Baylor Bears defense: Yes, Baylor gave up 38 points against a TCU team that finished 4-8. But the Bears wouldn’t have won this game without four critical takeaways from its opportunistic defense. Two were interceptions for touchdowns by Orion Stewart and Eddie Lackey. Another was a goal-line fumble recovery to set up a 1-yard touchdown. So that’s 21 points. Terrell Burt clinched the win when he picked off a deflected pass in the final minute.
QB Grant Rohach, Iowa State: What a memorable way for Rohach to end his redshirt freshman campaign. In a three-overtime, 52-44 victory at West Virginia, he threw for a career-high 331 yards and four touchdowns, added a 54-yard touchdown run and led a gigantic comeback from down 31-7. Not bad at all for Rohach’s third career start.
DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: The Longhorns got creative in their use of Jeffcoat in a 41-16 win against Texas Tech, lining him up as a linebacker/end hybrid. That move paid off big on his senior night. Jeffcoat racked up three sacks and seven tackles and was flat-out unblockable at times, making a tough night for Tech QB Baker Mayfield even tougher. Jeffcoat now has 10 sacks on the year, all of them coming in Big 12 play.
RB John Hubert and S Dante Barnett, Kansas State: Barnett grabbed two interceptions and recovered a fumble in Kansas State’s 31-10 win over Kansas, while Hubert paced the Wildcats offense by rushing for a for career-high 220 yards in his final Big 12 game. K-State looks destined to end up at the Holiday Bowl, which is certainly an impressive feat after starting the season 2-4.
RB Charles Sims, West Virginia: Lots of others who merit helmet stickers this week, but we’ll honor Sims after another big game to end his college career. Sims rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns against ISU and finished with 1,095 yards and 11 TDs in his only season in Morgantown. He’ll receive some All-Big 12 honors this month.
AUSTIN, Texas – For the fifth time this season, Texas has lost a starter to a season-ending injury.
Texas linebacker Steve Edmond suffered a lacerated liver during the Longhorns' 41-16 win over Texas Tech on Thursday and has been ruled out for the rest of the regular season, the school announced.
Edmond led the team in tackles with 73 and recorded two tackles for loss and two interceptions, including the game-sealing pick in overtime to defeat West Virginia earlier this month. There is no timetable for his return.
The junior left the game in the second quarter against Texas Tech after a hard hit on a block from receiver Eric Ward. Team trainers escorted Edmond to the locker room and he did not return.
In addition to Edmond, Texas has already lost quarterback David Ash, running back Johnathan Gray, defensive tackle Chris Whaley, linebackers Jordan Hicks and Tevin Jackson and cornerback Sheroid Evans for the season. Starting right tackle Josh Cochran has also missed eight games because of a shoulder injury.
Perhaps they should have spelled out “MACK” as well?
Growing sentiment around the 40 Acres is that Longhorns coach Mack Brown is on his way out regardless of how Texas ends this season. If that were indeed the case, then Thursday’s drubbing of the Red Raiders would have been his last home game as Texas’ head coach.
That's not the sentiment among the recruits who have pledged to play for Texas.
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DE Jackson Jeffcoat: Is Jeffcoat the Big 12 Defense Player of the Year? November is almost over and there's still no clear favorite, but you have to think he's in the running. He was downright unblockable at times on Thursday, racking up three sacks and tying for the team lead with seven tackles in his most creative role to date, as an end/linebacker hybrid who played all over the field, often times directly behind the defensive tackles. The new role fit Jeffcoat's talents well and helped make for a tough night for Baker Mayfield and his Red Raiders offensive line.
RBs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron: Texas ran the ball 60 times on Thursday knowing that meant putting the offense in the hands of the junior running backs, and both delivered. Brown rushed for 128 on 27 carries, and Bergeron gained 102 on 17 carries with a touchdown, the 25th of his career. They know Texas Tech's run defense was a major vulnerability and they attacked all night long, which set up some big pass plays as well.
DE Cedric Reed: If you want to make the case that Reed has been Texas' best defensive end this season, go right ahead. A legitimate case can be made for him, and he's becoming quite the freak as a junior. Reed picked up two more sacks on Thursday to hit nine on the season and recorded a team-high three quarterback hurries. If he stays another year, he'll be in for a special season.
WR Mike Davis: We're giving a bonus one this week to Davis, who shined on his final home game with four catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. His scores came on a 47-yard bomb from Case McCoy to end the first quarter and a 7-yarder off a slant route to start the fourth. Davis is up to 46 catches for 701 yards and eight scores this season. He continues to be a dynamic deep threat, even against corners and safeties who know not to let him get past them.
- The Longhorns' body blows were too much for skidding Texas Tech, writes the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton. The Red Raiders ended Kliff Kingbury's first season with a whimper, says the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Don Williams. Tech drove into Texas territory five times and managed only a field goal. Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat improved his draft stock on in his final home game. Texas Tech's fake punt shocked everyone.
- With Missouri gone, Kansas is stressing its instate rivalry with Kansas State, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal's Jeff Deters. K-State defensive end Ryan Mueller has gone from bleeding blue to beating blue, writes the Wichita Eagle's Kellis Robinett. The paper breaks down the Sunflower Showdown position by position. The Kansas City Star also previews the game. Kansas' offensive line coach is stepping down.
- Iowa State is flying high heading into Morgantown, writes the Charleston Daily Mail's Mike Casazza, and is looking to end the season on a high note. Former Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein tells the Des Moines Register's Bryce Miller that coach Paul Rhoads still has the trust of the team. The Cyclones have extended their series with instate foe Iowa. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is not looking to next season yet, according to the Charleston Gazette's Dave Hickman, but he is shouldering blame for the offensive struggles.
- Injuries are piling up for Baylor, writes the Waco Herald-Tribune's Brice Cherry. With the national title gone, Baylor will try to impress for a BCS at-large berth, the paper's John Werner says. Would TCU have been better off not moving to the Big 12? The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw answers that question.
- Is this the golden era of Beldam football? The Tulsa World's Jimmie Tramel thinks so. Oklahoma State wide receiver Charlie Moore is quietly having a banner senior season, according to The Oklahoman's John Helsley. The World's Guerin Emig breaks down the Oklahoma backfield heading into Bedlam next weekend.
- Texas Tech’s offense ran 80 plays against Texas and still leads the nation in plays per game at 88.4.
- Texas Tech has gained 10-plus yards on 247 plays this season and surpassed Florida State for No. 1 in FBS in that stat thanks to 16 such plays against Texas.
- Red Raiders quarterback Baker Mayfield ranks No. 6 in FBS in both completions per game and pass attempts per game.
- Texas recorded a season-high nine sacks against Texas Tech on Thursday, the most Tech has allowed in a game in at least 13 years.
- Texas kicker Anthony Fera is 19-for-20 (95 percent) on field goals. He has connected on his last 15 attempts, tying a school record.
- Longhorns WR Jaxon Shipley is now 5-for-8 passing for 116 yards and three touchdowns in his career. He completed a 43-yard pass on Thursday.
- Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight has rushed for 391 yards this season. Landry Jones finished with -361 rushing yards in his career.
- No Big 12 defense has been on the field this season less than the Sooners. Their opponents average 64.6 plays per game.
- Oklahoma State is No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin at plus 16 this season. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Cowboys are plus 49, which ranks No. 2 in FBS behind only Oregon (plus 52).
- Clint Chelf ranks No. 7 in the country in adjusted QBR at 84.8, ahead of Braxton Miller and AJ McCarron.
- Oklahoma State and Baylor both lead the conference in defensive touchdowns (four) and special teams touchdowns (three).
- Baylor has gained 20 or more yards on 93 plays this season, 25 more than any other Big 12 offense.
- Bryce Petty has scored touchdowns on 18 percent of his rushes this season. That’s the best scoring rate among rushers in FBS.
- Baylor needs just 22 points to break its school record for scoring in a season, and four touchdowns to break the BU single-season TD record.
- TCU holds a slim lead in its all-time series against Baylor, 51-50-7, but Gary Patterson is 4-1 against the Bears in his career. The Frogs have won eight straight games following bye weeks.
- The Horned Frogs have scored 263 points this season and given up 262 points.
- TCU has sold out 16 of its last 20 home games at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
- Casey Pachall is one touchdown pass away from surpassing Sammy Baugh in the TCU record book for career TD passes. He has 40.
- Pachall is already No. 3 in school history with 5,148 passing yards and first in completion percentage at 64.2.
- With a temperature of 8 degrees at kickoff, Iowa State’s home game against Kansas last week is considered the coldest game in school history.
- Five of Iowa State’s nine losses this season have come by eight points or less.
- Iowa State has scored on 29 of 31 opportunities in the red zone this season, a rate that leads the Big 12.
- Not one offensive lineman has started all 11 games this season for ISU, and 10 different linemen have earned at least one start.
- Charles Sims is 54 rushing yards away from surpassing 1,000 this season. He’d be West Virginia’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Noel Devine in 2009.
- In the month of November, WVU receiver Mario Alford leads in the Big 12 in yards per catch at 23.5 on 10 receptions.
- West Virginia’s offense has recorded 16 fourth-down plays this season for a total of -3 yards.
- Kansas State QB Jake Waters ranks No. 3 in FBS in yards per completion at 15.92 yards and No. 6 in yards per attempt at 9.61.
- K-State is the least penalized team in the Big 12 at 4.73 penalties per game for an average of 40.1 yards.
- Tyler Lockett’s 440 all-purpose yards against Oklahoma ranked fifth-most in FBS history and second-most in Big 12 history.
- The Wildcats are only the fourth team in Big 12 history to start 2-4 and go on to achieve bowl eligibility.
- James Sims is the first player in Kansas history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He’s only the third back in school history to record multiple 1,000-yard seasons.
- Sims is one of only 13 running backs in FBS to surpass 1,000 yards in both 2012 and 2013.
- Kansas has gone three-and-out on 32 percent of its offensive possessions this season, a rate that ranks fourth-worst in FBS. On nearly 47 percent of its drives, KU has neither picked up a first down nor scored.
- KU is 5-for-25 on fourth-down conversions this season. Only Louisville (0-for-4) has a worse conversion rate.
2. Robinson deserves praise: He isn't one of the 40 finalists for the Frank Broyles Award honoring the nation's top assistant coach, but the job Greg Robinson has done to help Texas' defense get back on track this season remains impressive, almost shockingly so. You can tell that, nine games in, he's comfortable with the personnel at his disposal because he and his fellow defensive coaches are bringing new wrinkles to the table. The use of Jackson Jeffcoat in the "Viper" role with a three-man front against Tech was especially impressive. Robinson inherited a lot of talent, and this defense has proved to be a dangerous unit when playing to its potential.
3. The clouds overhead: Let's be honest, if Texas had stumbled and lost to a clearly inferior Texas Tech team, we all know what the narrative would've been. You would've heard people saying that was Mack Brown's final home game at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. There will still be a few regardless, sure, but that kind of a convincing performance helps Brown's cause. The score was a lot closer than this game ending up being, truthfully. If Texas plays Baylor close or pulls off the upset, no matter the bowl result, Brown would have the right to say "good luck with that" to anyone calling for his job.
AUSTIN, Texas -- There's no better cure for a 25-point loss than responding with a 25-point victory.
That's not some old Darrell Royal saying or an axiom that coaches have been known to share. It's just a fact. And just when we thought we had Texas and its troubles figured out, this team fought to live another week.
The Longhorns who won six conference games in a row showed up again, keeping their Big 12 championship hopes alive with a 41-16 victory over Texas Tech on Thanksgiving night.
There was plenty of talk in the past two weeks that Oklahoma State finally exposed Texas and its various flaws, that the six Big 12 wins that came before it were somehow less meaningful or some kind of mirage.
If the meltdown against the Cowboys revealed Texas' thin margin for error, Thursday's victory reminded how good Texas can be when it achieves everything it sets out to do.
Brown wanted a slowed-paced game, not a shootout. Texas had to control the tempo. Check.
He wanted to pound Texas Tech's recently awful run defense. Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown both surpassed 100 yards. Check.
He hoped Texas' defense could force erratic play by the Red Raiders' young quarterbacks. The Longhorns netted nine sacks, including three each from Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed. Check.
"It's not a pretty brand of ball. It's not very stylish," Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. "But it's what we had to do."
Thursday's performance was about as close to a defensive masterpiece as Texas could have hoped for. The Red Raiders' No. 1 ranked pass offense finished with 5.8 yards per attempt. They went 5-for-18 on third downs. Tech's leading rusher on the night? Punter Ryan Erxleben, who dashed 51 yards for the first score of the night. Texas' special teams gave up that score. Its defense allowed one touchdown the rest of the night.
"It was a good game. I don't know if it was better or not. I guess you guys make those decisions," defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. "We played real well here against a good offense."
But since so many will discount the result, pointing out that Texas Tech lost five in a row after starting 7-0, let's cut to the chase: If this is Texas, if these are the real Longhorns going forward, can they do enough to beat No. 9 Baylor?
Ask Brown whether his team played up to its formula for victory against Tech and he'll rattle off the things his team didn't do. Texas turned the ball over twice. Other than placekicker Anthony Fera, a Groza Award finalist who's now 19-for-20 this season, the Longhorns are still a mess in several areas of special teams.
His players were no different. They see a need for improvement. They won't celebrate this win much this weekend. They know what they're up against next.
Preparing for Baylor will require that kind of perfectionist attention to detail. Like Texas, the Bears showed their vulnerabilities against Oklahoma State. They're not at all unbeatable. But they have the respect of their next opponent.
"We fully assume Baylor will win [against TCU] and be right there," quarterback Case McCoy said. "It'll be a game that, as a senior class, we want to go out with a chance to put numbers on these walls and have a Big 12 championship."
The Longhorns made their senior night count. They made the next game matter. They're not done yet.
"We're still in the race," Jeffcoat said. "We had to win this one. This was a must-win. And we have to win the next one."
AUSTIN, Texas -- When Mack Brown introduced his latest recruiting class on signing day of 2010, he did so with great pride.
“I've been asked over the last couple of days, ‘Is this the best class that we've ever had?’” Brown said that day. “We feel like it definitely has the potential to be, because from top to bottom it covers every position and that's a very difficult thing to do.”
On Thursday, seven of those signees will take the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium one final time. Senior Night has a tendency to elicit mixed emotions, a bittersweet cocktail of pride, sadness and sentimentality.
It’s hard to assess this Texas class with anything else but mixed emotions. You wonder if they feel the same. After all, this four-year run was not what these seniors signed up for or expected back in February 2010.
Of the 13 scholarship seniors being honored during Texas’ Thanksgiving home finale against Texas Tech, more than half came from the 2010 class that ranked No. 2 nationally. They signed after Texas won 13 games and played for a national title. The senior class that departed after 2009 went 45-8 in their four seasons.
Today’s seniors made their debuts for a 2010 team that was No. 5 in the preseason AP poll. Expectations were as high as ever. Brown seemed poised to chase another championship.
Instead, this class ended up inheriting the task of helping lead a rebuilding project, one that still isn’t complete. They hope this is their legacy, that their efforts will get this Longhorn program back on track.
The fourth-year seniors enter Thursday night’s home finale against Texas Tech with a career record of 29-19. If the Red Raiders pull the upset, this group will drop to 17-17 in Big 12 games.
They haven’t been particularly successful at DKR, either, with a record of 13-11 at home in the past four years. They’ve won six conference home games and lost nine.
Most of these seniors been playing from the very beginning. Guard Mason Walters, a 2009 signee who redshirted, and receiver Mike Davis were starters on the 5-7 team of 2010. Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, cornerback Carrington Byndom and guard Trey Hopkins are three-year starters. All together, this senior class has combined for 266 starts.
It's a group that, to this point, has endured an awful lot. The first losing season of Brown’s tenure. A coaching staff shakeup. The end of the Texas A&M rivalry. One win and three losses to Oklahoma. No Big 12 championships. No BCS bowl games.
“It's been a roller-coaster ride, ups and downs,” Jeffcoat said. “I think I'm better for that.”
Jeffcoat signed to play for then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Case McCoy has been tutored by three different quarterback coaches and playcallers. These Texas seniors received an education in embracing change.
“A lot of things have gone good, a lot of things have gone bad,” McCoy said. “That's part of the game, that's part of life. One thing I know in this game and in life, you’ve got to battle. You can't give up. That's why I love this team. I love the way they're playing. I love their hearts because we haven't given up.”
They know they had Texas-sized standards to live up to in their careers. When a program bottoms out the way the Longhorns did in 2010, everything achieved since has been in the commitment to getting back on top.
There have been high points along the way, but it all seemed to be building toward 2013. Brown believed Texas had a chance to win every game this season. That didn’t work out.
To the seniors’ credit, he said, they didn’t fold after starting off 1-2 this year. They didn’t give in and they rallied to win six in a row.
“They were very, very strong-willed in stepping up with their leadership and telling the other guys, ‘This is our last time now, we’re going to make this work,’” Brown said. “I’m really proud of them. I’m proud of the way they’ve handled adversity, proud of the way they fought through it.”
And Jeffcoat believes the legacy of these seniors is unfinished. They’ll earn a share of the Big 12 title, and perhaps more, if they win out. Three games left means three more chances to get the Longhorns back in the right direction.
“I think we definitely have that opportunity,” McCoy said. “We have the opportunity right now to put our final stamp on it and put it where we need to go.”
Texas’ seniors have had a rough journey. As the end nears, though, they still believe their story can have a happy ending. And they seem to have few regrets.
“If I had to choose all over again,” Jeffcoat said, “I’d come to Texas.”
We'll have a couple stories up later this morning previewing tonight's Texas Tech-Texas bout, as well as coverage of the game.
Otherwise, it will be a light day on the Big 12 blog, as we'll all be in afternoon food comas. Me, from turkey and pecan pie.
Hope everyone has a great holiday.
Jake (Dallas) OK I have a problem with the fact that Baylor can get beat (demolished) the same as A&M and Oregon and Bryce Petty becomes a ghost on the Heisman Watch list. With Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota still on there!! Yeah he had a tough (terrible) day but still put up 300+ yards 2 TDs and no interceptions. He posted an 80 QBR. He now has a better TD to INT ratio than both of those QBs, a better RECORD than both of those QBs and has not lost to an unranked opponent (Oregon). Please enlighten me with a logical answer that makes sense to a Baylor fan.
Brandon Chatmon I don't think he should be out of it because outside of Jameis Winston there is no clear favorites right now. However, he has to have great games against TCU and Texas. If he returns back to his normal, record-breaking self in the last two games, he deserves consideration in my opinion. And you're right his numbers weren't horrible against OSU.
James Johnson (Hong Kong) Brandon, you called the OSU-Stillwater game as Baylor's toughest game this year over a month ago (even before OSU was getting hot) in answering one of my questions. OSU played lights out, and Baylor played poorly. Both were related. How much of that was OSU vs. Baylor performance that night (e.g., 70/30)? Who was better: 2011 OSU team or the OSU team last Saturday night?
Brandon Chatmon I think a lot of it was OSU. They played an amazing game. But, I'd still take 2011 OSU over this year's squad.
Mike P (Greater KC) Which is more likely to happen Oklahoma beats Okie State or Texas Beats Baylor?
Brandon Chatmon Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State.
Pete (Kansas City) How impressed have you been with K-State's season? Do you think the Wildcats will end up in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Holiday Bowl or Texas Bowl?
Brandon Chatmon I've been pretty impressed although I don't understand why they abandoned the run against OU. That said it's been a solid season overall for the Wildcats. I have them Holiday Bowl bound.
Daje Johnson (Austin, Texas) How badly did I mess up this game for us tomorrow by getting suspended?
Brandon Chatmon Bad move, Daje. And now you're missing the stadiums you're supposed to be running for punishment too?!?! I understand my chats are entertaining but do you ever want to play again?
No. 1: Minus-12
That’s Texas Tech’s turnover margin this season. The Red Raiders have 28 turnovers, 16 takeaways and are minus-10 in Big 12 play. They’ve lost nine of their 11 fumbles. They’ve played only one game (Kansas, plus 3) with a positive turnover margin, and that number has been negative in each of Tech’s last six games.
You just can’t beat good teams with those kinds of numbers, and that has played a role in Texas Tech dropping four games in a row. There’s no doubt freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb have contributed to this bug; they’re responsible for 23 of the 28 turnovers.
But they’re not solely to blame, because turnovers have become a long-term issue for this program. Texas Tech has a minus-35 turnover margin in the last five years, which ranks fourth-worst nationally and dead last among BCS conference schools. What’s remarkable is they’ve still won 37 games during that span.
No. 2: 297.25
Another glaring weakness that has developed during Texas Tech’s four-game slide: Run defense. Tech is giving up 297.25 rushing yards per game in its last four, with no team gaining less than 277.
Those four opponents -- Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor -- have combined for 18 rushing touchdowns and 32 rushes of 10-plus yards. Good luck beating the best teams in the Big 12 when you give up 5.74 yards per carry and first downs on nearly 29 percent of your opponents’ rushes.
Texas will try to exploit that porous run D without its two most explosive rushers, Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson. Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron ran relatively well against Oklahoma State, but they quickly became non-factors once Texas fell behind big. The key this week? Time of possession and turnovers. The run should be there for the taking if the Longhorns can hold onto the ball.
No. 3: Zero
The zero signifies two Texas stats worth noting going into this game. First, the Longhorns have recorded zero sacks in their three losses this season. That’s a problem. Texas has 26 sacks in its seven wins this season, and its defense line has played at a consistently high level in those games. Their pass rush can’t disappear again against a Tech team with young quarterbacks who turn the ball over.
Another zero: Since 2010, Texas is 11-1 in games when its offense doesn’t turn the ball over. Texas players insist the blowout loss to Oklahoma State could’ve been a much more even affair if not for three costly turnovers.
Three more to remember
7-0: Texas’ record against Texas Tech in games played in Austin under Mack Brown
18.7: Points per game Texas Tech has allowed in its seven wins.
50.5: Points per game Texas Tech has allowed in its four losses.