- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are the unsung heroes in the Big 12 during Week 5.
Defensive end Nick Kron, Iowa State: The sophomore wasn’t dominant nor did he have eye-popping numbers. Yet he recovered two fumbles in the Cyclones’ 38-21 win over Tulsa. He was consistently around the football and ready to pounce when Golden Hurricane quarterback Cody Green got sloppy with his ball handling on Thursday night. Kron added one tackle and one tackle for loss as ISU secured its first win of the season.
Linebacker Marcus Mallet, TCU: Teammate Sam Carter grabbed the headlines with his two interceptions but Mallet was a beast in the middle of the Horned Frogs’ defense. The junior had 10 tackles including four tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble forced in TCU’s 48-17 win over SMU. If Mallet is a consistent, productive player in the middle for the Horned Frogs, they should be one of the Big 12's top defenses.
Running back Charles Sims, West Virginia: The Houston transfer was overshadowed by the gutsy performance from quarterback Clint Trickett but led the Mountaineers with 157 all-purpose yards. Sims had 82 receiving yards, 60 rushing yards and 15 kick return yards in WVU’s 31-20 win over Oklahoma State. Sims averaged 6.17 yards per touch on offense. He's been the Mountaineers most consistent and explosive offensive player this season.
Safety Shamiel Gary, Oklahoma State: The Cowboys safety has looked like a different player this season. He’s been solid in OSU’s secondary and made several key open field tackles against WVU to keep the Pokes in the game. The senior finished with nine tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Improved safety play is critical for the Cowboys as they look to rebound against Kansas State this weekend and insert themselves back into the Big 12 title hunt.
Defensive end Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma: The most overlooked starting defensive lineman on the Sooners’ squad, Grissom has been solid throughout the season. He lead OU defensive linemen with six tackles including 0.5 tackles for loss in OU’s 35-21 win over Notre Dame. Grissom has joined Charles Tapper and Jordan Phillips to give the Sooners a much improved defensive front in 2013. Now that they have gained respect, it will be critical for Grissom and company to continue to improve throughout the season if OU wants to make a BCS bowl appearance.
Note: Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas and Texas Tech had byes in Week 5.