards on 24 carries against James Madison, a big difference from last year’s team that only had less than 100 yards once and never less than 50.

Missouri keys to success:

Tackle the opposing team. Last week, Missouri couldn’t wrap up a birthday present, let alone a Wyoming player. Cleaning up those tackling issues will be vital for Missouri to find success for not only this week, but the remainder of the year. In conclusion, making tackles helps be better at football.

Take care of the football. 3 turnovers against Wyoming is not a good look for Missouri considering the better defenses they’ll face as the year goes on.

Be ready to defend the no-huddle. West Virginia continues to want to go fast on offense and spread the ball out with Austin Kendall so Missouri is going to have to be ready to run if West Virginia wants to pick up the pace.

UTSA @ Big XII Baylor

UTSA Baylor

4:00 PM EST

What to expect: UTSA isn’t a part of the Big XII but this game has all of the makings to be a shootout in Texas.

UTSA keys to victory:

Get Frank Harris going early and often. QB Frank Harris was the leading passer and leading rusher for UTSA last week and if they want to pull off the upset, he’ll have to do it again. Getting Harris in a groove early will be vital to the success of this team moving forward.

Rev up the pass-rush. Last week UTSA had 4 sacks vs Incarnate Word, which is going to have to improve if they want to be able to compete against bigger schools and better competition. To clarify, if you can’t sack worse teams, good luck against better teams.

Continue to spread the ball out. Eleven players caught the ball last week for UTSA on 28 completions. Certainly keeping the ball spread around and not relying too heavily on one receiver will help keep this Baylor defense on their toes the whole game.

Baylor keys to victory:

Keep Charlie Brewer in a rhythm. This team is going to live and die by the arm of QB Charlie Brewer. Getting Brewer in rhythm and keeping him in that rhythm will decide whether or not this Baylor team can find success.

Limit Frank Harris. QB Frank Harris was the main offense for UTSA last week and I’m sure the game plan for UTSA will be to look for more of the same from their signal-caller. In other words, if Baylor doesn’t keep Harris inside the pocket and on his toes, we could witness an upset.

Don’t underestimate this UTSA offense. Frank Harris may have been the main source of offense for UTSA last week but Baylor can’t sleep on freshman RB Sincere McCormick or sophomore offensive weapon (listed at RB) Brenden Brady either.

South Dakota @ (4) Big XII Oklahoma

South Dakota Oklahoma

7:00 PM EST

What to expect: Oklahoma is most likely going to score 60+ this week and I’m not sure if we’ll see any points from South Dakota.

South Dakota keys to victory:

Hope and pray. Of course, there’s less than a 1% chance that South Dakota pulls off this upset but in the spirit of remaining consistent, I have to figure out something. No matter what your religion, find someone to talk to and hope there’s a higher power out there that could help you win this game.

Try to find a way to push the ball downfield. If Oklahoma has a weakness (they don’t) it’s their defense. Moving the ball downfield in chunks is going to be key here because the LB Kenneth Murray roaming that second level, it’s going to be tough to find short yardage.

Prove Jalen Hurts is still human. Jalen Hurts looked absolutely unreal this past week against Houston but if South Dakota can somehow find some kinks in the armor, they could make this game somewhat easier for themselves.

Oklahoma keys to victory:

Keep Jalen Hurt going. Jalen Hurts is the early Heisman favorite now after last week and if he can keep that level of play up, this Oklahoma team is going to be nearly impossible to stop.

Swarm South Dakota early. Getting up early over South Dakota could be huge for Oklahoma to just pin their ears back and rush QB Austin Simmons.

Use your running backs. Jalen Hurts ran perfectly fine against Houston, but I don’t see how he can maintain leading the team in carries without getting injured. Oklahoma should use this opportunity to establish their running backs and protect Hurts.

Coastal Carolina @ Big XII Kansas

Coastal Carolina Kansas

7:00 PM EST

What to expect: Coastal Carolina only lost by 7 last week against a stronger opponent and Kansas only won by 7 against a significantly weaker opponent. This one could be a lot closer than people expect if Kansas doesn’t snap out of it quickly. Above all, Kansas needs to prove they aren’t the laughing stock of the Big XII.

Coastal Carolina keys to victory:

Take care of the ball. Last week against Eastern Michigan, Coastal Carolina QB Fred Payton threw 4 interceptions and they only lost by 7. However, if Payton takes care of the ball, they could see some success against a new Kansas team.

Establish the run. Another struggling part of this Coastal Carolina offense, the run game just couldn’t get going last week and that’s going to have to change if they want to find success this week and moving forward.

Be better on third down. 6/16 on third down isn’t atrocious but when playing against tougher competition, you’ve got to be better when it really matters. Finding a run game should help this offense be put in more third-and-short scenarios to find more success here.

Kansas keys to victory:

Keep Andrew Parchment hot. WR Andrew Parchment caught absolute fire last week against Indiana State and he seems like the top receiving option for this offense. As a result, getting him involved will be vital to this team’s success.

Rotate your running backs. Khalil Herbert and the returning Pooka Williams should be rotated in often to keep both healthy and running with fresh legs. The return from suspension for Pooka Williams could mean less carries for Khalil Herbert but even more success on the ground. Dom Williams should still find his way into the running back rotation also.

Be more efficient. This one seems pretty vague but last week against Indiana State, Kansas went just 4/12 on third down, 0/2 on fourth down, and had 3 fumbles lost. In short, if Kansas wants to find success, they have to be more efficient.

McNeese State @ Big XII Oklahoma State

McNeese State Oklahoma State

7:00 PM EST

What to expect: Oklahoma State should be able to just run through McNeese State without much of a problem. However, we could still be in for a good game if McNeese State’s defense shows up.

McNeese State keys to victory:

Cody Orgeron has to play lights out. McNeese State QB Cody Orgeron is going to have to play one of the best games of his life if he’s going to lead McNeese State to this massive upset and even then, it’s a long shot.

Stop Chuba Hubbard. Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard is one of the top backs in the Big XII and Oklahoma State runs through him so being able to keep him under control will be key here.

Contain Tylan Wallace. If Chuba Hubbard is stopped from gashing this defense, then Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders will surely be looking for WR Tylan Wallace often so if McNeese State could eliminate him as a threat, they could find some success.

Oklahoma State keys to victory:

Feed Chuba. RB Chuba Hubbard led this Oklahoma State team last week to a 52-36 victory over Oregon State. Certainly he’ll be relied upon to do it again this weekend vs McNeese State.

Play Big XII football. Last week Chuba Hubbard had more carries himself than Oklahoma State had pass attempts. If Oklahoma State could use this game to find themselves playing more of a Big XII style of football, that could help them once they start their conference schedule.

Find your pass-rush. Oklahoma State only mustered up one sack last week against Oregon State even though the Beavers dropped back over 50 times. In other words, that ratio spells doom for this whole season if the Cowboys can’t fix that.

UTEP @ Big XII Texas Tech

UTEP Texas Tech

8:00 PM EST

What to expect: Texas Tech will likely to try and push the pace and keep UTEP in a backpedal for 60 minutes and UTEP could either try to match them snap-for-snap, but will hopefully just try to control the clock and walk out of there with a victory.

UTEP keys to victory:

Control the tempo, control the game. Senior RB Treyvon Hughes is going to have the whole offense relying on his legs, if UTEP can use Hughes to run the clock and manage the game, this game gets a whole lot easier.

Brandon Jones leadership. Senior QB Brandon Jones isn’t the most talented and I can’t speak factually for his leadership, but he needs to find a way to pump up this team and rally for the upset.

Find a pass-rush. UTEP could only find their way to two sacks last week against Houston Baptist which doesn’t spell a positive future for this team. Finding a way to get to Alan Bowman must be the priority for this defense.

Texas Tech keys to victory:

Air it out. This UTEP pass-rush is non-existent and their secondary isn’t much to write home about so Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman should be able to find success all night long if he wants to.

Contain Treyvon Hughes. It’s no question that Treyvon Hughes is the focal point of this UTEP offense. Slowing him down makes this game significantly easier for Texas Tech.

Make UTEP throw. UTEP QB Brandon Jones had a rough outing last week and that’s being kind. To clarify, if TTU can force him to throw the ball more it should lead to more mistakes and opportunities for Tech.

Game of the Week

(6) LSU @ (9) Big XII Texas

LSU Texas

7:30 PM EST

What to expect: This game has all of the makings to be an early Game of the Year candidate. Pitting two prestigious programs against each other in a top-10 match-up in week 2 really gives football fans a treat. Expect a game that’s very QB-driven and the performance of these two quarterbacks has never been more important to the outcome of a game. Most importantly, this game is a massive test for both teams to find out who they really are.

LSU keys to victory:

Stop Sam Ehlinger. Texas runs through QB Sam Ehlinger. If LSU wants to be able to win this game, they have to slow Baby Tebow down.

Stick to the spread. LSU sticking to the spread-style offense that they ran last week so Texas would have to play a more up-tempo style of game that I think they won’t want to play against this secondary could push this game more in favor of LSU.

Let Chaisson free. If K’Lavon Chaisson can just pin his ears back and get after Sam Ehlinger, then this game leans a lot more in favor of LSU coming into Austin and walking out with a victory.

Texas lets to victory:

Play smart, not scared. With the plethora of swing passes that Texas ran against Louisiana Tech last week, it led me to believe that Texas just wasn’t trying to show their hand to LSU. If the Longhorns play more aggressive but smart, they can pull off the upset.

Rattle LSU early. The Tigers are trying out more of a spread offense this season. In other words, if Texas can get to Joe Burrow early and make Coach O revert back to a power run-heavy offense, Texas could flip the script on LSU early.

Establish the run. Sam Ehlinger, Keaontay Ingram, Devin Duvernay, it doesn’t matter. If Texas can establish the run early and make that LSU secondary step up,it would open up more deep passing opportunities.