Big 12 game balls: Week 1

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
11:00
AM ET
There are lots of great performances across the Big 12 each week. Some get helmet stickers on Sunday morning. Some get recognition in the weekend rewind on Monday.

Others get overlooked. Time to fix that as much as we can. Here are my Week 1 game balls.

Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: Bailey made the catch of the entire weekend on his first target of the season. Geno Smith found Bailey in the back of the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown catch, but Bailey elevated over a defender to haul it in and put the Mountaineers up, 7-0. He finished with nine catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

Tony Pierson, RB, Kansas: Pierson's starting in place of the suspended James Sims, but he's going to make it tough for Sims to earn back his starting spot. Pierson looks the part of a big-time back, and ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 carries. Charlie Weis emphasized the importance of establishing toughness through the run game, and Pierson's going to benefit. Week 1 was just the beginning.

Tramaine Thompson, WR/PR, Kansas State: Thompson reminded everybody that Tyler Lockett's not the only big-play talent for the Wildcats. He caught an 18-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter to give Kansas State the lead for good in its 51-9 win over Missouri State. Then, he followed it up with an 89-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter to provide the final score.

Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma: Dominique Whaley's still Oklahoma's starting running back, but Williams might be pushing to take that designation in the weeks to come. With all the hubbub about Roy Finch's absence, Williams' presence was felt in his first game after transferring from junior college. The 6-foot, 208-pounder broke a 65-yard run to ice the Sooners' 24-7 win over UTEP, and finished the game with 104 yards on just nine carries.

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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 11/1