NCF Nation: Cameron Kenney

The Big 12 might be weak at the top of the running back heap, but it's definitely not at receiver. The conference has at least three of the top five receivers in the country, and the top two. They highlight a very strong group of receivers across the league, and I continue our position rankings with receivers today.

Remember that depth plays a big part of these rankings. We'll be ranking the top 10 individuals at each position later on before the season begins.

Other position rankings: 1. Oklahoma

[+] EnlargeRyan Broyles
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMIRyan Broyles finished the 2010 season with 131 catches for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Sooners have the nation's No. 2 receiver, Ryan Broyles, but found a handful of others to surround him in 2010 and should have a couple more in 2011. Sophomore Kenny Stills broke Broyles' freshman receiving record and looks like a budding star. Dejuan Miller came on strong before a season-ending knee injury, but he's back. The Sooners lose Cameron Kenney, but Trey Franks had a strong freshman campaign, and freshmen Justin McCay (redshirt) and Trey Metoyer could provide even more playmakers.

2. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys boast the returning Biletnikoff Award winner and 2011 favorite, Justin Blackmon, with a great group around him, too. Slot machine Josh Cooper returns for his senior year, and fellow senior Hubert Anyiam (the team's leading receiver in 2009) is hoping to return to form after being slowed by an ankle injury in 2010. Isaiah Anderson is a shifty speedster, while Michael Harrison and Tracy Moore offer a more aerial approach to receiving.

3. Texas A&M

The Aggies have the Big 12's No. 3 receiver, Jeff Fuller, who is arguably one of the top-five in the college game. But they also have the Big 12's most experienced receiving unit, with guys who won't be surprised by anything they see in Big 12 play. Juniors Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu are the team's second and third options, but fellow juniors Kenric McNeal and Brandal Jackson could be bigger pieces of the offense in 2011. Tight end Nehemiah Hicks should see his profile rise in his coming sophomore year.

4. Baylor

Top target Kendall Wright will likely end his career as the Bears' leading receiver for all four of his seasons on the field, and 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior Josh Gordon looks like the new Jeff Fuller. Terrance Williams, Lanear Sampson and Tevin Reese round out the Bears' top five, who all had at least 40 catches last season, and all return.

5. Missouri

Missouri still lacks a proven big-play threat, but has two pass-catchers who have some of the best hands in the game. Receiver T.J. Moe and tight end Michael Egnew won't drop many passes, and combined to catch 182 for 1,807 yards and 11 touchdowns. Wes Kemp and Jerrell Jackson bring a lot of experience and both had at least 39 catches last season. If Marcus Lucas or Rolandis Woodland can become a consistent downfield threat, Missouri will rise up these rankings by season's end.

6. Texas Tech

Tech's top two receivers, Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis, must be replaced, but the Red Raiders have a few solid candidates to do it. Junior Alex Torres will likely lead the group, but fellow junior Austin Zouzalik and seniors Jacoby Franks and Tramain Swindall will be counted on for more production. Dark horse/juco newcomer Marcus Kennard could blossom into a household name across the Big 12 by season's end.

7. Texas

Sophomore Mike Davis and redshirt freshman Darius White are loaded with potential, but two of the team's top three receivers (James Kirkendoll, John Chiles) are gone, and no Texas receiver caught more than two touchdowns last season. Malcolm Williams and Marquise Goodwin are as different as two receivers could be, but both need to break out to help whoever becomes the Longhorns quarterback next fall.

8. Kansas State

Brodrick Smith will be back this season after breaking his leg in a loss to Nebraska. But two of the team's top three receivers are gone, leaving converted quarterback Chris Harper as the leading returner, though Smith might have held that title if he'd stayed healthy. Sophomore speedster Tramaine Thompson can make plays if he gets the ball with some space.

9. Iowa State

The Cyclones will be breaking in a new quarterback this season and they will need a playmaker to step up. Tight end Collin Franklin led team in receiving last season but he is now gone. Darius Reynolds looks like a possible candidate to fill the role, although incoming slot receiver Aaron Horne might rack up a few catches in space. Darius Darks and Josh Lenz should earn some more targets too.

10. Kansas

Converted defensive back Daymond Patterson is the team's top receiver, but the team's No. 3 receiver junior Bradley McDougald, moved to safety in the middle of the season. Tight end Tim Biere is one of the Big 12's best and led the team with four touchdowns last season. Chris Omigie and D.J. Beshears have some potential, and converted quarterback Christian Matthews keeps showing up in spring games. But all three, along with the rest of the group, would benefit from some consistency at the quarterback spot.
NORMAN, Okla. -- This time last year, receiver was still a glaring question mark on a team with Big 12 title hopes. Ryan Broyles was a likely All-American, but he was the only established player from a group that was one of the Sooners' weak spots in 2009.

"I felt like we almost didn’t have a purpose," Broyles said of the nightmarish '09 campaign. "We set out with greatest quarterback in OU history, I feel, Sam Bradford. One of the greatest tight ends [Jermaine Gresham] and both of those guys got hurt early in the season, so we lost that first game against BYU and I felt like the season was just up in the air."

A return to the national title game, where Oklahoma has been denied by Florida months earlier, looked unlikely just 30 minutes into the 2009 season, when Bradford suffered a shoulder injury that cost him most of his junior season. Gresham never made it on the field after a knee injury just days before the opener. Two of the biggest pieces of the national runner-up were gone.

[+] EnlargeOklahoma's Kenny Stills
Tim Heitman/US PRESSWIREKenny Stills had a breakout freshman season at Oklahoma, catching 61 passes for 786 yards and five touchdowns.
"We really lost out on what we were working toward after the first game, so I felt like it was almost like we were going through the motions and it showed," Broyles said. "We went 8-5 and that was one of the biggest things that hurt us."

Freshman Kenny Stills burst on the scene in the spring of 2010 after enrolling early at Oklahoma, but few knew what to expect from the receivers come fall.

They did a great job, especially toward the second half of the year," Stoops said.

Most impressive, besides Broyles' nation-leading 131 receptions, was the unit's depth.

Stills was second on the team with 786 yards on 61 catches, including five touchdowns. A torn mensicus sidelined Dejuan Miller in mid-October after the junior had played two of his best games of the year against Texas and Cincinnati. But even with Miller out, Oklahoma had an answer.

Senior Cameron Kenney caught just 14 passes in Oklahoma's first 11 games, but finished with 19 in its final three -- the Sooners' three biggest of the season. He accounted for 264 yards and three scores, including a momentum-swinging, third-and-long, 86-yard touchdown against Oklahoma State in Stillwater to help the Sooners win a South title.

"That was a major spark," Stoops said. "There’s no question they became a strength and it became a big difference in the latter part of the year."

Freshman Trey Franks added 29 receptions, and although Kenney's eligibility is done, the Sooners' receiving corps looks like one of the Big 12's deepest heading into 2011.

"They worked," Stoops said. "[Receivers and co-offensive coordinator] coach [Jay] Norvell did a great job working with them and they gained a little maturity and confidence as they went and gained positive experience."

Stills, after another spring, looks to cement his place as one of the league's best receivers in 2011.

"He came in early in the spring, he learned the offense, and that helped. Guys come here in the summer and they’re a step behind. It’s not as easy. The faster you get out there, the easier it is to relax and be able to play the way you can play. He was able to get out and get in crunch time," Broyles said. "He’s going to be electrifying. People label me as a guy you can expect great things from every game. And he’s another one of those guys."

Broyles, a senior, is plugging what he's learned into young receivers like Franks. He's gearing up for what could be that big year the Sooners missed out on in 2009.

"To be honest, it took me three years to learn the offense and what the coaches expected," Broyles said. "But I feel like those guys are getting a grasp of that."
Valentine's Day isn't all chocolate and kisses and hearts. Plenty of those hearts get broken. The same is true throughout any Big 12 season. Here's who left a few opposing fans in tears in 2010.

1. Landry Jones. Oklahoma State had him backed up deep in his own territory with a two-point lead and a deafening crowd behind him with less than three minutes to play. He'd already teased them with a pick-six earlier in the game. But Jones connected with Cameron Kenney for an 86-yard touchdown to put the Sooners up by nine points. He later hit James Hanna for a 76-yard score to ice the game after the Cowboys returned the ensuing kick for a score. That's cold.

2. Kenji Jackson. It looked like a fairly harmless hit at the time, one that happens countless times in any game. But late in the first half, the Missouri safety came up to the line of scrimmage and laid a solid hit on Taylor Martinez's lower body. Martinez stayed in the game to finish the half, but didn't play in the second half. Nebraska won, but Martinez's sprained ankle changed Nebraska's season, and he was never quite the same player after he hurt the ankle. Jackson's hit was the gift that kept on giving. If it didn't happen, who knows where Nebraska's season would have finished.

3. The Ames wind. I'll give Iowa State backup punter Daniel Kuehl the benefit of the doubt on this one. If the wind at Jack Trice Stadium hadn't been absolutely swirling, he probably could have completed the pass that would have meant the Cyclones beat Nebraska and Texas in the same season and would go to a bowl game. But the pass floated in the wind, and Nebraska's Eric Hagg intercepted the fake extra point to preserve the win. If it had been completed, it would have put the Cyclones in the driver's seat of the Big 12 North, too.

4. Officials in The Bronx. Adrian Hilburn made the catch, made a defender miss and sprinted 30 yards into the end zone to cut Syracuse's eight-point lead to two with less than a minute to play in their bowl game. He shook off a defender after scoring and saluted a group of K-State fans in the stands who made the trip from one Manhattan to the other for the week before the Pinstripe Bowl. "Wrong move, buddy," one official reportedly told Hilburn. He tossed a flag and the Wildcats' lengthy conversion was incomplete. The dagger!

5. Oklahoma State's defense against Texas A&M. What a cruel, cruel win. The defense struggled a bit and let the Aggies jump out to a 21-7 lead at the half. Then a sack and fumble returned for a touchdown put them up 35-21 in the fourth quarter against the Aggies, a stretch of 28 consecutive points. The defense allowed the Aggies to tie the game, but Shaun Lewis intercepted Jerrod Johnson -- his fifth turnover of the night -- and set up a game-winning field goal to beat the Aggies at the gun. If Texas A&M had beaten the Cowboys, it would have won the Big 12 South outright for its first division title since 1998. What a painful way to go down.

Top 10 moments of 2010 in the Big 12

January, 18, 2011
It's a difficult task to narrow down a season into 10 moments. My definition of the "top" 10 is the 10 moments that we'll look back on from this season and remember them, good or bad. So, here goes.

1. A&M makes the switch. College football can be a cruel game. Texas A&M entered the season with the Big 12's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Jerrod Johnson, hoping to lead the Aggies to their first Big 12 title since 1998. But offseason surgery sapped the zip from his throwing shoulder and produced an ugly start to his season, leading the Aggies to switch to Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill set the school record for passing yards in his first start, a win over Texas Tech, and helped the Aggies finish the regular season with six consecutive wins and a berth in the Cotton Bowl.

2. Texas' loss to UCLA. The red flags were there. Texas looked uninspired in wins over Wyoming and Rice, but looked dominant on defense in a road win over Texas Tech. Then the cellar-dwelling Bruins and their Pistol offense came to town. The Longhorns got rolled 34-12 in their own stadium. The loss shocked just about everyone, but it was a sign of what was to come: a 5-7 season the Texas faithful would rather forget.

3. Don't call it a comeback. Actually, you could probably call it a comeback. It was no Cam Newton in the Iron Bowl, but Landry Jones helped rally Oklahoma from a 17-0 deficit to Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship to knock off the Huskers, 23-20. The win gave Oklahoma its seventh Big 12 title of the decade.

[+] EnlargeTaylor Martinez
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelTaylor Martinez's career night included 241 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
4. T-Magic runs wild. Kansas State packed Bill Snyder Family Stadium for a Thursday night game with its eyes on an upset of the undefeated Huskers. Taylor Martinez had other ideas. The Nebraska quarterback ran for 241 yards and five touchdowns, injecting himself into the Heisman race and making people think very seriously about Nebraska as a national title contender. Who would have thought Martinez would go the season's final nine games without a rushing touchdown after scoring 10 in the first four? Yes, K-State ended up finishing the season as the Big 12's worst defense, but Martinez put on a show and previewed what Nebraska fans hope is to come in the future.

5. We got a tip drill. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones thought he'd thrown it away cleanly. Not so, said Brodrick Brown. The Oklahoma State corner skied for Jones' pass headed for the sideline, tipped it back inbounds to his teammate, linebacker Shaun Lewis, who caught it as one of Jones' three interceptions in the first half of the Big 12 South's deciding game.

6. Taylor Martinez's injury. Nebraska already had a loss on its record, but one harmless-looking hit late in the first half of a big win changed Nebraska's season. Martinez was running laterally looking for a crease in the defense when Missouri safety Kenji Jackson flew in from the secondary and laid a hit on his lower body. Martinez sat the entire second half, and later revealed he had a sprained ankle. The freshman quarterback was never the same, and aggravated the injury again in a loss to Texas A&M.

7. Saluting your fans is bad, mmmmk. Adrian Hilburn made one of the biggest plays of Kansas State's season, catching a short pass and taking it 30 yards for a possible game-tying score with his team down eight. But after scoring, he saluted a group of Kansas State fans in the stands, and the official tossed a flag for excessive celebration after telling Hilburn he'd made the "wrong choice, buddy." The 15-yard penalty moved the Wildcats back, and Carson Coffman's pass on the conversion fell incomplete. Kansas State lost by two.

8. Moe's miracle. Missouri's season already looked off the rails. Blaine Gabbert threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions. The Tigers trailed San Diego State 24-20 with a minute to play and 68 yards between them and the end zone. Don't worry about it, said T.J. Moe. The sophomore receiver caught a short pass, made two defenders slam into each other and sprinted for the game-winning score that helped Missouri jump out to a 7-0 start to its season. Teammate Carl Gettis told Moe in the end zone, "Thank you for saving our season."

9. Last five minutes of Bedlam. Bedlam lived up to its moniker with a crazy finish that ended with the Sooners on top. Four touchdowns were scored within 92 seconds in the game's final five minutes. Oklahoma State scored to get within two points with just over four minutes to play, but on 3rd-and-long, Landry Jones found Cameron Kenney over the middle for an 86-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing kickoff? Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert took it 89 yards to get back within two. But 17 seconds later, Jones found tight end James Hanna down the left sideline for a 76-yard touchdown that all but sealed the Sooners' win.

10. The Jayhawks win one for the ages. Kansas and Colorado were the Big 12's only teams still without a win in conference play. Something had to give. Few figured the Buffaloes 28-point lead would be what buckled. Colorado led 45-17 with just over 11 minutes to play, but the Jayhawks scored a frenzied 35 points to finish with a 52-45 win, their only conference win of the season. Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins never got to coach another game for Colorado after being fired following the loss.

2010 Big 12 All-Bowl team

January, 14, 2011
We've spent the week wrapping up the bowls, and now that it's Friday, here's our Big 12 bowl team comprised of players who got it done individually in their bowl games.

Plenty of guys got snubbed, particularly at receiver (Sorry, Lyle Leong, Cameron Kenney and Kendall Wright!), but without further ado, here it is.


QB: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
RB: Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
RB: Eric Stephens, Texas Tech
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
WR: T.J. Moe, Missouri
OL: Zach Kendall, Kansas State
OL: Tim Barnes, Missouri
OL: Eric Mensik, Oklahoma
OL: Lonnie Edwards, Texas Tech
OL: Elvis Fisher, Missouri


DL: Phil Taylor, Baylor
DL: Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
DL: Jared Crick, Nebraska
DL: Richetti Jones, Oklahoma State
LB: Von Miller, Texas A&M
LB: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
LB: Orie Lemon, Oklahoma State
CB: Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma
CB: Kevin Rutland, Missouri
S: Byron Landor, Baylor
S: Tysyn Hartman, Kansas State


P: Matt Grabner, Missouri
K: Dan Bailey, Oklahoma State
KR: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
PR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

Jones matures again in Fiesta Bowl

January, 2, 2011
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The groans from the crimson-and-cream-clad fans were audible, the interception apparently inevitable.

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesLandry Jones' record-breaking performance earned him the Fiesta Bowl's offensive MVP award.
For the third consecutive game, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones tossed a first-half interception. For the second time in those three games, Sooner fans watched a celebrating opponent coast into the end zone. Against Oklahoma State, Jones headed to the locker room with three picks.

He makes more mistakes than your average quarterback. Of course, he also throws more passes than your average quarterback. He was second among FBS passers in attempts this year -- 568 coming into the bowl season.

But for the third consecutive game, the unappreciated Jones bounced back in a big way. He finished with 429 yards and four touchdowns and led Oklahoma to a big win, beating Connecticut 48-20 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Most importantly, he didn't have another pass land in the hands of a Huskies defender.

"You're going to throw interceptions. In a football game, things are going to happen," Jones said. "Just thinking back on Oklahoma State and some of the games where we had multiple-interception games, just learning from those experiences. Guys just really brought me through a lot this season, playing bad on the road and then coming back and playing really well. And just remembering how it felt and just getting over that and letting it fly the next time you get it."

He did exactly that. On Oklahoma's next drive, he hit Ryan Broyles for a 35-yard catch and Kenny Stills for a 19-yard reception to add a field goal and put the Sooners up 17-7 in the second quarter.

Of course, he had some other motivation, too.

"I told him if he threw another one, I was going to beat him up," linebacker Travis Lewis said.

As a fresh-faced first-year starter a year ago, those rebounds didn't happen. Against Nebraska, Jones' interceptions (5) outnumbered the Sooners' points (3) in a loss to the Huskers. Away from home, where Oklahoma went 2-5 in 2009, he threw eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions. This year, the Sooners went 5-2 away from home and Jones tossed 20 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, and led his team to three wins to close the season. Oklahoma knocked off rival Oklahoma State in an upset in Stillwater, then dispatched Big 12 North champion Nebraska in Cowboys Stadium for the Big 12 title. Saturday night he had his second 400-yard performance in three games, this one against Connecticut with Oklahoma's national reputation -- and BCS bowl losing streak -- on the line.

A more mature Jones made the trip and took a win back to Norman with him, even if those interceptions were in tow, too.

"Landry just keeps getting better and better," senior receiver Cameron Kenney said. He and fellow receiver Broyles combined for 20 catches, two touchdowns and 324 of Jones' yards through the air. "He is having the confidence in us to make the plays whenever we need them on crucial downs." Kenney said.

"Ditto," added Broyles.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Quick thoughts from the Tositos Fiesta Bowl, where Oklahoma beat Connecticut 48-20.

How the game was won: Oklahoma prevented Connecticut from scoring an offensive touchdown, and had a great day throwing the ball without a ton of mistakes. The Sooners far outgained Connecticut, who struggled to produce any offense in the first half, and controlled the game from start to finish.

Turning point: Oklahoma led 20-10 in the third quarter when Landry Jones hit Cameron Kenney for a long 59-yard score down the left sideline. On the ensuing possession, Jamell Fleming picked off a tipped pass and returned it 55 yards for another quick score. Connecticut's run-heavy offense isn't built for comebacks, and the Sooners 34-10 advantage was too steep for the Huskies to climb.

Stat of the game: Oklahoma wasn't flagged for a single penalty. That makes life a lot easier.

Player of the game: Jones. The sophomore had a huge day and paced the Sooners offense for all of it. He finished with 433 yards and three touchdowns on 35-of-50 passing.

Unsung hero of the game: Oklahoma's front seven. They won't get credit at the end of the day for really shutting down Jordan Todman, who finished with more than 100 yards, but they made him a complete non-factor in the first 2.5 quarters while Oklahoma rang up its big lead. If Todman gets going and Connecticut could control the ball early, the game might have been a whole different story.

Second guessing: Oklahoma's fake field goal. The Sooners were going for the dagger, but trying to connect on a deep ball to tight end Trent Ratterree from John Nimmo isn't a very high-percentage play. They had the lead, but gave up field position and some momentum against an offense that hadn't produced all day. Liked the aggressiveness, but didn't like the execution.

Record performance: Jones' 433 passing yards, broke Oklahoma's record in a bowl game. Jones set the record in last year's Sun Bowl win over Stanford when he threw for 418 yards.

What it means: Oklahoma finally ends its BCS woes, even if it came against an underwhelming opponent. The Sooners' five-game BCS bowl losing streak came to an end, and their nine-year drought without a BCS win ended against the Huskies.

Sooners twice miss landing haymaker

January, 1, 2011
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In theory, there's nothing wrong with being up 14 in a BCS bowl game, especially for Oklahoma, who hasn't won one since 2002.

It's less satisfying for Sooners fans when their team is a 17-point favorite, like it is tonight.

Twice, Oklahoma has nearly landed the knockout punch, but missed twice.

Ryan Broyles returned a punt that looked like it had a chance to go all the way, but premature showboating led to a fumble and a turnover. Then, Oklahoma faked a 47-yard field goal, but the deep pass from John Nimmo to Trent Ratterree fell incomplete.

Make no mistake, Oklahoma is dominating this game. The Sooners have been in control and have yet to allow an offensive touchdown with a 34-20 lead.

Oklahoma has a pair of big plays -- the 59-yard touchdown to Cameron Kenney and Jamell Fleming's interception return, but it missed out on two more. Convert those, and the rout is on.

But Oklahoma has given up a pair of big plays, too. Jones had his own interception returned for a score, and the kickoff after Fleming's interception went back for a touchdown.

Because of that, Connecticut is still very much alive.

Lots of third-quarter fireworks

January, 1, 2011
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Just when it seemed like two big plays from Oklahoma ended Connecticut's hopes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the Huskies get their own big play.

First, Landry Jones connected with Cameron Kenney for a 59-yard touchdown pass. Then, on UConn's ensuing possession, Zach Frazer was intercepted by Jamell Fleming, who rambled 55 yards for a touchdown.

That made it 34-10, and everyone pulled a fork out. Game over, right?

Then Robbie Frey returned the Sooners kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

A 17-point deficit still looks considerable for the Huskies -- they have yet to score an offensive touchdown.

But you never know.

Sooners steal early momentum again

January, 1, 2011
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Connecticut needed to assert themselves early in the second half to make a serious upset bid.

But just like in the first half, it was Oklahoma who struck first. Quarterback Landry Jones tossed a rainbow down the right sideline to Cameron Kenney, who kept his balance and finished the 59-yard score with a stiff-arm to outrun a chasing defender.

The play was the third-longest in Fiesta Bowl history.

On the next drive, Jamell Fleming took a dropped pass 55 yards the other way for the game's second pick-six.

That's good for Oklahoma, but it's also very good for Jones' confidence. Just like he did against Oklahoma State, and to a lesser extent Nebraska, an early speed bump didn't derail his night. That's a sign of a mature quarterback, and based on everything Oklahoma's coaches have said, that's what Jones has become during his first full season as a starter.

Oklahoma leads 34-17 after Robbie Frey returned the kick after the interception 95 yards for a touchdown.

Thanks to the Sooners' fast start, an upset for the run-heavy Huskies looks extremely doubtful after a first half that was closer than you might think.

Jones already has 313 yards on 23-of-31 passing with a pair of scores. Oklahoma has 363 yards of offense compared Connecticut's 152.

Big 12 predictions: Week 14

December, 2, 2010
Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

The perfect weeks have been elusive this year. I've missed a single game plenty of times, but managed a perfect week just once. I thought I might have one heading into Bedlam on Saturday night, but alas, it wasn't to be. I'm pretty satisfied with my record on the season, but after a season of doing it, I should be in good position for a perfect record in 2011.

We'll see if I can manage one this week with a schedule chock full of one whole game.

Last week: 5-1 (.833)

Overall: 76-19 (.800)

Oklahoma 17, Nebraska 16. This could end up being one of the more physical games of the entire season, but Oklahoma will cash in when it reaches the red zone more than Nebraska, and two touchdowns are better than one, of course. Alex Henery shows once again why he's so valuable, as do the Blackshirts, but Oklahoma's handful of offensive weapons prove to be too much. Landry Jones doesn't have a great statistical game, but he takes care of the ball, and supplementary offensive talents like Kenny Stills and Cameron Kenney make enough plays to win. Oklahoma confuses the Huskers front seven with its Diamond package enough to move the ball with some consistency, too.

Vote: Capital One Impact Performance

November, 29, 2010
Time once again to vote for the Capital One Impact Performance of the Week. Here are your nominees:

Maryland receiver Torrey Smith with 14 receptions for 224 yards and four touchdowns in a win against NC State.

Hawaii running back Alex Green with 19 carries for 327 yards and three touchdowns in a win against New Mexico State.

Arkansas receiver Cobi Hamilton with three receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns in a win against LSU.

Oklahoma receiver Cameron Kenney with six receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Oklahoma State.
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Twice facing the most crucial drive of his young career, Landry Jones did what he knew to do.

He prayed. Jones envisions himself as a minister when football is over, but in moments like the ones he faced Saturday against Oklahoma State, he'll learn plenty about himself.

This was no Hail Mary in hopes of a Hail Mary, even if that's essentially what Jones ended up with -- twice.

"Praying to God to keep me calm and let me have a clear head and block out everything," Jones said. "Don't rush things."

[+] EnlargeJames Hanna
Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesJames Hanna's fourth quarter touchdown put the game out of reach for Oklahoma State.
Jones found Cameron Kenney over the middle for a 40-31 lead and what he thought was a game-winning 86-yard knockout punch. But Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.

So Jones did it again on the next drive, hitting tight end James Hanna down the left sideline for a 76-yard touchdown, giving the Sooners their final points in a 47-41 victory over the Cowboys to win the Big 12 South.

"We talk about it a lot. I have to be the calm in the storm," Jones said.

There were plenty of stormy waters before the final completion to Hanna tied him with Sam Bradford for a school-record 468 passing yards, as well as four touchdown passes. Jones said his first half was the worst he'd ever played. He had three interceptions to show for it, including a forced pass to the sideline that Oklahoma State's Shaun Lewis returned 52 yards for a score.

"God brought me through that situation," Jones said. "He gave me the patience and endurance to go through those hard times and sit in there and be calm in the pocket and make the throw. It was really satisfying to do that."

Rare are the occasions when Jones isn't calm and subdued, and on the sideline and in huddle before a game- -- and perhaps season -- defining drive was no exception. Kenney said Jones' message to the 10 teammates around him was simple: Have fun.

Mission accomplished.

"That was one of the funnest games I've ever played in," Jones said.

The heartbreaking loss for Oklahoma State only continued Oklahoma's dominance in the Bedlam series. The Cowboys haven't earned the state's bragging rights since 2002, and with a record-breaking offense going up against an Oklahoma team that struggled on the road the past two seasons, 2010 looked like it was their time. Once again, they were forced to walk off the field amongst celebrating Sooners.

The Bedlam rivals traded blows in the fourth quarter, racking up four touchdowns in 92 seconds.

"I've never felt like that," said linebacker Travis Lewis. "I was having an anxiety attack. I was just so pumped up and was like, 'Oh my goodness, who's gonna make the play? Who's gonna make the play?' We made enough plays to win tonight."

Jones made plenty in the second half on two lengthy drives that ended in field goals to give Oklahoma a 30-24 lead. On those two drives that added up to 32 plays and 138 yards sandwiched around an Oklahoma State three-and-out, Jones completed 4 of 6 passes on third down for 39 yards. The offense converted seven third downs on those two drives.

"We made big plays in the fourth quarter when we had to have 'em," said coach Bob Stoops. "Landry put the ball on the money. He had a few tough spots, but you love his resilience to come back and put the ball when he had to have them in some great spots."

Oklahoma converted 16 of 27 third downs. The Sooners defense played well, but the offense deserves the bulk of the credit for holding Oklahoma State's offense, ranked No. 3 nationally in scoring, to just 27 points -- minus a defensive touchdown and special teams touchdown.

Dana Holgorsen's unit couldn't get on the field. After those two monster drives from Oklahoma, the Sooners had run 98 plays from scrimmage. Oklahoma State had run 52, and still trailed by just six. The Sooners finished with 107 plays to Oklahoma State's 66.

"Credit goes to our offensive line picking up everything and our receivers and running backs making plays," Jones said. "We'd drop it down short to them and they'd make a person miss and go out and get the first down for us."

Oklahoma closed its season with a pair of road wins to capture the Big 12 South after sitting at home on championship weekend last season.

"A year ago, we weren't in that spot," Stoops told his players of a chance to play for a division title. "That kinda stinks."

Oklahoma captured its moment and with it, a chance to play for a fifth Big 12 title in seven seasons.

"Who better to play in the Big 12 Championship game than Nebraska, right?" Lewis said, stepping back before his declaration, a gesture as grand as the rivalry itself between the crimson and cream and Big Red. "The rivalry goes back since the Big 12, Big 8 started. Who better to play than those guys?"

The stakes will concern more than just the cities of Lincoln and Norman when the two tangle in Dallas next Saturday night, barring unforeseen BCS hi-jinks. Nebraska's exit from the Big 12 has never been more contentious, with questionable flags and absent commissioners and trophies fueling the anger of the Huskers and their fans.

Nebraska and Oklahoma's grand rivalry shriveled with the addition of Texas and divisional play in the Big 12, but the final game in the Big 12's current configuration will be between the old-time rivals with bragging rights on the line in Cowboys Stadium.

"What would be more fitting?" Stoops said. "To have one more go at Nebraska-OU would be pretty good."

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Landry Jones bounced back from his worst throw of the night, an easy pick-six to Oklahoma State's Shaun Lewis, with two of his best passes. The first was a 16-yard throw to Cameron Kenney to convert on a 3rd-and-9. On the next play, he hit Kenney again for an eight-yard touchdown in the middle of the OSU defense.

That score has Oklahoma up 21-10 midway through the second quarter.

Of course, none of that would have been possible without a big mistake from Oklahoma State freshman Justin Gilbert. Gilbert careened into Oklahoma punter Tress Way after his punt was away, giving the Sooners the ball back.

Just when Oklahoma State had wrangled the momentum back from the Sooners, Gilbert's miscue gave it right back.

In a game like this, one or two mistakes can determine the outcome pretty easily. Jones' interception looked like it might have a big influence on it early, but he came back with a couple of huge plays.

Now, Gilbert looks the same. He's a dangerous return man who will have his chances later in the game. We'll see if he takes advantage of his opportunity like Jones did.

Sooners lose No. 3 receiver

October, 21, 2010
Receiver Dejuan Miller will miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus, the school announced on Thursday.

The loss definitely hurts Oklahoma, but it's not a major blow. Miller has played well in his past three games, catching 10 passes for 137 yards, but like everyone in the Sooners' receiving corps not named Ryan Broyles, inconsistency has marked his career.

Miller's definitely capable of making big plays, but so is his replacement, Cameron Kenney, whose production and playing time in recent weeks has slowed with Miller's play, as Miller's did last year when Kenney played his best football early in the season.

Neither player has a 100-yard receiving game in their career, but in the toughest game Oklahoma played last year without Broyles, a road game at Miami, it was Kenney who emerged, catching six passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in the 21-20 loss.

The one thing Miller has that the Sooners can't replace is his size. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is a tough cover for any cornerback, but also has just one career touchdown catch.

The No. 1 Sooners would be better off with Miller on the team when it travels to face No. 11 Missouri, but now it's Kenney's opportunity to make a few plays behind Broyles and Oklahoma's No. 2 receiver, freshman Kenny Stills.