NCF Nation: Aaron Colvin

NFL draft breakdown: Big 12

May, 12, 2014
May 12
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Several former Big 12 stars watched their dreams come true with their selection in the NFL draft over the weekend.

None of those players went to Texas.

The Longhorns did not have a player drafted for the first time since 1937, leaving a lasting memory that could remain in Austin, Texas, until the 2015 draft.

Baylor led the league with five players selected, followed by Oklahoma with four. Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and TCU cornerback Jason Verrett were the only Big 12 players selected in the first round.

Here's a closer look at some of the Big 12's draftees and storylines from the draft over the weekend.

[+] EnlargeCyril Richardson
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsGuard Cyril Richardson was the first of five Baylor players who were selected in the draft. The Bears had five of the league's 17 draft picks.
Interesting storyline: In addition to the Longhorns going without a player drafted, it was a lackluster weekend for the rest of Big 12 with a total of 17 draftees, including five on the first two days of the draft (Rounds 1-3). Five Big 12 players were selected in the seventh round, helping to increase what was looking like a ugly and disappointing number midway through the draft’s final day. The Big 12 had 22 players selected in 2013, with eight in the first three rounds and 17 in the first five rounds.

Strong statement: While his current team did not get any players drafted, Texas coach Charlie Strong watched his former school, Louisville, get more players drafted in the first round than the entire Big 12. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, safety Calvin Pryor and linebacker Marcus Smith each were selected in the first round after being recruited by and playing for Strong at Louisville. Linebacker Preston Brown was selected by the Bills in the third round, giving Louisville four players selected in the first three rounds. No Big 12 team matched that feat.

Best fit: It’s probably hard to find a rookie in a better situation than former Oklahoma State cornerback Gilbert, who was selected No. 8 overall by the Cleveland Browns. First, Cleveland clearly valued him, taking him in the top 10 after moving down, and he should slide right into the starting lineup for the Browns. Second, he will be the most overlooked top-10 pick in recent memory as all the attention during his rookie season is likely to be focused on former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Browns’ second pick of the first round. Third, he will get the opportunity to be mentored by Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden in a system that will allow his physical gifts to shine.

Immediate impact rookie: Former Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro could be the poised to have the biggest impact as a rookie. Amaro, the New York Jets' second-round pick, could become a big target who is a quarterback’s best friend, as Amaro proved to be during his standout 2013 season with the Red Raiders. If Amaro can hold his own as a blocker, he could develop into a lethal weapon on play action for Rex Ryan’s Jets.

Long-term impact: Former Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin won’t be earning Rookie of the Year honors. Selected in the fourth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Colvin is recovering from an torn ACL in January and could miss the entire 2014 season as he recovers from the injury. When he does get healthy, Colvin has the ability to be a starting NFL cornerback and could become a mainstay in the Jaguars secondary.

Potential steal: It's hard to understand why former Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk dropped all the way into the sixth round, where Washington drafted him to rejoin former teammate Robert Griffin III in the offensive backfield. He might not arrive in Washington and lock up a starting role, but it would be a surprise if Seastrunk, who averaged 7.4 yards per carry in 2013, doesn't makes an impact with his new squad.

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.

Oklahoma can give the program -- and the Big 12 -- a landmark victory Thursday night over No. 3 Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Here are 10 reasons why the Sooners could pull off the upset against the two-time defending national champions:

1. Jalen Saunders’ playmaking: The most versatile playmaker in this game will be wearing OU’s shade of crimson. Saunders is capable of breaking off big plays on receptions, returns and rushes, as Oklahoma State found out in Bedlam. Saunders is the kind of game-breaker capable of carrying an underdog to an upset.

2. Alabama apathy: After playing in the national championship game three of the past four years, playing in the Sugar is a bit of a step down. The Crimson Tide fans seem to be unenthusiastic about this game. Will the players be, too? The Sooners, meanwhile, have everything to play for. There’s no doubt OU will come out fired up.

3. Alabama focus: The Crimson Tide have several underclassmen who could be early entries to the NFL draft. How many of them will be 100 percent focused on this game? The Sooners, conversely, might not have a single player leave early. Their focus should be fully on this game.

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezDon't count out teams coached by Bob Stoops that enter bowl games as underdogs.
4. Sooners thriving as the underdog: OU’s recent record as a heavy favorite has been suspect. But the Sooners thrived late in the season as underdogs. They knocked off Kansas State and Oklahoma State on the road to close out the regular season as underdogs. There’s precedent for Bob Stoops-coached teams playing great in big bowl games as big underdogs, as well. Just ask Florida State, which fell to the Sooners despite being double-digit favorites in the 2000 national championship game.

5. Special teams: The one area that the Sooners hold a decisive edge over Alabama is special teams. Saunders is an all-conference punt returner. Roy Finch leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns. And Michael Hunnicutt is a reliable placekicker, while the Crimson Tide don’t seem to have much confidence in Cade Foster, who missed three field goals in the Auburn game. A big play on special teams could swing this game the way of the Sooners. Which, after the Iron Bowl, is something Alabama fans understand all too well.

6. Eric Striker off the edge: The sophomore linebacker has been virtually unblockable on blitzes this season. Alabama has given up the fifth-fewest sacks in the country this season, so quarterback AJ McCarron is not accustomed to dealing with pressure. If Striker can get into the Alabama backfield, he could wreak havoc.

7. Colvin on Cooper: Alabama sophomore wideout Amari Cooper is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the country. In the Iron Bowl, Cooper gashed Auburn for 178 receiving yards on six catches. When McCarron looks downfield off play-action, Cooper is who he is looking for. Cooper said this week the Sooners didn’t have anyone in their secondary capable of covering him. But the fact is, the Sooners have one of the best cover corners in college football in Aaron Colvin. Colvin has been banged up all season, which has limited his effectiveness. But with the time off, he’s healthier than he’s been all season and is capable of blanketing Cooper, regardless of what Cooper says.

8. Sooner coyness: OU basically knows what Alabama will do and has been able to prepare accordingly. Because the Sooners haven’t revealed whether they’re starting Trevor Knight or Blake Bell at quarterback, the Crimson Tide have basically had to prepare for two different offensive schemes. Time spent working on one scheme is time not spent working on the other. This gives the Sooners some competitive edge.

9. Bama against the zone-read: Alabama had a difficult time slowing down Auburn’s zone-read attack in the Iron Bowl. If the Sooners go with Knight at quarterback, that’s pretty much the offense the Crimson Tide will be facing again. OU won’t have Nick Marshall or Tre Mason in its backfield. But the Tigers gave OU a blueprint on how to move the ball against the Tide.

10. Sign of the times: Before this week, only six bowl underdogs of at least two touchdowns had won outright since 1990. This week alone, Texas Tech and UCF became the seventh and eighth. The Sooners are heavy underdogs. But maybe this is the bowl season of the heavy underdog.

Sugar Bowl glance: Alabama-Oklahoma

December, 11, 2013
12/11/13
11:40
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There's one thing the Allstate Sugar Bowl has in spades: tradition.

Alabama and Oklahoma are members of college football's aristocracy with a history of winning that goes back decades. From Paul Bryant to Bud Wilkinson, dusty images come to mind with these two schools. And it's only fitting that they'll meet in New Orleans, which holds its own storied place in history.

But what about the game itself? It's still a few weeks away, but let's break down some of the aspects that might make Tide-Sooners an interesting event to watch on Jan. 2.

Key storylines

[+] EnlargeBlake Bell
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMIAfter leading Oklahoma to a Bedlam win, will Blake Bell get the call against Alabama?
Letdown factor: Both Alabama and Oklahoma came into this season with eyes on Pasadena, Calif., and the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game, but neither wound up in a position to make the long trip to the West Coast. How will that play a factor when the two teams meet in New Orleans? Is there any kind of unfinished business both programs feel? For Alabama, at least there's the idea that coming out and winning big might show the country that despite a last-second loss to Auburn, the Tide is the better team. A convincing win won't vault it to No. 1 in the rankings again, but a No. 2 finish could be cause enough to show up in New Orleans ready to compete.

Who starts at QB?: Oklahoma will begin bowl practice soon, but who starts under center is still a significant question mark. As Sooners offensive coordinator Josh Heupel explained, he'll go with, "Whoever it takes." Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight is nursing an injured non-throwing arm, though it's unclear the severity of the injury. Meanwhile, junior Blake Bell, who came on in relief of Knight against Oklahoma State and led the Sooners on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, seems like the hot hand. But he entered the game third on the depth chart behind Kendal Thompson so making any assumptions here seems futile.

Stoops vs. the SEC: Some folks just don't like to dredge up the past. But after what Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has said about the SEC in the past year or so, it's hard to forget. Stoops has called the league with seven straight BCS champions overrated, top-heavy and overstated in terms of its defensive prowess. It's all propaganda, he claims. A veteran of the Big 12, he's been mostly alone in his criticism of the SEC, which has made him a favorite target of college football fans in the South who like to chide other conferences already. But Stoops will have his chance to answer their criticism and state the case for his own. A win over the Tide might spell vindication.

Players to watch

Oklahoma DB Aaron Colvin: He's a big, physical corner who might be able to give Amari Cooper trouble. At 6-foot and 192 pounds, he's an aggressive type that doesn't intercept the ball a lot -- he has just one this season -- but does draw his fair share of flags. He's fifth on the team in tackles (49) and tied for sixth in passes defended (4).

Alabama LB Adrian Hubbard: We saw it play out last season where Hubbard came from nowhere to close the season strong (three sacks in the final games) and flirt with the NFL as a redshirt sophomore. He ultimately stayed for his junior season, but we could see a repeat of last year as Hubbard has racked up three sacks and 11 tackles in the Tide's past four games.

Oklahoma DL Charles Tapper: The Sooners have struggled some on offense this season, but their youth on defense is cause for hope. Trapper, a big 6-foot-4, 261-pound defensive end, is one of those bright spots. As a sophomore, he leads the team with nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Alabama QB AJ McCarron: It's ironic to consider that McCarron's final game at UA will come against a team he nearly signed with as a player coming out of high school. The night before he was set to decide, he said he was thinking he'd go with Oklahoma. Why? He liked their program and Sam Bradford. But as he said, when you're a teenager, "Your mind changes about 20 times a day." In the end, it's safe to say McCarron made the right decision as a win over Oklahoma would be the cherry on top of a career that's seen him win two national championships as a starter and earned him a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Stats to keep an eye on

2: Oklahoma has a history of being a talent-rich program on offense, but this season's been different as the Sooners placed just two such players on the first- and second-team AP All-Big 12 Team. And those two selections -- center Gabe Ikard and kicker Mike Hunnicutt -- aren't what you'd call impact players.

18: The Sooners have flipped the script after being known as a passing team under former quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Landry Jones. This season Oklahoma's relied heavily on the run, ranking 18th in the country with 235.8 rushing yards per game.

20: Alabama's still shaking off the reputation of a slow and plodding offense. And while it may be true the Tide doesn't huddle, it does get big plays. In fact, UA ranks 28th in the country with 68 plays of 20 or more yards. Meanwhile, Oklahoma ranks 86th with only 48 such plays.
Nobody can question the dominance of Oklahoma in the Bedlam series. The Sooners have made Oklahoma State just a little bump on their road to championship contention for the majority of the in-state rivalry, taking a 83-17-7 series lead into Saturday’s game in Stillwater, Okla.

That is the past.

The present is a little different.

[+] EnlargeClint Chelf
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesThere's been a lot to celebrate at Oklahoma State since Mike Gundy became head coach in 2005.
OSU has been on the rise under Mike Gundy, who was hired in 2005, emerging as a consistent threat to win the Big 12 title and a legitimate player on the national landscape. Since 2009, OSU has won 79.4 percent of its games (50-13), seventh amongst FBS teams and No. 1 in in the Big 12.

Nobody has had a closer view of the rise of the Cowboys than OU.

Earlier this week, Sooners head coach Bob Stoops was asked if he could appreciate what OSU has accomplished in recent years.

“No, I don’t appreciate it, I wish they hadn’t,” Bob Stoops said with a laugh.

His brother, Mike Stoops, has had a unique perspective as OSU has risen to the top of the Big 12. He was on the Sooners staff in the early 2000s then spent 2004 through 2011 at Arizona, watching the Cowboys rise from Pac-12 territory before returning to OU before the 2012 season.

He sees a clear difference at OSU. And it’s not just the change in uniforms.

“They are obviously more skilled across the board at every position,” Mike Stoops said. “Not just the skill players but the big athletes, the offense and defensive lines. They are very skilled at every position so they have changed a great deal.”

OSU has always had talent. Antonio Smith, Kevin Williams and Charlie Johnson are just a few of the former Cowboys currently in the NFL who donned an OSU uniform before the program had cemented itself among the Big 12’s best.

It’s the overall depth within the program, from top to bottom, that has continued to improve, particularly in the past few seasons.

“Growing up in Tulsa, I always watched Oklahoma State,” said cornerback Aaron Colvin, who signed with the Sooners out of Owasso (Okla.) High School, roughly 15 miles north of Tulsa, Okla.

“They always had talent. Now, they’re getting those type of guys everywhere, at every position. They’re definitely on the rise, starting to win a lot of games.”

That depth has been one reason the Cowboys were able to overcome a very limited contribution from two of its most explosive players, receiver Josh Stewart and cornerback Justin Gilbert, in their 48-17 win over Baylor to grab control of the conference. Several Big 12 squads have decimated by injuries this season and the Cowboys are one of them, including having to replace arguably their best offensive lineman, left tackle Devin Davis, before the season even began.

It’s one reason the Cowboys control their own destiny in the Big 12 title race on Saturday, a position every team in the Big 12 envies.

“You can win some games with 10 to 12 good players,” Mike Stoops said. “But now, when you have 22 or 24 of them lining up everywhere, you have a chance to win every time you step on the field. That’s really been the case with them over the last several years. I had a chance to play them a few times three and four years ago when I was at Arizona, you could see those guys evolving in their skill.”

That skill has combined with consistent production to place OSU among the conference's elite, alongside the Sooners.

“I think just the consistency [with which] they play," Mike Stoops said. "I think it’s really a difference. At Oklahoma we were always there, but now Oklahoma State is always showing up too, so they’ve become very significant in this conference. Their players play very consistently every time they step on the field, so what you get is a more consistent opponent and a better opponent.”
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma football players aren't used to this scenario.

When the Sooners walk down the visitors tunnel Thursday night, they will emerge onto the turf at Floyd Casey Stadium as clear underdogs. Baylor hosts OU in Waco, Texas, in a battle of Top 10 teams that could end up as the game that decided the Big 12 title race when all is said and done.

[+] EnlargeAaron Colvin
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsSenior Aaron Colvin believes the Sooners play well when doubted, as long as they stay focused.
"It becomes a challenge, makes the game more exciting," safety Quentin Hayes said of being an underdog. "We just have to go out and play Sooner football. It is what it is."

Odds makers have made the Bears two touchdown favorites, as Baylor has looked as good as any team in the nation while reeling off a 7-0 start.

Even though they can count the number of times they've entered a game as underdogs on one hand, several Sooners seem to cherish the underdog role.

"I think this team thrives off the underdog role," defensive end Geneo Grissom said. "We almost feel disrespected being an underdog. We feel like we can play with anyone in this conference. It motivates us and helps us thrive."

Under Bob Stoops the Sooners have excelled in similar situations. OU is 4-2 in road games against AP top 10 teams under Stoops, including a 3-1 mark since 2010. The Sooners also are undefeated when facing back-to-back AP Top 10 opponents, having swept Kansas State and Nebraska in 2000 and Texas and Iowa State in 2002 under Stoops. OU defeated then-No. 10 Texas Tech 38-30 in its last game, Oct. 26.

Simply put, when questions about their chances to win arise, the Sooners tend to rise to the occasion.

"I think we do," cornerback Aaron Colvin said. "I feel like we play well when we're in that underdog role. Personally, I love the underdog role. I feel like I've been in it my whole life."

Several times in recent years, the Sooners have taken their game to another level when many doubted their chances to win. Florida State (2011), Oklahoma State (2009, 2010) and Kansas State (2011) are prime examples. OU won those four games by an average of 21 points.

Against No. 12 Oklahoma State in 2009, the unranked Sooners were winding down a five-loss regular season with a makeshift offensive line, yet they shut out the Cowboys in Norman, their 27-0 win dashing OSU's hopes of a BCS berth. In Bedlam 2010, No. 9 Oklahoma State was expected to win again before the No. 13 Sooners dashed their Big 12 title hopes with a 47-41 win in Stillwater. In 2011, top-ranked OU went to Doak Walker Stadium to earn a 23-13 win over No. 5 FSU in a matchup of Top 5 teams. Later that season, the team traveled to Manhattan, Kan., with a No. 9 ranking after having lost to Texas Tech and hammered No. 8 Kansas State, 58-17.

Don't go putting the much-anticipated matchup with Baylor in the win column, however. The past three times OU has been an underdog, they've proved their doubters right. In Bedlam 2011, No. 3 Oklahoma State got its revenge for the previous two seasons with a dominant, 44-10 win. Last year, No. 5 Notre Dame pulled away from the Sooners in the fourth quarter of a 30-13 win, and No. 9 Texas A&M dominated the second half of its 41-13 Cotton Bowl triumph to hand OU two of its three 2012 losses.

But make no mistake -- several Sooners feel disrespected by being the underdog heading into any game.

"I do feel pretty disrespected," Colvin said. "Not necessarily because of their opinion or them picking us to lose, but just some of the things they might say about us, or the point deficit they think we might lose by. Whatever it is, we can't worry about it, and that's my job as a leader to make sure we aren't worried about it."

Instant Analysis: OU 38, Texas Tech 30

October, 26, 2013
10/26/13
8:25
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The Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) reasserted themselves in the conference race by handing Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1) its first loss of the season in the Big 12 game of the year so far.

It was over when: Texas Tech QB Davis Webb's pass attempt to Bradley Marquez fell incomplete down the sidelines on fourth-and-23 with 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders had a chance for a game-tying drive, but Webb was sacked by Chuka Ndulue on first down, sending the Red Raiders scrambling.

Game ball goes to: Oklahoma wideout Jalen Saunders hauled in six passes for a season-high 153 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns to ignite the Sooners offense late in the first half. It was Saunders’ first 100-yard receiving game of the season.

Stat of the game: The Red Raiders came into the game with the Big 12’s best third-down defense, and third-best red zone defense. But Oklahoma’s offense dominated in both categories. The Sooners converted 7 of 14 attempts on third down, and scored touchdowns on three of their four red zone attempts.

Unsung hero of the game: Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin, who came up with two turnovers in the first half to thwart Texas Tech drives. He picked off Webb in the first quarter inside the OU 5. Then in the second quarter, after OU’s Charles Tapper stripped Tech tight end Jace Amaro, Colvin scooped up the ball. Colvin was also solid in coverage all night against Marquez, who had just four catches.

Best call: After Kliff Kingsbury dialed up a series of trick plays to give Tech a 24-21 lead, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel dialed one back. Heupel called a reverse pass, except instead of throwing the ball, wideout Lacoltan Bester weaved through the Tech defense for a 35-yard touchdown run. OU never trailed in the game again.

What it means: After three straight shaky performances, the Sooners re-established their standing in the Big 12 race, with a Nov. 7 road trip to unbeaten Baylor up next. Tech is still alive, too, but could have taken a big step forward by pulling off the upset in Norman.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Texas Tech will bring the nation’s No. 10 team, an explosive offense, charismatic coach and sizable chip on its shoulder when the Red Raiders visit Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Yet, it’s hard to imagine a better time for Oklahoma to face Texas Tech.

[+] EnlargeKliff Kingsbury
AP Photo/LM OteroSomething has to give when Kliff Kingsbury leads No. 10 Texas Tech and its high-flying offense against No. 15 Oklahoma and its stout pass defense.
The Sooners’ run defense is in shambles with Texas and Kansas having exposed OU’s biggest defensive weakness in back-to-back weeks. OU allowed 255 rushing yards to UT and 185 rushing yards to KU as its defense tries to replace senior linebacker Corey Nelson. Those two teams averaged 5.13 yards per carry on first down as the Sooners had no answers for their running games.

OU’s pass defense is another story. As bad as it’s been when opponents turn to the ground during the past few weeks, the Sooners defense has been relentless and productive when teams try to throw. OU leads the nation allowing 149.71 passing yards per game and ranks second nationally in yards per pass attempt at 5.27.

“It plays right into our hands,” safety Quentin Hayes said of the Red Raiders coming to Norman. “Because we have one of the best pass defenses in the country and they’re a passing offense.”

In other words, the Sooners are lucky it’s not Kansas State, or even Baylor, set to step on the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium turf on Saturday. And yet there’s nothing easy about facing the Red Raiders offense, which leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 2 nationally with 416.43 passing yards per game but ninth in rushing offense at 131.71 rushing yards per game.

So Saturday’s matchup will be strength against strength, may the best unit win.

“Anytime you play an offense like this, that is explosive, it’s always exciting as a defensive player to try to go out and stop them,” cornerback Aaron Colvin said.

OU’s secondary has become a strength after entering the season as a potential weakness. Redshirt freshman cornerback Zack Sanchez has helped supplement Colvin at the other cornerback, while nickelback Julian Wilson and safeties Gabe Lynn and Quentin Hayes have played well. Colvin was the only returning starter who began the season at the same position he started in 2012.

Yet, as confident as the Sooners feel about their secondary, they know the Red Raiders will bring passing excellence they haven’t seen in their first six games.

“We’ve never been tested like we’re going to be on Saturday,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “We would be fools to think that.”

The past two games have exposed the weakness of OU’s new 3-3-5 defensive scheme with the Longhorns and Jayhawks using power running games to have success on the ground against the Sooners' undersized personnel. This weekend the strength of the Sooners’ three-man front comes into play as the additional speed and athleticism the scheme brings to the table will be critical as OU tries to slow the Red Raiders offense.

“There’s nothing that’s perfect for everything but this is part of the reason we wanted to be more multi-dimensional,” Stoops said. “Regardless of what you do, you have to be able to match up with their skill, their quarterbacks, their offensive line.”

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury will undoubtedly have a twist aimed at taking advantage of OU’s subpar run defense and Stoops will have a plan to make things difficult for Red Raiders quarterbacks Davis Webb or Baker Mayfield.

“Their defense schematically has changed a bunch from last year,” Kingsbury said. “He does a good job bringing people from everywhere, very athletic, fly around, fundamentally sound. It will be a very, very good challenge for a young quarterback.”

The winner could be determined by which coaching staff and team makes the best in-game adjustments.

“Coach [Stoops] has made a lot of changes, given us a lot of options,” Colvin said. “Texas Tech is a different team, they like to throw it a lot. They’ll probably throw the ball more than they run but you never know. Whatever they do we’ve got to be ready for it.”


On Saturday, Oklahoma will make its first trip to Notre Dame Stadium in 14 years. The Irish won that 1999 contest, 34-30, and have won eight others against the Sooners, as they hold a 9-1 all-time mark in the series. Last season's game turned on several big Notre Dame plays on both sides of the ball, lifting the Irish to a 30-13 road win and an 8-0 record.

What will happen this time around? We turn to Big 12 reporter Brandon Chatmon and Notre Dame reporter Matt Fortuna to preview this weekend's tilt in South Bend, Ind.

Matt: Brandon, Blake Bell earned the noble distinction last year of becoming the first player to rush for a touchdown against Notre Dame. That was eight games into the Irish's season, and this year they have already given up two scores on the ground. Obviously, Bell has a lot more on his plate this time around. And he is making his first career road start, in a stadium where the Irish have won 10 straight games. What can Notre Dame's defense expect to see from Bell on Saturday?

Brandon: The Irish will actually have to account for the possibility they will see No. 10 throw the ball when he's behind center. Notre Dame will have to be prepare for Bell to test its secondary with his arm more than his feet, and he showed he might be a better passer than people think in his first start against Tulsa. Undoubtedly, the windows will shrink against ND but the fact remains that the Irish will have to prepare for Bell, who could test them with his arm and feet, unlike their preparations for Landry Jones, who doesn't put fear into the heart of any defense with his legs. The overriding question in Norman is: how have the Irish changed in the trenches after manhandling OU in Norman last season? Can they do that again?

Matt: The depth of Notre Dame's defensive line took some hits this offseason -- first with the transfer of Eddie Vanderdoes to UCLA, then with the ACL tear suffered by Tony Springmann. Still, the front-line guys remain very dangerous, though the numbers have not exactly depicted that through four games. The Irish's opponents have done a good job of establishing a quick-strike passing game, effectively negating the strengths of the Irish's defensive linemen. A mobile quarterback like Bell will likely present more challenges Saturday, and it us up to the Irish to continue to adjust. The other side is a bit of a mystery as well. Notre Dame has struggled to establish much of a run game so far, but its offensive line has done a tremendous job of keeping Tommy Rees standing up straight through four games, and the offense has again limited the turnovers. Rees and this year's group of running backs just don't pose the kind of threat that Everett Golson and last year's backfield did, so it's hard to imagine the Irish running to set up the deep pass in the same way they were able to last year, when they connected with Chris Brown for a game-changing 50-yard strike in the fourth quarter. They may have more weapons at receiver this year, though. How does Oklahoma's pass coverage match up with TJ Jones, DaVaris Daniels and company?

Brandon: Well, Matt, the Sooners' secondary would like to think it's ready for the challenge against Rees and Notre Dame's receivers. All-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin won't be a concern, but the rest of the secondary is somewhat untested. Senior Gabe Lynn is starting at safety, a new position, after spending his first three seasons at nickelback and corner, and he has played well. OU's three new starters, nickelback Julian Wilson, cornerback Zack Sanchez and safety Quentin Hayes, have looked good but haven't yet played a quarterback who will capitalize on their mistakes. That said, the OU secondary, without question, is faster and better in coverage than the 2012 version. Whether it will it hold up mentally in a hostile environment is the unanswered question, so I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Anyway, who do you like this weekend?

Matt: Notre Dame's defense played its best game Saturday, responding to Brian Kelly's mid-week challenge. But I'm just not sure it has completely turned the corner yet. I think the Irish are getting Oklahoma at a more opportune time, as Bell is making just his second start and the Sooners have yet to really be tested. But I have not seen enough so far that makes me believe Notre Dame will be able to handle everything Oklahoma will throw at it offensively. Oklahoma has had one more week to prepare, and I sense a bit of wounded pride coming from the Sooners after the Irish out-muscled them late last year and, eventually, ended up ruining the their BCS-bowl hopes. How do you see this one unfolding?

Brandon: I think everything falls on the shoulders of the quarterbacks. Rees is much more experienced than Bell and I have a feeling that's going to show itself on Saturday as the Irish make Bell uncomfortable in the pocket and force a couple of mental mistakes from the junior during his first road start. OU's defense will hold up and play well, giving the Sooners the chance to remain in the game no matter what happens offensively. But turnovers will be the difference and ND will win the turnover battle and win a close, hard-fought game at home.

Sooners hope new scheme cures all

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
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NORMAN, Okla.--Disappointing. Frustrating. Ridiculous.

Oklahoma coaches and players used those words to describe the Sooners’ defensive performance against West Virginia a year ago. OU won 50-49 but the numbers its defense surrendered to the Mountaineers’ spread offense were staggering:

• 778 total yards, 9.5 yards per play

• 458 rushing yards, 9.7 yards per carry, three touchdowns

• 320 passing yards, four touchdowns

• 572 all-purpose yards from Tavon Austin, including 344 rushing yards

[+] EnlargeMike Stoops
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsOU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops knows his defense will have its hands full against K-State.
“It hurt, I’m not going to lie,” OU’s all-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “For us to give up those kind of numbers to a team like that. Don’t get me wrong, they are a great team and the coaches do a great job of putting them in the right situation, but as far as the defense, especially here at the University of Oklahoma, it’s not acceptable. We had to move forward from last year. This year we remember what happened last year and we will not forget it.”

The Sooners may not forget it but can they stop it from happening again?

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops hopes so. And he’s made some changes to the Sooners’ defense to help handle the explosive spread offenses in the Big 12 like WVU. Gone is the Sooners’ four-man front, replaced by a three-man look that allows OU’s defense to be faster and more versatile.

“When you get run over like that, you don’t want to be stubborn. We had to make some changes,” Stoops said. “Between that night and what happened in the bowl game (633 yards allowed in a 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M) it convinced us we need to be more flexible, be more diverse and put pressure on the quarterback.”

Enter the 3-3-5 look the Sooners employed in the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe. Replacing a defensive lineman with a linebacker allows Mike Stoops to get creative with his blitz packages and defensive schemes with the aim of confusing opponent’s pass protection schemes and pressuring the quarterback with relative ease.

It worked to perfection at times in OU’s 34-0 victory against ULM as Sooners’ defenders rushed unblocked on multiple occasions as Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning never seemed to get into a rhythm and managed to led his team to just 166 total yards, 2.7 yards per play and 2 of 16 third down conversion attempts.

“It’s probably worked better than we anticipated,” Stoops said of the changes. “We got our athletes on the field and they played fast and they played aggressive and really that’s what defense is about in this league. We did a good job of putting our athletes in position to succeed, better than we did a year ago. We were more of a react team a year ago, now we’re more of a attacking team.”

The simplified, aggressive approach has helped the Sooners play faster. A move from a read-and-react two-gap scheme along the defensive line to an aggressive one-gap scheme has made a noticeable difference and more disguising blitzes should serve to keep quarterbacks off balance.

“You have to create indecision in the quarterback’s mind constantly,” Stoops said of the new approach.

Colvin likes the new defensive scheme because he thinks it will make things more difficult for opposing signal callers, thus making his job, dealing with the best the Big 12 has to offer at receiver, a bit easier.

“They don’t necessarily know what we’re doing every time,” he said. “We’re trying to do a better job at disguising looks, it makes the offense somewhat unsure of what we’re going to play.”

Asked if he thought offenses knew what to expect in 2012, Colvin was surprisingly candid.

“At times I did,” the senior said. “We were kind of ‘take it how it is’ defense.”

If this defense ultimately fails it won’t be because the Sooners were sitting back, allowing offenses to attack them. This year, they plan to be the aggressor with an eye on making sure it is controlled, intelligent aggression by creating controlled chaos around the line of scrimmage.

“It is great,” Colvin said of the new defense. “It allows us to be more aggressive. It gives us more confidence in what we’re doing because we know we can mess with the quarterback’s head or the receiver’s head or whoever we’re facing. So when we can make the offense unsure of what we’re doing, it only means good things for our defense.”

OU’s stellar defensive performance in Week 1 is just one step forward. As the season progresses, expect the Sooners’ defense to continue to evolve.

“We have a lot of flexibility and that’s good,” Stoops said. “We can go a lot of different ways and we’re going to continue to change our package week to week. It’s built off a lot of the same principles but different angles, different people, different alignments. You try to change and give the offense different things to look at as the year goes on.”

The Sooners face another test, and a chance for redemption for last season’s embarrassing defensive display, when the Mountaineers visit Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

“As good as we were the other night, we were equally bad that night [in 2012 against WVU]. We’ll get a little better test this weekend, hopefully we can hold them to less than 778,” Stoops said with a chuckle.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Few people are better prepared to explain how new Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight can test opponents defenses than Mike Stoops.

The Sooners defensive coordinator looked on as Knight opened eyes while running the scout team offense in 2012, then watched this August as the redshirt freshman continued to make plays against his defense during preseason scrimmages. First he learned to respect Knight’s ability, now he’s quick to praise his skills.

[+] EnlargeTrevor Knight
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiFreshman quarterback Trevor Knight, who ran the Sooners' scout team in 2012, has worked hard and been more consistent than the other QBs on the OU roster.
“He can make explosive plays,” Mike Stoops said. “He can make a bad play [into] a good play, he has that uncanny ability to make plays on his feet and he can make plays with his arm."

It’s fair to say Mike Stoops is a fan of OU’s decision to name Knight its starter over Blake Bell, who was the favorite to land the job.

Eyebrows raised around the country when the Sooners turned to a quarterback who has never played a game over Bell, who has spent the past three years preparing to be a starter including two seasons playing a short yardage role in the offense. But Knight beat out Bell for the job during the offseason and preseason camp by combining his terrific physical abilities with strong leadership traits and a solid grasp of the OU offense.

“It’s fair to say overall, through all of these practices, there’s just been more consistency [from Knight],” coach Bob Stoops said Monday. “He’s very athletic, has great speed, he’s got a very strong football he throws, quick release and he’s a strong leader.”

While Bell was playing an active role with the Sooners, scoring 11 touchdowns as the Belldozer in OU’s short yardage offense last fall, Stoops still noticed Knight’s unique ability as he quietly redshirted. It was at that point the Sooners veteran coach started to realize his redshirting freshman had some special abilities.

“I saw it every day at practice running the scout team,” Stoops said. “You see it early in the year then in the middle of the year it’s like, ‘This doesn’t change, it’s every day. This guy is on the mark, he throws a great ball.’ Watching practice a year ago we’d sometimes shake our head, ‘Wow did you see what he just did?’ He was making plays like that in practice quite often.”

Making plays on the scout team offense and running the Sooners’ attack are two different things. The mental tests increased during the spring and preseason as Knight had to start running the Sooners offense, including the reads and progressions required, instead of making pre-conceived reads as a scout team signal caller.

All the physical gifts would have meant nothing if Knight could not show Stoops and the Sooners’ coaching staff he had the ability to mentally process everything as well during the past eight months.

“I think for any young player it comes down to consistency and limiting mistakes and getting us into the best things we can get in,” Mike Stoops said. “And he’s done a great job of that.”

The decision to go with Knight is a clear sign the Sooners believe he is mature beyond his years with the ability to run the offense at a high level. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said during preseason camp that the Sooners’ starter will be expected to play at a high level from Game 1 and Bob Stoops reiterated that point on Monday. Stoops said the Sooners won’t strive to ease Knight into the heat of battle simply because he’s a freshman.

“He’s got to come out and run the offense,” Bob Stoops said. “Coach Heupel is very good at what are [their] favorites, the things he really likes and play to his comfort early, but you have to run your offense.”

His teammates, who were the first to start praising his talents in 2012, are confident he's ready to accept the challenge and have noticed a change in Knight since those days of making big plays against the No. 1 defense.

“He’s done a great job from then to now, we’ve seen him mature,” cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “His game has matured a lot, he just goes out there and makes plays, he can do it with his feet or in the passing game.”

As a defensive player who has had to deal with the likes of Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith and Ryan Tannehill during his first three seasons in crimson and cream, Colvin knows how difficult it is to defend passing quarterbacks who can also take off and run. Therefore, it excites him to think Knight might be able to do similar things for OU’s offense in 2013.

“It opens up a lot of things for those guys on the offensive side,” Colvin said. “Receivers can find a way to get open longer, he can make more time for them. But he can still throw, it’s not like there’s a drop off in passing. His running game opens up a lot of options for them. I have all the confidence in the world in Trevor, I’m excited to see him show what he can do.”

Pregame: AT&T Cotton Bowl

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
10:00
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No. 9 Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1 Big 12)

Who to watch: Who else? Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will attempt to put the finishing touches on his freshman season. "Johnny Football” broke Cam Newton’s SEC record for offensive yardage and accounted for 43 touchdowns while becoming the first freshman to capture the Heisman Trophy. Manziel, however, will be facing one of the better defensive backfields he’s seen all season, led by free safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Aaron Colvin -- both All-Big 12 performers. Manziel will also have to overcome the distractions of a whirlwind month in which he not only won the Heisman, but hung out with actress Megan Fox and played golf with the Jonas Brothers.

What to watch: The Aggies boast Manziel, but the Sooners counter with one of the top wide receiving corps in the country. Kenny Stills, Justin Brown, Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard all have more than 500 yards receiving this season. Texas A&M is stout up front, but the Aggies have been vulnerable at times defending the pass, ranking 82nd nationally in pass defense despite competing in the run-oriented SEC. If OU quarterback Landry Jones gets rolling with his talented pass-catchers, this game could tumble into a shootout.

Why to watch: Outside the BCS National Championship, this is as good a matchup as any out there. This Cotton Bowl also features two of the top quarterbacks in the country, with the hotshot freshman in Manziel facing off against the elder statesman in Jones, who will be making his 50th career start on the same field in which his career began four years ago. There should be plenty of energy inside Cowboys Stadium, too, as the Cotton Bowl is expecting a record crowd of 90,000. This will be a BCS-caliber bowl in every way except in name.

Prediction: Texas A&M 34, Oklahoma 31. Coach Bob Stoops has a dominating 11-2 record against Texas A&M, including an average victory margin of three touchdowns. These, however, are not the same Aggies the Sooners faced in the Big 12. Manziel and coach Kevin Sumlin have brought a new attitude to Texas A&M, and the Aggies will be motivated to prove this on the field against their former conference foe.
IRVING, Texas -- Predictions aside, one thing tonight is guaranteed.

Both teams will be showered in a deafening chant as the final seconds tick off the clock. What's not guaranteed? Which chant it will be.

The original "S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!" that would accompany the far-from-original member of the SEC, Texas A&M fans?

Or the "Big 12! Big 12! Big 12!" chant that was born after another Texas A&M loss, at home against Oklahoma State in 2011?

[+] EnlargeAaron Colvin
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsAaron Colvin said that Big 12 Conference pride will be fueling Oklahoma against SEC foe Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
Deny the conference significance if you want, but this is one of just two matchups between the Big 12 and SEC all season, and the Sooners have certainly taken notice of how the league has done in the bowl season thus far.

"Especially since it’s the SEC, everybody says we’re two of the top conferences, and we want to be considered the top, so that's definitely going to add meaning to this game," Sooners cornerback Aaron Colvin said.

Safety Tony Jefferson, a San Diego native, attended last week's Holiday Bowl, where Baylor routed No. 17 UCLA as an underdog.

He's not the only one rooting on his conference mates.

"There’s so much talk about how the SEC is the best conference and nobody else can play with them, so I feel like if other teams represent the conference well and we can go out and represent, maybe we can change a few minds," receiver Kenny Stills said.

It's a small sample size, sure. Texas beat Ole Miss in Oxford in the only other matchup of the two leagues this season, but Oklahoma doesn't seem to mind that this SEC opponent bears the same name of the squad it beat easily in Norman a season ago, even if the coaching staff and win-loss record is a whole lot different.

"We’ve played essentially everyone on their defense personnel-wise," offensive lineman Gabe Ikard said. "They play a new scheme, but we’ve played all those guys, so I don’t think we’re using that as motivation, but trying to represent the Big 12 well."

The bowl season has already exposed a few cracks in the SEC's foundation. None of the SEC's bottom eight teams managed a win against one in the top six of the standings, but Clemson already knocked off LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and Louisville dominated Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

Can Oklahoma issue another blow to the SEC's spot atop the conference rankings with a win over Texas A&M, days before Alabama plays Notre Dame and tries to win the league's seventh national title?

It'll be the Big 12's final game of the season, and beating one of the nation's hottest teams, led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, could leave a lasting imprint for the offseason and leave more than a few wondering just how secure the SEC's spot is as the top conference entering 2013.

"It’s a big statement game, especially for our defense," Jefferson said. "The No. 1 offense in the SEC, it’s just a huge opportunity for us to showcase our ability."

Texas A&M turned heads in its old conference for walking into the SEC, known for stingy defenses that would obviously dominate any spread offense, and shaking it up with offensive playmakers and creative play calling, buoyed by a player who only gets better as the play becomes more broken.

"I’ve always been an advocate for the Big 12. I love the way we play football here, and there’s conference pride here with the SEC and Big 12 going against each other," Oklahoma linebacker Tom Wort said. "I was just proud of the way Texas A&M went into the SEC and did well. It shows that it doesn’t matter what conference you’re in -- you can still play good football. I’m proud of the way Texas A&M played."

He's not alone, though conference pride takes a backseat in game preparation, even if some players don't buy the idea that league pride is even on the line.

"People are trying to convince us that it’s an SEC versus Big 12 matchup, but when it comes down to it, it’s Oklahoma versus Texas A&M," Ikard said.

It may look that way on the scoreboard, but the postgame chants that will reign down on Cowboys Stadium will absolutely tell a different story.

Will the Big 12 like that story? Well, that's up to the Sooners.

ESPN.com's 2012 All-Big 12 team

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
11:26
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Congrats to all these guys for turning in fantastic seasons. Naturally, there will be some snubs and some things that need to be explained. Check the blog later today for more thoughts.

Without further ado, here's the All-Big 12 team from ESPN.com.

OFFENSE

QB: Collin Klein, Kansas State
RB: Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
RB: James Sims, Kansas
FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma
WR: Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
WR: Terrance Williams, Baylor
WR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
TE: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OL: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
C: Joe Madsen, West Virginia
OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
OL: LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech

DEFENSE

DL: Devonte Fields, TCU
DL: Meshak Williams, Kansas State
DL: Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
DL: Alex Okafor, Texas
LB: A.J. Klein, Iowa State
LB: Arthur Brown, Kansas State
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
CB: Jason Verrett, TCU
CB: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
S: Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
S: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

SPECIALISTS:

PK: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
PR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia

Honorable mention: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia; Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma; Anthony Cantele, K, Kansas State; Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas; Justin Brown, PR, Oklahoma; Tanner Hawkinson, OL, Kansas; Jake McDonough, DL, Iowa State; Lane Johnson, OL, Oklahoma; John Hubert, RB, Kansas State; Travis Tannahill, TE, Kansas State; Durrell Givens, S, Iowa State; Cody Davis, S, Texas Tech

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 13

November, 26, 2012
11/26/12
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Time to pass out a few superlatives from the week that was in the Big 12.

Best offensive performance: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma. Jones broke his own school records for pass attempts (71) and completions (46) and threw for 500 yards, the third most in school history, in his final home start. He finished with three touchdowns and surpassed Texas Tech's Graham Harrell as the Big 12's all-time leading passer, moving to No. 3 on the NCAA all-time list.

[+] EnlargeEddie Lackey
AP Photo/LM OteroEddie Lackey's interception return gave Baylor its first lead of the game against Texas Tech.
Best defensive performance: Eddie Lackey, LB, Baylor. The Bears linebacker swung the game with an interception he returned 55 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter that gave Baylor its first lead of the game at 35-31. He also picked off Texas Tech QB Seth Doege again on a potential game-winning drive to set up a field goal at the end of regulation, which was missed. He also jumped on a Doege fumble at Baylor's 7-yard line to keep the game 21-7 late in the second quarter. The Bears took advantage with a touchdown drive to get within 21-14 at the half. He also finished with five tackles. Honorable mention: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma.

Best game: Oklahoma 51, Oklahoma State 48. Bedlam yet again lived up to its billing with tons of points and a pair of Oklahoma scores late to help force overtime. Jalen Saunders ignited Owen Field with an 82-yard punt return, followed by a game-tying two-point conversion from Jones to Justin Brown. Oklahoma State answered later with a strong seven-play, 77-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. Oklahoma didn't tie it until Blake Bell escaped a tackle in the backfield and pushed his way into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 4 seconds to play. The Sooners held for a field goal in the first overtime before Brennan Clay bowled over a couple of defenders on the way to a game-winning 18-yard touchdown run that set off one of the biggest celebrations at Owen Field in a long time.

Second-best game: Baylor 52, Texas Tech 45. The Bears trailed by 14 late in the second quarter, but forced a turnover near the goal line that helped spark a comeback. The fourth quarter featured four lead changes and a missed field goal at the gun, but the Baylor defense won the game with a defensive stop against a Texas Tech offense that had sliced them up all game.

Best play: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. The Mountaineers' offense had sputtered a bit late, but Austin provided the final blow to send WVU to a bowl game. Austin took a short touch pass in the open field and raced to the left sideline, outrunning the Iowa State defense for a 75-yard score and backed it up with a two-point conversion on the next play that provided the final score in Friday's 31-24 win in Ames.

Second-best play(s): Brennan Clay and Blake Bell, Oklahoma. Bell's game-tying, 4-yard touchdown run might have been a loss for some quarterbacks. Bell lowered his shoulder and powered his way for the score to force overtime, where Clay trucked safety Daytawion Lowe and shrugged off a few other defenders on the way to a game-winning, 18-yard score to clinch the 51-48 win over Oklahoma State.

Worst play: Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech. The senior QB had the ball and the game in his hands. A harmless screen was a bit too low and hit his offensive lineman in the head, drifting into Lackey's hands and nearly costing Texas Tech the game. Baylor missed a game-winning field goal after the miscue, but it cost Tech a chance to win the game.

Best team performance: TCU. The Frogs replaced Texas A&M as Texas' Thanksgiving opponent and walked all over the Longhorns on national television in prime time. Welcome to the Big 12, Frogs. It was the weekend's most dominant performance, featuring 217 rushing yards against a Longhorns defense that looked to have rediscovered its mojo in recent weeks.

Worst team performance: Texas. The Longhorns flopped with a BCS bid and Big 12 title still on the table and a trip to K-State awaiting next week. Texas got worked on its home field, and though a late rally nearly made it interesting, the Longhorns suffered one of the program's most painful losses in a while.

Best stat: Oklahoma hasn't had a lead in the last 120 minutes of Bedlam. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. The Sooners were dominated in a 44-10 loss a year ago and never led until Clay's 18-yard score ended the 51-48 win on Saturday.

Best quote: Oklahoma CB Aaron Colvin, on the post-Bedlam celebration on the field: "I don't know how the '08 [Texas] Tech game felt but I've never experienced anything like this tonight. I wish I had a video camera after the game to record what it was like."

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