Big 12 quarterback play full of struggles and surprises
There were boos in Oklahoma, and frustration in Iowa. A huge new scoreboard has been installed in Texas. It looks like a pinball machine.
Much of the quarterback play in the Big 12 so far this season is not what anyone expected. Some newcomers are making big impressions, but the league’s top players are in trouble.
Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler is the preseason’s first-team Associated Press All-American. He is unbeaten with the No. 6 Sooners, but is still struggling to find the form of last season on a floundering defense. He even got booed by the home crowd in last week’s 16-13 win over West Virginia.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was confident Tuesday that Rattler will shake it off.
” We don’t pay much attention to this stuff… It is our only expectation and opinion that matters.” Riley stated. We are grateful for the support …. fans give us. But as far as playing the game, we answer to one standard, and that’s our own.”
Iowa State’s Brock Purdy, second-team All-Big 12 last season behind Rattler, already has two losses, and is 0-1 in league play on a team so loaded with returning talent that some held the Cyclones as a possible playoff team. And then there’s Casey Thompson from Texas. He was on the bench at the start of the season and has been unstoppable in the last two games.
Rattler and Purdy came into 2021 as the best of the Big 12. They were expected to meet again in the conference title game last season. Both possess a gunslinger’s mentality. Rattler is the latest Sooners Heisman Trophy-contingent quarterback, while Purdy led the Cyclones program on a path to great heights.
Rattler has impressive passing stats. He leads the league with 1,017 yards on a 75% completion rate. The Sooners can’t find the end zone lately and he’s being criticized more for his lack of blowouts rather than the 4-0 record, which was bolstered by Oklahoma’s strong defense over the past two weeks.
And those home crowd boos were a little too much, even though Rattler tried his best to ignore them.
“It doesn’t matter. After the game, Rattler stated that they were out to win a match and that the fans are there for support. You just have to live with it. It’s a mystery to me why they did it, but .”
Purdy was used in the Iowa State loss to Iowa. His touchdown pass in the final minute rallied the Cyclones at Baylor, but he then fumbled the snap on a 2-point conversion try that failed in a 31-29 loss. The Cyclones started the season ranked No. 7 but they are now unranked.
Texas certainly likes what it has found in Thompson, although the more success he has, the more questions arise for first-year coach Steve Sarkisian as to why he didn’t start the first two games.
Hudson Card won training camp battle for No. Thompson was awarded the No. 1 spot in the training camp battle for No.
Thompson has seized his moment: The Longhorns have scored touchdowns on 18 of 22 drives he has started this season and haven’t punted in consecutive games for the first time in school history.
Thompson had five touchdown passes and ran for another in last week’s 70-35 win over Texas Tech. Sarkisian stated that
“Confidents are dangerous. He had a taste of success and then he rediscovered his rhythm. He’s found his rhythm.”
Baylor had to find a new quarterback this season after Charlie Brewer transferred to Utah after four seasons in Waco. Gerry Bohanon has been a great coach so far.
Bohanon spent 3 1/2 years on campus before finally being offered the job. He was there for two weeks prior to the season’s opening. He’s had a 4-0 start for Baylor, passing for 823 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions to help the Bears climb up the rankings to No. 21.
Kansas State came into this season feeling confident that sixth-year senior Skylar Thompson would be leading the Wildcats, only to see him injured three weeks ago. While the Wildcats offense has been lagging behind running back Deuce Vincent and Will Howard, Howard was hurt last week in Oklahoma State’s loss. Chris Klieman,
Wildcats’ coach, said Skyler Thompson was “progressing”, but is unlikely to return this week against Oklahoma .. Jaren Lewis, who was the No. 3 player in the depth chart, would be affected. could play against the Sooners.
Texas Tech had found its starter in Oregon transfer Tyler Shough, who led the Red Raiders to a 3-0 start. He broke his collarbone in the Texas game and will not return to play until November. Henry Colombi finished the game and passed for 324 yards and three touchdowns.
AP Sports Writers Cliff Brunt, Stephen Hawkins and John Raby contributed.
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