Big 12 Power Rankings: West Virginia remains unbeaten, Texas gets statement win in week six

Kansas State junior linebacker Blake Richmeier grabs Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton to tackle him, preventing a first down. The Wildcats played the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, on Saturday. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Last weekend, three of the four games in the Big 12 were decided by six points or fewer, including two game-winning field goals. Two freshmen — a kicker and quarterback — helped their teams to big upsets, all while West Virginia is the only undefeated team in the conference.

10. University of Kansas (2-4, 0-3)

It is safe to say the Kansas Jayhawks have improved as the season goes on. The Jayhawks were defeated 38-22 by West Virginia, the ninth-ranked team in the country.

In the loss, KU turned quarterback Will Grier over four times — three interceptions and a fumble. Junior cornerback Hasan Defense lived up to his last name, making two of those interceptions. Despite that, the Jayhawks allowed Grier to throw four touchdown passes.

Senior quarterback Peyton Bender threw for 191 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

The Jayhawks have a bye week and will begin the second half of their season on the road against Texas Tech on Friday, Oct. 19.

9. Kansas State University (2-4, 0-3)

Kansas State was on the road against Baylor last Saturday and lost a 37-34 heartbreaker due to a late field goal by the Bears.

Junior running back Alex Barnes had a breakout game, rushing for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Skylar Thompson threw for 149 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 50 yards and one touchdown in the contest.

Senior defensive back Eli Walker had 12 tackles against Baylor and is tied for 11th in the Big 12 with 41 tackles. Junior defensive end Reggie Walker is second in the conference in with 4.5 sacks, 1.5 of which came against Baylor on Saturday.

K-State is yet again the underdog this week and will face the Big 12’s top rushing defense in Oklahoma State.

The Wildcats will play the Cowboys in Manhattan on Saturday at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

8. Baylor University (4-2, 2-1)

Baylor won a 37-34 nail biter over K-State in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, thanks to Connor Martin’s field goal with eight seconds left in the game.

Sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 296 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Brewer also rushed for one touchdown.

Junior wide receiver Denzel Mims had eight receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver and running back hybrid Jalen Hurd had 135 receiving yards, along with 60 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Baylor will travel to face a dangerous Texas Longhorns team on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., with the game televised on ESPN.

7. Iowa State University (2-3, 1-2)

Iowa State surprised No. 25 ranked Oklahoma State with a 48-42 victory in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Freshman quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 318 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, while running for 84 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate game. Purdy was recognized as Big 12 football’s Newcomer of the Week for his performance.

Purdy will start if senior Kyle Kempt is not available for this week’s matchup against West Virginia. Kempt has missed the last four games with a leg injury, but did practice on Sunday.

The defense recorded seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss on Saturday.

After being on the road two weeks in a row, the Cyclones will return home to play No. 6 West Virginia in Ames, Iowa, at 6 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on FS1.

6. Oklahoma State University (4-2, 1-2)

Oklahoma State had just gotten back into the Associated Top 25 before losing 48-42 to Iowa State at home on Saturday.

Senior quarterback Taylor Cornelius threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Junior running back Justice Hill set the Big 12 record for rushing touchdowns in consecutive games by a running back with his five-yard touchdown run on Saturday. Hill has scored a rushing touchdown in 12 straight games and is second in the Big 12 in yards per game this season (107.2).

The Cowboy defense leads the Big 12 in rushing defense, limiting opponents to 117.8 yards per game. They also have the most sacks as a team, taking down the quarterback 28 times this season.

Junior defensive end Jordan Brailford leads the Big 12 in sacks with eight and tackles for loss with 11.5.

Oklahoma State will look to get back on track on the road against K-State at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPNU.

5. Texas Tech University (3-2, 1-1)

The Red Raiders are coming off a bye week. Breakout freshman quarterback Alan Bowman could be available to play on Saturday after suffering a collapsed lung against West Virginia.

Sophomore Jett Duffy took over in that game, and will start at quarterback if Bowman is not fully healthy on Thursday.

Bowman has thrown for 1,680 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season and is third in the Big 12 in total offensive yards per game, behind West Virginia’s Will Grier and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.

Freshman running back Ta’Zhawn Henry leads the Big 12 in scoring touchdowns with seven.

The Red Raiders will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to play TCU on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m., televised on ESPN.

4. Texas Christian University (3-2, 1-1)

TCU is coming off a bye week and, as previously mentioned, returns to play against Texas Tech this week.

The bye week came at a good time for the Horned Frogs, after injuries came to star players like sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson and senior wide receiver KaVontae Turpin the week before last against Iowa State.

Head coach Gary Patterson said that Robinson will be ready to play on Saturday, but did not guarantee that he will be the starter for TCU.

Turpin received stitches after suffering a hit to the head against the Cyclones, but other than that is okay, said Patterson.

TCU will host Texas Tech in Fort at 6:30 Thursday in primetime on ESPN.

3. No. 11 University of Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1)

Oklahoma lost 48-45 to Texas in an instant classic in the storied Red River Rivalry over the weekend.

The Sooners trailed 45-24 entering the third quarter, and outscored the Longhorns 21-3 in the fourth, falling just short of a miraculous comeback.

Despite the loss, junior quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 304 yards, four touchdowns against one interception. Murray was the leading rusher for the Sooners as well with 92 yards and a 67-yard touchdown run.

Junior wide receiver Marquise Brown had nine receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns for the Sooners.

The Sooners announced on Monday that they had fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops after the loss to Texas. The defense surrendered 501 yards of offense along with the 48 points.

Oklahoma has a bye this weekend and will prepare to play TCU on Oct. 20.

2. No. 9 University of Texas (5-1, 3-0)

Texas upset rival Oklahoma 48-45 on a game-winning field goal in this year’s chapter of the Red River Rivalry on Saturday.

Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger shined for the Longhorns. He threw for 314 yards and ran for 72 yards, while scoring five total touchdowns — two passing and three rushing.

Junior wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey hauled in nine passes for 133 yards and one touchdown. Humphrey also threw for a touchdown.

Texas held off a late comeback by the Sooners, as freshman kicker Cameron Dicker kicked a game-winning 40-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the game.

The Longhorns have defeated every ranked opponent they have faced this season, and are in position to compete for the Big 12 title with an undefeated conference record.

Texas looks to become bowl eligible on Saturday as it will host Baylor at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

1. No. 6 West Virginia University (5-0, 3-0)

West Virginia defeated Kansas 38-22 at home Saturday to remain the only undefeated team in the Big 12.

Senior quarterback Will Grier threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns, but turned the ball over four times (three interceptions and one fumble).

Senior wide receiver David Sills V had seven receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Sills is tied with teammate Gary Jennings Jr. for second in the Big 12 in touchdowns scored with six.

West Virginia still leads the Big 12 in scoring defense as it has limited opponents to 18.6 points per game. The Mountaineer defense helped compensate for the four turnovers committed by Grier, taking the ball away from KU three times.

The Mountaineers will play Iowa State at 6 p.m. Saturday on FS1, looking to stay at the top of the Big 12.