Big 12 notebook: Holgorsen praises blocking as key to blowout of Baylor

Dana Holgorsen thinks blocking was the biggest difference in West Virginia’s bounce-back from its loss at Iowa State to its 58-14 drubbing of Baylor last Thursday.

“Collectively, it’s the best we’ve done all year blocking,” Holgorsen said on Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference.

As Holgorsen noted, it wasn’t just about the five offensive linemen.

“[Trevon] Wesco at tight end blocked well. That’s why he was player of the game,” Holgorsen said. “And perimeter blocking was the best it’s been all year. Dominique Maiden and T.J. Simmons were blocking guys all over the field and out of bounds as well.”

With the meat of the schedule coming up – West Virginia still has to face two teams in the Top 15 and visit a dangerous Oklahoma State team – the Baylor game holds the answer to continued success.

“That’s the way it’s got to be for us to be successful,” Holgorsen said. “It starts up front, but trickles down to everybody else as well.”

Baylor coach Matt Rhule couldn’t verify whether it was, in fact, West Virginia’s best blocking performance of the season. He just knows the Mountaineers weren’t getting stopped.

“They played a complete game,” Rhule said. “I would say all of their positions on both sides of the ball played pretty well. We knew they were good coming in, but we certainly saw it first-hand.”

Mayfield-Mahomes, Part II

Do you believe in coincidences?

As Texas Tech and Oklahoma prepare to square off this weekend, so too are former Red Raiders and Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield and former Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mayfield’s Cleveland Browns, who fired their head coach and offensive coordinator Monday, host Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs.

The doubleheader of sorts has brought back plenty of talk about the last time the two met in 2016. Mahomes threw for 734 yards and five touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Mayfield’s 545 yards and seven touchdowns as Oklahoma held on for a 66-59 win. The teams combined for an NCAA-record 1,708 yards.

“It was the best I’ve ever seen two college quarterbacks going head to head,” said Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. “Both teams had a ton of playmakers now playing in the NFL. It was a perfect storm to have the greatest offensive output in the history of college football.”

Don’t sleep on this year’s matchup as a worthy sequel. Kingsbury has even higher praise for Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray than he did for Mahomes or Mayfield.

“He was the best high school player I’ve ever seen,” Kingsbury said. “He’s as good as I’ve seen play in college football.”

Not going anywhere for a while?

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was asked if he has any plans on retiring at the end of this season. It’s been that kind of a year for the 3-5 Wildcats, who were just drilled 51-14 by Oklahoma.

“I don’t think about it until the season is complete,” Snyder said. “I’ve answered that question a thousand times the same way.”

For clarification, “a thousand times” does not mean Snyder has answered the question once per year. The 79-year-old Snyder is in his second stint coaching the Wildcats. He’s spent a total of 27 seasons in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas no longer bleeding losses

With a 27-26 win over TCU, Kansas picked up its first victory during the month of October since 2009.

How long ago was that? KU’s streak of October losses began at Colorado on Oct. 17 of that year. Colorado, of course, left the Big 12 following the 2011 season.

David Long named Butkus semifinalist

West Virginia linebacker David Long is one of 10 national semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which is annually given to the top linebacker in the nation.

Long leads the Mountaineers in tackles (68), solo tackles (45), sacks (4) and tackles for loss (12.5). He is second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally in both solo tackles and tackles for loss.

The other semifinalists are: Josh Allen (Kentucky), Markus Bailey (Purdue), Devin Bush (Michigan), Ryan Connelly (Wisconsin), Tre Lamar (Clemson), Dylan Moses (Alabama), Josiah Tauaefa (UTSA), Devin White (LSU) and Mack Wilson (Alabama).

Six-day window exercised for TCU game

The Big 12’s television partners have announced a six-day window for scheduling games on Nov. 10, which affects West Virginia’s home game against TCU.

With the faltering Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4) unlikely to be an appealing draw, the league is probably eyeing Texas at Texas Tech and Oklahoma at Oklahoma State for the prime time and 3:30 p.m. national TV slots.

The Nov. 10 game times will be announced no later than Sunday.

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