Thursday, January 27, 2011
Big 12 plays of the year: Did you see that?
By ESPN.com staff
We ran down the most bizarre plays of the year earlier this week. We've already tabbed the best in-game atmospheres, the best moments and best games of the year.
But what about the individual plays that shaped the Big 12 season in 2010? Some of these plays are on here because they were simply unbelievable. Others were great plays in big spots, lending it greater significance within a season. They're all very different, but with one thing in common: We won't forget them any time soon, especially the outstanding top few.
1. Brodrick Brown to Shaun Lewis. This one will go down in college football history. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones thought he'd lobbed a ball safely out of bounds on the right sideline against Oklahoma State. Brown skied for the discarded football, tapped it back inbounds to a waiting teammate, linebacker Shaun Lewis, who returned his second interception of the game 15 yards into Oklahoma territory.
2. Landry Jones' two long TDs in Bedlam. There's no point in separating the two passes. Each was equally big and equally needed for the Sooners. Both came with two-point leads. The Sooners were backed up into a 3rd-and-12 at their own 14-yard line with a rabid Boone Pickens Stadium crowd feeling good about the game's momentum and their chances at a South title. But Jones connected with Cameron Kenney over the middle, who slipped behind the defense for an 86-yard touchdown. Oklahoma State returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but Jones countered with another 76-yard touchdown over the top, down the left sideline to James Hanna to all but ice the game with under three minutes to play and give the Sooners a division title.
3. The Moe Miracle. Missouri's season looked headed for an early disaster, trailing San Diego State 24-20 with under a minute to play and 68 yards to go for a win. Tigers receiver T.J. Moe caught a short pass, made two Aztec defenders comically collide, and raced the rest of the way into the end zone for a season-saving touchdown that helped propel the Tigers to a 7-0 start.
4. Aggies build a wall on the goal line. The Sooners got inside Texas A&M's 5-yard line three times -- twice to the 1-yard line and twice in the fourth quarter -- and left without points. Considering the Aggies won by 14, there's no understating the importance of each stop. Really, this is 12 plays, but they were 12 that changed the season and validated the Aggies second-half surge with the first of two top 10 wins. Kyle Field was rocking, and the defense left the field to "Wrecking Crew" chants for the first time in a long while.
5. Gahn McGaffie turns Faurot Field into a madhouse. Columbia, Mo., was buzzing for one of the biggest games of the Gary Pinkel era. No. 1 Oklahoma was in town, it was homecoming, and a record crowd of 18,000 showed up to ESPN's pregame show, "College GameDay." A sold-out crowd showed up to Memorial Stadium and perhaps believed it could beat Oklahoma for the first time under Gary Pinkel, but a little help would be nice to let the fans really believe. The first time the ball was in play, McGaffie provided that help. McGaffie returned the opening kick 86 yards for a touchdown, helping turn the crowd into one of the best of the year, and spurring the Tigers to a 36-27 win over Oklahoma on a night the city of Columbia won't forget any time soon.
Honorable mention: Oklahoma State kicker Dan Bailey boots a 40-yard field goal to beat Texas A&M at the buzzer; Eric Hagg returns a pooch punt 95 yards for a touchdown in the final minutes against Texas; Josh Gordon catches a short pass and takes it 94 yards for a touchdown against Kansas; DeMarco Murray tiptoes along the sideline before front-flipping into the end zone for a 20-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown against Texas.