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What we learned from Week 4 in the Big 12

Here are some observations from Saturday's Big 12 action:

1. Texas soothes the pain

After two weeks of misery and speculation in Austin, Texas needed to break its five-game losing streak to Kansas State to avoid a total meltdown. The Longhorns did just that in a 31-21 win over the Wildcats to open Big 12 play, but it was another instance of good news, bad news.

Quarterback David Ash, who missed last week's game against Ole Miss with a concussion, suffered another head injury and missed the second half. Linebacker Jordan Hicks was also injured, and Steve Edmond was ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of Texas' next game.

The Texas defense showed signs of life, finally shutting down the option and quarterback run. But K-State wide receiver Tyler Lockett shredded the secondary for a school-record 237 yards, which doesn't bode well against the more explosive and wide-open offenses Texas will face down the road.

But a win is a win, Mack Brown's stated goal of a conference title is still in play, and the cauldron cools down, for a moment anyway.

2. Baylor does it again

The skeptics would say Baylor hasn't played anybody. They might be right, but the Bears are at least devouring their cupcakes, adding a 70-7 win over Louisiana-Monroe to a resume that already includes 70-13 and 69-3 results.

The Baylor offense was as explosive as ever. Quarterback Bryce Petty was 18 of 27 for 351 yards and four touchdowns, with wide receiver Antwan Goodley accounting for 156 yards and two scores on five catches. Running back Lache Seastrunk added 156 rushing yards and one touchdown on 10 carries.

Big 12 play will be the true test of Baylor's abilities this season, but this team has answered every challenge in impressive fashion.

3. Kansas wins? Kansas wins!

It was a long time coming for Kansas and Charlie Weis, but the Jayhawks and their much-mocked head coach can claim victory over an FBS opponent after knocking off Louisiana Tech on a 52-yard field goal as time expired for a 13-10 win.

Kansas hadn't defeated an FBS foe since Nov. 6, 2010 (a 52-45 win over Colorado). Weis's last win over an FBS foe came on Halloween night of 2009, in his last season at Notre Dame (40-14 win over Washington State).

The Jayhawks needed a break to win Saturday, recovering a fumble at its 5-yard line when Bulldogs running back Kenneth Dixon lost the ball with his team in position to run down the clock and set up a game-winning score.

The duo of James Sims (78 rushing yards on 20 carries) and Tony Pierson (nine receptions for 82 yards, five carries for 27 yards) were productive again, and Weis will have to find creative ways to keep both involved for Kansas to take the next step and win a Big 12 Conference game.

4. West Virginia is a mess

Any scenario for West Virginia to be humbled 37-0 at the hands of Maryland presumably would have involved Terrapins sensational sophomore wide receiver Stefon Diggs going off, right?

Well, Diggs had two receptions for 13 yards and one carry for five yards, and the Mountaineers were still embarrassed.

Quarterback Ford Childress completed only half of his 22 passes for 62 yards and was intercepted twice, including one that was returned for a touchdown. The ineffective passing game, six turnovers and huge deficit erased WVU running backs Charles Sims (eight carries for 35 yards; eight receptions for 33 yards) and Dreamius Smith (12 carries for 74 yards) from the game plan. The defense was equally brutal, especially on third down, where they allowed 9 of 19 conversions.

Along those lines, how worried should Oklahoma be about needing to grind out a 16-7 win over WVU? Then again, that was the game that prompted the Sooners to install Blake Bell at quarterback.

5. QB controversy at Texas Tech?

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury was quick to downplay the possibility of a quarterback controversy after a Thursday-night win against TCU, but it seems to be the case now after starter Baker Mayfield again struggled and was replaced by Davis Webb in a 33-7 win over Texas State.

Webb again came off the bench to spark the Red Raiders, throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in relief of Mayfield (14 of 20 for 124 yards, one interception), who captivated college football by becoming the first walk-on true freshman to start a season opener.

Texas Tech should be able to get through the next few weeks against Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia, but it needs to have everything settled before its trip to Oklahoma on Oct. 26 if it is to be a real factor in the conference race.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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