Whole Nine Sports

Big XII Week 8 Preview

Big XII Preview
Brandon Olsen
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First off, I’d like to apologize for their being no Big XII Week 7 Review or Power Rankings this week. I’m still in college and midterms this week so that took priority here. BUT, now I’m back and ready to talk about the Big XII incessantly. This week features some stellar offensive matchups, along with one game that should have an added focus on defense, rare for the Big XII. Without further adieu, let’s get into Week 8 in the Big XII.

West Virginia @ #5 Oklahoma

West Virginia Oklahoma

Saturday, October 19th @ 12:00 PM EST

What to Expect: West Virginia has looked as though they’ve been improving as the season goes on but now, they face their toughest test of the season in Oklahoma.

West Virginia keys to victory:

Jack Allison. This week is going to be Jack Allison’s first start of the season for the Mountaineers and he’s got to be protected. The offensive line needs to protect him from this defense that sacked Sam Ehlinger 9 times last week and playmakers need to be on their game this weekend. Jack Allison’s success will lead to the team’s success.

Pressure Jalen Hurts. Last week when Texas got in the backfield, Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts made some suspect decisions but as a passer and runner. If West Virginia can get in the backfield, they could hope to capitalize on some Jalen Hurts mistakes.

Tackle. Texas’ biggest downfall last week was that CeeDee Lamb had cooties and nobody wanted to touch him. The Mountaineers have to be willing to wrap up CeeDee and contain him after the catch.

Oklahoma keys to victory:

Start strong. Oklahoma should be in control for the majority of the game but if they get off to a slow start like the Kansas game, West Virginia would likely put up more of a fight than the Jayhawks.

Keep up the defensive intensity. Last week against Texas was the best that the Sooners defense has looked all season. If Oklahoma can keep up that aggressiveness, they help their CFP chances significantly.

Restore rhythm with Hurts. Last week, Jalen Hurts played his worst game of the season last week film-wise but it’s important that they establish a rhythm with him and get him back into a flow. This offense only works if Hurts works, so Lincoln Riley has to make sure Hurts works.

Iowa State vs Texas Tech

Iowa State Texas Tech Big XII

Saturday, October 19th @ 12:00 PM EST

What to Expect: Both of these teams are really starting to pick up offensively and we’ve got an explosive collision incoming.

Iowa State keys to victory:

Keep things in front of you. One of Baylor’s biggest issues against Texas Tech last week was the yards after the catch and the long gains they would give up. Iowa State has to do a better job of limiting big plays than Baylor did.

Breece Hall. Last week was a breakout performance for Iowa State’s true freshman running back Breece Hall. In order for Iowa State to be at their best offensively, they need to utilize Breece Hall in the run game.

Take care of the ball. Texas Tech took advantage of Baylor last week by forcing three turnovers of Charlie Brewer. Iowa State hasn’t been very turnover-prone this season, but they can’t slip up in a matchup where they’re the underdogs.

Texas Tech keys to victory:

Explosive plays. Texas Tech tends to live and die by the big play and I’d expect that to be the same this week. Texas Tech is going to want to rip off some big gains to beat the Cyclones.

Stop La’Michael Pettway. Iowa State WR La’Michael Pettway has been the top receiver for Iowa State so far this season. If the Red Raiders can contain him, they greatly improve their chances in this game.

Control the option. Iowa State likes to run the zone read and they run it well. By making sure that Brock Purdy can’t break off long runs and Breece Hall is kept in check, you take away a large piece of the Cyclone offense away.

TCU @ Kansas State

TCU Kansas State Big XII

Saturday, October 19th @ 2:30 PM EST

What to Expect: Both of these teams are coming off of a bye week and have had plenty of time to prepare their game plans.

TCU keys to victory:

Protect Max Duggan. Freshman QB Max Duggan has looked pretty good for a freshman so far but his biggest weakness is still facing pressure. If TCU can protect Duggan from pressure, his day gets a lot easier.

Get Darius Anderson the ball. I love the duo of Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua. I think that in this game, TCU would be better off utilizing Anderson more in both the running and passing attack.

Force some mistakes. Skylar Thompson has done a great job so far this season at protecting the ball. If TCU can force some turnovers and capitalize off them, I’m not sure Kansas State has the talent to overcome the deficit.

Kansas State keys to victory:

Pressure Max Duggan. TCU freshman QB Max Duggan has struggled mightily against pressure so far this season so Kansas State has to make it a priority to live in the backfield.

Get the offense back on track. 25 points. That’s how many points Kansas State has scored in their two Big XII games so far this season. That’s an unacceptable number for the Wildcats to find success.

Be physical in the trenches. TCU has the roster to dominate the line of scrimmage, but they’ve shown that when they lose in the trenches and they get dominated physically, they won’t answer positively. Kansas State needs to knock them out of their comfort zone.

Kansas @ #15 Texas

Kansas Texas

Saturday, October 19th @ 7:00 PM EST

What to Expect: Both of these teams lost to Oklahoma in their last games played and they’ll both be looking to rebound as soon as they can.

Kansas keys to victory:

Bring the heat. Sam Ehlinger was sacked NINE times last week against Oklahoma and the Longhorn offense struggled mightily because of it. Kansas has to try to replicate that kind of pressure to pull off the upset.

Feed Pooka. Pooka Williams needs to be a featured part of the offense in order for the Jayhawks to be able to win in Austin. Whether it’s on the ground or in the air, Les Miles needs to feed Pooka Williams.

Carter Stanley needs to have a big game. The Kansas QB looked good against Oklahoma two weeks ago and if he can replicate that performance, he makes it much more likely they win this week.

Texas keys to victory:

Use your running back duo. I’ve been pounding the table for Roschon Johnson all season and I’m going to continue to do so. I’m also requesting Keaontay Ingram be found this week and the duo each get 15+ touches against Kansas.

Ehlinger takeover. Whether it’s throwing or running, Sam Ehlinger needs to be able to take over the ball game no matter how poorly his offensive line is playing. He doesn’t have to go off to win the game, but he does need to be able to turn it on and flip that switch in case the Longhorns need it.

Pressure Carter Stanley. Defense isn’t the focal point of the Big XII. QBs holding up under pressure is something rare in the Big XII. Carter Stanley likely wouldn’t be able to hold up well against Texas’ pass-rush if they can get going. Texas also needs to improve their pass-rush in general if they want to compete in the Big XII.

Game of the Week

#18 Baylor @ Oklahoma State

Big XII Baylor Oklahoma State

Saturday, October 19th @ 4:00 PM EST

What to Expect: Baylor and Oklahoma State are two teams that could offensively go toe-to-toe with just about any team in the nation and we get to see two offensive powerhouses do battle. If you want an even more in-depth breakdown of this game, listen to myself and Dylan Sanders discuss it on the latest episode of the Whole Nine Sports Podcast on Apple and Spotify.

Baylor keys to victory:

Charlie Brewer’s passing rhythm. Brewer struggled mightily throwing the ball against Texas Tech and the Bears almost lost because of it. Brewer needs to be on-point to go score-for-score with the Cowboys.

Be ready to score. This game has all of the makings of being one of the highest-scoring games in football this season. Baylor has to come out prepared and fired up after Oklahoma State had a bye week to prepare for this.

Chuba Hubbard can’t go off. Oklahoma State’s top player is Chuba Hubbard and in order for Baylor to pull off this win, they need to contain him. That’s difficult enough as it is, but we’ll see how Baylor manages without top linebacker Clay Johnston.

Oklahoma State keys to victory:

Chuba and Tylan. Oklahoma State has two of the most productive players in the Big XII and they’ll both have to keep it up to win this game. Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace should be in for big games today.

Keep Charlie Brewer in the pocket. Last week, Charlie Brewer looked very good when throwing on the move and he looked more comfortable on the run than standing still. If Brewer plans on getting out and then throwing, the Cowboys will have to do their best to keep him in the pocket.

Spencer Sanders has to show up. Last time we saw the Cowboys play, QB Spencer Sanders struggled against Texas Tech in a 45-35 loss. He’s got to clean up his turnovers if Oklahoma State wants to win more Big XII games.