Dallas Colleges: Jordan Williamson
Alas, here's a look at the 10 moments we'll remember most from the 2011 season. These aren't necessarily the best or worst moments, but simply that: memorable. When we look back on 2011, this is what will stick out.
2. Iowa State storms the field ... and bowl season. Oklahoma State looked headed for a showdown with Oklahoma to play for a national title, but Iowa State had other things in mind. Jared Barnett topped 375 yards passing and 75 yards rushing in just his third start to give the Cyclones a win over a top six team for the first time in 58 tries. It set off a party on the field at Jack Trice Stadium and put ISU into its second bowl in three years.
3. Texas A&M and Missouri say adios, muchachos. The Aggies had enough of Texas and wanted some of Alabama. Missouri had enough drama and wanted some stability. Texas A&M made it official in late September and Mizzou followed in early November. Texas A&M called it a "100-year decision."
4. The Big 12 says hello to two new friends. With Texas A&M and Missouri gone, expansion was the obvious necessary step. The Big 12 took it by welcoming Southwest Conference expatriate TCU home into the Big 12 on Oct. 11. And 17 days later, West Virginia followed, announcing its plans to help expand the Big 12's footprint wayyy, wayyy east.
5. The Aggies sound like a broken record. Shattered record, maybe. Texas A&M started as a Big 12 title contender with a top-10 ranking. It led 12 games by double digits. It lost six games. How'd it happen? Nobody knew, and as a result, coach Mike Sherman was fired. Over and over, it was the same story. The 20-3 and 35-17 halftime leads over Oklahoma State and Arkansas evaporated. The Aggies blew big leads over Missouri, Kansas State and Texas, too.
6. Oklahoma State finds new life ... twice. Most were resigned to Alabama and LSU meeting again for the title, but OSU made it interesting with a satisfying 44-10 embarrassment of Oklahoma, putting late pressure on voters and finishing behind Alabama by the slimmest margin in BCS history. And once OSU was in its bowl game, Stanford's Jordan Williamson yanked a 35-yard kick to send the game into overtime, where the Cowboys capitalized in a 41-38 win.
7. Texas grabs Lone Star Showdown bragging rights for...ever? The Longhorns were the underdogs in a veritable powder keg that was Kyle Field on Thanksgiving night. Then Colt, er, Case McCoy got loose for a 25-yard scramble that set up Justin Tucker's game-winning 40-yard field goal that gave Texas bragging rights in the now-defunct rivalry for as long as it would like. The Longhorns say they have no plans to continue the rivalry after the Aggies leave for the SEC.
8. The Little Apple hosts a classic. You never know when the longest game in Big 12 history is going to show up. Kansas State and Texas A&M played it. The Aggies led by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, but Collin Klein rallied the Wildcats and got the 53-50 win on — what else — a QB sneak for a game-winning touchdown.
10. Dan Beebe gets the ax. The damage was done. Beebe was seen as someone who ceded to Texas at all costs, even if he did it as a last option to keep the Big 12 together in the summer of 2010. That hurt the league, and Oklahoma called for Beebe to be removed. He was, and replaced by interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, who had helped many of the league's ADs hire coaches. A permanent replacement still hasn't been named.
Honorable mention: OSU FB Kye Staley and Texas TE Blaine Irby score touchdowns in emotional returns from catastrophic knee injuries, K-State runs out of time in a near upset over Oklahoma State (and an earthquake followed), Kansas State becomes the first team to intercept RG3 and stays undefeated in an "upset" of Baylor, RG3 has his version of the "Immaculate Reception"; Missouri QB James Franklin goes beast mode on a 20-yard touchdown run in a win over Texas A&M; Missouri coach Gary Pinkel "ices" his own kicker in a loss to Arizona State; Kansas reaches a new low and trails Oklahoma State 56-7 at halftime; Ryan Broyles' career meets an unfair end with a torn ACL.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The offenses fizzled early, exploded late and the two marquee playmakers in the this game, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, shined on the brightest stage. It was so good, 60 minutes couldn’t contain it. Here’s how it all went down, with Oklahoma State winning 41-38 over Stanford in overtime in the desert:
How the game was won: In the first overtime, after Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson missed a 43-yard field goal attempt (he previously missed a 35-yard attempt for the win as time expired in regulation), Brandon Weeden connected with Colton Chelf on a 24-yard pass down to the Stanford 1-yard line. Weeden took a knee to center the ball, setting up a 22-yard field goal that Quinn Sharp nailed.
Second guessing: Trailing 28-21, an interesting decision by OSU coach Mike Gundy to kick a 19-yard field goal rather than going for it on fourth-and-goal at the Stanford 1-yard line. Not saying it was the wrong call, but clearly it was the conservative one. Hey, they won.
Stanford player of the game: As good as Luck was, running back Stepfan Taylor was fantastic, carrying 35 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns. He made holes when they weren’t there and exploded through the ones that were.
Oklahoma State player of the game: Blackmon was everything the Cardinal thought he would be -- and a whole lot more. The wide receiver caught eight balls for 186 yards and three touchdowns. He was clearly the most athletic player on the field.
What it means: For two teams feeling more than a little disrespected for being left out of the national championship game, both showed why they there were among the nation’s elite this season. Oklahoma State was the benefactor of a couple of missed field goals, but fought their way back all game and proved to be the more clutch team in overtime. For the Cardinal, it’s a disappointing end to the Luck era -- one of the most successful stretches in school history.
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