NCF Nation: Seneca Wallace

What we learned in the Big 12: Week 2

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
10:00
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After an eventful, surprising day across the Big 12 on Saturday, here's what we learned:

The reigning Big 12 champs are quite mortal. Chalk this one up as the biggest surprise of the young season in the Big 12. Turns out, Oklahoma State can't just plug-and-play to replace a pair of first-round picks. Tracy Moore turned in a fantastic game (eight receptions, 106 yards, four TDs), but Wes Lunt is no Brandon Weeden, and Justin Blackmon's usually sure hands were missed. Lunt threw for 440 yards, but three interceptions and a school-record 167 penalty yards on 15 flags were too much to overcome. The front seven looked like it had never seen a zone read before, giving up 59 points to a still-learning Arizona team in a 59-38 loss. The defense was missing its coordinator, Bill Young, who is dealing with a health issue, but the Cowboys might end up looking pretty mediocre in a very deep Big 12 if the turnovers and penalties don't cease. Worse than committing four turnovers? Forcing zero. The Cowboys didn't get a single takeaway in the desert on Saturday night after forcing 44 last season.

[+] EnlargeKansas State's Collin Klein
Scott Sewell/US PRESSWIREKansas State's Collin Klein accounted for 281 yards and four touchdowns against Miami.
Kansas State is back, and better than ever in Snyder's second go-around. Nobody saw Kansas State's 39-point romp coming, not even the Cats themselves. But what did you expect? This team was going to get better in the offseason. That's just what most college football teams do, and especially ones that return the kind of talent Kansas State does under Bill Snyder. The U looked completely overmatched from start to finish, and Collin Klein looked much, much better. Miami's not a very good team, but it has some great athletes. Kansas State completely negated Miami's speed by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The day's biggest eye-popping performance.

Never, ever doubt Paul Rhoads (again). How do we keep doing this? A tossup game? Against a rival? Most folks (myself included) picked the Hawkeyes, but Rhoads pulled off another huge program win, setting a milestone yet again with the Cyclones, who hadn't won at Iowa since 2002, when Seneca Wallace was still in town. It didn't look pretty, and Iowa State's loaded with flaws, but there's no such thing as a bad win when it comes against a rival or it comes on the road. Iowa State got both on Saturday, making big plays down the stretch to make it happen.

TCU knows how to make an entrance. Yes, it was an FCS opponent, but zero incompletions in 17 attempts for two quarterbacks, and a defensive shutout? Oklahoma State showed us on Saturday night exactly what beating up on an FCS opponent ultimately means (nothing), but what else could TCU do? Look out for true freshman Devonte Fields, too, who could become a force in this league. An injury to Ross Forrest has forced TCU to depend on him more than it would like, but the talented blue-chip recruit notched his first career sack as Gary Patterson became the school's all-time leader in wins.

It's going to be another long year in Lawrence. What's more troubling? Kansas losing this game? Or Kansas being just a six-point favorite against Rice, which had never beaten a team from the Big 12 since the league was formed? The Jayhawks looked the part of an inexperienced team that didn't know how to win on Saturday, squandering a 24-13 lead late in the third quarter and losing a game it had no business losing. Dayne Crist's second interception of the day was a back-breaker, giving Rice the ball near midfield to set up the game-winning field goal as time expired. Crist is better than KU's alternatives, but he hasn't played well to this point. He finished just 16-of-28 for 144 yards with a touchdown and two picks. I thought Kansas would be better this year. The Jayhawks may improve by season's end -- Saturday proved they've got more room to do it than any team in the Big 12 -- but good grief, losing to Rice at home? I don't care what the circumstances are. That's terrible for a Big 12 team. This is the worst KU loss since the 6-3 North Dakota State disaster that kicked off the Turner Gill Era in 2010.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Big 12 most memorable moments

Late OSU rally ruins OU's 2001 Big 12 South hopes

No. 19

Date: Nov. 24, 2001
Place: Owen Field, Norman, Okla.
Score: Oklahoma State 16, Oklahoma 13

Defending national champion Oklahoma was a heavy favorite heading into its regular-season finale, needing only to beat struggling Oklahoma State to wrap up its second-straight Big 12 South title under Bob Stoops.

The Sooners' hopes looked that much brighter after OSU starter Aso Pogi struggled in the first quarter, throwing two interceptions that sparked the insertion of freshman quarterback Josh Fields into the game.

One of the stories of the game was the transformation of the Cowboy defense, only a week after it was gashed for 517 yards by Baylor. But OSU repeatedly tormented Oklahoma quarterback Nate Hybl, who threw three interceptions and was sacked seven times.

Still, the Sooners led for much of the game. Quentin Griffin gave the Sooners an early lead in the second quarter on an 8-yard TD run. The Sooners held a 10-6 halftime lead after Tim Duncan added a 23-yard field goal sandwiched around a pair of field goals by Oklahoma State kicker Luke Phillips.

The two teams exchanged field goals early in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Fields' late heroics. Phillips nailed consecutive 52-yard field goals to keep the Cowboys close.

After forcing its third consecutive three-and-out possession, OSU got the ball on the Oklahoma 35. Fields completed only three passes on the game-winning drive but he made them all count.

Fields first connected with Rashaun Woods on a 15-yard strike. He then kept the drive alive with a clutch third-down 31-yard pass to T.D. Bryant. On the next play, Fields hooked up again with Woods on a 14-yard game-winning TD toss with 1:36 left.

Oklahoma had one more chance, but Hybl's desperation pass was intercepted by Marcus Jones.

The victory touched off a wild celebration all across Texas after the Longhorns claimed an appearance in the Big 12 championship game. And it prematurely interrupted a barbecue celebration at the home of Texas defensive coordinator Carl Reese, who immediately went to work to prepare for the Longhorns' game against Colorado the next week.

The numbers: Woods produced eight receptions for 129 yards, giving him 80 for the season and breaking the then-school record of 74 set by Hart Lee Dykes in 1988. Oklahoma was limited to zero net yards of rushing on 27 carries. And the loss snapped a 19-game home winning streak for Oklahoma, including the first 18 home games under Stoops.

They said it, part I: "They are a good football team. They finally got an opportunity to show someone else," OSU coach Les Miles, describing his team's performance to reporters after the game.

They said it, part II: "I don't think we came into this game unprepared and looking ahead to next week. The team was outplayed and I was outcoached. That's really the only excuse I have for this loss," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, reflecting on his first-ever home loss with the Sooners.

They said it, part III: "Our two sons and my wife were screaming and shouting like they were on the sidelines. We had some unsportsmanlike conduct there I think," Texas coach Mack Brown, who described his reaction after the OSU victory to the Associated Press.

The upshot: The loss kept Oklahoma from the Big 12 championship game. Texas went in the Sooners' place, losing a 39-37 decision to Colorado in a game that will be described in detail later in this series.

The Sooners finished the season 11-2 with a 10-3 victory over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, wrapping up the season at No. 6 in the final AP poll.

The upset boosted OSU to 4-7 with victories in its final two games. That fast finish help set the stage for an 8-5 record the following season and a trip to the Houston Bowl - the first post-season appearance under Miles and the Cowboys' first bowl trip since 1997.

Since then, Stoops has lost only other home game, a 17-10 season-opening loss to TCU in 2005. Stoops is 60-2 at Owen Field, including a current 24-game winning streak.


The countdown:

20. It's never over until it's over: Texas Tech's 2006 Insight Bowl rally vs. Minnesota
21. Reesing to Meier. Again and again: Kansas over Missouri in 2008
22. A Texas-sized comeback: Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest: Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee" in final-play 1999 loss to UNLV.

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