Big 12: Kendial Lawrence

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 14

February, 23, 2012
Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member of the list every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

No. 14: Henry Josey, RB, Missouri

2011 numbers: Carried the ball 145 times for 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 10 passes for 91 yards.

Most recent ranking: Josey was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Josey: The speedster started the season third on Missouri's depth chart, but finally got his shot after De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence went down with injuries early in the season.

After breaking out for 263 yards against Western Illinois, an FCS opponent, Josey still had his doubters. Then he rushed for at least 129 yards in five of his next six games and opened up a laughable lead by almost 300 yards in the Big 12 rushing race.

A catastrophic knee injury ended his season in early November, but he still finished third in the Big 12 in rushing, despite ranking 12th in carries. His 8.06 yards per carry was sky-high and second nationally. The only player whose average was higher, though, carried the ball just 61 yards.

His abbreviated season (both early and late) and the presence of James Franklin in the running game to open room for him to run keeps Josey out of the top 10, but not by much. Here's hoping he's able to rehab and get back on the field in 2012 for Mizzou in the SEC.

The rest of the list:
We're continuing our look at the postseason rankings for each position in the Big 12. Here's a look back at where the running backs ranked in the preseason.

In this position, unlike quarterback, depth is a major, major factor in these rankings.

1. Texas A&M

The Aggies had the two most talented backs, and despite injuries to both, proved it through an otherwise frustrating 2011. Christine Michael suffered a torn ACL, but still managed 899 yards on just 149 carries. Cyrus Gray injured his shoulder late in the season, but secured his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and ranked third in the Big 12, despite carrying the ball just 198 times. This duo should have easily surpassed 1,000 yards, but even when they were injured, Ben Malena played well in the final two games.

[+] EnlargeChristine Michael
AP Photo/Brandon WadeChristine Michael averaged 6 yards per carry before a torn ACL ended his season.
2. Missouri

Mizzou dealt with injuries, too, first to Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore. Cue Henry Josey. Josey became the best back in the Big 12 this year before suffering a major knee injury that included torn ligaments. He may not be back in 2012. His 1,168 yards were third most in the Big 12, despite carrying the ball just 145 times. Lawrence finished 12th with 566 yards.

3. Oklahoma State

Joseph Randle stole the show this year, rushing for 24 scores and ranking second in the Big 12 with 1,216 yards. Only Collin Klein ran for more touchdowns and Terrance Ganaway was the only player with more yardage. Still, Jeremy Smith had averaged more than 7 yards a carry, and he'd be able to start for anyone else in the league. Herschel Sims showed promise, too, with 242 yards on 31 carries.

4. Baylor

Ganaway led the Big 12 in rushing with huge performances late in the season, including a 200-yard, five-touchdown game in his final outing as a college athlete in the Alamo Bowl. He averaged more than 6 yards on his 250 carries and had 330 more yards than any other back in the league. Jarred Salubi added 331 yards, too.

5. Texas

Texas' Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron were banged-up late in the season, but Fozzy Whittaker played well until suffering a torn ACL against Missouri, too. Scatback D.J. Monroe was effective in the passing game as well. Four running backs topped 300 yards and Brown led the team with 742 yards, despite missing three games and having his carries limited early in the season.

6. Oklahoma

Oklahoma got great contributions from walk-on Dominique Whaley early on, and he proved to be the team's most effective runner and best runner between the tackles. He fractured his ankle in midseason, and finished with just 627 yards to lead the team. Roy Finch emerged late in the seasons after a quiet first half and added 605 yards.

7. Kansas

KU's James Sims led the team in rushing again with 727 yards. Darrian Miller was excellent, too, with 559 yards, though he was dismissed after the season. Freshmen Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon have plenty of promise, both averaging more than 5.5 yards a carry in 2011. The bad news: All their carries were limited by an awful defense that limited KU's chances to run the ball.

8. Kansas State

K-State's rushing attack centered around Klein, but John Hubert, a slippery back from Waco, Texas, had a good year. Hubert was seventh in the Big 12 with 970 yards. Bryce Brown offered basically nothing to K-State, and beyond Klein and Hubert, the Wildcats were pretty thin. Additionally, without Klein, would Hubert have duplicated his success?

9. Texas Tech

An awful knee injury derailed Eric Stephens' likely 1,000-yard season, and the rest of Texas Tech's backfield got banged-up, too. Stephens will probably return in 2012 from his dislocated knee, and finished with 565 yards, 17th in the Big 12. Aaron Crawford and DeAndre Washington both topped 300 yards.

10. Iowa State

ISU lost Shontrelle Johnson for the season early on, but James White filled in well. He finished with 743 yards, which ranked ninth in the Big 12. Jeff Woody had 380 yards and provided quality carries late, including the game-winning touchdown against Oklahoma State.

Season report card: Missouri

January, 4, 2012
We're offering up grades for each team in the Big 12 after their seasons conclude, so here's a look at how the 8-5 Missouri Tigers graded out in 2011.

More report cards:
OFFENSE: This season was supposed to be all about James Franklin. Could the sophomore -- used almost exclusively as a runner as a freshman in 2010 -- prove his worth as a passer and become the next in a long line of great Missouri quarterbacks?

That answer proved to be yes. Franklin is no Brad Smith: He is a better passer, though he lacks Smith's speed. He is no Blaine Gabbert: He's a better runner, but he lacks Gabbert's accuracy.

Above all, though, Franklin was productive. Missouri's offense flourished for most of the season. It's easy to get frustrated when you see the Tigers were only able to muster a fifth-place finish in total offense in the conference, but consider that is good for No. 12 nationally.

We haven't even talked about Henry Josey yet. Receiver T.J. Moe and tight end Michael Egnew saw their production take a huge dip this season; a predictable result with Franklin carrying the ball 217 times for 981 yards. He threw for 2,872 yards and 21 touchdowns, too, but Josey was the offense's most valuable player this season. De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence went down with injuries, and Missouri found out the Big 12's best running back was third on their depth chart. He led the league by averaging more than eight yards a carry, and despite suffering a catastrophic knee injury against Texas, he led the Big 12 in rushing for three full weeks after the injury.

The Tigers got it done offensively, but unfortunately for them, offenses are graded on a curve in the Big 12. Other teams in the league set the curve very, very high.


DEFENSE: The defensive line was the team's most hyped unit, and even though it didn't perform to the level many expected, the rest of the unit overachieved. A secondary that replaced both corners still ranked fifth in pass defense. Texas and Kansas State were the only Big 12 teams better at defending the big play, and the Tigers were among the league's most physical teams.

They did all of this without a single player approaching the top tier of defensive talent in the Big 12 and put just one player on the first-team All-Big 12 defense (DT Dominique Hamilton). The team's top producer in 2010, DE Brad Madison, played with a painful injury to his inside shoulder all season that limited his effectiveness. But the Tigers' unit was certainly solid enough to help support a prolific offense.


OVERALL: Eight wins is the same result that Daniel and Gabbert endured in their first years as starter. Ultimately, the mark was about where Missouri belonged with the type of season it had. The Tigers missed a game-winning field goal against what ended up being a six-win Arizona State team, and lost a heartbreaker at Baylor, too. It also erased deficits to beat Texas A&M at home and forced a late turnover to beat Texas Tech in the final minute. All four of those games could have gone either way. Missouri split them.

The Tigers are headed to the SEC East next year, where at least in the immediate future, it looks like a division contender. This year wasn't a dream season, but it could set up something special. The Tigers rallied from a 3-4 start to win five of their final six games and salvage a good season. There wasn't a truly impressive win in the bunch, but all five losses came to teams ranked at the time.


AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl

December, 4, 2011
Missouri Tigers (7-5) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (7-5)

Dec. 26, 5:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Missouri take by Big 12 blogger David Ubben: Missouri is headed to the SEC next season, and went out quietly in Big 12 play. The Tigers roll with dual-threat quarterback James Franklin, but are still trying to find their offense after losing Henry Josey, the Big 12's leading rusher at the time, to a serious knee injury. He started the season No. 3 on the depth chart. It's been up to Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore to pick up the slack.

The Tigers' defense had high hopes coming into the season, and it's been good after some early-season struggles, but perhaps not as good as expected. The defensive line hasn't dominated as most expected, but the Tigers played well enough to win four of their final five games to rescue a rough start against a brutal schedule. Mizzou may have the best five losses of any team in the country: Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Arizona State. Not a bad one in the bunch, and all four but Oklahoma State came on the road. Mizzou is better than its record suggests, and will get a chance to prove it in the postseason.

North Carolina take by ACC blogger Heather Dinich: The entire season could have unraveled for UNC, considering former coach Butch Davis was fired just days before summer practices began, but interim coach Everett Withers kept the program on track for its fourth straight bowl appearance.

North Carolina has faced Missouri twice, losing both times, but has not played the Tigers since 1976. North Carolina started the season 5-1, but fizzled down the stretch against better competition. The Tar Heels lost four of their past six games, including a fifth-straight loss to rival NC State. Individually, though, it has been an impressive season for a few Tar Heels. Tailback Giovani Bernard rushed for a UNC freshman record 1,222 yards and became the first Tar Heel since 1997 to run for more than 1,000 yards.

Receiver Dwight Jones set a school record with 79 receptions and has 11 touchdown catches, which is just one shy of the single-season record. And quarterback Bryn Renner enters the bowl game tied for the school record with 23 touchdown passes. Defensively, Carolina is led by defensive end Quinton Coples and linebacker Zach Brown. Coples ranks fourth among active college players with 24 career sacks. Brown led the Tar Heels with 91 tackles, including 11.5 for losses and 5.5 sacks.

Chat: RG3, Mizzou turf, OSU title shot, Klein

November, 22, 2011
Thanks for all the questions this week. Fun chat as always. Here's the full transcript.

And here's where you can send better questions and funnier comments if I didn't answer yours.

And a few highlights...

Musix (JeffCityMo): Whats your opinion on the whole turf issue at Mizzou?

David Ubben: It's tough for me to say. Tommy Tuberville admitted what everyone realizes: this could all be a coincidence. Before Texas last week, I'd never heard anyone complain about Mizzou's turf. That said, it IS old turf. Could that get guys hurt? Mizzou's practiced on it a lot, and they're not racking up tons of knee injuries. I haven't been out there since the spring, but I didn't pay much attention to the turf, and the practice I watched was indoors anyway. Like Tuberville said, though, there won't be any more games on it anyway, so it's sort of a moot point. Either way, I feel sorry for the guys who got hurt on it.

Trey (Dallas): "Mizzou's practiced on it a lot, and they're not racking up tons of knee injuries." didn't they lose all 4 RBs at one point or another because of knee injuries?

David Ubben: No. Marcus Murphy had a shoulder thing. Kendial Lawrence had a broken bone in his leg. De'Vion Moore, if I'm not mistaken, hurt his ankle out in Tempe against ASU.

Evan (Atlanta): You were high on Baylor early in the season. Then they had a bit of a slump and lost a few bad games. With all this hype now at the end of the season are you high on them again? It looks like this team has finally learned how to win games and finish.

David Ubben: I feel it necessary to revisit my point in the preseason that Baylor was a dark horse to win 10 games. I wrote this several times.

Grant (Colo Sprgs): Thanksgiving themed question here. Which football play was worse: Bob Stoops calling that timeout in the fourth quarter, or Leon Lett touching the blocked kick in the snow?

David Ubben: I actually liked the time out there. Aggressive. Calculated. OU had all the momentum and Baylor's offense hadn't been great. Unfortunately for the Sooners, RG3 happened.

Shawn Powers (SW Florida): Do you think Collin Klein will be mentioned in next years Heisman race?

David Ubben: Definitely. He'll probably be a dark horse to take it home. It'll be tough to duplicate these numbers next year.

Pete (Stillwater): Ubb Rubb, the Pokes aren't going to get any forgiveness, are they?

David Ubben: If so, the War Eagles on the Plains are going to have to provide it.

Cyrus Grey (College Station, TX): Am I really that hurt or is coach just playing it up to get tu to change their gameplan.

David Ubben: It could go a number of ways. One, it's not that serious, and he's playing it coy. Or two, it's much more serious than he's letting on, and Sherman's dangling the idea he could play. Like I said, I've never heard of a stress fracture being a day-to-day injury. I could be wrong, though.

GrantKSU (Dallas,TX): If OU, OSU, and KSU all finish 10-2 are we all going to share the Big 12 Title?

David Ubben: In theory, yes, and you'll have rings, but I'd say it's safe to assume most folks will only recognize the top team in the BCS standings.

Thomas (COMO): What do you think about KU's refusal to play Mizzou after this season? It seems to me KU is basing their decision on bitterness and pettiness. Not to mention Hypocrisy (I very much doubt KU/KSU would hesitate if it got a invite to the B1G) and envy that Mizzou got an invite and they never did. Am I missing something and being biased?

David Ubben: I'd say that's fair. Texas kind of set a precedent here. The question is, would Mizzou play Kansas or Kansas State if they left for the Big Ten and Mizzou was in the Big 12? A far-fetched scenario, but my guess is no.

Josh (Sioux Falls): After being in the crowd in Ames Friday and seeing how Paul Rhoads has changed the culture at Iowa State, is he a candidate for other higher profile jobs?

David Ubben: He obviously will be. Don't be surprised to see Penn State give him a look, or even Ohio State if Urban Meyer ends up not taking the job. I wouldn't rule out Ole Miss, either.

Kendall Wright (Waco, TX): I'm not a Biletnikoff finalist? What gives? I've got RGIII slingin' me the ball, Immaculate Deflection against OU. What else does a guy gotta do?

David Ubben: I'm betting Wright was the first guy outside the list. I'm not sure who you'd take off the list of finalists to include Wright.

Alex (Kansas): Whats going on at ISU?

David Ubben: Elation? Defense? All of the above?

Javon Harris (staying on top): I've manned up for my mistakes, when are you going to own up to one of yours? I'll let you choose.

David Ubben: I thought Texas A&M could win the Big 12. I'm sorry. My mistake. Prediction: The Aggies will never win a Big 12 title again.

Steve (Kansas): A few weeks ago everybody was writting Collin Klein off as a heisman conidate due to having to many loses. He's got fewer loses than RG3 but not nearly the recognition. What gives?

David Ubben: RG3 has that "Wow!" factor for one. And Klein does an unbelievable job running the ball, but if K-State had a goal-line back instead of Klein's eye-popping TD numbers, would we be having this conversation? K-State's defense is a much better, too. If RG3 had K-State's defense, what would the Bears' record be?
Only three teams in the FBS are worse at defending the run than Texas Tech.

So far, Missouri is taking advantage.

It's run the ball eight times and thrown it only three times, and the payoff has been immediate.

Quarterback James Franklin broke off a 31-yard run and Kendial Lawrence broke free for what looked like a touchdown before being stripped and fumbling into the end zone for a touchback.

The Tigers trail 14-0 late in the first quarter, but the Tigers' offense is moving the ball. Clearly, the offense is preparing for a physical game on the ground, and that's exactly the blueprint to beat Texas Tech.

Missouri can't let the early deficit change that. One bad break -- the Lawrence fumble -- shouldn't alter an offensive game plan that's working.

The Tigers have 67 yards on those eight carries.

Defensively, the Tigers are getting beaten with sweeps and short passes. Adjustments are necessary there.

But on offense? Missouri needs to keep doing exactly what it's doing.

Breaking down Big 12 bowl odds: Missouri

November, 17, 2011
Inspired by our friends over at the Big East Blog, it's time to forecast the bowl picture across the Big 12. Five Big 12 teams are already bowl eligible. Four more teams are stuck on five wins entering Week 12, and we'll break down each fringe team's chances to make it to the postseason.

First up: Missouri.

Record: 5-5

Wins: Miami (OH), Western Illinois, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Texas

Losses: Arizona State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor

Remaining schedule
  • Nov. 19: vs. Texas Tech
  • Nov. 26: vs. Kansas (at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.)
Breakdown: The Tigers have five solid losses, but Arizona State is really the only game Mizzou probably feels it should have won. They were competitive late in losses to Kansas State and Baylor, but were outplayed in both losses. The good news for Mizzou is Texas Tech's collapse is coming at an ideal time, and the Tigers' best asset -- their running game -- plays into Texas Tech's biggest weakness.

Mizzou must deal with the loss of leading rusher Henry Josey, but the schedule eases up at an ideal time for Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore to pick up the slack. Quarterback James Franklin will also get a solid chance to pick up yards on the ground, as well as make plays through the air. Missouri's defense had its best performance of the year against Texas last week, and they'll try to build on it this week against a Tech team that's lost five of its last six games.

If the Tigers take care of business, they'll likely get a Kansas team looking for its first conference win. Missouri's likely going to be a double-digit favorite in both games, so don't be surprised to see Mizzou at 7-5 by the end of the regular season.

Chances the Tigers qualify for a bowl: 75 percent

What to watch in the Big 12: Week 12

November, 17, 2011
Here's what I'm looking for in five games across the Big 12 this weekend.

1. Oklahoma State's focus. This has to be a weekly watch, does it not? OSU is a markedly better team than Iowa State. This is clear. A single-digit win would be fairly inexplicable, especially considering the Cowboys' success on the road.

2. Texas' health. The Longhorns' offense got tied up with injuries last week, playing the majority of the game without its top three running backs and top receiver Jaxon Shipley. Linebacker Keenan Robinson also injured his thumb against Mizzou. He's listed as a co-starter on this week's depth chart, but coach Mack Brown is playing it coy with injuries this week. Who's in and out for the Horns will have a lot to do with the team's success against K-State.

3. Oklahoma's new offense. We still haven't seen Oklahoma play a full game without Ryan Broyles and Dominique Whaley. They'll have to put points on the board against Baylor on Saturday. How do they compensate for the loss of Broyles?

[+] EnlargeCollin Klein
Scott Sewell/US PresswireCollin Klein is slated to face his toughest challenge of the season Saturday against the Texas D.
4. Collin Klein's "other" threat. Texas will be the best defense K-State has faced this year, so relying solely on the running game won't be enough for K-State to beat the Longhorns. Klein will have to make plays with his arm. He made them against Texas A&M last week for 281 yards, but UT's pass defense is a whole different deal. He'll be tested.

5. Missouri's new look in the backfield. Henry Josey is done for the year, and Kendial Lawrence is back as the starter in Mizzou's backfield. Texas Tech is extremely vulnerable up front, and Lawrence will need to take advantage alongside De'Vion Moore. Can the pair, along with quarterback James Franklin, take advantage of arguably Texas Tech's biggest weakness?

6. Baylor's changing reputation. The Bears have ascended into a very good second-tier Big 12 team, but have not been able to beat the real titans of the league. Oklahoma State blew them out this year. OSU, OU and Texas A&M all did it last year. You want to prove something? Beat Oklahoma. Baylor's never done it in 20 tries.

7. Texas A&M's second half. Don't blame me. The Aggies keep doing it. We'll keep watching. Leads of 14-0 and 31-21 evaporated against Kansas State last week, and the Aggies had better take care of business or the season could find a new low: letting an improving Kansas team get its first conference win on Kyle Field. If you're 5-5 like A&M is, I don't think you can rule anything out.

8. Texas Tech's first half. In the Red Raiders' last three games, Tech's been outscored a combined 104-13 by Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State. Can't do that. If Tech can hang with Mizzou for the first half, it would give itself a nice chance to win the game down the stretch. The Red Raiders haven't had a chance lately, though.

9. Kansas' legitimacy. Is this resurgence for real or not? Not many people think Kansas can beat Texas A&M, but the Jayhawks have legitimately come very, very close against Iowa State and Baylor. Can they be competitive against the Aggies and give themselves a shot late?

10. Iowa State's defense. There might not be a tougher test in college football than the experienced, balanced Oklahoma State offense. To give the Cyclones a chance, the ISU defense has to play its best game of the year by far. Iowa State doesn't have enough offense to get in a shootout in the 40s. Both sides will require a lot to make the upset happen, but the Cyclones can't let OSU move the ball at will.

Predictions: Big 12 Week 12

November, 17, 2011
A decent week of predictions last week, but I whiffed on a Texas pick for the second consecutive week. Longhorns, who are you?

On to this week's picks!

Last week: 3-1 (.750)

Overall: 48-15 (.762)

Here's a look at where we were at this point last year.


No. 2 Oklahoma State 48, Iowa State 20: The Cyclones slow OSU's offense a little bit, but not enough to make a serious threat. The Cowboys are just too good. The fourth quarter is spent focusing on Oklahoma for the starters on the sideline, the first few moments of a 15-day wait for the Sooners' arrival on game day. Jared Barnett's got a lot of upside, but OSU's offense has too many playmakers for ISU to keep pace.


Texas A&M 34, Kansas 24: I'm starting to believe in Kansas' growth, and A&M has to stay focused against a 2-8 opponent with a disappointing 5-5 record. The Jayhawks have played one of the nation's toughest schedules, but hang with A&M in this one for awhile, before A&M and Cyrus Gray flex late with a few big plays to break it open and grab a safe win. Kansas is inching closer to that win, and could be in for a great game next Saturday against Mizzou.

Missouri 34, Texas Tech 21: Texas Tech, though? Nobody in the Big 12 has fallen faster, and the banged-up Raiders are feeling around for something good to happen. It's been awhile. Missouri's been competitive in just about every game. Tech hasn't been competitive in a month. Welcome to the postseason, Mizzou. The Tigers' Kendial Lawrence picks up the slack for the injured Henry Josey and goes for 150 yards.

No. 13 Kansas State 17, No. 23 Texas 13: Bill Snyder won't need much Texas wizardry in this one. K-State is the better team, and inexplicable 9.5-point underdogs. The Longhorns lock down on the K-State offense, but the Wildcats are more than capable of doing the same. We may see the fewest passes thrown in a Big 12 game all season in this one.

No. 5 Oklahoma 47, No. 22 Baylor 31: Make it 21. Baylor moves to 0-21 against Oklahoma in this one. The Sooners have won eight consecutive games away from home, including five against teams in the top 13. This makes nine. Oklahoma's defense is one of a few that can slow Baylor's offense (credit fumbles and Kansas' running game for the three points in three quarters last week), and it'll do enough for the offense to get the win.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 12

November, 14, 2011
We've only got three weeks left in the season. Here's how the Big 12 looks as the clock ticks on the season.

1. Oklahoma State (10-0, 7-0 Big 12, last week: 1): OSU is defining the term "bowing up" on teams. Any ideas Texas Tech had of an upset were over pretty quick in a crazy 66-6 win in Lubbock. It's been awhile (read: never) since anybody's come to Lubbock and won a game like that. The 60-point loss was the worst in school history.

2. Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1, LW: 2): A heck of a weekend for the idle Sooners. Boise State and Stanford both lost and Oklahoma's got a strong case as the nation's top one-loss team. The Big Question: Will voters downgrade Oklahoma's best wins for an ugly loss against Texas Tech, or downgrade the Sooners for being without Ryan Broyles and Dominique Whaley, the team's top receiver and rusher. They'll have to beat OSU to find out. That won't be easy.

3. Kansas State (8-2, 5-2, LW: 4): Cardiac Cats is about right. Another thrilling game for K-State, and another fourth quarter comeback. This one took four overtimes, the longest game in Big 12 history. Collin Klein continues to truck defenders and burrow into the end zone, now with 24 touchdowns on the season.

4. Baylor (6-3, 3-3, LW: 6): That could have been disastrous. Baylor needed fourth-quarter heroics to rescue an awful three quarters, and turned a 24-3 fourth-quarter deficit against Kansas to a 31-30 overtime win. Big-time ballgame in the fourth quarter from Robert Griffin III, but that wasn't too pretty.

5. Texas (6-3, 3-3, LW: 3): You could switch Baylor and Texas in this ranking, but the Longhorns are reeling and banged up fron injuries. Fozzy Whittaker is done for the year, and freshmen Jaxon Shipley, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron are still trying to get healthy. The result? A long day in Columbia for quarterback David Ash. Linebacker Keenan Robinson is also likely to miss time with an injured thumb.

6. Missouri (5-5, 3-4, LW: 7): The Tigers got their biggest win of the year with a dominant defensive performance against Texas, holding the Longhorns to their first game without a TD since 2004. Missouri must deal with the loss of Henry Josey, but like he did at the beginning of the season, backups Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore must pick up the slack with one more win needed for bowl eligibility.

7. Texas A&M (5-5, 3-4, LW: 5): Oh, the Aggies. This team should probably be a lot closer to 9-1 than 5-5, but alas, here they sit. Texas A&M has a double-digit lead in every game this season but the loss to Oklahoma. And they're .500. ... Has anyone ever duplicated that feat? Unbelievable.

8. Iowa State (5-4, 2-4, LW: 9): Iowa State's going to need a ton of help to qualify for a bowl game. The two Oklahoma schools are up next, followed by Kansas State. For those of you keeping track, those are the Big 12's top three teams. Talk about a backloaded schedule. Yeesh.

9. Texas Tech (5-5, 2-5, LW: 5): Texas Tech's been one of the league's big disappointments this year, well behind Texas A&M, but still underwhelming. The Red Raiders are 5-5 with five losses in the last six games, but other than the win over Oklahoma, here are Texas Tech's wins: Texas State, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas. Um ... about that ...

10. Kansas (2-8, 0-7, LW: 10): So close, Kansas. So close. The Jayhawks probably deserved this one, but the Bears offense broke through in the fourth quarter and showed why they entered the game as the nation's No. 2 offense. They're dangerous, and Kansas' defense isn't exactly loaded with talent. If Kansas couldn't get a win in this one, I'm not sure where the next one's coming. A trip to Kyle Field is up next, followed by what will be a heated, somber rivalry game against Missouri, likely the last for awhile. This is me making a sad face.

MU defense pushes Tigers near postseason

November, 12, 2011
Missouri badly needed a win to keep its streak of bowl games, one dating back to 2004, alive.

With a dominant defensive performance, it got it.

The Tigers moved to 5-5 with two limping Big 12 teams left on its schedule, Texas Tech and Kansas. One more win equals a bowl game.

The Longhorns were dealing with huge injuries to its top two rushers and top receiver, Jaxon Shipley, but the Longhorns mustered just 247 yards of total offense, and after rushing for over 400 yards in consecutive weeks, dipped to 76 yards on the ground.

Texas quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy completed less than 50 percent of their passes and the Longhorns were held without a touchdown.

That makes life very easy for a very competent Missouri offense. The Tigers took advantage and suffocated a Texas team that now falls to 6-3, with its two previous losses coming to teams in the BCS top six.

For their efforts, SEC-bound Missouri fans serenaded the Big 12 boardroom kingpin Longhorns with an "S-E-C!" chant, too.

The Tigers may be without Henry Josey, the Big 12's leading rusher for awhile, but Kendial Lawrence hit 106 yards. He may have to deal with a much larger portion of the carries moving forward, but we'll see how severe Josey's injury is.
Turning point: Texas came into the game questioning the health at running back with Malcolm Brown suffering from turf toe. It turned out Brown was unable to go. Added to that was the fact that Joe Bergeron was out because of a hamstring injury. Then in the first quarter Fozzy Whittaker went down with a serious knee injury. That left Texas with little-used Jeremy Hills at running back.

Best player in the half: Kendial Lawrence came in for an injured Henry Josey and provided the game’s only big play with a 35-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Josey appeared to have his bell rung on a run inside the 5-yard line in the second quarter.

What Texas needs to do: The Longhorns are going to have to get some sort of passing game going to stay in the game. David Ash missed a wide-open a touchdown to Marquise Goodwin, but did hit a couple of longer passes in the first half. Texas needs to take advantage of the wind when it gets the ball in the second half.

What Missouri needs to do: Continue to control the line of scrimmage. Missouri was making huge holes on offense and sacked Ash twice in the second quarter. The offensive line settled down in the second quarter and allowed quarterback James Franklin to pick apart the secondary and made plenty of room to run for Josey and Lawrence.
Texas A&M running back Christine Michael will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, coach Mike Sherman announced on Monday.

Michael missed the second half of last season with a broken leg.

His 899 rushing yards and eight touchdowns rank fifth in the Big 12, and he's expected to undergo surgery in a couple weeks after the swelling goes down. Sherman was unsure which knee was injured.

Cyrus Gray will step into the No. 1 role for the Aggies, and will be backed up by Ben Malena.

Michael had 149 carries on the year, but Gray had 733 rushing yards on 159 carries and led the team with 1,133 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.

Michael's the second Big 12 star to go down with a torn ACL this past weekend, after Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles suffered the same injury earlier in the win over the Aggies.

Michael's also the latest rusher in the Big 12 to go down with a serious injury. Texas Tech's Eric Stephens is out for the rest of the year with a dislocated knee, and Oklahoma's Dominique Whaley's season is also done after suffering a fractured ankle against Kansas State.

Iowa State running back Shontrelle Johnson led the team in rushing before a neck injury ended his season. Texas' Malcolm Brown missed Saturday's game with turf toe and leads the team with 635 yards. He'll spend this week in a boot and was listed as the No. 3 back on Monday's depth chart.

Missouri's top two rushers, De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence, also suffered early-season injuries before the emergence of Henry Josey, who leads the Big 12 and is fifth nationally with 1,149 yards.

Halftime: Missouri running game rolling

November, 5, 2011
Missouri leads Baylor, 14-13 heading into halftime, but Missouri's running game has been as advertised.

Henry Josey averages 8.55 yards a carry, and that number doesn't look like it's shrinking any time soon.

He carried the ball 10 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and James Franklin and Kendial Lawrence added a combined 73 yards on 13 carries.

For you math wizards out there, that's 184 yards on 23 carries for a staggering average of eight yards a touch.

Missouri entered today's game with the Big 12's top rushing attack (243 yards a game) and Baylor has given up 246 yards a game in conference play, the Big 12's worst mark.

So far, that battle's gone as expected.

Chat: K-State, Red River, best LBs, Snyder

October, 4, 2011
Thanks for all the questions. Fun chat today. Here's the full transcript.

Didn't get to hear back from me? Try again with something funnier or more interesting.

Time for a few highlights.

Henry Josey (Columbia): Why do I get absolutely no respect despite the fact I have had good games against 2 top 20 teams with very senior defenses?

David Ubben: Good question, Mr. Josey. You've been solid, and as Bill Snyder said Monday, are averaging "a million yards a carry." I'm unsure if this is true or hyperbole, but you've been an excellent back and carried the load well, which has been much heavier without De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence there to help.

Tony S. (KY): Why is it OU keeps dropping in the polls?

David Ubben: People need to stop freaking out about this. I mean, come on. Anyone who thinks OU should be No. 1 hasn't been watching Alabama and LSU play. Sorry.

Bill Snyder (Manhattan, KS): Ubben, I read on this smartberry devise about my youngsters being underdogs to Missouri when they come to my family stadium. What chance do you give my family(fans) enjoying a win this weekend? If we win, chances going 7-0?

David Ubben: First off...awesome question. This game looks like a total toss-up to me. I don't think Missouri's going to be as good as I thought heading into the season. The defensive line has been a bit of a disappointment, and the receivers are still mostly looking like the T.J. Moe Show. K-State, meanwhile, is leaps and bounds better. I maintained this team had a lot of upside, but they've been even better than I thought. Easily the surprise of the Big 12 this year. If K-State wins Saturday, I'm betting on 7-0 heading into that game against OU in three weeks.

cuppycup (College Station, TX): Texas climbed the polls in a hurry playing no one of significance. Will they still look like a top 15 team after the RRS?

David Ubben: I think it'll be close. Texas didn't play anyone of significance, but it's hard to deny how good they've been since switching from Garrett Gilbert. Beat UCLA by 29 on the road and beat Iowa State by 23 on the road with a 34-point halftime lead.

SGT Steck (Edmond): Hey Ubbs, love the blog. Do you think the B12ship comes down to a brawl in Stillwater on Dec. 3? It pains me to sayit cuz I hate the Sooners but I would love to see both teams come into this game undefeated. And to A&M, thanx alot for making our comeback win not so special. It's hard to plays football with your hands around your throat.

David Ubben: At this point, yes. In the Big 12 race, A&M's loss last week was meaningless, but who the heck is going to beat OSU until that OU game? If someone does, it'll only be one game anyway. The Big 12 title will be on the line in Stillwater, maybe between undefeateds.

John (Denver, CO): Teams typically try to cover Ryan Broyles with double coverage. That works, but it frees up another receiver. Do you like Trey Franks or Kenny Stills to step up big in this year's RRR?

David Ubben: Yeah, I think Stills has made that obvious. I'm not sure you can really count on all of OU's other receivers making plays consistently, but one of them will outside of Stills, who will do fine as OU's featured receiver next year. Franks, Dejuan Miller, Jaz Reynolds will make some plays on Saturday. One of them, at least.

Jeff Cook (Tulsa): How aggressive do you think the Big 12 will be, if Missouri stays, in going after other schools to join the Big 12. Thanks.

David Ubben: If Missouri stays, I think the Big 12 needs to go back to 12 with BYU, Louisville and someone else in the Big East like TCU or West Virginia. If Missouri goes, go after them both.

Drew (Manhattan): Where would you rank Arthur Brown among linebackers in the Big 12? In the Nation?

David Ubben: I'd have to really sort that out in an extended post sometime. He's in the mix for the best already. No question. Reminds me a whole lot of Lavonte David. He's got that kind of toughness and speed. Absolute stud.

Tom Holmoe (Provo, UT): Hey, tell Neinas that I sent that contract back via carrier pigeon. He should have it in, oh, about 6 or 7 days, depending on the current hawk and eagle forecast.

David Ubben: Will do.