Tuesday, January 25, 2011
C'mon, man: Big 12's most bizarre plays
By David Ubben
We saw plenty of great moments and great games across the Big 12 in 2010.
We also saw a lot of weird moments.
So with a nod to the guys at Monday Night Football, here are the five biggest plays of 2010 that made everybody give a hearty, "C'mon, man!"
1. Needed: Onside kick practice. Texas Tech's players were standing and staring, which is rarely a good idea on the football field, but usually acceptable in kick coverage. Not this time. The Red Raiders tried an onside kick, but it didn't travel the necessary 10 yards for a Texas Tech recovery. So, while three Red Raiders hovered over the ball, Baylor's Terrance Ganaway picked it up and outran the Red Raiders for a 38-yard touchdown. That was bad (and rare) enough, but Texas Tech gave up a touchdown on a desperation onside kick against Iowa State a week earlier, too. Jeremy Reeves caught it and returned it 42 yards to ice the 52-38 win. Here's hoping Tech puts in a few more onside kick reps this spring, and a YouTube video titled "Texas Tech onside kick goes horribly wrong" doesn't rack up almost 4.5 million views again in 2011.
2. Victory formation isn't supposed to go like that. Oklahoma State looked ready to trot off the field as 41-38 winners over Troy in their second game of the year. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden lined up in the victory formation, but fumbled the snap, unbelievably giving the ball back to Troy on their 34-yard line with just under a minute to play. Lucky for Weeden, his teammate, Justin Gent, sacked quarterback Corey Robinson on the next play, and Orie Lemon recovered Robinson's fumble to end any notion of what could have been one of the most embarrassing losses in recent history. In Weeden's defense, he was playing with a ruptured tendon in his thumb, which meant pain during any snap under center, but it'd be tough to find a worse time to fumble a snap than in that situation.
3. Creative losing will key a coaching search. Listen, I respect my man Herm Edwards when he rather emphatically states that coaches and players should "Play to win the game." But when you're up 45-17 in the fourth quarter and you've got a running back in Rodney Stewart who ended up with 175 yards on the day, there's no other way to put it: Run. The. Ball. Dan Hawkins' puzzling refusal kept the clock stopped more than it should have been, and the Buffaloes did plenty more turning it over late in the game than moving the ball. Somehow, Colorado turned that 28-point lead into a seven-point deficit with less than a minute to play. "We just didn't want to be one-dimensional," Hawkins said. What? His explanation didn't cut it, and because of the meltdown, Hawkins never coached another game for the Buffs.
4. Throw it to Mom in the stands, man. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert shredded a soft Iowa zone defense for 434 yards in the Insight Bowl, and the Tigers looked in complete control with a 24-20 lead and a drive that had reached Iowa territory. With less than six minutes to play, Gabbert was flushed to his left and tried to throw across his body to receiver Wes Kemp. Iowa's Micah Hyde picked off the ill-advised pass, reversed field and returned it 72 yards for a game-winning pick six. Gabbert admitted after the game that he got "greedy," but the probable first-round pick would probably throw that ball away 90-plus times out of 100 if he had it to do over again.
5. Filling up the stat sheet: Not always good. Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson rallied his team from a 35-21 fourth-quarter deficit on the road against Oklahoma State, and got the ball back on his own 29-yard line for a possible game-winning drive with just more than a minute to play. He'd already thrown three interceptions -- along with 400 yards and five touchdowns -- but his fourth pick of the game cost the Aggies. He overthrew a well-covered receiver, and Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lewis made an easy interception, returning the ball 28 yards back to the Aggies' 40-yard line. Oklahoma State won the game shortly after on a 40-yard field goal from Dan Bailey. If Texas A&M wins that game, they also win the Big 12 South outright.
Honorable mention: Iowa State reserve punter Daniel Kuehl's attempted pass against Nebraska on the Cyclones' fake extra point in overtime for the win.
To those six, I think we can all say: C'mon, man.