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Monday, September 6, 2010
Weekend rewind: The best and worst

By David Ubben

We'll start a weekly Monday morning feature this week, handing out awards, some general, some very specific.

Best individual offensive performance: Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State. Hunter made a big return, rushing for 208 yards in the first half on the way to 257 for the game. Who knows how many he would have had if the game was closer?

Kendall Hunter
Kendall Hunter rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns against Washington State.
Best individual defensive performance: Three-way tie. Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas. Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. Brian Duncan, LB, Texas Tech. Robinson earned a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first half of Texas' win over Rice. Smith made 10 tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. And two of Duncan's sacks in Sunday's win came on the final drive with Texas Tech trying to protect an eight-point lead. All three deserve it.

Best individual play: Carl Gettis, CB, Missouri. Up just four in the fourth quarter, Gettis pulled in a ridiculous one-handed interception, immortalized by a photo in the Columbia Tribune and a story in the Columbia Missourian.

Best confidential performance: Tie, Texas A&M and Baylor. The Aggies and Bears cleanly dispatched FCS foes in untelevised games, 48-7 for the Aggies and 34-3 for the Bears. Vintage performance from both teams' quarterbacks, Jerrod Johnson and Robert Griffin.

Worst confidential performance: Kansas. The Jayhawks dropped a 6-3 game to FCS foe North Dakota State on Fox College Sports. Everyone heard about it, but raise your hand if you saw it (and not on the internet). That's what I thought. Runner-up: Oklahoma, who charged fans $40 to watch them need a late defensive stop to secure a 31-24 win over Utah State.

Best debut: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska. Martinez snatched hold of the lead for Big 12 Freshman of the Year, piling up 263 yards of offense and three touchdowns. He's  the team's leading passer and rusher, helped by a 46-yard touchdown run on his first carry as a Husker.

Best impression of himself: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State. Thomas got back to business, but a better version of business. He ran with vision, power and proved elusive, even though Kansas State's passing game struggled. His career-high 234 yards featured a career high 44-yard run.

Worst impression of himself: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma. Murray was everything his critics said he was not against Utah State: a durable every-down back. Murray took 35 of the 37 carries given to Oklahoma running backs and turned them into 218 yards, 90 more than his previous career high, 128 yards as a freshman against Texas. We'll see if he can continue that as the season moves on, but he's off to a nice start.

Biggest identity crisis: The Big 12. Known for it's stellar quarterback play, a shift to ground has been in the works since Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy left the league. After Week 1, the nation's three leading rushers are all from the Big 12: Kendall Hunter, Daniel Thomas and DeMarco Murray.

Worst identity crisis: Texas, whose desire to establish a downhill running game hit a few speed bumps against Rice. The Longhorns most-used running backs, Cody Johnson and Tre' Newton averaged just 3.6 yards on 33 carries, though Newton did score three touchdowns. Johnson was denied by the owls on a fourth-down sweep from the 1-yard line early in the game.

Best disregard of history: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska who threw the bones to the Nebraska crowd after his third rushing touchdown, an elbow-crossing gesture usually reserved for defensive players.