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September 3, 2013

Recon Report: Season underway

The Lache Seastrunk Heisman campaign got off to a predictably good start, as the Seastrunk and the Bears steamrolled an overmatched Wofford squad 69-3 on Saturday. Seastrunk carried the ball 11 times for 111 yards -- an average of 10.1 yards per carry -- and two touchdowns. More focus was on Bryce Petty's debut as the new Baylor starting quarterback; he was 19-of-24 for 312 yards and two touchdowns and did a nice job of spreading the ball around. Nine different Baylor receivers caught passes including five receptions for 97 yards and a score for Tevin Reese. The Baylor defense held Wofford to just 233 total yards and less than three yards per carry in their run-based triple option attack. Baylor defensive end Chris McAllister had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown. Next up is a home date with a Buffalo team that had a respectable showing against No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus. The Bulls spotted Ohio State 23 points in the first quarter, but outscored them 20-17 the rest of the way before bowing 40-20.
The Cyclones lost their first season opener in the five-year tenure of Paul Rhoads on Saturday, when Northern Iowa of the FCS won in Ames 28-20. The Panthers got four touchdowns and 199 rushing yards from running back David Johnson who gashed the AJ Klein and Jake Knott-less Cyclone defense all day. ISU quarterback Sam Richardson completed 22-of-32 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, and also added 74 yards on the ground. Richardson was far and away ISU's most productive rusher, carrying the ball 21 times. It was a backfield-by-committee approach behind him with Aaron Wimberly getting the most touches (8 carries, 35 yards), followed by James White (7 carries, 34 yards) and Shontrelle Johnson and Jeff Woody getting five and three carries respectively. Senior receiver Justin Coleman may have emerged as Richardson's favorite deep threat, hauling in four balls for 103 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown. Overall though the Cyclones struggled with consistency in their new pistol offense.
The Jayhawks were the lone Big 12 team not to play in Week 1. Kansas will host South Dakota at 6 p.m. this Saturday. The game marks the much anticipated KU debuts of a pair of transfers that are former five-star recruits: receiver Justin McCay and quarterback Jake Heaps. Both were amongst Charlie Weis' first commitments 20 months ago when he first took the job and they'll finally make their debuts on Saturday night. DT Marquel Combs, the nation's top rated junior college talent, also will makes his debut for Kansas against South Dakota.
Kansas State was one of seven FBS schools to fall to an FCS foe in week one. KSU bowed to two-time defending FCS Champion North Dakota State, thanks to an 18-play, 80-yard drive by the Bison that consumed eight and a half minutes of the fourth quarter clock. The Bison went up for good 24-21 with just 28 seconds left. Jake Waters' KSU debut included two interceptions. He passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns, hitting on 21-of-29 attempts. The loss spoiled a night meant for celebration as Kansas State showcased the $90 million renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium and unveiled a new 8-foot tall bronze statue of Snyder prior to the game. Yesterday on the Big 12 teleconference Snyder called for his team to play more inspired and also discussed the team's continued need for more leadership. Things don't get any easier this week the Wildcats as they host Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns lost at Arkansas in week one 34-14 but are picked by many preseason publications to win the Sun Belt Conference and go 9-3.
Bob Stoops' bunch made sure the Warhawks of Louisiana Monroe didn't do to them what they did to Arkansas -- and almost to Baylor and Auburn -- in 2012, as OU clamped down on ULM in a 34-0 shutout. The Warhawks crossed midfield only twice, registering just nine first downs and only 166 yards of offense. Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight did not disappoint in his debut -- particularly in the run game. Knight became the first OU quarterback since Jason White in 2001 to rush for more than 100 yards in a game, carrying the ball 13 times for 103 yards while throwing three touchdowns. Knight wasn't especially efficient through the air, completing just 11-of-28 passes, but was able to find Jalen Saunders three times, including twice for touchdowns in the blowout win. Damien Williams was held to just four yards per carry on 16 attempts, while much-ballyhooed freshman Keith Ford carried it four times for 20 yards. Blake Bell did play, entering in mop-up duty with inside 11 minutes to go and the Sooners already up 34-zip. The win was Stoops' 150th career victory. Next up, the Sooners Big 12 opener -- a 6 p.m. kickoff against 1-0 West Virginia in Norman.
Clint Chelf was the preseason pick of several publications for first-team All-Big 12 quarterback. His pursuit of the postseason version of that award may have last just two possessions versus Mississippi State. With the offense sputtering amidst Chelf's 3-of-6 for 11 yards start, Mike Gundy turned to J.W. Walsh on OSU's third series. While it wasn't an instantaneous scoring spark, Walsh eventually got the Pokes on the scoreboard with 2:16 to go in the half. He ran away from the Bulldogs defense to the tune of 125 rushing yards and a touchdown (and passed for 135) and appears to have run away with the starting job as well. Mike Gundy said after the game that Walsh would start for the Cowboys this week vs. UTSA and then yesterday on the Big 12 Conference call added that he did not intend to rotate in Chelf and use a two-quarterback system. As for the Cowboys' defense that kept them in the game early, they held the Bullodgs to just three points, while registering three sacks and two interceptions. Another bright spot was running back Jeremy Smith who rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
The Horned Frogs fell 37-27 to No. 12 LSU on Saturday night in Arlington despite a fourth quarter rally that saw them cut a 30-17 deficit down to just three points half-way through the final stanza. Casey Pachall got the start but Trevone Boykin (who started the game at receiver) played quarterback for much of the second half following a Pachall pick. Pachall finished 9-of-16 for 75 yards and an interception. Boykin was 6-of-12 passing for 70 yards and just 13 rushing yards. Gary Patterson reiterated Sunday that Pachall will still be the starter this week versus Southeastern Louisiana and that Boykin played as much as he did based on his mobility and the spark they felt it could create against the LSU defense. BJ Catalon was perhaps TCU's best offensive threat, scoring twice for the Frogs -- once on a 100-yard kickoff return and again on a 26-yard run. All-Big 12 defensive end Devonte Fields suited up but did not play as he serves a two-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team and university policy. Senior running back Waymon James rushed for 33 yards and a touchdown on six carries in his first game back following a season-ending knee injury last season at Kansas.
Not surprisingly, Texas steamrolled New Mexico State on Saturday night in Austin. The Longhorns entered as 42-point favorites and very much looked the part in a second half in which they outscored the Aggies 42-zip. The first half was a different story. NMSU actually lead 7-0 with 2:28 to go in the second quarter before David Ash came alive and threw the first of four touchdown passes on the night (54 yards to John Harris). Ash would finish with a line of 20-of-28 passing for 342 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and 91 yards rushing with a score. Jalen Overstreet was Texas' top rusher with 92 yards on nine carries including two scores. Texas wound up with a record 715 yards of offense (besting a mark of 692 set in 1998 during Ricky Williams' Heisman season). Despite a shaky start and even some boos after they went down 7-0, Mack Brown was pleased with the way his team came alive and applauded Ash's resiliency. Texas now heads to BYU this weekend where it is a touchdown favorite over the Cougars.
After opening the week with a quarterback depth chart that read "Paul Millard or Clint Trickett," Millard played all but two offensive series versus William & Mary. The win wasn't pretty for the Mountaineers (they had to rally from a 17-7 half-time deficit) but Dana Holgorsen saw plenty that he liked from Millard who completed 19-of-25 passes for 237 yards and no picks. Trickett got his chance on the fourth and fifth possessions of the game, but failed to ignite the offense (0-2 passing, zero yards) and Holgorsen turned back to Millard for the rest of the game. Holgorsen said yesterday that Millard "looks like our guy" for now, but that it's not a closed case just yet. The biggest offensive bright spot was perhaps Houston-transfer Charles Sims. The senior running back carried the ball 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown and helped set up the game-winning score with 3:22 to go. While the Mountaineers did just enough to avoid getting bit by the FCS-bug in week one, they now travel to Norman for a date with Oklahoma this Saturday in which they'll be three-touchdown underdogs.
NON-CONFERENCE: Stephen F. Austin -- The good news is that Lumberjacks' offense posted 40 points in their season opener at Weber State. The bad news? The defense gave up 50. Senior quarterback Brady Attaway was 37-of-62 for 450 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions against WSU. Texas State -- The Bobcats won at Southern Miss 22-15 thanks in large part to six takeaways. Quarterback Tyler Arndt only had 111 yards passing and no passing touchdowns, but scored the game-winner on a 17-yard run with 2:54 to go. Texas State hosts Prairie View A&M this Saturday.

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