Big 12: team wraps 011514

Season wrap: Baylor

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
11:00
AM ET
No matter how it ended, you’d have to call this a dream season for Baylor, a record-breaking and program-changing year in so many ways. Powered by the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation, Baylor won 11 games for the first time in school history and its first conference title since 1980.

There were a few bumps along the way to the Bears’ historic season, but a season that began 9-0 ended with Baylor achieving some grand goals in Art Briles’ sixth season as head coach.

The future is bright, with a new stadium and another Big 12 title run on the way, but first here’s a quick look back at Baylor’s 2013 season.

Offensive MVP: QB Bryce Petty, whose first season as a starter went better than anyone could’ve expected. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year led the conference in nearly every passing statistic, with 4,200 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and just three interceptions, plus 14 rushing touchdowns. He returns to Waco a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in 2014.

Defensive MVP: LB Eddie Lackey. You could easily go with safety Ahmad Dixon here, but Lackey stepped up big for the Bears in 2013. He led the team in tackles with 108, picked off three passes and added 4.5 sacks and 13 TFLs. For that, he earned All-Big 12 honors and the love of Phil Bennett, who insists Lackey should’ve been an All-American.

Best moment: Closing Floyd Casey Stadium with a Big 12 championship celebration. An outright conference title and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl trip was on the line when Baylor took on Texas in its home finale, and the Bears took care of business with a 30-10 victory. Baylor had better blowouts this season, but this one was hard earned and gave longtime Bears fans a win they’ll never forget.

Worst moment: The Fiesta Bowl loss to UCF wasn’t pretty, but a 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater was more painful for the Bears. They were ranked No. 4 at the time and out to prove they belonged in the national title discussion, but OSU handed out a humbling beatdown in a game that was never really close.

Season wrap: Iowa State

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
10:30
AM ET
Paul Rhoads’ Iowa State squad refused to give up in 2013. Injuries, lack of playmakers and inexperience built a wall between the Cyclones and their hopes for another bowl appearance, yet Rhoads’ crew finished the season playing its best football of the year.

Back-to-back wins over Kansas and West Virginia in ISU’s final two games should help ease the pain of seven straight losses to begin Big 12 play. The Cyclones finished 3-9 but ended the year with hope for the future thanks to quarterback Grant Rohach, who took over as ISU’s starter down the stretch.

Offensive MVP: Quenton Bundrage. The sophomore receiver was one of the Big 12’s most explosive players. His 97-yard catch and run for a score against Texas was just a glimpse of his talent. Bundrage finished with 48 receptions for 676 yards and nine touchdowns, which ranked third in the Big 12.

Defensive MVP: Jeremiah George. The senior linebacker stepped right in to replace Jake Knott and A.J. Klein as one of the Big 12’s top linebackers while wearing the Cyclones’ cardinal and gold. George finished with 133 tackles, averaging 11.08 tackles per game, including 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He was all over the field while playing with a will and passion that helped ISU turn things around and win its final two games.

Best moment: ISU’s 52-44 triple-overtime win over West Virginia was the perfect example of the Cyclones’ refusal to stop competing this season. They rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, then secured the win in the third overtime. A great way to end a season full of disappointment.

Worst moment: The Cyclones were certain they had beaten Texas in their Big 12 opener. And it sure looked like they had before George’s would-be fumble recovery was nullified and another game was added to the Cyclones’ loss column. The disappointment from that loss seemed to snowball into their seven-game losing streak to start conference play.

Season wrap: Kansas

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
10:00
AM ET
Overall, the Jayhawks had a rough season in coach Charlie Weis’ second year. But they also snapped the program’s conference losing streak and hung tough with Oklahoma and Texas.

Below is a wrap on Kansas’ 2013 season:

Offensive MVP: Even though the Jayhawks struggled to score points, running back James Sims was one of the best running backs in the league. Even with defenses geared to stop him, Sims rushed for 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns. In Kansas’ first Big 12 win in 28 tries, Sims exploded for 211 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-19 victory over West Virginia.

Defensive MVP: Ben Heeney was one of the better linebackers in the league on a defense that kept the Jayhawks in many games. He was tied for 11th in the league in tackles, and was a major reason why the Jayhawks were improved defensively.

Best moment: The Jayhawks went into their game Nov. 16 against West Virginia on a 27-game Big 12 losing streak. But riding Sims, who broke off runs of 62 and 68 yards, they jumped to a 31-7 lead, and finally won a conference game going away. Kansas fans stormed the field, then tore down the south goalpost. They had reason to celebrate. It was just the second Big 12 win in 40 games for the Jayhawks.

Worst moment: The Jayhawks had Texas Tech on the ropes in their Big 12 opener. They dominated the first quarter and held a 10-0 lead into the second. But they completely melted down, highlighted by a bizarre failed fake punt attempt from inside the Kansas 5. That allowed the Red Raiders to take a 17-10 lead, and Tech coasted to a 54-16 victory.

Season wrap: Kansas State

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
9:30
AM ET
Kansas State entered the season with the goal of defending its Big 12 championship. That goal went out the window rather quickly, as the Wildcats started a disappointing 2-4. But a sign of well-coached teams is how much they improve, and Bill Snyder’s bunch got better over the course of the season. The Wildcats won six of their final seven games and thumped Michigan 31-14 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Below is a review of Kansas State’s 2013 season, which started in catastrophe and ended in triumph:

Offensive MVP: Where do the Wildcats keep getting Locketts? This latest one might be their best yet. Receiver Tyler Lockett, via the same family as former K-State greats Kevin and Aaron Lockett, was uncoverable this season. He hauled in 81 passes for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns. Lockett was at his best against the blue bloods, combining for 35 catches, 631 yards and 6 touchdowns against Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan. He’ll be back for another season, too, which is bad news for the Big 12’s cornerbacks.

Defensive MVP: Defensive end Ryan Mueller finished second in the league with 11.5 sacks and was in the conversation for Big 12 defensive player of the year honors. He was phenomenal in K-State’s near upset of Baylor. He finished with two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble in one of the plays of the year in the Big 12 to fuel K-State’s second-half comeback.

Best moment: After the slow start, the Wildcats clawed their way to a 4-4 record. But K-State didn’t truly validate itself until it went to Lubbock, Texas, on Nov. 9. The Red Raiders were still ranked No. 25 in the country despite losing to the Oklahoma schools. But Tech was no match for the Wildcats, who jumped to a 35-10 second-quarter lead before coasting for an easy win. The performance was one of the most impressive of any team in the Big 12 and showed that K-State’s poor start was only an aberration.

Worst moment: The season got off to a disastrous start for K-State. Trailing 21-17 in the fourth quarter, FCS power North Dakota State went on an 18-play, 80-yard drive covering eight and a half minutes. The drive ended with Brock Jensen's go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown plunge with just 28 seconds remaining. K-State paid North Dakota State $350,000 to play the game, which turned out to be an expensive, embarrassing defeat.

Season wrap: Oklahoma

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
9:00
AM ET
Wasn’t this supposed to be a rebuilding year in Norman, Okla.?

Oklahoma entered the season counting on inexperienced players at quarterback, along the defensive line and in the secondary. Yet the Sooners finished the season with 11 wins, including a Sugar Bowl victory over SEC power Alabama.

The Sooners overcame inconsistency at quarterback thanks to young players such as defensive end Charles Tapper, linebacker Eric Striker, linebacker Dominique Alexander and cornerback Zack Sanchez, who emerged as key cogs in OU’s defense.

Offensive MVP: Gabe Ikard. It’s rare for an offensive lineman to be the clear MVP of an offense, but Ikard’s consistency, durability and leadership were critical. The senior center was one reason OU overcame uncertainty at quarterback and finished second in the Big 12 in rushing (223.92 yards per game).

Defensive MVP: Aaron Colvin. The senior cornerback was outstanding, as he earned All-Big 12 honors for the second straight year. His coverage skills, leadership and confidence rarely went unnoticed when he was healthy and on the field. His experience and excellence are one reason the Sooners finished first in the Big 12 in total yards (350.2) and passing yards (212.54) per game.

Best moment: OU’s 45-31 win in the Sugar Bowl was the best moment in recent memory for the Sooners. Bob Stoops' squad proved to the world that it can play with anyone after entering the game as the clear underdog. Quarterback Trevor Knight was the MVP with a four-touchdown performance that left Sooners fans dreaming about the future.

Worst moment: Things got ugly during OU’s 41-12 loss at Baylor. The Sooners' offense looked overmatched and inept against the Big 12 champions as the Bears pulled away from OU in the second half of a nationally televised Thursday night battle.

Season wrap: Oklahoma State

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
8:30
AM ET
In 2013, for the first time in the history of the program, Oklahoma State was the preseason favorite to win its conference. The Cowboys sputtered early, losing at West Virginia in their Big 12 opener. But with a midseason change to its starting backfield, Oklahoma State finally began to play like the favorite, catching fire in November. After back-to-back wins over Texas and Baylor, the Cowboys were on the cusp of winning their second Big 12 title in three years. Instead, the season ended in calamity, with a stunning home loss to Oklahoma that knocked the Pokes out of the BCS, and then a loss to Missouri in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Below is a review of Oklahoma State’s 2013 season, which had both impressive wins and stunning defeats:

Offensive MVP: Oklahoma State entered the season with Clint Chelf as its starting quarterback, but pulled the plug on Chelf two series into the opener. But with J.W. Walsh struggling, Chelf re-emerged as the starter and carried the Cowboys to a strong second-half finish to the season. In back-to-back victories over Texas and Baylor, Chelf delivered QBRs (scale 0-100) of 98.1 and 97.6. Despite standing on the sideline for half the season, he became just the second Oklahoma State quarterback to earn All-Big 12 recognition. Chelf was a second-team pick behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty.

Defensive MVP: The Cowboys had three first-team All-Big 12 performers, including defensive tackle Calvin Barnett and cornerback Justin Gilbert. But senior linebacker Caleb Lavey was the heart and soul of the Oklahoma State defense. The defensive captain led the Cowboys with 93 tackles and led Big 12 linebackers with four interceptions. All season, Oklahoma State had the most consistent defense in the conference, and Lavey was a big reason why.

Best moment: With ESPN’s "College GameDay" in Stillwater, the Cowboys had a prime opportunity to gain a stranglehold on the Big 12 title chase against undefeated Baylor. Oklahoma State capitalized and pummeled the fourth-ranked Bears 49-17. Chelf threw for a career-high 370 yards and the Oklahoma State defense held Baylor to 232 yards below its season average.

Worst moment: The Cowboys went into the Bedlam rivalry with a chance to not only capture the Big 12 title and league’s automatic BCS bowl berth, but also send a message to Oklahoma that the schools were finally on equal footing. Instead, the underdog Sooners hung around even without an offensive touchdown, then backup quarterback Blake Bell found Jalen Saunders in the corner of the end zone with 19 seconds remaining for the game-winning touchdown -- Oklahoma’s 10th victory in the series in 11 years. The Sooners went to the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the Cowboys had to settle for the Cotton Bowl.

Season wrap: TCU

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
8:00
AM ET
It’s hard to sum up TCU’s second season in the Big 12 as anything other than disappointing. The Horned Frogs were supposed to contend for a conference title and earned a top-three spot in the Big 12 preseason media poll. They did not live up to those expectations.

What followed was a 4-8 season that saw TCU lose seven Big 12 games as well as one of its best players, defensive end Devonte Fields, for nearly the entire season and its leader on offense, quarterback Casey Pachall, for five games.

Four of those losses came by three points or fewer. For that, TCU had a stagnant and struggling offense to blame. The Frogs ranked No. 104 in FBS in total offense and No. 87 in scoring offense.

Big changes are coming to that offense next season, but before we start looking ahead let’s take a quick look back at how TCU fared in 2013.

Offensive MVP: QB Trevone Boykin. In this case, Boykin was both most valuable and most versatile when it came to his role his this Horned Frogs offense. He started six games at quarterback in place of the injured Pachall and threw for 1,198 yards, but also added 313 rushing yards and 204 receiving yards while chipping in at several other positions.

Defensive MVP: CB Jason Verrett. There’s a reason why, even on a defense that had an unusually rough year, the coaches of the Big 12 named this guy their co-defensive player of the year. He’s a true shutdown corner, breaking up 14 passes and nabbing two interceptions in his senior year.

Best moment: TCU gave Baylor a heck of a fight in its season finale, and played a lot of teams close, but in terms of its best victory we’d have to go with a 21-17 road win at Iowa State in which Boykin scored in the final minute to snap a three-game losing streak.

Worst moment: An overtime loss to West Virginia wasn’t good, but losing 33-31 to Kansas State a week after that ISU victory was a tough blow. A last-second field goal was the difference and gave TCU its seventh loss, ensuring the Frogs would not play in a bowl game for the first time since 2004.

Season wrap: Texas

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
7:30
AM ET
The 2013 season was a long and crazy one for Texas, plain and simple.

It started with promise, with Mack Brown confident the Longhorns could win the Big 12. Then Texas started 1-2, fired a coordinator, won six conference games in a row, upset Oklahoma, suffered a barrage of significant injuries and lost three of its final four, including its regular-season finale at Baylor with the Big 12 title on the line.

A week later, Brown resigned and a 16-year era at Texas came to an end with one final rocky 8-5 season. Here’s one more look back at the Longhorns’ 2013 campaign:

Offensive MVP: RB Malcolm Brown. While WR Mike Davis was named the team’s offensive player of the year, we’re going with Brown because he emerged as the workhorse of this Texas offense when Johnathan Gray went down with a torn Achilles. Brown started the year slow but finished with 904 rushing yards and surpassed 100 five times, including in critical victories over Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Defensive MVP: DE Jackson Jeffcoat. The senior played up to his big-time potential, earning consensus All-America honors, the Ted Hendricks Award and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. Jeffcoat led the Big 12 in sacks with 13 and led the Longhorns in the locker room.

Best moment: In a result that few saw coming, Texas went to the Cotton Bowl and beat up on Oklahoma. The Longhorns attacked on both sides of the ball and won easily, 36-20, over the then-No. 12 Sooners. It was sweet revenge for a Texas senior class that had never beaten OU, and Texas got the Golden Hat for the first time since 2009.

Worst moment: A stunning 40-21 road loss to BYU on Sept. 7. The Longhorns gave up a school-record 550 rushing yards and completely fell apart in Provo in a game that cost defensive coordinator Manny Diaz his job. That loss and coaching change led to another defeat, at home against Ole Miss, which left Texas 1-2 to start the season.

Season wrap: Texas Tech

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
7:00
AM ET
It was a wild ride in Lubbock, Texas.

Texas Tech looked like the surprise of the Big 12 at one point and the Big 12's biggest fraud a few weeks later before finishing the season alongside Oklahoma as the Big 12’s top representatives during the bowl season. Not a bad day's work for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Despite the inexperience of freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb, the Red Raiders ranked among the top 10 nationally in total yards and passing yards while finishing first in the Big 12 with 392.85 passing yards per game.

Offensive MVP: Jace Amaro. The Red Raiders tight end was the Big 12’s toughest individual matchup as his size, athleticism and ball skills were impossible to contain. The junior had 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. His 35 receptions for 29 first downs on third-down plays also paced the Big 12. He was everything you’d want in a tight end.

Defensive MVP: Will Smith. It was hard to watch a Texas Tech game without noticing the senior linebacker. He was active, effective and productive during his final season in Lubbock with a team-high 120 tackles, averaging 9.23 tackles per game, 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. And he saved his best for last with 48 combined tackles in the Red Raiders' final three games.

Best moment: The Red Raiders’ 37-23 victory over Arizona State was Kingsbury’s signature win. The stellar performance from Webb (403 passing yards, four TDs) and strong performance from TTU’s defense sent the Red Raiders into the offseason with plenty of momentum and quieted critics who claimed the Red Raiders hadn’t beaten anyone worth noting during Kingsbury’s first campaign.

Worst moment: TTU’s 49-26 loss to Kansas State at home. The Wildcats overwhelmed the Red Raiders with 28 unanswered points to end the first half and take a 35-10 halftime lead as whispers of TTU being a fraud transformed into declarations during the worst home loss of the season.

Season wrap: West Virginia

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
6:30
AM ET
After losing three of the best players in school history after the 2012 season, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was still optimistic his Mountaineers would improve in their second season in the Big 12. Turned out, the offense logically struggled to replace the production of quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. And even with an improved defense, the Mountaineers staggered to a discouraging 4-8 finish and the program’s first season without a bowl appearance since 2001.

Below is a review of West Virginia’s disappointing 2013 season:

Offensive MVP: Running back Charles Sims transferred from Houston and carried a West Virginia offense that struggled to throw the ball. He was third in the Big 12 with 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sims also caught 45 passes. The Mountaineers will miss him next season.

Defensive MVP: Even though the Mountaineers' record was worse, their defense was actually better than last season. Senior safety Darwin Cook was a major reason. Cook was second on the team with 74 tackles and first with four interceptions. He was also the enforcer of the secondary and one of four Mountaineers to receive All-Big 12 recognition.

Best moment: The Mountaineers went into their game against Oklahoma State as three-touchdown underdogs. But after Ishmael Banks returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown, West Virginia controlled the game the rest of the way. It held on for a stunning 30-21 victory, which proved to be the upset of the year in the Big 12.

Worst moment: After being eliminated from making a bowl, it appeared West Virginia would at least end the season with a comfortable home victory over Iowa State. Instead, the Cyclones rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit and toppled the Mountaineers in triple overtime, 52-44. To add insult to injury, the collapse was watched by the third-smallest crowd in Milan Puskar Stadium's 33-year history.

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