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Big 12 weekend review: Week 10

November, 8, 2010
Best offensive player: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. Weeden completed a school-record 34 passes for a school-record 435 yards, pacing an offense that moved the ball for a school-record 725 total yards. Maybe you didn't notice, but not a lot of guys have had a day like that this year.

Best defensive player: Michael Hodges, LB, Texas A&M. Hodges was everywhere against Oklahoma, making 19 stops and a pair of sacks in the Aggies upset win that landed them in the top 25. Eight of his tackles were solo, too. Honorable mention: Tie, Tysyn Hartman, S, Kansas State and Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State. I'll spare you the wordplay on this one, but this pair of safeties both picked off Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert twice and racked up 93 yards of interception return yardage.

Best team performance: Oklahoma State. No competition here. The Cowboys dominated a good Baylor team on both sides of the ball and never let the Bears seriously threaten to win, scoring the game's first 34 points.

Best offensive freshman: James Sims, RB, Kansas. Sims rushed for 123 yards on 20 carries, but most importantly, his three of his fourth touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, helping Kansas complete its miracle comeback against Colorado.

Best defensive freshman: Tre Walker, LB, Kansas State. Walker made 11 tackles in the win over Texas to lead the Wildcats defense in stops.

Classiest gesture: Taylor Potts, QB, Texas Tech. After leading a Texas Tech comeback, Potts eschewed postgame interviews to make this speech to the media about what the team's jerseys on Saturday meant to him.

Best play: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. The only way Baylor was going to come back and beat Oklahoma State was with a big start to the second half. Blackmon was the one who got it, and last I checked, he didn't play for Baylor. The Cowboys faked a screen play and Weeden pitched to Blackmon, who raced down the left sideline for a 69-yard touchdown that put Oklahoma State up 31-0 seconds into the third quarter. Honorable mention: James Sims' game-winning 28-yard run in the final minute against Colorado. Honorable mention: Any of Texas A&M's three goal-line stands.

Best play II: Josh Cherry, K, Kansas State. Cherry had his extra point attempt on Kansas State's final touchdown blocked, but the kicker scooped up the ball and took it into the end zone for a two-point conversion.

Worst play: Daniel Kuehl, P, Iowa State. I'm sure Kuehl's effort on the game's final play was his best try, but if anyone did that in a game with friends at the park, they wouldn't live it down for decades.

Worst quarter: Colorado's fourth quarter. It started off innocently enough, with a touchdown on the first play to go up 45-17. By now, you probably know the rest. It wasn't very good.

Best game: Nebraska 31, Iowa State 30 (OT). The wind and Nebraska's quarterback injuries were big equalizers for the Cyclones, but Iowa State rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and nearly pulled off the play of the year in the Big 12 with Paul Rhoads' fake extra point attempt for the win.

Carson Coffman heads to locker room

October, 30, 2010
Kansas State quarterback Carson Coffman limped into the locker room with an ankle injury early in the second half, and the Wildcats are still tied with Oklahoam State, 7-7.

Coffman came out of the game late in the first half for backup Collin Klein, but returned in the second. After a Kansas State drive ended in a missed field goal by Josh Cherry, Coffman left the field.

KSU wastes favorable field position

November, 21, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Kansas State spent most of the third quarter in Nebraska territory, but could not produce any points as the Cornhuskers claim a 17-3 lead after three quarters.

Keithen Valentine's fumble near the Nebraska goal line killed one drive that looked like the Wildcats were ready to score.

KSU came away with no points despite moving to the Nebraska 15 when Josh Cherry misfired on a 33-yard field goal attempt.

And on their final third-quarter possession, the Wildcats again were stymied. Phillip Dillard's third-down sack at the Nebraska 32 ended that possession.

KSU's division title hopes are being frittered away by its sputtering offense.

Big 12 predictions, Week 5

October, 1, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Oh, so close to perfection last week.

I came close to my first perfect week of the season, missing only on Texas Tech’s late collapse at Houston.

I’m hoping for better luck this time around with an abbreviated schedule of six games that will only feature seven Big 12 teams in action.

Here are my picks:

West Virginia 34, Colorado 17: The Mountaineers will be intent on gaining revenge for their loss last season in Boulder, along with bouncing back from their recent loss at Auburn. The Buffaloes should have Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart close to 100 percent, although they should struggle against West Virginia’s imposing run defense. West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown is looking for some retribution after he was knocked out of the Auburn game after earlier contributing five turnovers. Look for the Mountaineers to try to dictate tempo by running Noel Devine (16th nationally in rushing) against a weak Colorado rush defense (103rd nationally). West Virginia has too many weapons to keep this from being very competitive.

Iowa State 27, Kansas State 24: The winner of "Farmageddon" at Arrowhead Stadium will take an early step to staying out of the Big 12 North cellar and perhaps contending for a bowl berth. Austen Arnaud has played better in recent games and Alexander Robinson's cutback style has emerged in Tom Herman’s running attack. The Cyclones will face an underrated Kansas State defense that ranks among the top 26 teams in each of the major statistical categories of rush defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense. In order to be successful, Arnaud will have to make some plays and stay away from turnovers. But in the end, this game will be settled in the special teams. Kansas State needs to get Brandon Banks involved and Iowa State hopes that Mike Brandtner’s directional punting keeps the Wildcats bottled up. I like Iowa State by a small margin because it has better kicking with Grant Mahoney over Josh Cherry.

Texas Tech 56, New Mexico 20: “The Dysfunctional Bowl” will feature two programs that have been featured in the headlines for reasons off the football field. New Mexico coach Mike Locksley scuffled with his assistant J.B. Gerald while Mike Leach banned Twitter usage among his players after some critical comments were made about him by players after their tough loss at Houston last week. The Red Raiders have way too much offense in this one. Taylor Potts and the Tech offense should be able to pile up the points and yards -- particularly if the Red Raiders’ running game emerges again. The weak New Mexico defense ranks 111th on the ground and 107th or worse in the other three major defensive categories. Everything will be peachy for the Red Raiders after a big win in this one.

Baylor 34, Kent State 14: It will be interesting to see how the Bears approach this game after losing quarterback Robert Griffin to a season-ending knee injury and backup Blake Szymanski’s uncertain status with a bruised shoulder. The Bears still have enough offensive weapons to win, particularly against a Kent State defense that allowed 552 yards last week, but produced five turnovers in a 29-19 victory over Miami (Ohio). I’m expecting Baylor to lean on its rushing attack keyed by Jarred Salubi and Terrance Ganaway to dictate the game for the Bears. The loss of Griffin will hurt, but Baylor still has too many weapons to worry in this one.

Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 34: Texas A&M hasn’t faced a top-notch defense and has posted some monster offensive and defensive numbers attributable to its weak competition. That won’t be the case in this one as the Aggies will face a potent Arkansas passing offense keyed by Ryan Mallett and Greg Childs. In the end, Jerrod Johnson, Ryan Tannehill and Uzoma Nwachukwu should be able to exploit a weak Arkansas pass defense that has played better teams, but still ranks 119th nationally in pass efficiency defense.

Oklahoma 24, Miami 14: The big question all week is whether we will see Sam Bradford back in the lineup. The Sooners likely don’t need him -- particularly if backup Landry Jones shows the form he employed in his record-breaking start against Tulsa. And he has a playmaking Oklahoma defense that has been responsible for 12 sacks and nine takeaways primed for the challenge. Miami is coming to the end of the nation’s toughest four-game scheduling gauntlet to start the season. Virginia Tech's defense showed some cracks in Miami's offense as Jacory Harris struggled through a miserable game. And it won’t be any easier this week when the Sooners bring one of the nation’s best defenses to Land Shark Stadium.

Last Week: 9-1 (90 percent)

Season: 35-9 (77.3 percent)

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Here are some of the topics that people are talking about inside the Big 12 after the first two weeks of the season.
  • Texas Tech’s running game has regressed this season, down from 119 yards per game last year to just 46 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry after two games. The major reason for the decline has been the defensive philosophy of opponents North Dakota State and Rice. But another factor has been that Graham Harrell was comfortable with the running game and frequently checked into those plays at the line of scrimmage in the past. New quarterback Taylor Potts isn’t nearly as proficient at that part of the Red Raiders’ offense – yet.
  • Kansas is intent on developing its secondary and that retooled unit helped key the Jayhawks’ victory against UTEP. Kansas coaches weren’t happy with sophomore Anthony Davis and moved nickelback Chris Harris into the starting lineup in his place. Phillip Strozier made his first start at safety and the Jayhawks responded by limiting the Miners to 204 passing yards -- their lowest production since early last season.
  • Despite struggling with the Big 12’s worst kicking game after two games, Bill Snyder isn’t turning away from starting kicker Josh Cherry. Against Louisiana-Lafayette, the Wildcats missed two field-goal attempts, struggled with another and saw an extra point glance off the left upright. Snyder still is working to build Cherry's confidence and will have him in the lineup Saturday against UCLA.
  • One concern coming out of the Texas game at Wyoming was the Longhorns’ early inability to protect Colt McCoy from various blitz packages. That pressure helped contribute to McCoy’s early struggles until Wyoming got tired and didn’t have the personnel to stick with the Longhorns into the second half. That won’t be the case when Oklahoma and maybe even Texas Tech play against Texas. It will be interesting to see if future Texas opponents saw anything in the game films at Laramie that could affect McCoy later his season.
  • One interesting thing about Missouri’s play-calling when down last week against Bowling Green was how new offensive coordinator David Yost didn’t abandon his running game. Obviously having backs like Derrick Washington and Kendial Lawrence has to help that confidence. But it was noticeable that Yost isn’t afraid to stick with the run where former Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen believed in a pass-first, everything-else-later mentality in those times of desperation.
  • Robert Griffin uncorked a 59-yard quick kick in Baylor’s first game and mentioned he is extremely comfortable in the role as a punter. Griffin said the kick was his first in game since his freshman season in high school -- when he served as his team’s kicker and punter.
  • While he’s careful to say it’s not a quarterback battle, look for backup Jerome Tiller to get an early series for Iowa State when the Cyclones visit Kent State. Coach Paul Rhoads said it's nothing against Austen Arnaud, but he always believes in two quarterbacks getting early work in a game. The idea is to have both quarterbacks fresh and ready to contribute in case of an emergency, Rhoads said.