Unexpected teams making waves in Big 12 power rankings

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The Kansas State Wildcats huddle together during a timeout in the second half of the KSU vs. UTSA game at Bill Snyder Stadium Saturday. The Roadrunners were down 20 points going into the second half and lost the game by 24. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

An improving Jayhawks team finally makes a jump in the rankings, Texas Tech made waves with its offense in non-conference play and each Big 12 team will begin its hunt for the Big 12 Championship.

10. Baylor University (2-1)

Baylor suffered its first defeat in 2018 last Saturday, losing to Duke 40-27 at home. The Bears never led for the entire game and were shut out in the first half.

Quarterback Charlie Brewer was held to 175 passing yards and no touchdowns through the air, but had two rushing touchdowns.

A player to watch for the Bears is freshman wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. He was the one of the few bright spots on Saturday with three receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.

This weekend Baylor opens Big 12 play against a Kansas team that appears to be improving.

The Bears and Jayhawks will play in Waco, Texas, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on FS1.

9. University of Kansas (2-1)

Kansas defeated Rutgers 55-14 in Lawrence on Saturday. Just let that sink in. The Kansas Jayhawks scored 55 points in a football game against a Power Five non-conference opponent.

The KU defense held the Scarlet Knights to 274 total yards and forced six turnovers, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. is the player to watch for the Jayhawks against Baylor. In only two games, Williams has 283 yards and three touchdowns.

KU will be looking to extend its winning streak to three games as it opens Big 12 against a struggling Baylor team Saturday.

8. Iowa State University (1-1)

Iowa State had the honor of being the first Big 12 team to face the powerhouse that is Oklahoma. The Cyclones were defeated 37-27 by the Sooners in Ames on Saturday.

Senior quarterback Kyle Kempt watched from the sidelines as sophomore Zeb Noland threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns. Kempt will be out one more week with a leg injury.

Junior wide receiver Hakeem Butler has eight receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns through two games this season. Against the Sooners last week, he broke out with five receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

Iowa State will wrap up non-conference play against the Akron Zips Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Fox Sports Network. Akron upset Northwestern 39-34 last Saturday.

7. Kansas State University (2-1)

Kansas State’s offense finally started clicking last Saturday in Manhattan as it defeated UTSA 41-17.

Skylar Thompson threw for a career high 213 yards, which equaled the Wildcats total yardage in week two against Mississippi State. Junior wide receiver Isaiah Zuber has 14 receptions for 223 yards and three touchdowns through the first three games, and he put up seven receptions, 144 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday.

K-State will face West Virginia on Saturday, making it the second time in three years that it will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to open the Big 12 season. The Wildcats and Mountaineers will square off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

6. University of Texas (2-1)

Texas dominated then-No. 22 USC 37-14 in Austin on Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 223 yards, threw for two touchdowns and ran for one.

Junior wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey will be the player to watch for the Longhorns. Through the first three games, Humphrey has 17 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns, including 84 yards and one touchdown against USC.

Texas will face its first Big 12 opponent in TCU, playing in Austin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on FOX.

5. Texas Tech University (2-1)

Texas Tech defeated Houston in a 63-49 shootout in Lubbock last Saturday. Quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 605 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Ta’Zhawn Henry ran for 111 yards and four touchdowns.

Along with Bowman and Henry, wide receiver Antoine Wesley is also a player to watch on Saturday, after collecting 261 yards and three touchdowns against the Cougars.

The Red Raiders will travel to Stillwater on Saturday to face Oklahoma State in what should be a high-scoring thriller. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. on FS1.

4. No. 17 Texas Christian University (2-1)

TCU led No. 4 Ohio State 21-13 early in the third quarter before losing a 40-28 loss on Saturday in Arlington. Quarterback Shawn Robinson threw for 308 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Running back Darius Anderson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns and will be the player to watch against the Longhorns on Saturday.

The Horned Frogs will travel to Austin to face the Texas Longhorns at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on FOX.

3. No. 15 Oklahoma State University (3-0)

The Cowboys cruised to a 44-21 upset over then-No. 17 Boise State.

Quarterback Taylor Cornelius threw for 243 yards and one touchdown and ran for two more.

Running back Justice Hill currently leads the Big 12 in rushing yards with 277 yards and average yards per game (92.3) and will be Oklahoma State’s player to watch on Saturday.

Oklahoma State will open Big 12 play at home in primetime Saturday against Texas Tech at 6 p.m. on FS1.

2. No. 12 West Virginia University (2-0)

West Virginia had its matchup against North Carolina State last Saturday canceled due to Hurricane Florence, giving them an extra week to prepare.

Heisman candidate Will Grier is the player to watch for the Mountaineers. He has thrown for 761 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season.

The Mountaineers will host K-State in its first game of Big 12 play on Saturday. Last season, West Virginia defeated the Wildcats 28-23 in Manhattan.

1. No. 5 University of Oklahoma (3-0)

OU opened Big 12 play with a narrow 37-27 victory over Iowa State on Saturday.

Quarterback Kyler Murray pushed his way into the thick of the Heisman Trophy hunt, throwing for 348 yards and three touchdowns against the Cyclones. Murray has thrown for 863 yards and eight touchdowns through three games.

The duo of Kyler Murray and wide receiver Marquise Brown might be the biggest threat in college football. In just three games, Brown has 19 receptions for 412 yards and three touchdowns.

Oklahoma will host Army in the final non-conference game of the season at 6 p.m. Saturday on FOX Pay-Per-View.

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