With wins by Texas Tech and Baylor already in the books, the Big 12 came into Saturday looking to extend its bowl dominance. West Virginia got the league off on the wrong foot in a blustery, snowy Yankee Stadium, while TCU lost the nightcap, leaving only Texas with a win to leave the conference at 3-2 at the end of the week.
The Big 12 has failed to establish a friendly history with the Pinstripe Bowl during its three years of existence. In the inaugural year, Wildcat fans remember a last-second loss to Syracuse after receiver Adrian Hilburn saluting the crowd after a touchdown reception, incurring a 15 yard penalty and making the two point try too difficult to achieve. It snowed the entire game and left Kansans with a negative impression of New York winters. Little has changed in two years, as a flag-happy Pac 12 officiating squad nailed West Virginia with 10 penalties and a constant snowfall culminated in a 38-14 loss to Syracuse.
Shortly after losing a game it shouldn’t, a second Big 12 game it wasn’t supposed to win ended with Texas emerging victorious over the Oregon State Beavers. Although the teams were ranked #23 and #13, few believed the game would be that close as Oregon State looked too dangerous for Texas to handle. However, Texas forced three turnovers and outgained the Beavers by 50 yards, 36 of which came on a touchdown strike to Marquise Goodwin with 2:24 left to provide the final score of the game. Alex Okafor helped power the Longhorns to eight sacks and the win, 31-27.
During the nightcap, TCU jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half against a Michigan State team incapable of moving the football. The streak continued well into the third quarter, as the Spartans didn’t get on the board until 15:34 left to go in the game. However, it was TCU’s offense that failed to gain any momentum in the second half while Michigan State scored 16 of the game’s final 19 points for a 17-16 victory. While the Horned Frogs managed 288 yards to Michigan State’s 227, their two turnovers were the deciding factor as MSU did not turn the ball over during the course of the game.
Big 12 play starts again Monday night when Iowa State plays Tulsa in a Liberty Bowl rematch of a regular season game. Also to play are Oklahoma State against Purdue, Oklahoma versus Texas A&M, and, of course, K-State’s epic meeting with Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.