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Big 12 Roundup: A&M, Nebraska on the Brink

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It was another wild week in college football in general, but the favorites took care of business in the Big 12.

Oklahoma 41   Missouri 31

Game Box Score

Fast start? Check. Control OU rushing game? Check. Three hundred fifty yards passing for Chase Daniel? Check.

In looking ahead at this game, the keys for Missouri were to get off to a good start, not let Oklahoma dominate the game with rushing, and pick on an Oklahoma secondary which has been somewhat vulnerable. They did all that reasonably well, but still fell well short of a road upset against the Sooners.

What happened? Oklahoma picked up four turnovers - including two interceptions of Chase Daniel, as well as a Daniels fumble returned for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Sam Bradford was exceptionally steady, completing 23 of his 34 pass attempts for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns (0 interceptions). Bradford threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half and managed the game for Oklahoma like a senior, helping Oklahoma successfully convert 10 of its 14 third downs.

Missouri did outgain the Sooners on the day, but the Tigers never were able to establish any offensive rhythm. Chase Daniel was scrambling for his life all night, picking up the bulk of his yards in the second half when Oklahoma was protecting a lead. The Tigers' 30 rush attempts netted a meager 57 yards. It was, in the end, just a solid, well-executed effort from Oklahoma at  home. With the win, they remain in the national title conversation. Which is disgusting.

Next for Missouri: vs Texas Tech
Next for Oklahoma: at Iowa State

Texas Tech 35   Texas A&M 7

Game Box Score

If Frannypants wasn't doomed before Saturday, he is now. The Aggies' 35-7 loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock yesterday embarrassed Aggie fans so deeply that I spotted two separate threads on TexAgs clamoring for RC Slocum. Compared to the FranMan, I suppose that's a justifiable feeling.

Texas Tech's Graham Harrell lit up the A&M secondary for 425 yards, including 3 touchdowns, while Mike Leach wisely gave Shannon Woods 21 carries to keep the Aggies honest up front. On the flipside, Stephen McGee continues to resemble a junior varsity passer, completing just 17 of 30 passes for 133 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Aggie fans like to point to his rushing abilities, but the guy's not dangerous enough a runner to justify tolerating those kind of passing numbers. I suppose "gritty and tough" is preferable to some over "competent at throwing," but it wouldn't be my first choice. If I were an A&M fan, I'd be clamoring for Jerrod Johnson immediately.

Michael Crabtree continued his assault on the record books, hauling in another 8 passes for 170 yards. For the first time in his career, the redshirt freshman didn't catch a touchdown, but he was once more a nightmare for the defense.

It should be noted that some of Graham Harrell's excellence is underappreciated because he plays in Mike Leach's system, but Harrell is having an incredible season, improving his efficiency significantly across the board. Harrell's completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD:INT ratio, and sacks taken are all improved over a year ago.

Next for Texas A&M: at Nebraska
Next for Texas Tech: at Missouri

Kansas Stsate 47    Colorado 20

Game Box Score

Cody Hawkins: 19/41, 223 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
Josh Freeman: 15/27, 214 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Colorado rushing: 36 rushes, 188 yards, 5.2 per attempt
Kansas State rushing: 39 rushes, 249 yards, 6.4 per attempt

Any questions? This win must have been at least a little bit bittersweet for K-State fans: while the Wildcats showed once more how strong they can be when they're playing their game, the week-to-week consistency is still lacking. Losing last week at home to Kansas hurts the team far more than this week's impressive win helps.

For the Buffalos, they're clearly much better than a year ago, but still have a ways to go. Cody Hawkins seems to be boom or bust. If he's making plays, Colorado can wreak havoc. If he's struggling, Colorado's doomed.

Next for Colorado: vs Kansas
Next for Kansas State: at Oklahoma State

Kansas 58   Baylor 10

Game Box Score

Baylor is a bad, bad football team. Conversely, Kansas is good? Surprise, surprise, but it is so: the Jayhawks are playing great football this season and now sit alone atop the Big 12 North at 2-0. Can Kansas run the table the rest of the way?

It's possible, but Kansas would have to win three times on the road - at Colorado next week, at College Station the week after, and at Stillwater on November 10th. If they manage to win those three, they'll likely be undefeated on 11/24 when they host Missouri.

Is Kansas really as good as their record, though? They've essentially played one good team all year, but they won that game, on the road. And unlike a lot of teams ahead of them in the rankings, they've thoroughly slaughtered their crummy opponents. It's time to take Kansas seriously.

Next for Baylor: vs Texas
Next for Kansas: at Colorado

Oklahoma State 45   Nebraska 14

Game Box Score

Things are disturbingly bad in Lincoln right now, with one Husker blogger noting that the team doesn't seem to care, the coaches are incompetent, and fans should prepare for the worst case scenario - a 4-8 season.

Nebraska tried in vain to beat Oklahoma State with the ground game, and though they did manage 200 yards on the ground, it took them 50 carries to get there. Conversely, Oklahoma State picked up 317 yards on an equal number of carries. The Cowpokes didn't turn the ball over; Nebraska gave it away three times.

Note, too, that Oklahoma State led this thing 38-0 at half. Did I mention this game was played in Lincoln? What a mess.

The fans of the loser of next week's A&M-Nebraska game are going to be deeply depressed. If they're not already.

Next up for Oklahoma State: vs Kansas State
Next up for Nebraska: vs Texas A&M

--PB--