NCF Nation: Justin Gent

C'mon, man: Big 12's most bizarre plays

January, 25, 2011
We saw plenty of great moments and great games across the Big 12 in 2010.

We also saw a lot of weird moments.

So with a nod to the guys at Monday Night Football, here are the five biggest plays of 2010 that made everybody give a hearty, "C'mon, man!"

1. Needed: Onside kick practice. Texas Tech's players were standing and staring, which is rarely a good idea on the football field, but usually acceptable in kick coverage. Not this time. The Red Raiders tried an onside kick, but it didn't travel the necessary 10 yards for a Texas Tech recovery. So, while three Red Raiders hovered over the ball, Baylor's Terrance Ganaway picked it up and outran the Red Raiders for a 38-yard touchdown. That was bad (and rare) enough, but Texas Tech gave up a touchdown on a desperation onside kick against Iowa State a week earlier, too. Jeremy Reeves caught it and returned it 42 yards to ice the 52-38 win. Here's hoping Tech puts in a few more onside kick reps this spring, and a YouTube video titled "Texas Tech onside kick goes horribly wrong" doesn't rack up almost 4.5 million views again in 2011.

2. Victory formation isn't supposed to go like that. Oklahoma State looked ready to trot off the field as 41-38 winners over Troy in their second game of the year. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden lined up in the victory formation, but fumbled the snap, unbelievably giving the ball back to Troy on their 34-yard line with just under a minute to play. Lucky for Weeden, his teammate, Justin Gent, sacked quarterback Corey Robinson on the next play, and Orie Lemon recovered Robinson's fumble to end any notion of what could have been one of the most embarrassing losses in recent history. In Weeden's defense, he was playing with a ruptured tendon in his thumb, which meant pain during any snap under center, but it'd be tough to find a worse time to fumble a snap than in that situation.

3. Creative losing will key a coaching search. Listen, I respect my man Herm Edwards when he rather emphatically states that coaches and players should "Play to win the game." But when you're up 45-17 in the fourth quarter and you've got a running back in Rodney Stewart who ended up with 175 yards on the day, there's no other way to put it: Run. The. Ball. Dan Hawkins' puzzling refusal kept the clock stopped more than it should have been, and the Buffaloes did plenty more turning it over late in the game than moving the ball. Somehow, Colorado turned that 28-point lead into a seven-point deficit with less than a minute to play. "We just didn't want to be one-dimensional," Hawkins said. What? His explanation didn't cut it, and because of the meltdown, Hawkins never coached another game for the Buffs.

4. Throw it to Mom in the stands, man. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert shredded a soft Iowa zone defense for 434 yards in the Insight Bowl, and the Tigers looked in complete control with a 24-20 lead and a drive that had reached Iowa territory. With less than six minutes to play, Gabbert was flushed to his left and tried to throw across his body to receiver Wes Kemp. Iowa's Micah Hyde picked off the ill-advised pass, reversed field and returned it 72 yards for a game-winning pick six. Gabbert admitted after the game that he got "greedy," but the probable first-round pick would probably throw that ball away 90-plus times out of 100 if he had it to do over again.

5. Filling up the stat sheet: Not always good. Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson rallied his team from a 35-21 fourth-quarter deficit on the road against Oklahoma State, and got the ball back on his own 29-yard line for a possible game-winning drive with just more than a minute to play. He'd already thrown three interceptions -- along with 400 yards and five touchdowns -- but his fourth pick of the game cost the Aggies. He overthrew a well-covered receiver, and Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lewis made an easy interception, returning the ball 28 yards back to the Aggies' 40-yard line. Oklahoma State won the game shortly after on a 40-yard field goal from Dan Bailey. If Texas A&M wins that game, they also win the Big 12 South outright.

Honorable mention: Iowa State reserve punter Daniel Kuehl's attempted pass against Nebraska on the Cyclones' fake extra point in overtime for the win.

To those five, I think we can all say: C'mon, man.

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 2

September, 13, 2010
A look back at the week that was as we hand out a few awards.

Best offensive player: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma. Jones helped Oklahoma race to a big halftime lead after throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns in the game's first 30 minutes.

Best defensive player: DeJon Gomes, S, Nebraska. Gomes broke open the Huskers' 38-17 win over Idaho with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown and made 10 tackles. (Honorable mention: Justin Springer, LB, Kansas -- fifteen tackles, three tackles for loss, sack.)

Best team performance: Tie, Oklahoma and Kansas. Kansas certainly lowered the bar for expectations with its first loss, but they rebounded to be one of two teams that knocked off ranked teams in Week 2. Oklahoma continued its run of dominance inside Norman city limits.

Best offensive freshman: Jordan Webb, QB, Kansas. In his first-ever start, Webb consistently moved the Jayhawks offense, completed 18-of-29 passes and threw three touchdowns to lead Kansas to a 28-25 win over Georgia Tech. (Honorable mention: James Sims, RB, Kansas.-- 17 car, 101 yards, TD. Henry Josey, RB, Missouri -- 7 car, 112 yards, 3 TD)

Best defensive freshman: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. Playing in relief of the banged-up Von Miller, Moore took over Texas A&M's joker position and recovered a fumble, notched two sacks, forced three more fumbles and made seven tackles.

Best play: Daymond Patterson, WR, Kansas. Patterson caught a quick hitch behind the line of scrimmage, bounced around and through 72 Georgia Tech defenders before diving across the goal line for a 32-yard touchdown that put Kansas up 28-17 early in the fourth quarter. That earned Patterson the No. 4 play on Saturday night's Sportscenter. (Honorable mention: Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M, who hauled in a 44-yard Hail Mary from Jerrod Johnson on an untimed down at the end of the first half.)

Worst play: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. Weeden, playing with a sprained thumb, fumbled a snap with only a couple kneels standing between the Cowboys and a win. The turnover gave Troy the ball back with a three-point deficit and under a minute left.

Timeliest redemption: Justin Gent, LB, Oklahoma State. On the next play, Gent sacked Troy quarterback Corey Robinson and forced a fumble that linebacker Orie Lemon recovered to re-seal the win.

Teams we still know the least about: Tie, Texas A&M and Texas. That will end for the Longhorns on Saturday.

Worst half: Colorado. The Buffaloes fell behind 31-0 to Cal at halftime before three garbage time touchdowns in the fourth quarter produced a 52-7 final. In the first half, Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen was sacked four times and the Buffaloes nine first-half possessions produced three turnovers, four punts and a missed field goal.