Big 12 football notes: Kingsbury has Texas Tech rolling into toughest test

Posted Monday, Oct. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Big 12 players of the week Offense TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech: The junior caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-clinching score with 1:01 remaining to beat West Virginia 37-27. Defense LB Eddie Lackey, Baylor: He led the Bears with eight tackles, including five solo, a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss of 12 yards in a 71-7 win against Iowa State. Special teams KR Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State: The junior from Denton Guyer High School returned a punt 95 yards for a score, the longest in OSU history and longest return for any player in the country this season. He returned another punt 29 yards and finished with 265 all-purpose yards. Key stat 221.6Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty’s rating, which leads the nation. The next closest is Florida State’s Jameis Winston at 210.7. Quotable “Probably because I’m the quarterback, right?” — Texas QB Case McCoy on why he thinks TCU is favored Saturday

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The last time Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury saw the Oklahoma defense, he was helping Texas A&M embarrass the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl in January.

The Aggies rolled the Sooners for 633 yards and a 41-13 win in Arlington.

Kingsbury was the Aggies’ offensive coordinator, overseeing Johnny Manziel’s Heisman-winning season.

He sees a much a better Sooners defense now, however, as the 10th-ranked Red Raiders (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) travel to play No. 15 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) on Saturday.

It’s Tech’s first tough road test of the season.

“I would definitely say so,” said Kingsbury, who is the first Big 12 coach to begin his career 7-0. “Going on the road in that type of environment against that quality of an opponent, it’s going to be a huge challenge for our guys. They’re much improved. It looks nothing like what people saw in the Cotton Bowl. It’s really been impressive what that coaching staff and those players have done this year.”

But the job Kingsbury has done in his first year as a head coach is the most impressive in the league. The Red Raiders, who were predicted to finish near the bottom of the league, have started 7-0 for the fourth time in their history. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was an offensive coach when Kingsbury was Tech’s quarterback a decade ago and saw then Kingsbury’s future as a coach.

“There’s a certain aspect of playing quarterback where you can kind of tell that,” Holgorsen said. “Seeing his leadership ability out on the field. Just knowing how he interacts with the guys.”

Baylor cautious

Baylor (6-0, 3-0) continues to roll at a shockingly easy pace, including a 71-7 win over Iowa State on Saturday.

Overconfidence won’t be an issue, however, after the lumps the 8th-ranked Bears have taken in recent seasons, coach Art Briles said.

“We did take some body shots over the last couple of years, and even some face shots,” he said. “It’s not like we’re a clean, well-dressed football team. We’ve been weathered a little bit so that part of it establishes humility and hunger.”

Kansas (2-4, 0-3), which is tied for last place in the league, has played tough in losses to TCU and Oklahoma the past two weeks.

“You can’t sleep on anybody. We understand that because we’ve been up there two years ago and down 24-3 in the fourth quarter,” Briles said. “We’re going to have to be on top of our game to have a chance to get out of there with a win.”

In 2011, the Bears’ Robert Griffin III threw two long touchdown passes and ran for another in the fourth quarter at Kansas as Baylor won in overtime, 31-30.

Briefly

• Oklahoma DB Julian Wilson is expected to practice Tuesday and play Saturday against Texas Tech, coach Bob Stoops said.

• West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett will start against Kansas State and is likely to be the Mountaineers’ starter the rest of 2013, coach Dana Holgorsen said.

• Injured Texas quarterback David Ash (neck) has been been part of team meetings and is still hopeful he’ll return to the field this season, coach Mack Brown said, but he won’t play against TCU.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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