Dallas Colleges: Charlie Moore

Big 12 undrafted free-agent signings

May, 12, 2014
Seventeen Big 12 players heard their names called during the 2014 NFL draft. Many other Big 12 alums will have a chance at the next level as undrafted free agents.

Below is a list of undrafted players who reportedly have agreed to free agent deals. This is not a final list, as teams are still working to sign undrafted free agents. But these are the players we know of so far.

Iowa State
Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech
West Virginia

Season report card: Oklahoma State

January, 8, 2014
Oklahoma State was one win away from its second Big 12 championship in three seasons. Yet the Cowboys ended the year with back-to-back losses that cast a disappointing shadow over their season. The preseason Big 12 favorite finished 10-3 with losses to West Virginia, Oklahoma and Missouri but had to clear some hurdles to win double-digit games for the fourth time in five seasons.

Offense: A-

It seems like OSU’s offense took a clear step backward during Mike Yurcich’s first season as offensive coordinator. Yet the Cowboys finished among the top 3 in the Big 12 in most categories, including points per game (39.1), yards per game (448.8) and yards per play (5.9). But their struggles in key moments, like the road loss at West Virginia and on third down (38.6 percent conversion rate, sixth in the Big 12 and No. 60 among FBS teams), drops this grade to an A-.

Quarterback Clint Chelf saved the offense with his performance in the second half of the season, although he experienced some ups and downs of his own at various times. OSU’s receivers were among the deepest in the Big 12 with Charlie Moore, Jhajuan Seales, Tracy Moore and Josh Stewart each looking like top targets at different points in 2013 making the receiving corps the strongest group on the offensive side of the ball.

The Cowboys running game was the main area where the Pokes took a clear step backward, rushing for 171.9 yards per game and losing the balance their offenses had become known for during recent years. Inconsistency at running back and along the offensive line played a major role in those problems.

Defense: A+

For the first time in recent years the Cowboys defense was the foundation of their success. The Cowboys finished atop the Big 12 in several defensive categories including points per game (21.9, No. 19 among FBS teams), third down conversion rate (31.4 percent, No. 7 among FBS teams) and passing yards per attempt (5.8, No. 10 among FBS teams).

[+] EnlargeJosh Stewart, Andrew Wilson
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsOklahoma State receiver Josh Stewart, who announced earlier this week that he's entering the 2014 NFL draft, was the top playmaker for the Cowboys this season.
Veteran leadership from linebacker Caleb Lavey, defensive tackle Calvin Barnett and safety Daytawion Lowe made life easier for Glenn Spencer during his first season as defensive coordinator. Barnett was the anchor of a quality defensive line, Lavey joined Shaun Lewis to create a playmaking duo at linebacker and Lowe joined elite cornerback Justin Gilbert as anchors in the secondary.

OSU’s defense had its share of struggles, particularly late in the season, but it was one of the Big 12’s best units from beginning to end.

Special teams: D+

OSU’s special teams cost them a game against West Virginia and didn't help the cause in the team's Bedlam loss. Overall, the special teams unit was below average for the majority of the season. The Cowboys finished at the bottom of the Big 12 in field goal percentage (61.1 percent) and net punting (34.3 net yards per punt). Only the dynamic punt return skills of Stewart and the sheer speed of Gilbert on kick returns kept this grade from being an F.

Overall: B+

Some people will look at this team and say it underachieved while others could look at it and say it overachieved. Problems along the offensive line handcuffed the offense for a good portion of the year and Chelf spending a portion of the year on the sidelines didn’t help. But the Cowboys still found a way to win 10 games and were one drive from winning another Big 12 title.

Mizzou ready for old Big 12 showdown

January, 3, 2014
In case you didn't know, Friday's AT&T Cotton Bowl matchup between No. 8 Missouri (11-2, 7-1 SEC) and 13th-ranked Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) is a bit of a reunion.

Oklahoma State, proud members of the Big 12, will meet their old brothers who jumped ship for the SEC in 2012.

While a big deal has been made of Friday's meeting and its backstory, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam isn't moved by it. He's actually bored of it.

"I don't really care," Sam said. "We used to be in the Big 12; we're not any more. I think the media is blowing it way out of proportion. I could care less."

Sam might be on to something, but it is pretty cool when you think about the last two Cotton Bowls. This year, it's Mizzou-Oklahoma State. Last year, it was Texas A&M-Oklahoma.

Rematches of games that once had conference stakes on the line now feature bragging rights and even traitor talk in some circles. There are even whispers in Big 12 country that the Tigers ran away from their old league.

So while Sam might not care about the old Big 12 matchup, it does create an interesting storyline, and he'd be crazy to think that no one else in this game isn't intrigued by that aspect of the game.

"It is just a great opportunity to play a great Missouri team; they were in the Big 12, so it is a little rivalry there," Oklahoma State wide receiver Charlie Moore said. "You always want to play the best and always fun to play the SEC. It is going to be a good game no matter what conference they are in and it is fun to be in the Cotton Bowl."

[+] EnlargeMichael Sam
AP Photo/Rogelio V. SolisMichael Sam is tired of the Missouri vs. Big 12 storyline, but is eager to show the Tigers defense is better than it showed against Auburn.
And, like the Big 12 that Mizzou was used to, this one has the makings of being an old-fashioned shootout in the heart of Texas.

A year removed from an injury-plagued first season in the SEC, the Tigers bit back with one of the SEC's most potent offenses. Mizzou finished the regular season ranking in the top five in the league in passing offense, rushing offense, total offense and scoring. The Tigers went from averaging 356.4 yards a game and 25.8 points in 2012 to 492.9 yards and 39 points in 2013.

The Tigers also went from missing a bowl game to winning the SEC Eastern Division, beating Florida and Georgia and ranking as high as fifth in the BCS standings along the way. If they had beaten Auburn in the SEC championship game, these Tigers would be out in sunny California for the VIZIO BCS National Championship.

On the other side, the Cowboys are averaging 440.5 yards per game with an offense that features some "Air Raid," three-back and pistol. They'll throw in some zone-read just to make things interesting.

Sam said he's excited about facing Oklahoma State's passing game, which averages 268.5 yards per game. The Tigers ranked 13th in the SEC in pass defense (256 yards per game), but Sam made it clear that this defense hasn't had an issue defending the pass all season.

"We've never struggled stopping the pass," Sam said confidently. "We want to stop the run so they can be forced to pass. We hope they pass all night, to be honest with you."

Mizzou has 18 interceptions and has given up 16 passing touchdowns. But in games away from Faurot Field, the Tigers gave up 270.7 passing yards per game and quarterbacks enjoyed a combined efficiency rating of 129.3.

Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf has thrown for 200 or more yards in four of his past five games and has 11 touchdowns to four interceptions.

"It definitely takes you back, so I am excited to see the ball in the air a little bit more than the SEC does," cornerback E.J. Gaines said.

Regardless of how the Cowboys approach their offensive plan, this is a chance for Mizzou to show the country that its defense is still worthy of being called a solid unit. Before surrounding 677 yards to Auburn (545 rushing), Missouri held opponents to fewer than 400 yards in five of the previous six games. After being gashed by Auburn, the perception is that the Tigers aren't as steady on defense as they once appeared.

"We've been a great defense all season," Sam said. "We had one bad game and I don't think that should define our season."

What will help define this season is the outcome of tonight's game. A victory would serve as more validation that the new kids deserve their seat at the SEC's big-kid table.

"The win would just prove that we belong in the SEC and we should be respected by everyone in that conference," Sam said. "... I think we earned a lot of respect from our conference, [and a victory would] show we belong where we are and we are one of the best in the country.”

Bedlam QBs excelling at the right time

December, 5, 2013
As the calendar turned to November, the quarterback positions at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State remained fluid. Cowboys quarterback J.W. Walsh and Sooners quarterback Blake Bell had each had their stellar moments, earning player of the week honors at different points in the year, and each quarterback had stumbled in their team’s lone loss.

[+] EnlargeClint Chelf
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsClint Chelf (10) has been a different quarterback since regaining the starting job. He had 15 scores in November.
One month later, both offenses enter the regular season finale with a different level of confidence. And different starting quarterbacks.

Clint Chelf has stepped in for Walsh and played as well as any quarterback in the nation in the last four games. Trevor Knight is coming off back-to-back games in which he has given OU fans a glimpse of the talents that helped him earn the starting quarterback role to start the season. Both quarterbacks began the season as the opening day starter then were replaced for a stretch during the middle of the season before regaining their starting spot.

Their road has been similar but their journey has been much different.

Chelf had plenty of success in 2012, starting the final six games and throwing 14 touchdown passes. He appeared poised to be the man in the Pokes backfield heading into the season. But he lost his starting job within minutes of the opening kickoff against Mississippi State and was left wondering what happened as Walsh started the next five games. Even as OSU played its worst game of the season in a 30-21 loss to West Virginia, Chelf remained on the sidelines helplessly watching. The time on the bench, however, did not change Chelf’s approach.

“He was the same Clint from when he was starting to when he wasn’t starting.” OSU safety Daytawion Lowe said. “Same Clint. Practiced hard, kept the same work ethic. Didn’t slack off any.”

Chelf’s second chance came against TCU, but he was very average while leading OSU to wins over the Horned Frogs and Iowa State. But he’s been a different quarterback in November, leading OSU to wins over Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas and Baylor.

“Whether playing or not, he was always the same,” OSU receiver Charlie Moore said. “Same as he was when he wasn't playing. Now he's making huge plays. That's just who he is. It's been cool to see him persevere, get his shot and do well at it.”

Chelf’s 94.4 adjusted QBR (on a scale of 0-100 with 50 being average) was the best in the nation in the month of November. The senior has proven he can play his best in the Cowboys’ biggest games while helping the offense become more explosive and balanced.

“He kept a positive mindset, and it all worked out for him,” OSU running back Desmond Roland said. “He's been a great role model and leader for our team. And he's taken the offense to another level.”

[+] EnlargeTrevor Knight
Peter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesTrevor Knight has improved his passing in recent weeks.
In Norman, Knight’s journey has been much different. The redshirt freshman made his first collegiate start on opening day. It was clearly an overwhelming experience that ultimately resulted in him losing his starting spot to Bell. But while Bell was playing, Knight was improving in practice and preparing like he was still the starter.

“It is tough preparing and knowing that you’re not going to, for sure, be in,” Knight said. “But you gotta have that strong mindset, that thick skin because you never know when your opportunity is going to arise. You have to find stuff to be competitive in when you do get those few reps in practice.”

Thus, the Sooners young quarterback was ready when Bell was knocked out of the game against ISU, stepping in and looking like a completely different player against the Cyclones and looking even better in his first road start, a 41-31 win over Kansas State in OU’s last game.

“You can tell when a player starts to see things clearer,” OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. “When you first get to play, you’re excited and everything goes so fast. I think we saw that slow down [against K-State], he was really focused, I think he saw the plays that were coming and had a good idea what he wanted to do against the defense he saw.”

Knight has played his best football in OU’s last two games, with an 86.4 adjusted QBR in wins over ISU and KSU. His QBR ranks second only to Chelf among Big 12 quarterbacks during that span.

Now the two quarterbacks meet in Bedlam playing their best football.

“I think all players, it’s just about getting into a groove,” OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “Once they are more comfortable in who they are, and you can tell by the way they play, they just seem to be more in a rhythm and very comfortable and seeing things very well.”

Bedlam the final obstacle for Cowboys

December, 3, 2013
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State has won a Big 12 title. And been to a BCS bowl.

The Cowboys have the Big 12’s best record over the last five seasons. And defeated Texas three straight times in Austin.

[+] EnlargeMike Gundy, Bob Stoops
Brett Deering/Getty ImagesWhile Mike Gundy (left) has raised Oklahoma State's profile, he is just 1-7 against Bob Stoops and OU.
Since the turn of the century, the Big 12 has always been about the Big 2 -- Oklahoma and Texas.

But spurred by Boone Pickens’ dollars and Mike Gundy’s coaching, Oklahoma State is on the verge of turning that into a Big 3.

Only one obstacle remains for the Cowboys: consistently vanquishing their in-state rival.

This weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will stage the 108th meeting of the Bedlam rivalry. The Sooners have lost only 17 of those meetings, making Bedlam the most lopsided in-state rivalry in college football history.

“It’s a rivalry,” Cowboys guard Brandon Webb said. “But we haven’t won too many times in that rivalry.”

With opulent facilities, a substantial uptick in recruiting, assistant coaching salaries commensurate to the nation’s top programs, exciting schemes and a galvanized, expanding fan base, Oklahoma State’s rise has been rapid in Gundy’s nine years as head coach.

“Oklahoma State has come a long way in football,” Gundy said. “Our goal nine-and-a-half years ago was year-in, year-out, on a daily basis, when we went to play a football game, to have a chance to win. And not go to a stadium and the fans feel like we don’t have a chance to win. I think we’re at that point. … The program is at a different level nationally.”

Oklahoma State, however, won’t go any further nationally until it can overcome its local problem.

Under Gundy, the Cowboys are 1-7 against the Sooners, preserving the lopsidedness of the series, while also preventing Oklahoma State from climbing to the lofty perch where Oklahoma has comfortably resided since Bud Wilkinson agreed to coach the Sooners after the Second World War.

“They’re standing in our way,” said Webb, whose father Terry was an All-American guard for Oklahoma in the early 1970s and one of countless Sooners who finished their careers unblemished in Bedlam. “If they can beat us every time, it’s not good. We’ve got to beat them to get to where we want to be. It’s something we have to overcome.”

Saturday, the Cowboys have a prime opportunity to accomplish just that.

Oklahoma State is a double-digit favorite in Bedlam for the first time since odds makers began keeping track. And with a victory, the Cowboys can clinch their second Big 12 title and Fiesta Bowl appearance in three years.

To the players, the stakes are still higher.

“It’s not just another game at all,” said Cowboys defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, who grew up in Tulsa, Okla. “This is not just for the Big 12 championship, not just to finish the season out winning, not just for a BCS game. It’s about people knowing there’s not just one dominant team in Oklahoma.”

For seven decades, there was just one dominant team. From 1946-2009, Oklahoma won Bedlam by double digits a stunning 43 of 63 times.

“We’ve made it a very competitive game,” said safety Daytawion Lowe, an Oklahoma City native who chose the Cowboys over Oklahoma coming out of high school. “Back when I watched the game growing up, it used to be blowouts. The last five years, it’s been very competitive.”

[+] EnlargeClint Chelf
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesClint Chelf and the Cowboys will earn a second Big 12 title with a Bedlam win.
So competitive that two of the last three games have been decided on the final possession, with the Cowboys actually landing the lone blowout victory.

“That’s what’s changing,” Webb said. “People say we used to be afraid of OU. But we’re not afraid anymore.”

After losing a wild shootout in 2010, Oklahoma State came back to destroy the Sooners 44-10 in 2011 to seize the program’s first outright conference title in 63 years.

Last year in Norman, the underdog Cowboys showed no fear and thoroughly outplayed Oklahoma for three quarters, before the Sooners stormed back to win in overtime. It was the first time in 12 years the Cowboys played Oklahoma to within 27 points in Norman.

“It’s been a give and take where people that watch it, when you went to the stadium, you didn’t know who was going to win,” Gundy said. “There was a time … where I’m not sure that was (true).”

Gundy downplayed the significance of specifically beating Oklahoma, noting the goals at Oklahoma State are now bigger and broader.

“Our goal is to win our conference,” Gundy said. “Then (let) the chips fall based on how the country feels about us. … getting into the (College Football Playoff).”

But winning the conference requires beating Oklahoma more than once a decade. The Sooners, after all, have captured eight Big 12 titles in the last 13 years. Winning the conference also requires being more than just competitive with Oklahoma, which once constituted Bedlam success in Stillwater not long ago.

“Oklahoma has a ton of tradition and has been good for a long time,” Cowboys wide receiver Charlie Moore said. “Hopefully 50 from years now, people will say the same about Oklahoma State.”

To get there, the Cowboys must first beat Oklahoma.

Starting first with Saturday.

“You can only change it one year at a time,” Barnett said. “We’re going to try and help change that this year.”

Big 12 unsung heroes: Week 12

November, 18, 2013
Here are the Big 12’s unsung heroes for Week 12:

Baylor running back Devin Chafin: Where do the Bears keep finding these running backs? Chafin finished with 11 carries for 100 yards, 9.1 yards per carry, and two touchdowns, all career-highs. He allowed the Bears to sub out Shock Linwood without a drop-off in production in BU’s 63-34 win over Texas Tech.

[+] EnlargeJake Waters
Peter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesKansas State QB Jake Waters didn't have huge numbers, but he made key plays to help beat West Virginia.
Kansas linebacker Ben Goodman: Goodman was outstanding as Kansas snapped its 27-game Big 12 losing streak with a 31-19 win over West Virginia. He had six solo tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one interception, which was key as the Mountaineers were driving early in the third quarter. He showed the athleticism and hops normally seen on the Allen Fieldhouse floor on his momentum-changing interception.

Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters: He didn’t finish with great numbers but led the Wildcats on a game-winning drive in the final two minutes, finding Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett on key connections to set up Jack Cantele’s game-winning 41-yard field goal. Waters finished 10 of 24 for 234 yards, two touchdowns and one interception but stepped up to make key plays in key moments.

Iowa State defensive end Cory Morrissey: Defensive teammates Jacques Washington and Jeremiah George sat atop the tackles list in the Cyclones’ 48-10 loss to Oklahoma, but Morrissey was solid with five tackles and one tackle for loss. It was his fifth time recording at least five tackles this season.

Oklahoma receiver Jalen Saunders: The Sooners' running game was the star, but Saunders sparked OU’s 48-10 win with a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown right before halftime. The slippery senior didn’t have a major impact in the passing game (three receptions for 15 yards), but his actual impact on the outcome was as big as quarterback Trevor Knight and running back Damien Williams, who each rushed for more than 100 yards in the win.

Oklahoma State receiver Charlie Moore: The senior was very productive in the Cowboys’ 38-13 win over Texas. He caught six of seven targets for 83 yards and one touchdown. With OSU’s top receiver, Josh Stewart, out due to injury, Moore provided a quality receiving option for Clint Chelf in the victory with his season high in receptions and receiving yards.

Texas safety Mykkele Thompson: The junior led UT with six solo tackles (seven total) and one interception in the Longhorns’ 38-10 loss to OSU. His effort was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing home loss to the Cowboys as Thompson recorded a season-high in solo tackles.

TCU safety Derrick Kindred: The sophomore continues to play at a high level while emerging as another option in the Horned Frogs' secondary. He led the squad with eight solo tackles in TCU’s 33-31 loss to Kansas State. He has 17 tackles in the past two games.

Texas Tech cornerback Justis Nelson: Talk about thrown into the fire. Nelson earned his first collegiate start against the explosive Baylor offense and held up well despite his team’s 63-34 loss. The true freshman showed signs he might emerge as an critical part of the Red Raiders' defense of the future with five solo tackles and three pass breakups.

West Virginia linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski: The Mountaineers linebacker contributed to a turnover for the third straight game. After grabbing interceptions in his squad’s previous two outings, Kwiatkoski had eight tackles, including six solo stops, 1.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery in the 31-19 loss to KU.

OSU-Tech to stage first elimination game

October, 31, 2013

With six teams snagging first-place votes in the preseason poll, this conference race had potential to be the most wide-open in Big 12 history.

Two months into the season, five teams remain in the thick of the race. But this weekend, that will begin to change, as Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will stage the first in several looming de facto Big 12 title elimination games.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Tech linebacker Terrance Bullitt. “Going to be a lot of elimination games coming up. We just have to take care of our part.”

[+] EnlargeKliff Kingsbury
Brad Davis/Icon SMIIf Kliff Kingsbury and the Red Raiders want to celebrate a Big 12 title, the first step is beating Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Due to a quirk in scheduling, only two games so far have been staged featuring Baylor (7-0, 4-0 Big 12), Texas (5-2, 4-0), Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1), Tech (7-1, 4-1) and OSU (6-1, 3-1) playing each other. On Oct. 12, the Longhorns beat OU, 36-20. Then last weekend, the Sooners knocked off Tech, 38-30.

As a result, the top five teams will slug it out for the conference title over eight games over the next month, beginning Saturday in Lubbock.

“We’re going to have to win this one have a shot at the Big 12,” said OSU wide receiver Charlie Moore. “This game is huge. A win this weekend would give us a ton of momentum. But it all starts this Saturday.

As the preseason favorites to win the league, the Cowboys have been searching for a momentum-building performance all season. Instead, they’ve been shuffling their backfield trying to find the right combination offensively.

Last weekend at Iowa State, they may have finally uncovered it.

With Clint Chelf getting his first start since the opener at quarterback, and Desmond Roland getting his first career start at running back, OSU racked up 342 yards on the ground while averaging 7.3 yards per carry.

With J.W. Walsh at QB and Jeremy Smith the featured running back, the Cowboys had rushed for just 433 yards combined in their previous five games for an average of only 2.5 yards a carry.

Against the Cyclones, Roland rolled up 219 yards on the ground with four touchdowns. Chelf struggled with his accuracy on a gusty afternoon completing just 10 of 26 passes. But he added 85 yards rushing on just nine carries.

“We’re looking to build off that,” Moore said. “As far as the passing game, we’re going to work on the little things and see if we can put it all together.

“We’re not even close to our full potential.”

The Red Raiders feel the same.

Last weekend, Tech churned out 24 first downs and 388 yards through the air. But three turnovers in OU territory as well as a couple of devastating penalties wiped out several promising scoring opportunities.

Penalties and turnovers have plagued the Red Raiders all year. They lead the Big 12 in both categories, and that finally caught up with them in Norman.

“We have to minimize mistakes and penalties and execute our opportunities,” said Tech receiver Eric Ward, who caught two touchdowns against the Sooners. “It just didn’t go our way last week.”

The Red Raiders had surged into the top 10 before the loss. To remain a contender, they’ll have to respond to adversity better than they did the previous two seasons under Tommy Tuberville, who oversaw a pair of late-season collapses in Lubbock.

“When we had Coach Tuberville, it was kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh, we lost, we're panicking, we're in full frantic mode,’” said Tech defensive end Branden Jackson. “Now, we know what we did wrong and what we have to improve on to move forward.”

Like Tech, OSU has no margin left for error after losing at West Virginia in its conference opener. And for both teams, the defining parts of the schedule lie ahead.

But the winner this weekend will take a strong step forward toward contending for the league crown. The loser will be all but eliminated.

"We're excited about it," Ward said. “Everything is still in front of us.

"Everything is still up for grabs.”

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 8

October, 21, 2013
Taking stock of Week 8 in the Big 12:

Team of the week: Texas Tech was on the brink of dropping its first game of the season, trailing West Virginia 27-16 in the third quarter. But then tight end Jace Amaro took over, QB Davis Webb made some clutch throws and the Tech defense allowed just one first down over five West Virginia possessions to end the game. Now Tech is ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings, with a chance to surge even higher this weekend at Oklahoma.

[+] EnlargeJace Amaro
AP Photo/Chris JacksonTight end Jace Amaro caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the Red Raiders' win over West Virginia.
Disappointment of the week: TCU had to win in Stillwater to have any chance of factoring in the Big 12 race. But after another inept performance offensively, the Horned Frogs could be on the brink of missing out on a bowl game instead. Through three quarters, TCU did virtually nothing offensively in a 24-10 loss at Oklahoma State, as Trevone Boykin threw three more interceptions and had the lowest Big 12 Total QBR (5.9) and Adjusted QBR (27.4) of the week. TCU still needs three wins to get bowl-eligible, and as poor as the offense has looked, that might not be so easy.

Big (offensive) man on campus: For the second straight week, Webb broke the Texas Tech freshman single-game passing record with 462 yards through the air. More importantly, he quarterbacked the Red Raiders to their most impressive victory of the season yet, with two huge completions in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. The first converted a third-and-6 on a 27-yard loft to Jordan Davis. The second converted a third-and-goal from the West Virginia 10-yard line into a touchdown, putting the Red Raiders up by two scores to clinch the victory. All told, Webb completed 36 of his 50 passing attempts, and avoided taking a sack or throwing an interception. If he had scored instead of fumbling at West Virginia 1-yard line on a quarterback draw, it would have been a flawless performance.

Big (defensive) man on campus: Linebacker Eddie Lackey spearheaded Baylor’s most impressive defensive performance of the season. Lackey led the Bears with a team-high eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, as Baylor held Iowa State to just 41 yards rushing. Even though the game got out of hand early, Lackey & Co. nearly pitched a shutout. But the Cyclones finally got on the board with 47 seconds remaining on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Grant Rohach to DeVondrick Nealy. The Baylor offense gets all the headlines. But after eight weeks, the Bears also lead the Big 12 in scoring defense (No. 7 in the country).

Special-teams players of the week: Josh Stewart could not be corralled in Oklahoma State’s win over TCU. Basically a one-man show offensively with 10 catches for 141 yards, Stewart also delivered the highlight of the game, taking a punt return 95 yards for a touchdown that put the Cowboys on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Stewart later somehow hauled in a pass from fellow receiver Charlie Moore over three defenders, which set up the Cowboys’ game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter. "We doubled him, we played over the top of him,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson, “and he still found ways to get there.”

Play of the week: Late in the second quarter with the Sooners still trailing Kansas, QB Blake Bell handed off to wide receiver Lacoltan Bester on an end around. Instead of continuing to run, Bester pulled up and floated a pass in stride to Sterling Shepard, who coasted into the end zone to give Oklahoma a 15-13 lead. The play energized the Sooners, who never trailed again. Had Bester not converted the trick pass, Oklahoma probably would have been in a fourth-quarter dogfight with the last-place Jayhawks.

Stat of the week: Over four Big 12 games, TCU is averaging 2.5 points per first half. The Horned Frogs have been shut out in first half already three times this season.

Quote of the week: “That’s great. I hope they keep saying it. I saw 'GameDay,' [Kirk] Herbstreit picked against us. That’s good. I hope they keep giving us that locker room material.” -- Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, on those who say the Red Raiders’ 7-0 start is a bit of fool’s gold.

Oklahoma State stacked at receiver

August, 5, 2013
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Through the years, Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense has featured better individual receivers. Wideouts like Hart Lee Dykes, Rashaun Woods, Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon -- who were all first-round draft picks.

Yet top to bottom, coach Mike Gundy agrees his Cowboys have never featured a deeper, more talented overall receiving corps than the one he’ll take into this season.

[+] EnlargeJosh Stewart
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsJosh Stewart is just one of the many solid players returning for the Cowboys' receiving corps this season.
“I think we have a really good group,” he said. “At times it’s a little unfair to compare guys to Dez and Blackmon -- two of the most talented guys to compete in this league.

“But from top to bottom ... we have 10 or 12 guys that I think in three weeks could play in a game and go out there with the ones and have success. So we may be as good at that position as we’ve ever been -- without having maybe a potential first-round guy.”

The Cowboys might not have that potential first-round pick, but thanks to the fortuitous timing of an injury, they do have two go-to guys.

Oklahoma State went into 2012 counting on senior Tracy Moore to take over for Blackmon as the No. 1 receiver. Moore proved up to the challenge, hauling in four touchdown passes in a shootout loss at Arizona early in the season. But a month later, Moore’s season was derailed when he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the year.

“Other than (running back) Joseph Randle, before Tracy got hurt, he was our best player on offense,” Gundy said.

Moore getting hurt, however, provided a silver lining that should benefit the Cowboys this season: it cleared the way for Josh Stewart to shine out of the slot. After taking over as Oklahoma State’s primary pass-catcher, Stewart rapidly developed into one of the most dangerous receivers in college football and finished with 101 receptions, third-most in the Big 12.

And because Moore played less than 30 percent of the 2012 season, he was given a medical redshirt to come back, providing Oklahoma State with two playmakers who have shouldered the No. 1 receiver role.

“Not a lot of teams have that,” Stewart said.

Moore and Stewart will have plenty of help, too.

The Cowboys return two other starters at receiver in Charlie Moore and Blake Jackson, who combined for more than 65 receptions and 1,000 yards last season. Oklahoma State also brings back Austin Hays, who filled in admiringly after Tracy Moore got hurt with 29 catches, and Blake Webb, who got the start against Oklahoma.

“It’s crazy because last year I thought that we had great depth at the position,” said Jackson, who plays on the inside opposite Stewart. “Now getting Tracy back for another year, it’s crazy how many good receivers we have. We have 12 guys that could start right now and we’d be productive and keep moving.”

Among those 12 are underclassmen David Glidden, Brandon Sheperd and Jhajuan Seales, who all are vying for time. Seales has been especially turning heads. Gundy singled him out as someone who developed physically during the offseason as much as anyone on the squad.

“Anyone in the starting lineup go down, we’ve got someone that could fill them up at every spot and do good, and I’m not just saying that,” Stewart said. “We’ve had pretty good depth the last three years -- but nothing like this.”

The Cowboys are also about to reap the benefits of more fruitful recruiting efforts. In its most recent signing class, Oklahoma State landed four-star receivers Ra'Shaad Samples and Marcell Ateman, incoming freshmen who appear talented enough to contribute right away.

“The success we’re having has a lot to do with this, the previous success,” Tracy Moore said. “People see what Blackmon did, people see what Dez Bryant did. They want to come here and we’re getting top guys now."

The Cowboys don’t have a Blackmon or a Bryant. But the position in Stillwater has never been better.

“We are so stacked on receivers,” Moore said. “We’re definitely pretty stacked.”

Weak and Strong: Oklahoma State Cowboys

March, 21, 2013
Turnover is an annual tradition in college football, but with that, teams' strengths and weaknesses constantly shift, too. Today, we'll continue our look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses for each Big 12 team.

Next up: Oklahoma State.

Strongest position: Pass-catchers

I'll have to apologize to Oklahoma State's trio of safeties in Daytawion Lowe, Shamiel Gary and Zack Craig here, but I'm going with the guys hauling in balls in OSU's pass-first offense as the strongest position. I don't care to debate whether Blake Jackson is a receiver or a tight end (he's the former), but I'm obviously including him in this group. He'll be an interesting guy to watch this year after struggling with drops but clearly possessing loads of potential and averaging better than 20 yards a catch on his 29 grabs.

Oklahoma State had nine players with at least 12 catches and 150 receiving yards last season and returns six of those players, including Tracy Moore, who was given an extra year of eligibility. He won't be joined by Michael Harrison, who sat out 2012 and was expected to return, but won't be doing so after a strong 2011 season under Justin Blackmon.

Somehow, we've gotten this far without mentioning the unit's headliner, breakout star Josh Stewart. He was overshadowed by a trio of superstars in Baylor's Terrance Williams and West Virginia's Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, but all three are gone and Stewart is easily the Big 12's best returning receiver. He caught 101 balls for 1,210 yards and seven scores last season, which is more than 150 yards more than any other returning receiver in the league. Stewart's underrated for now, but that could change soon, even though Oklahoma State has a ton of depth at the position with guys like Austin Hays and Charlie Moore filling out the position and Blake Webb emerging late in the season. Will incoming freshmen like Ra'Shaad Samples and Marcell Ateman find space to make an impact right away? It won't be easy, because this is Oklahoma State's biggest strength.

Weakest position: Defensive end

I've got nothing against juco transfers, who can walk on campus and be game-changers immediately, but if you're bringing in guys to do that, it shows a weakness at the position. Oklahoma State is doing that with Sam Wren, the nation's No. 16 overall juco prospect, after the Pokes lost three defensive ends from last season's team in Nigel Nicholas, Ryan Robinson and Cooper Bassett. Tyler Johnson is a solid player who made six tackles for loss a year ago, but OSU needs to find him help on the other side or opponents will be able to shut him down with double teams. Kansas State's Joe Bob Clements is a new addition to the staff who'll coach the position and try to sort it out this spring, but look for guys like Trace Clark, Jimmy Bean and early enrollee Naim Mustafaa to try to earn a starting spot, too.

More Weak and Strong.

Breaking down the Big 12 football bracket

March, 21, 2013
It's hard not to wake up with a smile on your face on a day like today. Sure, I cover football, but the first two days of the NCAA tournament are two of the best of the year. In just a few hours, 16 college basketball games will tip off and we'll do the same thing again on Friday.

To celebrate, we'll have a little theoretical bracket competition in the Big 12 with next season's teams.

Here's how I'm seeding the league's 10 teams:
  1. Oklahoma State
  2. TCU
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Baylor
  6. Texas Tech
  7. Kansas State
  8. West Virginia
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

So, how would a 10-team bracket play out? Here's how I slot it. Feel free to provide your own conclusions in the comments. The Big 12, like this year's NCAA tournament, is wide open. Anything could happen, but assume that these games are played during this week. (Note: Players injured this spring will be included, as will early enrolling freshmen. Freshmen not on campus are not eligible for these games).

Play-in games (at Hutchinson Junior College in Hutchinson, Kansas):

No. 7 Kansas State vs. No. 10 Kansas: KU's got a bit more experience on its side, but experience doesn't mean much in this latest iteration of the Sunflower Showdown. Bill Snyder gets the best of the Jayhawks on the kind of field he knows very, very well. Kansas State 38, Kansas 20

No. 8 West Virginia vs. No. 9 Iowa State: This game was too close for comfort in November, but Iowa State's Sam Richardson makes enough plays to outgun an inexperienced WVU offense and a still-learning defense. West Virginia goes with experience at quarterback in Paul Millard, but the timing is still a bit off. Iowa State 31, West Virginia 30

FIRST ROUND (in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas)

No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Kansas State: These two have had some classic battles over the past two years, but OSU quarterback Clint Chelf finishes without a turnover, and that gets the job done. If OSU hadn't thrown an interception against Kansas State in Manhattan last year, the Pokes might have pulled the upset. Cowboys running back Jeremy Smith goes off against Kansas State's new defensive line. Oklahoma State 47, Kansas State 31

No. 2 TCU vs. No. 9 Iowa State: Iowa State beat the heck out of TCU in Fort Worth last year, but that was just days after the Frogs lost quarterback Casey Pachall. Pachall is back, and so is running back Waymon James. Iowa State's green linebackers get bowled over by James' power. TCU 21, Iowa State 13

No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Texas Tech: Texas Tech is still searching for its offensive identity, and Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat isn't all about giving the Red Raiders time to do it. The Red Raiders get off to a nice start, though Texas' running game seizes control in the second half. Tech's Michael Brewer hits Jace Amaro for a pair of long gains and finds Eric Ward for the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds. Sounds oddly familiar, no? Texas Tech 31, Texas 27

No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Baylor: Oklahoma's quarterback gets off to a decent start, but Baylor's defense is still red-hot and Baylor's Bryce Petty outguns Oklahoma's Blake Bell in the debut for both quarterbacks. It's a breakout game for redshirt freshman Baylor receiver Jay Lee, too. The Sooners' young defense is caught off guard. Baylor 41, Oklahoma 31

SEMIFINALS (at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas)

No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Baylor: Baylor sprung the upset late in the season, and leads by double digits early in this one before Chelf rallies with a pair of touchdown passes to Charlie Moore and a third to Blake Jackson. The senior is trying to prove he deserves the job permanently, but OSU seals the game with a late score on the ground from J.W. Walsh in the short-yardage formation, overcoming 185 rushing yards from Baylor's Lache Seastrunk. Oklahoma State 44, Baylor 31

No. 2 TCU vs. No. 6 Texas Tech: Texas Tech's offense gets completely suffocated by TCU's defense, and defensive end Devonte Fields makes life tough for Tech's Brewer. Tech can't establish the running game to offset the rush, and TCU's cornerbacks lock down the Red Raiders' screen game, too. Ugly, ugly game to watch. For anyone but TCU fans, anyway. TCU 20, Texas Tech 10

CHAMPIONSHIP (at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas)

No. 1 Oklahoma State vs. No. 2 TCU: Are we allowed to have a Big 12 title game (and semifinals) without Texas or Oklahoma involved? The league's top two squads in my book survived a pair of games to reach the finals, and both teams are solid on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma State's offense is better. TCU's defense is better. Both teams' weaker units are still solid, though. At the end of the game, it's exactly what we wanted to see. Chelf, Smith and Tracy Moore going head to head with Fields and Jason Verrett for the Frogs. OSU has been there before and drives the length of the field before kicker Bobby Stonebraker proves Oklahoma State's edge in the special teams is the difference with a 45-yard, game-winning field goal. Oklahoma State 31, TCU 28

Cue up One Shining Moment!

Big 12: Reviewing 2012's spring stars

March, 7, 2013
Spring football gives young players and unknowns an opportunity to prove themselves. Many times, success in the spring translates to success into the fall. Other times, however, it does not. Last year's Big 12 spring standouts offered a combination of both. Below are the 2012 spring stars from each Big 12 team:

Baylor: RB Lache Seastrunk

What he did in the spring: The Oregon transfer dazzled with 135 rushing yards on just seven carries, which included a 75-yard scoring scamper.

What he did in the fall: Seastrunk eventually supplanted Jarred Salubi as the starter, then rushed for more than 90 yards in each of Baylor’s final six games to earn Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year honors.

Where he stands now: Seastrunk is a surefire preseason All-Big 12 pick, and with QB Nick Florence and WR Terrance Williams gone, the Bears will be leaning on him to carry the offense.

Oklahoma: WR Trey Metoyer

What he did in the spring: Metoyer enrolled in the winter after spending the fall at Hargrave Military Academy, and outperformed every other OU skill player. He led all receivers in OU’s spring game with six catches for 72 yards.

What he did in the fall: Metoyer opened the season as a starter, but struggled developing chemistry with QB Landry Jones. He eventually lost his starting job, then fell out of the rotation altogether.

Where he stands now: A new year and a new QB should do wonders for Metoyer, who has all the tools to become a dominant outside receiver. With 2012 starters Kenny Stills and Justin Brown gone, Metoyer will have an opportunity to win back a starting job.

Oklahoma State: WR Charlie Moore

What he did in the spring: After catching just seven passes his entire career, Moore exploded in the Orange-White game with nine receptions, 243 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

What he did in the fall: He won a starting job and finished second on the offense with 35 catches and six touchdowns, and was a consistent performer as the Cowboys shuffled quarterbacks in and out of the lineup.

Where he stands now: The Cowboys figure to have one of their deepest receiving corps in years, and Moore is one reason why.

TCU: CB Jason Verrett

What he did in the spring: During TCU's tumultuous off-season, Verrett continued his momentum from 2011 and turned in a dominant spring.

What he did in the fall: No Big 12 corner was better last season than Verrett, who earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition in TCU’s first season in the league.

Where he stands now: Verrett has been dealing with an injury he suffered in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but is expected to take part in spring ball soon. Verrett is one of the top returning corners in college football and should vie for All-American honors.

Texas: LB Steve Edmond

What he did in the spring: The 260 pound-plus linebacker was a menace on the front seven all spring.

What he did in the fall: Edmond was one of the bright spots on a Texas defense that overall was porous against the run. He was first among linebackers with 103 tackles, and he forced two fumbles, including a key one in the second half of Texas’ 56-50 win over Baylor.

Where he stands now: Edmond is having to fend off Dalton Santos, who is getting some of Edmond’s first-team reps at middle linebacker this spring.

Texas Tech: LB Will Smith

What he did in the spring: The junior-college transfer led all defenders in the spring game with six tackles and an interception, the only turnover of the scrimmage.

What he did in the fall: Smith locked down a starting job at linebacker and was a key part of Tech’s 6-1 start to the season. He finished fourth on the team with 55 tackles.

Where he stands now: Smith figures to anchor the Tech defense for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Big 12 did you know: Week 11

November, 9, 2012

Time for another round of fun facts and tidbits about this weekend's games. As always, these come courtesy of our fantastic Stats & Information crew at ESPN, as well as various sports information departments across the Big 12.

We love you. You make your readers the smartest folks at their tailgates. Let's get to the facts!

Did you know...
  • Kansas State now officially ranks first or tied for first in FBS in penalties per game, turnover margin, points off turnovers and average starting field position.
  • The Wildcats have scored 111 points off turnovers and surrendered zero.
  • TCU ranks second nationally in average starting position. Its drives start at an average of its own 38-yard line.
  • Kansas State ranks in the top three in FBS in both kick-return average (30.0 yards per return) and punt-return average (24.9).
  • TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is 11-of-33 on throws longer than 20 yards since becoming the team's starter.
  • Boykin hasn't completed more than 50 percent of those throws in any game this season.
  • Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein has completed more than 50 percent of his throws longer than 20 yards in four consecutive games this season, and six overall.
  • Before leaving the team, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was 9-of-14 on throws longer than 20 yards.
  • Klein averaged 24.4 carries a game last year. This year, he's down to 15.4 carries a game.
  • Klein is averaging more than a full yard more per carry than he did last year. He's averaging 5.0 yards a carry this year, vs. 3.6 in 2011.
  • Klein has accounted for 65.1 percent of Kansas State's offense this season.
  • Klein has run the ball 66 times the past season and a half in goal-to-go situations. He's scored touchdowns on 33 of those carries, the best mark in the FBS.
  • Baylor receiver Terrance Williams leads the nation with 24 catches longer than 20 yards this season, and 10 catches longer than 40 yards.
  • Baylor WR Tevin Reese is fourth nationally with seven catches of at least 40 yards.
  • Against Iowa State, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones completed six passes longer than 20 yards, and four for touchdowns. Both of those were career highs.
  • Before that game, Jones had just 10 such completions for two touchdowns all season.
  • In the past two seasons, Jones has ranked in the FBS top five in completions longer than 30 yards.
  • This season, Jones has 12 completions longer than 30 yards -- 49th in the FBS.
  • Texas has scored 46 touchdowns on offense in nine games this year. It scored 40 in 2011.
  • Texas' 91 missed tackles are now 18 more than any other Big 12 team.
  • Kansas has 13 drives this season with at least 10 plays that did not result in points. No other FBS team has more.
  • Texas Tech has 1,537 yards after catch, third most among AQ schools.
  • Seth Doege has 21 touchdowns inside the red zone, the most in FBS.
  • Oklahoma State has a touchdown drive of 2 minutes or less in 35 consecutive games.
  • The Big 12's cumulative averages for punt returns (12.95) and kick returns (22.94) lead the nation.
  • 35.8 percent of the Big 12's touchdown drives this season have taken five plays or fewer and covered at least 50 yards.
  • Iowa State has only lost three games under Paul Rhoads when it wins the turnover battle. Oklahoma has two of those wins.
  • Chris Canty against Akron in 1995 was the last K-State cornerback with three interceptions in a single game until Allen Chapman duplicated the feat against Oklahoma State last week.
  • Bob Stoops can pass Bud Wilkinson on the all-time wins list this week. He's 12 wins short of tying Barry Switzer for the school record.
  • Since 2004, Oklahoma is 20-0 following a loss.
  • Oklahoma State receiver Charlie Moore has caught a touchdown in four consecutive games.
  • TCU cornerback Jason Verrett already has five interceptions this season. No TCU player has done that since 2005.
  • Texas Tech has played five consecutive ranked opponents. This week, it gets Kansas.
  • West Virginia's last overtime game before last week came against Connecticut on Oct. 29, 2010. It lost, 16-13.

OSU gets even, overcomes injuries in win

October, 20, 2012
Some Cowboys downplayed the significance. Others admitted they were looking forward to today.

Either way, Iowa State was the lone speed bump that derailed Oklahoma State's run to spot in the national title game last season, and the Cowboys earned a little revenge with a 31-10 win against No. 24 Iowa State.

It felt a little weird to see the Cyclones play on the road as a ranked team against an unranked Oklahoma State squad, but the Cowboys clearly looked like the better team, despite playing without receivers Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson, two of the team's top five receivers.

Charlie Moore filled the void, grabbing eight balls for 129 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown catch. He entered the game with just 11 catches for 191 yards.

The Iowa State defense slowed Joseph Randle for most of the day, but he set up Oklahoma State's fourth touchdown of the day with a 62-yard run down to the Iowa State 14-yard line. He finished with 151 yards on 24 carries with a pair of scores.

Wes Lunt didn't play, but J.W. Walsh joined him as a 400-yard passer this season, completing 32-of-47 passes for 415 yards and a touchdown without an interception. Lunt is still day-to-day, but you have to wonder if the redshirt conversation has to be coming if Lunt can't get back on the field.

It's a good win for the Pokes, who move to 4-2 and get their best win of 2012 by far. Iowa State falls to 4-3 and likely out of the BCS standings, but the Cyclones will certainly be in the mix for that sixth win to reach a third bowl in four years under Paul Rhoads.

Iowa State, though, has to figure out its quarterback issues first. OSU's defense has struggled for much of the season, but Iowa State's decision to shuffle in Steele Jantz late for Jared Barnett wasn't effective. Outside of Kansas, Iowa State might have the worst quarterback situation in the Big 12. You can't expect to make a bowl game looking like that.

The win is Mike Gundy's 63rd at Oklahoma State, passing his former coach Pat Jones as the winningest coach in school history.

It's about to get a lot tougher for an unproven Oklahoma State team, though. Just how good are the Cowboys? We'll find out over the next month with five more ranked teams waiting. Today was just the first of six games vs. teams in this week's BCS rankings. The Pokes host No. 23 TCU next week before traveling to No. 4 Kansas State and later hosting Nos. 13 West Virginia and 17 Texas Tech. The stretch ends in Norman vs. No. 9 Oklahoma.

The rest of the Big 12 will soon see exactly what the reigning champs are made of.

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 5

October, 1, 2012
It's time to pass out some awards and look back on the week that was in the Big 12.

Best offensive performance: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Can't be any question on this one, folks. Sorry. Geno had one of the best performances by a quarterback I've ever seen. He threw 51 passes. Eight went for touchdowns. Six were incomplete. I counted maybe two or three (depending on your judgment) that had any chance of getting picked off. That's near perfection. Honorable mention: Nick Florence, QB, Baylor; Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor; Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia; David Ash, QB, Texas

[+] EnlargeSmith
Rob Christy/US PresswireGeno Smith was close to perfect Saturday -- throwing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns.
Best defensive performance: A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State. Klein gets the narrow nod here for a huge day that featured 11 tackles and the biggest play of the day for the Cyclones. ISU harassed Seth Doege for most of the first half, but Klein took advantage of a big mistake, stepping in front of a pass over the middle and returning it 87 yards to put ISU up 7-0 in an eventual loss to Texas Tech. Honorable mention: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas; Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State; Devonte Fields, DE, TCU

Best game: West Virginia 70, Baylor 63. This one was too much fun. There was a lot of bad defense but it wasn't all bad. Don't overlook the fact that Smith and Florence are two really, really good quarterbacks throwing to really deep, with really, really good receiving corps. Not many defensive backfields could cover those guys well. Better than giving up 63 and 70 points? Probably. But this one was the game that left everybody talking on Saturday.

Second-best game: Texas 41, Oklahoma State 36. Sadly, this game got overshadowed a bit by the craziness of the early session.The Longhorns and Cowboys traded the lead six times, including four times in the game's final 10 minutes. It featured a pair of clutch Texas drives, and a fourth-down toss from Ash for the books at Texas. It also nearly ended in even more spectacular fashion, but we'll get to that later.

Best offensive performance by a freshman: J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State. Walsh didn't run as much as some expected, but he helped make a good Texas defense look very average. Much of the trouble was tackling downfield, but Walsh made great decisions for the most part and took care of the ball, moving the chains and capitalizing for big plays. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, adding 57 yards rushing. Great stuff from the youngster in relief of Wes Lunt.

Best defensive performance by a freshman: Fields. Is there any doubt that Fields is writing the early chapters of a story that ends with him being one of the best defenders to come through this league in a long while? In his first four games as a true freshman, Fields has five sacks. He finished with four tackles for loss against SMU and seven tackles, bringing his TFL total to 8.5, more than any defender in the Big 12. Crazy.

Worst play: TCU punt team. Facing a fourth-and-18 on their 25-yard line, the snap to punter Ethan Perry was mishandled, and SMU took over on TCU's 1-yard line in a 24-10 game early in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Frogs, Fields came to the rescue and the defense held, giving up zero points.

Best play: Ash to D.J. Grant for 29 yards. Facing a fourth-and-6 on the Longhorns' final drive with just more than 90 seconds to play, Ash stood tall in the pocket with the crowd at Boone Pickens as loud as it had been all night. He found Grant dragging from his left to right, and hit Grant squarely in the numbers to keep the game alive and extend the eventual game-winning drive. Mack Brown called the toss "unbelievable" after the game.

Biggest eye-opening revelation: West Virginia's coaches. After Saturday's game, they revealed to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman that Smith checked live at the line of scrimmage into a play that wasn't even in the game plan, because he saw something in the Bears' coverage he could exploit. The result: one of his eight touchdown passes on the day. Ridiculous. Smith's a whole lot more than a big arm, folks.

Second-worst play: West Virginia's defense on the final play of the first half. If somebody says to you, "Prevent this team from reaching the end zone 67 yards away in one play," most defenses would hold up. West Virginia's? Well, Baylor's Lanear Sampson and Florence hooked up to prove they could embarrass WVU to tie the score at 35 after the first 30 minutes.

Best play that nearly became legend: Walsh to Charlie Moore on the final play versusTexas. I was on the sideline for this one, and the play on the south side of the field (Boone Pickens Stadium, if you didn't know, runs east to west) looked like a mess. Walsh fired a backward pass all the way across to the north side of the field to Moore, who was all alone. He caught the ball about 10-to-15 yards right in front of me. I careened my head down the sideline ... all green pastures ahead of Moore. That kind of feeling? That's why we love football. Not much can duplicate that, and I wasn't even playing. I can only imagine what it felt like for Moore. With another block or two, that might have been the greatest play in Big 12 history, edging out Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree back in 2008.

Best quote: Dana Holgorsen, on Smith's day. "He was 45-of-51 for 656 yards with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Can you please explain to me how you can improve on that?"