Things to watch during Week 9 in the Big 12 Conference, which gets off to an early start with the first of consecutive Thursday night games:
GAME OF THE WEEK: West Virginia (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) at No. 5 TCU (7-0, 4-0) on Thursday night. Since both joined the Big 12 in 2012, the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs have played three times. Those games have been decided by a combined five points – with a double-overtime game in 2012, an overtime game in 2013 and Jaden Oberkrom’s 37-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to give TCU a 31-30 win last year. Before being off last Saturday, West Virginia had lost in consecutive weeks to No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 2 Baylor – three teams that the playoff-contending Frogs have to play in November.
BEST MATCHUP: Oklahoma State defense vs. Texas Tech offense. The 12th-ranked Cowboys (7-0, 4-0) have the league’s top defense, allowing only 316 yards and 19 points a game. Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3) piles up 601 yards per game, including a Big 12-leading 406 yards passing. Patrick Mahomes’ dual-threat ability has been hampered since hurting his left knee in the Big 12-opening loss to TCU, but he is still running when needed and is second in the Big 12 with 357 yards passing per game (21 touchdowns, 10 interceptions).
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INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The top five teams in the Big 12 standings – Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma and Texas – all have won at least two games in a row. Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas State and Kansas all have losing streaks of at least three games. … Two teams are off this week: No. 2 Baylor (7-0, 4-0) and Kansas State (3-4, 0-4), who play a Thursday night game next week in Manhattan. … Home teams won all four Big 12 games last weekend.
LONG SHOT: Kansas (0-7, 0-4) is nearly a 40-point underdog against Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1). The Sooners have won 10 consecutive games in the series by an average margin of 26 points. The Jayhawks have won only three of their last 55 conference games over the past seven seasons.
IMPACT PLAYER: Sophomore quarterback Joel Lanning takes over as the starter for Iowa State (2-5, 1-3) at Texas (3-4, 2-2). The Cyclones made the change, replacing senior Sam Richardson as the No. 1 quarterback, after Lanning threw three touchdowns in the second half last week in a 45-27 loss against second-ranked Baylor.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Fort Worth, Texas.
AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org