Big 12: Spencer Roth

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 6

October, 6, 2014
Oct 6
11:00
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Taking stock of Week 6 in the Big 12:

Team of the week: The Horned Frogs landed their biggest win since joining the Big 12, with a 37-33 victory over then fourth-ranked Oklahoma. TCU’s revamped attack moved the ball up and down on Oklahoma’s vaunted defense.Then in the fourth quarter, the Horned Frogs locked up the Oklahoma offense, which had the ball three times on the TCU side of the field in the final 7 minutes and failed to score a point. With the preseason favorite Sooners vanquished, TCU can take command of the Big 12 race this weekend with a win over the defending Big 12 champs in Baylor.

Disappointment of the week: On a weekend in which Oregon, Alabama, Texas A&M and UCLA all loss, the Sooners had an opportunity to cement their status as a playoff team. Instead, Oklahoma fell victim to the upset, as well. The Sooners had their chances. But two Trevor Knight interceptions in the fourth quarter helped seal the TCU win late. The Sooners aren’t out of the playoff race yet. But their chances took a hit.

Big (offensive) man on campus: Trevone Boykin went into the offseason not knowing if he would be a quarterback or a wide receiver on the TCU offense. But Boykin’s rededication to the finer points of being a quarterback culminated with a spectacular effort against Oklahoma. Boykin accounted for a career-high 395 yards of offense, and two touchdowns. TCU is finally a contender in the Big 12, and Boykin's dramatic improvement as a quarterback is a major reason why.

Big (defensive) men on campus: The linebackers often get overshadowed by the rest of the TCU defense, but nobody played a bigger part in the Horned Frogs’ win over Oklahoma than Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet. Dawson picked off Knight at the beginning of the fourth quarter and raced 41 yards for the touchdown that would put TCU up for good. Then late in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-1 Mallet stuffed Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine short of the first down to help clinch the Horned Frogs’ victory. Together, the two combined for 21 tackles in a pair of Herculean efforts.

Special-teams players of the week: As Baylor’s offense sputtered, its special teams trio of Beau Blackshear, Terrell Burt and Spencer Roth was the difference in the Bears’ 28-7 win over Texas. Blackshear blocked Texas’ 52-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, and Burt scooped it up and returned it for a score, which remained Baylor’s only touchdown until Roth sparked the next in the third quarter. The Baylor veteran punter called his own fake, and dashed 19 yards for a first down to midfield. Three plays later, Bryce Petty hit Antwan Goodley with a 29-yard touchdown pass, catapulting the Bears to the win in Austin.

video video Play of the week: Tyler Lockett is the man at wide receiver for Kansas State, but Curry Sexton has emerged as a dynamic wingman, highlighted by this one-handed touchdown grab in K-State’s 45-13 win over Texas Tech.

video Stat of the week: Kansas' Trevor Pardula punted 14 times in a 33-14 loss at West Virginia. The 14 punts were the most by an FBS team in one game since 2010. The Jayhawks punted on their first 10 possessions, and took only one snap in West Virginia territory until late in the third quarter.

Quote of the week: "I don’t know how things change, but it’s frustrating and it’s not fair." -- Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard, on Big 12 officiating

Quote of the week II: "Trevor Knight, call me!" -- Katy Perry, while hitting on the Oklahoma quarterback during her guest picker segment on "College GameDay"
Five days before Big 12 media days get underway, the conference has released its official preseason All-Big 12 team as well as its preseason award-winners, as voted on by conference media.

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was named Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. No surprise there. Oklahoma State RB/WR Tyreek Hill, the speedy juco transfer from Garden City (Kansas) Community College, received preseason Newcomer of the Year honors.

The more debatable award, preseason Defensive Player of the Year, went to TCU defensive end Devonte Fields. He played in just three games in 2013 due to a foot injury but was voted the league's top defender and newcomer in 2012 as a true freshman.

Baylor led the way with seven players on the All-Big 12 team. Kansas State had five selections on the squad, and Oklahoma received four. Only one Big 12 program -- Oklahoma State -- did not have at least one player make the team.

All-Big 12 Team

QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
RB Shock Linwood, Baylor
RB Malcolm Brown, Texas
WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
WR Antwan Goodley, Baylor
TE E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
OL B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OL Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
OL Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech

DL Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
DL Devonte Fields, TCU
DL Chucky Hunter, TCU
DL Cedric Reed, Texas
LB Bryce Hager, Baylor
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
DB Sam Carter, TCU
DB Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia

PK Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
P Spencer Roth, Baylor
KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
PR Levi Norwood, Baylor

There aren't many snubs to be found from this year's team. You can make a case for a bunch of other players -- TCU cornerback Kevin White, Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman, Texas' Johnathan Gray and Malcom Brown, West Virginia's Quinton Spain and Nick O'Toole. But based on 2013 performance, this list looks about right.

Any more exclusions stand out to you? Should Ryan Mueller or someone else win DPOY? Hit us with your complaints in the comments below.
The college football watch list train continued Wednesday with the Lou Groza Award (best kicker) and Ray Guy Ward (best punter) watch lists.

Monday, the Maxwell (player of the year), Bednarik (defensive player of the year) and Hornung (most versatile player) watch lists were released. Tuesday, the Mackey (best tight end) and Rimington (best center) watch lists came out.

Below are the Big 12 players that made the Groza and Guy watch lists:

Guy
Groza
A wonderful summer tradition is upon us: The college football preseason magazines have hit the newsstands. As usual, they're chocked full of info, predictions and glossy photos. As expected, no matter which one you pick up, it'll be full of love for Florida State and Alabama.

How did the Big 12 fare in this year's preseason publications? Oklahoma and Baylor have the unanimous respect of the pundits -- no surprise there -- but everyone has a different take on how the rest of the league standings will shake out. A rundown of the key predictions you'll find in each magazine:

PHIL STEELE

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops
Jackson Laizure/Getty ImagesBob Stoops' Sooners are a popular pick to make college football's initial playoff.
Ranking the Big 12:
1. Oklahoma (4th nationally)
"This year's Sooner squad is stronger on both sides of the ball with nine returning starters back on D and more stability at QB. … The Sooners are a legit national title contender."
2. Baylor (8th)
"QB (Bryce) Petty will likely lead the NCAA in passing, throwing to my No. 1 set of receivers with my No. 2 O-line and No. 2 RBs in the Big 12."
3. TCU (14th)
"If you are looking for this year's Auburn, which is a team that had just 3 or 4 wins the previous year and ends up playing for the national title, you may just have found them."
4. Texas (25th)
5. Kansas State (42nd)
6. Oklahoma State
7. Texas Tech
8. West Virginia
9. Iowa State
10. Kansas
All-Americans: WR Antwan Goodley, BAY (1st team); WR Tyler Lockett, KSU (2nd); DE Ryan Mueller, KSU (2nd); LB Eric Striker, OU (2nd); C BJ Finney, KSU (3rd); T Le'Raven Clark, TTU (3rd); T Spencer Drango, BAY (3rd); DE Devonte Fields, TCU (3rd); DE Cedric Reed, TEX (3rd)
Surprise team: Steele has TCU as his No. 4 team most likely to surprise behind Georgia, USC and Wisconsin. Texas came in at No. 10 on his list. Steele also claims the Horned Frogs will be the nation's most improved team in 2014.
Preseason No. 1: Florida State.
Playoff prediction: Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma.
Heisman: Petty is ranked No. 4 and OU's Trevor Knight is No. 9 among Steele's 2014 Heisman favorites. Lockett also listed as a "contender."

ATHLON

Ranking the Big 12:
1. Oklahoma (4th nationally)
"These Sooners can win. And win big."
2. Baylor (10th)
"The Bears probably have too many questions marks to give Oklahoma a serious fight for the top spot."
3. Texas (17th)
"Any improvement from last year's 8-5 record would probably be seen as a good first year for [Charlie] Strong."
4. Kansas State (20th)
5. Oklahoma State (37th)
6. TCU (39th)
7. Texas Tech (41st)
8. Iowa State (66th)
9. West Virginia (67th)
10. Kansas (78th)
All-Americans: Lockett (1st team); Goodley (2nd); Striker (2nd); CB Quandre Diggs, TEX (2nd); Finney (3rd); OG Quinton Spain, WVU (3rd); Mueller (3rd); DT Malcom Brown, TEX (3rd).
Hot seat: Charlie Weis is ranked No. 4 among coaches in the most trouble entering 2014, a list that has Florida's Will Muschamp in the top spot. West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen is sixth on the hot-seat list.
Playoff prediction: Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma.
Heisman: Petty is ranked fifth and Knight is 18th among Athlon's top 20 contenders.

LINDY'S

Ranking in the Big 12:
1. Oklahoma (3rd nationally)
"The Sooners have the look and feel of Big 12 bullies again."
2. Baylor (10th)
"The Bears' roster is dynamite, and [Art] Briles is a magician. A repeat Big 12 title would launch this program into the stratosphere."
3. Kansas State (16th)
"Kansas State has enough pieces to challenge for the Big 12 title and to make a name for itself with an early home game against Auburn."
4. Texas (22nd)
5. Texas Tech (33rd)
6. Oklahoma State (37th)
7. TCU (45th)
8. West Virginia (46th)
9. Iowa State (53rd)
10. Kansas (85th)
All-Americans: Goodley (1st team); Lockett (2nd); Drango (2nd); Reed (2nd); Striker (2nd).
Top newcomers: Lindy's predicts that Iowa State WR Allen Lazard will be the league's best instant-impact freshman. Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon is named the newcomer most likely to thrive in the NFL, and Oklahoma State LB Josh Mabin is the "top sleeper" among incoming freshmen.
Playoff prediction: Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon.
Heisman: Petty is ranked fourth and Knight is No. 9 among Lindy's top 10 candidates.

SPORTING NEWS

Ranking the Big 12:
1. Oklahoma (1st nationally)
"Enough pieces are in place for Oklahoma to be among the four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff bracket."
2. Baylor (7th)
"Baylor is capable of hanging a banner after the first year in its new home."
3. Texas (23rd)
"The defense will be improved, but the Longhorns continue to be in game-management mode at quarterback."
4. Oklahoma State
5. Kansas State
6. TCU
7. West Virginia
8. Texas Tech
9. Iowa State
10. Kansas
All-Americans: Lockett (1st team); Goodley (2nd); Clark (2nd); LB Bryce Hager, BAY (2nd); Striker (2nd); Diggs (2nd); Petty (3rd); Drango (3rd); DE Charles Tapper, OU (3rd); Reed (3rd); LB Ben Heeney, KU (3rd); Carter (3rd), P Spencer Roth, BAY (3rd).
POTY: Sporting News names Petty its preseason offensive player in the Big 12 and Fields as the league's top defender, even though he didn't earn a spot on their three All-America squads.
Playoff prediction: Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida State, Alabama.
Heisman: Petty is No. 6 among Sporting News' preseason top 10 candidates.

USA TODAY

Ranking the Big 12:
1. Oklahoma (7th nationally)
"It's hard to find many faults with this team, outside of the potential for a decline in pass defense without (Aaron) Colvin on the outside."
2. Baylor (12th)
"While there's still experience aplenty, Baylor's overall youth could prevent another run to the Big 12 title."
3. Kansas State (13th)
"The pieces are there for the Wildcats to contend for the Big 12 title if they can avoid the sort of sloppy, sluggish start that cut last season down in its tracks."
4. Texas (24th)
5. Oklahoma State (35th)
6. Texas Tech (41st)
7. TCU (57th)
8. West Virginia (74th)
9. Kansas (96th)
10. Iowa State (98th)
All-Americans: Lockett (1st team); Striker (1st); T Daryl Williams, OU (1st); S Sam Carter, TCU (1st).
Big games: USA Today's top three Big 12 games for 2014 are Texas vs. Oklahoma on Oct. 11, Baylor at Oklahoma on Nov. 8 and Kansas State at Baylor on Dec. 6.
Playoff prediction: Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon.
Heisman: Petty listed as one of eight candidates capable of dethroning Jameis Winston.
With spring ball done, we’re re-examining and re-ranking the positional situations of every Big 12 team, continuing Friday with special teams. These outlooks will probably look different in August. But here’s how we see them post-spring:

1. TCU (pre-spring ranking: 1): The Horned Frogs’ coverage units were pretty lousy last year. If they can shore those up, this could be an elite special-teams unit with kicker Jaden Oberkrom, punter Ethan Perry and returners B.J. Catalon and Cameron Echols-Luper.

2. Kansas State (3): Freshman Judah Jones, who was one of the stars of the spring game with a 51-yard touchdown catch, fielded kickoffs, too. Cornerback Morgan Burns also added a 39-yard kickoff return. They could take some pressure off Tyler Lockett in the return game and also him to get a breather when needed.

3. Baylor (2): The return units are going to be spectacular, and Spencer Roth is one of the best punters in the nation. But field-goal kicking is an unknown. Freshman Chris Callahan has taken over for now as the team’s kicker, but missed one chip shot badly in the spring game. Callahan could be fine. But as Oklahoma State found out last year, rolling with a first-time kicker can be dicey.

[+] EnlargeMichael Hunnicutt
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsMichael Hunnicutt has the ability to become Oklahoma's first All-America kicker.
4. Oklahoma (5): Place-kicker Michael Hunnicutt (Moneycutt?) nailed field goals of 52 and 47 yards during a windy spring game. Amazingly, the Sooners have never had an All-America kicker. Hunnicutt has the potential to be the first.

5. West Virginia (7): Josh Lambert created plenty of buzz this spring, including his 53-yard field goal in the spring game. Mario Alford also took the opening kick in the spring game to the house. Punter Nick O’Toole is a proven commodity. If Lambert has a big sophomore year (he was really good as a freshman) and Alford’s TD is a sign of improvement in the return units, which ranked last in the Big 12 last year, this could become one of the league’s better special-teams units.

6. Texas Tech (4): The Red Raiders continued to have issues fielding punts during the spring, which is probably one reason why the return slots were left blank in the team’s post-spring depth chart. Incoming freshman Ian Sadler, who had six return touchdowns during his senior season of high school, could solidify that spot once he arrives on campus.

7. Iowa State (6): Sophomore kicker Cole Netten showed off his big leg in the spring game by making a 56-yard field goal. That came after coach Paul Rhoads gave him a shot at a 62-yard attempt. Netten, combined with the dynamic return trio of Jarvis West, DeVondrick Nealy and Aaron Wimberly, should translate into a strong special-teams unit. If incoming freshman Colin Downing can adequately step in at punter, the unit will be even stronger.

8. Texas (8): Nick Rose showed a strong leg on a missed 55-yard field goal try in the spring game and converted a 40-yarder. William Russ averaged 43.3 yards per punt in the spring game. Those were positive signs, but replacing All-American kicker/punter Anthony Fera will be one of the underrated storylines in Charlie Strong’s first season.

9: Oklahoma State (10): With so much turnover on both sides of the ball, the Cowboys need their special teams to be much better than last season. They just might be, though. With his speed, Tyreek Hill will be a major factor in the return game. Also, place-kicker Ben Grogan, after a shaky freshman season, drew praise for his improvement this spring from coach Mike Gundy.

10. Kansas (9): Special teams did not excel in Kansas’ spring game. Matthew Wyman made a 23-yard field goal but missed an extra point. The punting in the game was mediocre as well. The Jayhawks reportedly have preferred walk-on John Duvic enrolling this summer. After setting the Illinois state high school record with five field goals in a game, he could be a welcomed addition.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be breaking down the 10 best players at the moment on every team in the Big 12.

These lists won’t include junior college or freshman signees who haven’t arrived on campus yet. Rather, they will include only the players currently on their teams this spring. Some of these rankings might look different after the spring, but this is how we see them now.

On Monday, we start with the defending Big 12 champs: the Baylor Bears.

1. QB Bryce Petty: Petty is the reigning All-Big 12 quarterback and will begin the 2014 season on the Heisman short list after recording 46 total touchdowns throwing and running with only three interceptions last season. The Bears will start out as a legitimate playoff contender, and Petty will be a major reason why.

[+] EnlargeAntwan Goodley
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsBaylor's Antwan Goodley gives quarterback Bryce Petty a playmaking, go-to wide receiver.
2. WR Antwan Goodley: Every big-time QB needs a go-to receiver, and Goodley is just that and more. He finished with 1,339 receiving yards last season, second in the Big 12 only to Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro by 13 yards. Goodley is physical and he can fly, making him a nightmare matchup for opposing cornerbacks. Like Petty, Goodley will enter the season as an All-American candidate.

3. ILB Bryce Hager: With Eddie Lackey and Ahmad Dixon gone, Hager will be the clear-cut anchor of the Baylor defense once he returns from groin surgery. Hager is a tackling machine and will be a reliable piece for a defense that will be debuting several new starters.

4. LT Spencer Drango: Those outside the Baylor program learned just how valuable Drango was when he wasn’t in the lineup in 2013. After Drango suffered a season-ending back injury, Baylor’s pass protection of Petty slipped substantially the final month of the season. Even though he missed the final three games of the regular season, Drango deservedly was named first-team All-Big 12. With Outland finalist Cyril Richardson gone, Drango will be the headliner on the Baylor offensive line.

5. RB Shock Linwood: Despite being Baylor’s third-team running back last year, Linwood still finished sixth in the Big 12 in rushing with 881 yards. Some of that was due to Art Briles’ system and Baylor’s other offensive weapons. But some of it was due to Linwood’s talent, too. In his first significant action, Linwood shredded Oklahoma’s defense for 182 rushing yards, then followed that up with 187 yards against Texas Tech. Linwood is now the starter, and though he’ll likely share carries with Johnny Jefferson and Devin Chafin, he could put up a full season worth of big rushing totals.

[+] EnlargeLevi Norwood
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsBetween his receiving and kick-returning abilities, Levi Norwood is a dangerous weapon for the Bears.
6. WR Levi Norwood: When Tevin Reese was lost for the regular season with a wrist injury, more throws went Norwood’s way. And he capitalized on those opportunities, totaling 156, 83 and 83 receiving yards in three straight games near the end of the season to finish in the top 10 of the Big 12 in receiving along with teammates Goodley and Reese. Norwood is also a dangerous returner, taking two punts to the house last year. With Reese gone for good, Norwood will step into the No. 2 receiving role alongside Goodley, giving the Bears a formidable one-two punch for Petty to operate with.

7. DT Andrew Billings: Billings was one of the gems of the 2013 recruiting class and commanded a role along the defensive line as a true freshman. In his second year in the program, Billings could be primed for a breakout season. He has the talent, strength and quickness to be the best defensive tackle in the entire league.

8: DT Beau Blackshear: He might get overshadowed by Billings’ hype, but Blackshear has become a solid cog in Phil Bennett’s defense up front. Together, Blackshear and Billings could give the Bears a defensive tackle tandem as good as any in the Big 12.

9. DE Shawn Oakman: At 6-foot-9, 275 pounds, Oakman has the size and length to be a menacing defensive end. He flashed his immense potential several times last year and finished tied for sixth in the Big 12 with 12.5 tackles for loss despite being a part-time player. Oakman will take on a much bigger role on the defense this season, and he has the capability to be an All-Big 12 performer. The trio of Billings, Blackshear and Oakman is the foundation of what Baylor’s defensive line could be under Briles.

10. P Spencer Roth: The Bears featured one of the best special-teams units in the country in 2013, and Roth spearheaded that effort. The All-Big 12 punter was sixth nationally with an average of 45.8 yards per punt. Because of how prolific the Baylor offense is, Roth doesn’t get to punt often. But when he does, he usually swings field position the other way.
As we await the start of spring ball, we’ve been examining and ranking the positional situations of every team in the Big 12. Thursday, we close this series out with special teams.

1. TCU: Honorable mention All-Big 12 place-kicker Jaden Oberkrom was 13 of 14 on field goals inside the 50 last season and drilled a 56-yarder late in the fourth quarter at Kansas State. B.J. Catalon was second in the league in kickoff returns and took one to the house in the opener against LSU. Freshman Cameron Echols-Luper took his first punt return 51 yards and had a 41-yarder in the season finale against Baylor. Brandon Carter has had moments in the return game in the past as well. Ethan Perry will be a three-year starter at punter, rounding out a formidable special teams unit.

2. Baylor: Corey Coleman led the league in kick returns, and Levi Norwood scored twice off punt returns. The Bears are loaded with potential game-breakers in the return game and welcome back All-Big 12 punter Spencer Roth. If Kyle Peterson proves to be a reliable replacement for departing kicker Aaron Jones, this special teams unit will have no weakness.

[+] EnlargeTyler Lockett
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesAlong with being a top-flight wide receiver, Kansas State's Tyler Lockett can also provide big plays in the return game.
3. Kansas State: The Wildcats feature one of the best kickoff return men in the game in Tyler Lockett, who doubles as an All-American WR candidate. Jack Cantele, the younger brother of All-Big 12 K-State kicker Anthony Cantele, only missed two field goal attempts as a sophomore and nailed a 41-yarder as time expired to beat TCU. Defensive tackle Travis Britz also returns after leading the nation with four blocked kicks.

4. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders will feature a lethal one-two punch in the return game in Jakeem Grant and Reginald Davis, who took a kick back for a touchdown in the bowl game. Receiver Jordan Davis also has return experience. Kicker Ryan Bustin returns after garnering honorable mention All-Big 12 honors last year.

5. Oklahoma: The Sooners lose the most explosive return duo in the league in Jalen Saunders and Roy Finch. Sterling Shepard and Alex Ross could be among the players who replace them. Oklahoma boasts the league’s most efficient returning place-kicker in Michael Hunnicutt, who nailed 24 of 27 field goal tries last season. The Sooners have a secret weapon in Nick Hodgson, who led the league in touchback kickoffs last season. Jed Barnett, fifth in the Big 12 in punting average last season, returns as well.

6. Iowa State: The Cyclones had four players make first- or second-team All-Big 12 last season, and departing punter Kirby Van Der Kamp was one of them. Replacing his production won’t be easy, though incoming three-star freshman Colin Downing will try. DeVondrick Nealy, Jarvis West and Aaron Wimberly all had several dynamite moments returning kicks. Cole Netten was 13-of-18 on field goals as a freshman,

7. West Virginia: Nick O'Toole leads the Mountaineers on special teams. The “Boomstache” was 15th nationally in punting last season. The Mountaineers have all their returners back in Wendell Smallwood, Mario Alford and Jordan Thompson, though more big plays are needed from this group -- the Mountaineers ranked last in the league in both punt and kick returns in 2013. Josh Lambert comes back after making 17 of 23 field goals as a freshman. The Mountaineers also enjoy a luxury in Michael Molinari, who can do a little bit of everything.

8. Texas: The Longhorns lose their punter and their kicker in consensus All-American Anthony Fera. That hurts. Nick Jordan, who made nine of 15 field goals in 2012, could reclaim his job. Daje Johnson -- who returned a punt for a TD against Oklahoma -- Duke Thomas, Quandre Diggs, Marcus Johnson, Kendall Sanders and Jaxon Shipley all have experience returning.

9. Kansas: Return men Connor Embree (punts) and JaCorey Shepherd (kicks) both come back. The Jayhawks also return kicker Matthew Wyman, who connected on a game-winning 52-yard field goal to beat Louisiana Tech. The freshman, however, only made two field goals after that and eventually lost that job to departing senior Ron Doherty. Trevor Pardula was third in the Big 12 in punting as a junior and received votes for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

10. Oklahoma State: After enjoying All-Americans Dan Bailey and Quinn Sharp the last few years, the Cowboys were finally mediocre in the kicking game last season. Ben Grogan struggled as a freshman, making just 11 of 18 field goals while missing two critical attempts in the early-season loss at West Virginia. The Cowboys were also last in the league in punting. Oklahoma State signed three-star kicker Zach Sinor with hopes of curing some of those ills. The Cowboys were still dynamic in the return game, but with Justin Gilbert and Josh Stewart both gone, Oklahoma State could lean on juco transfer and track star Tyreek Hill for a jolt on returns.

Big 12 all-bowl team

January, 9, 2014
Jan 9
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The Big 12 had some memorable bowl performances, and some not-so-memorable ones. Below, we honor the memorable ones with the Big 12's all-bowl team:

OFFENSE

QB: Trevor Knight, Oklahoma. Texas Tech’s Davis Webb and Kansas State’s Jake Waters were marvelous, too, but Knight was simply incredible, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns against the two-time defending national champs.

RB: Malcolm Brown, Texas. Brown did everything he could to keep the Longhorns in the Valero Alamo Bowl, rushing for 130 yards on 26 carries. Unfortunately, he had little help from the rest of the offense.

[+] EnlargeTyler Lockett
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesTyler Lockett proved just as much a handful for Michigan as he does Big 12 teams.
RB: John Hubert, Kansas State. In his final game at K-State, Hubert went out with a bang, rushing for 80 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats rolled Michigan.

WR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State. The Wolverines became the next team unable to guard Lockett, who had another stellar outing with 10 catches, 116 yards and three touchdowns. Big 12 defensive backs cannot be looking forward to this guy coming back next season.

WR: Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma. Saunders hauled in two of Knight’s touchdown passes, the second a 43-yarder coming off a gorgeous double move that gave OU the lead for good.

TE: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech. Amaro became the NCAA's all-time single season tight end record holder for receptions and receiving yards, reeling in eight catches for 112 yards against the Sun Devils before revealing he would be turning pro.

OT: Bronson Irwin, Oklahoma. Irwin held up remarkably well against Alabama’s mighty front in his first career start at right tackle, as Knight was sacked only once. Irwin, a guard his entire career, had to move outside because of an injury to Tyrus Thompson.

OT: Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech. Webb attempted 41 passes and wasn’t sacked once. Clark was a big reason.

OG: Cody Whitehair, Kansas State. The Wildcats moved the ball at will against Michigan. Along with Clark, Whitehair is one of the best young returning offensive linemen in the league.

OG: Beau Carpenter, Texas Tech. After missing three straight games with a concussion, Carpenter returned to help shut down Arizona State All-American DT Will Sutton, who basically was a non-factor.

C: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma. Even with a makeshift offensive line, OU somehow won the battle in the trenches against Alabama. Ikard, an All-American and quarterback of the line, deserves a ton of credit for keeping the line together.

DEFENSE

DE: Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma. Grissom was a man possessed against the Crimson Tide. The former tight end had two sacks and two fumble recoveries, the latter of which he returned for a touchdown to clinch the Sooners’ victory.

DT: Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State. Despite the loss, Barnett tied a career high with five tackles and one sack and repeatedly found his way into the Missouri backfield.

DT: Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech. The Red Raiders desperately missed Bush late in the regular season. His performance against Arizona State underscored why, as Bush delivered three tackles and a sack and freed up Kerry Hyder to make plays, too.

[+] EnlargeEric Striker
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesSooners LB Eric Striker sacked AJ McCarron three times in the Sugar Bowl.
DE: Jimmy Bean, Oklahoma State. Bean had a breakout game in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, with a career-high seven tackles, including three for loss.

LB: Eric Striker, Oklahoma. Not even Alabama could block Striker off the edge. Striker had a monster performance against the Tide with seven tackles and three sacks, with his final sack forcing the game-clinching fumble in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

LB: Will Smith, Texas Tech. The senior had a National University Holiday Bowl-high 14 tackles, as the Red Raiders held Arizona State 17 points below its season average.

LB: Blake Slaughter, Kansas State. One of the better linebackers in the Big 12 all year, Slaughter had another fine game in the desert with seven tackles, including one for loss, as Michigan’s offense was held in check all night.

CB: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma. The Sooners gave up some big plays in the passing game, but Colvin was the exception. He also had a critical, touchdown-saving tackle in the first quarter that resulted in Alabama having to settle for a field goal.

CB: Demetri Goodson, Baylor. The Bears gave up 52 points, but they might have given up more had Goodson not collected an acrobatic interception inside the Baylor 5-yard line.

S: Dante Barnett, Kansas State. Barnett led the Wildcats with eight tackles, and he delivered the exclamation point against Michigan with a 51-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

S: Tanner Jacobson, Texas Tech. In his last college game for a while, the walk-on freshman had a very solid performance with seven tackles. Jacobson is leaving the program for a two-year Mormon mission to Bolivia.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma. “Moneycutt” nailed a season-long 47-yard field goal in the second quarter that allowed OU to keep momentum. It was the third-longest field goal of his career.

P: Spencer Roth, Baylor. One of the few bright spots for Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was its punter, who was busier than he had been all season. Roth averaged almost 44 yards on seven punts, and pinned UCF inside the 20-yard line three times.

Returner: Reginald Davis, Texas Tech. After Arizona State had trimmed Tech’s lead to 27-20 early in the third quarter, Davis answered on the ensuing kickoff with a 90-yard touchdown return down the sideline. The Sun Devils failed to retake the momentum again the rest of the game.

Big 12 did you know: Week 7

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
10:02
AM ET
We're back again with our weekly collection of facts, tidbits and notes about this weekend's games in the Big 12. As always, these are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information and various sports information departments across the Big 12.

We love you, you make your readers the smartest people at their tailgates:

Did you know ...
  • Last week against Texas was the first game all season West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith didn't complete at least 60 percent of his passes longer than 15 yards downfield.
  • Facing at least five blitzing rushers, Smith is completing 78 percent of his passes, 16 percent higher than last season.
  • In those situations, Smith has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions, with at least one touchdown in those scenarios in each game this season.
  • Texas Tech QB Seth Doege has completed just 62.5 percent of his passes in those situations, with one touchdown and one interception.
  • Landry Jones completed 9 of 12 passes for 120 yards, a touchdown and no sacks when Texas Tech blitzed last week.
  • When opponents send three or fewer rushers, Smith has completed 51 of 59 (86.4 percent) of his passes.
  • In those situations, he hasn't been sacked once in 61 dropbacks and has completed 13 of 17 passes at least 15 yards downfield with five touchdowns.
  • Tavon Austin (8) and Stedman Bailey (13, most in the FBS) have combined for 21 touchdown catches. No other team in college football has more than 19 touchdown catches.
  • Oklahoma threw for 259 passing yards last week, but 174 came after the catch vs. Texas Tech.
  • Austin has 424 yards after the catch, the most in the Big 12 and second-most among players at AQ-conference schools.
  • West Virginia ran on 54.5 percent of its plays last week, the second-highest percentage of any game since Dana Holgorsen took over as head coach.
  • Of Andrew Buie's 207 yards last week, 74 came after contact.
  • Texas Tech has given up just six plays longer than 20 yards all season, the fewest in FBS. Alabama is second, with eight.
  • Texas Tech gave up 66 of those plays last year, which ranked 100th in FBS.
  • Jones completed 44.8 percent of his throws longer than 20 yards last year. This year, he's completing just 26.1.
  • On those throws, Jones is averaging just 9.1 yards per attempt, compared to 17.3 last year.
  • When targeting Kenny Stills on those throws, Jones is just 3-of-10.
  • David Ash is completing 60 percent of his throws 20 yards or longer, compared to just 30 percent last season.
  • On those throws, Ash is averaging 21.9 yards per play.
  • Ash has four touchdowns to no interceptions on those throws, compared to one touchdown and one interception for Jones.
  • Texas' defense gave up 11 completions longer than 30 yards last year. This year, it has given up eight through just five games.
  • On throws longer than 20 yards, Jones is just 3-of-14 all-time vs. Texas, with no touchdowns.
  • Texas running back Joe Bergeron averages 2.9 yards per carry in the first half this season, compared to 6.1 in the second half.
  • Six of his seven carries longer than 20 yards have come in the second half, and he's averaging 3.8 yards after contact per carry in the second half, compared to 1.7 in the first half.
  • Facing a blitz this year, Ash hasn't been sacked in 32 dropbacks, is completing 75 percent of his passes and hasn't turned the ball over.
  • Last year, he had zero touchdowns and three picks in those same situations, compared to three touchdowns and no interceptions so far this year.
  • Collin Klein averages 6.2 yards per carry on designed runs this year.
  • Last year, Klein averaged just 4.3 yards per carry in those same situations.
  • Iowa State gives up 115.8 yards a game, 30th in the FBS.
  • Last year against Iowa State, Klein had four runs of at least 10 yards.
  • On designed runs on first down, Klein is averaging 7.4 yards per carry this year.
  • When targeting Tramaine Thompson at least 10 yards downfield, Klein is 8-of-12 with three touchdowns.
  • When targeting the rest of the team at least 10 yards downfield, Klein is 12-of-26 with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
  • Oklahoma State has beaten Kansas in seven of their last eight meetings.
  • Oklahoma State's 13 road wins since 2009 are tied for fifth-most in FBS.
  • As a player and a coach, Mike Gundy is 4-0 all-time in Lawrence and 7-1 vs. Kansas.
  • Oklahoma State has won the past two games in this series by a combined score of 118-42.
  • In last year's game, Kansas turned the ball over four times in the first half. All resulted in Oklahoma State touchdowns.
  • TCU's campus was located in Waco from 1895-1910.
  • TCU is 21-6 all-time following a loss under Gary Patterson.
  • TCU is 22-12 against former Southwest Conference foes.
  • TCU has played Baylor 107 times, more than any other opponent in college football.
  • Skye Dawson is the only player in the country to rank in the top nine in punt returns and top 11 in kick returns.
  • Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager ranks second nationally in tackles per game.
  • Baylor punter Spencer Roth leads the Big 12 at 46.8 yards per punt.
  • Baylor has a nine-game home winning streak, the seventh-longest active streak in college football.

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