Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The five best Big 12 games of 2010
By David Ubben
The season's over, but our wrap-up isn't. We'll take a look back at some of the memorable moments, best plays and best games of the 2010 season, among other things, so we'll kick this off with the best games of 2010.
1. Sept. 30: Oklahoma State 38, Texas A&M 35. This Thursday nighter was the Big 12's only game-winning field goal of the year in conference play, and had a much bigger impact on the Big 12 South race than perhaps anyone thought when it was over. Both teams ended up tying for the Big 12 South title alongside Oklahoma, but the Aggies could have won it outright if they'd pulled the upset in Stillwater. The Aggies dominated the first half, leading 21-7, but the Cowboys' offense rallied behind Kendall Hunter in the second half for the comeback win. Jerrod Johnson filled up the stat sheet with 409 yards on 40-of-62 passing. He had five touchdowns passes and four memorable interceptions. The final one sailed over his target into Shaun Lewis' hands to set up Dan Bailey's game-winner.
2. Nov. 20: Texas A&M 9, Nebraska 6. An awful roughing the passer penalty on a Courtney Osborne hit on Ryan Tannehill that extended the eventual game-winning drive left a bad taste in Huskers fans' mouths, but A&M fans will likely choose to remember it for a dominant defensive performance and a workhorse night for Cyrus Gray to give the Aggies a second signature win of the season after beating Oklahoma two weeks earlier. Taylor Martinez left early with an injury, returning a call to his concerned father from the locker room, and Bo Pelini's accosting of his freshman quarterback when he returned was one of the lasting images from a game that didn't feature a touchdown. The penalty discrepancy (16-2 in favor of Texas A&M) got plenty of attention, but that doesn't tell the whole story.
3. Nov. 27: Oklahoma 47, Oklahoma State 41. No. 2 on the list didn't have a touchdown? This one had four in a 92-second span in the game's final five minutes. No other fourth quarter could compete with this game, which decided the Big 12 South. It also featured my pick for the play of the year, which, shockingly for this track meet, was a defensive play. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones threw three first-half interceptions, including one returned for a score, but bounced back for a career-high 468 yards that helped the Sooners win their eighth South title since 2000.
4. Nov. 6: Nebraska 31, Iowa State 30 (OT). Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads tried his hand at the call of the year, but his fake extra point in overtime failed when punter Daniel Kuehl's pass floated in the wind and was intercepted by Nebraska's Eric Hagg. The win kept Nebraska on track for a Big 12 North title, and it did it without Martinez, who missed the game with an ankle injury. Iowa State rallied from a 24-10 deficit entering the fourth quarter, but the gutsy call in overtime didn't pay off for the Cyclones, who would have gone bowling if they'd won the game.
5. Dec. 4: Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 20. The nostalgia faded early. Nebraska was the early aggressor and looked ready to bury Oklahoma. The Huskers sprinted to a 17-0 lead and the task of climbing out of that hole away from home against the best secondary in college football was a gigantic one. Jones and the Sooners answered the call. The sophomore quarterback racked up an astonishing 342 passing yards and helped Oklahoma win its seventh Big 12 title in the last decade.
Honorable mention: Kansas 52, Colorado 45; Colorado 44, Kansas State 36; Oklahoma 28, Texas 20; Texas Tech 45, Baylor 38.