Some things to watch in Week 2 of the Big 12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 9 Iowa State vs. No. 10 Iowa. The Cyclones’ instate rivalry game has never been so big. Both teams are ranked in the Top 25 for the first time when meeting in the Cy-Hawk rivalry game, set for its 68th meeting since 1884. Iowa State has won its last six home games, and Iowa is looking to win five games in a row against ranked teams for the first time since 1960. Cyclones running back Breece Hall, the nation’s leading rusher last year, had only 69 yards rushing in the season opener. But he still extended his school record of consecutive games with a rushing TD to 13, the nation’s longest active streak. Iowa State has given up only 16 total points after halftime (2.6 per game) in its last six games.
No. 16 Texas at Arkansas. The former longtime Southwest Conference rivals and future SEC foes both have top running backs. Texas sophomore Bijan Robinson opened the season with 20 carries for 103 yards and a TD, and had four catches for 73 yards and a score. Trelon Smith, the former Arizona State transfer for the Razorbacks, had 22 carries for 102 yards in the opener. This will be only the sixth meeting in the series since the Razorbacks left the SWC after the 1991 season for the SEC, where the Longhorns will join them no later than 2025.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
TCU, which hosts California, is 7-0 against Pac-12 teams in Gary Patterson’s 21 seasons as head coach. The Horned Frogs beat Cal 10-7 in overtime at the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix. … After its first win in 679 days, though over an FCS team, Kansas will try to win consecutive games for the first time since September 2018. The Jayhawks play Friday night at No. 17 Coastal Carolina, which won in Lawrence each of the past two seasons. … Baylor had two 100-yard rushers (Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith) in its season opener. … Texas Tech’s four interceptions against Houston were its most in a game since five against SMU in 2008. The Red Raiders had only five interceptions total in their 10 games last season.
Five FCS teams are playing Saturday in Big 12 stadiums, and the biggest underdog is Western Carolina at fourth-ranked Oklahoma. The Sooners have played only six games since 1999 against lower-division teams, outscoring them 357-29 for an average winning margin of 54.7 points. The Catamounts are 2-18 on the road since 2017, going 0-6 against Power Five or Top 25 teams by an average margin of 44.3 points.
Malcolm Rodriguez, one of Oklahoma State’s six super seniors, led the team in tackles the last two seasons and had a Big 12-best 16 tackles (10 solo, six assists) last weekend against Missouri State. The linebacker has had 11 and 10 tackles in games against Tulsa, which the Cowboys host Saturday.
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