By STEPHEN HAWKINS
Some things to watch in Week 4 of the Big 12 season, with six teams playing their conference openers:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Kansas State at No. 6 Oklahoma. This would have been a matchup of undefeated teams if the Wildcats hadn’t gotten upset as a two-touchdown favorite at home against Tulane in their non-conference finale. But K-State (2-1) has still been impressive on defense (allowing 276 total yards and 9.7 points a game), and had recent success against the Sooners.
Oklahoma (3-0), playing its first Big 12 game for coach Brent Venables, has won its last 10 home games and 28 of 29 — the lone loss was to Kansas State two years ago. The Wildcats beat Oklahoma in each of coach Chris Klieman’s first two seasons (48-41 in 2019 and 38-35 in 2020) before two crucial replay reviews went against them in the second half of last year’s 37-31 loss.
The Sooners have more Big 12 championships (14) than home losses (11) since 1999. Three of those losses are to K-State.
Kansas vs. Duke. Yes, we’re talking about a football game in September, not a March Madness meeting on the hardwood. Both 3-0, the surprising Jayhawks and the Blue Devils are among 33 unbeaten teams left in major college football. Kansas hasn’t won more than three games in a single season since 2009, when a 5-0 start was followed by seven consecutive losses. Duke last started 4-0 in 2018, its last winning season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Iowa State is looking for its first 4-0 start since 2000. The Cyclones, who host No. 17 Baylor (2-1) in a conference opener for both teams, have won 11 consecutive Big 12 home games — the longest active home winning streak in the league. … Texas Tech is playing its third consecutive Top 25 opponent, hosting No. 22 Texas following its loss last week at No. 16 North Carolina State. The Red Raiders beat then-No. 25 and future Big 12 foe Houston in their last home game two weeks ago. Florida is the only other team so far this season to play three ranked teams in a row. … In non-conference games, the Big 12 leads the nation averaging 41.1 points and 457.7 total yards per game.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Texas running back Bijan Robinson ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns against UTSA, his first 100-yard game this season. He had gone five games in a row, dating back to last season, without one. That drought followed five consecutive 100-yard games, including 137 yards last year against Texas Tech, who the Longhorns play this week in a Big 12 opener.
First-year TCU coach Sonny Dykes is now trying to stop a short streak he began on the other side of the Dallas-Fort Worth rivalry that will be played for the 101st time Saturday. SMU has won consecutive games over the Horned Frogs for the first time since 1992-93. Both of those came under Dykes, now the first new TCU coach since Dutch Meyer in 1934 to win his first two games.