Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Big 12 stock report: Week 4
By David Ubben
Unfortunately, I've run out of money-based terms to throw around meaninglessly, so you'll have to settle for me getting to the facts.
Here's what's up and what's down across the Big 12 entering this week:
Rising: Collin Klein
Kansas State's dealt with some slow starts this year, but Klein's been pretty constant through three games. He's completing 72.9 percent (43-of-59) of his passes for a 609 yards, five scores and two interceptions. Klein completed only 57 percent of his throws last season and had just over 1,900 yards in 12 games, with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Falling: Landry Jones
Jones' slow start has to be of at least some concern, even if the odds are with him turning it around. He's completing only 62.5 percent of his passes through two games, which is down less than half a percent from last season, but Oklahoma's only played UTEP and FCS Florida A&M so far. It's going to get more difficult. Additionally, Klein has 135 more yards on five fewer attempts than Jones. The two will be going head to head on Saturday. Jones' completion percentage is currently better than only one Big 12 starting quarterback: Kansas' Dayne Crist. He's averaging just 7.4 yards per attempt, compared to 10.3 for Klein.
Rising: Kirby Van Der Kamp's leg
Van Der Kamp is going Van Der Krazy (I'm so, so sorry) through three weeks. He's punted 19 times, and 14 of those have been pinned inside the 20-yard line. Coach Paul Rhoads referred to Van Der Kamp as a weapon this week, and he's certainly helped Iowa State win the field-position battle during the Cyclones' 3-0 start. Even more impressive: Iowa State hasn't given up a single yard or return on those 19 kicks. The only problem: The sophomore's activity suggests some offensive issues within the context of the Big 12. He has eight more punts than any other Big 12 player, and half the league has fewer than six punts. Through three games, Texas Tech has punted just twice, the fewest in the nation. TCU and West Virginia have just three punts through two games, tied for the second fewest in the nation.
Falling: Texas, Kansas kickers
The epidemic of poor field goal kicking hasn't left the Big 12 unaffected. Texas has missed a field goal in all three games this season, and freshman Nick Jordan is just 3-of-7 so far. That 42.9 percentage ranks 80th nationally. Kansas' Ron Doherty is just 4-of-8 through three games, too. In fact, through just three weeks, every Big 12 team has already missed at least one kick. West Virginia hasn't attempted a field goal, but missed a PAT.
Rising: Texas Tech's defense
There's plenty of talk about Texas Tech's offense, and for good reason: Seth Doege's 12 touchdown passes are two more than any player in the country, and he's thrown just one interception in 101 attempts. But how about the defense? The competition hasn't been strong, but the improvement under Art Kaufman is already clear. Texas Tech ranks second nationally in total defense, giving up just over 3 yards a play. The Red Raiders are also tied with Oklahoma for the Big 12's second-best scoring defense at just 10 points a game. (TCU has given up just six points in two games.) Last year, Texas Tech gave up 39.3 points a game, better than only three teams. It also gave up 485 yards a game, better than only five teams.
Falling: Kansas State's grabby hands
Kansas State nabbed 18 interceptions last season, returning three for scores. That ranked second in the Big 12, behind only Oklahoma State, who was second nationally with 24. Nigel Malone led the Big 12 with seven picks, too. Through three games this year, though, Kansas State has just one interception. Only Oklahoma has fewer than two interceptions this year, and the Sooners have played one fewer game than K-State. Last week, Kansas State allowed North Texas to complete 25-of-28 passes, too.