1st and 100Nov. 18, 2010
By Matt Larsen
Sports writer Matt Larsen talks about Big 12 South teams, getting 100 words per squad in the year's final installment.
No. 23 Jay Finley
The Bears (7-4, 4-3) dropped their second straight last Saturday, falling victim to a snowballing Aggie team 42-30 at home. The offense regained its home swagger as Jay Finley broke the 1,000-yard mark with his 168 and three touchdowns. The Bears struggled to finish drives, though, and special teams' issues were even costlier. With the defense giving up nearly 100 points in the last two games combined, a win against the No. 16 Sooners will likely require scoring touchdowns and not field goals. Though out of the Big 12 South championship picture, the Bears can end the Sooners' dreams of winning the South.
No. 85 Ryan Broyles
Maxwell semi-finalist Ryan Broyles broke school receiving records with eight catches and three TDs, and the defense looked as dominant as ever in the 45-7 route of Texas Tech, allowing just one touchdown off a trick play. That defense has struggled on the road, though, which is where the Sooners now go to play the conference's two best offenses. For Oklahoma to be in the conference championship, the defense must find a way to play four quarters on the road against Baylor and Oklahoma State. They're backing Nebraska this week though as a Texas A&M loss would keep things simple.
The No. 12 Cowboys (9-1, 5-1) collected one of two road wins, this a 33-16 victory over Texas, before they come home to face in-state rival Oklahoma for the Big 12 South championship. The offense had another 500+ yard day with their usual big names (Brandon Weeden, Kendall Hunter and Justin Blackmon) doing what they do best, even if 33 is low for the nation's top offense.
The Cowboys really only need to beat Oklahoma in the season finale to play for the Big 12 championship, but a loss to the last-place Jayhawks this week would hurt BCS placement.
Though the defense flexed its guns by holding Oklahoma State's top-ranked offense under its usual 45 points, Texas (2-5, 4-6) still fell at home to the Cowboys 33-16. The good news for the struggling offense is that Garrett Gilbert managed to throw just one interception (a significant improvement from his five a week ago), and broke even in the turnover category overall. The bad news is they must win their last two, including beating Texas A&M, to get the necessary six wins for bowl eligibility.
But if the offense can start turning yards into touchdowns this week against Florida International, they have hope.
The red-hot Aggies (7-3, 4-2) extended their streak to four wins with a 42-30 victory at Baylor. Cyrus Gray led the charge by rushing for 137 yards and four touchdowns while the special teams contributed a kick return for a touchdown and a blocked field goal.
Though the defense that shut down the Sooners' goal line efforts a week before looked suspect in the first half, it kept the Bears scoreless in the second. The Aggies must win out and will need another big week on both sides as Nebraska features a healthier Taylor Martinez and the nation's sixth-best defense.
Two weeks ahead of most in the Big 12, the Red Raiders (5-5) finished their conference season at 3-5 after a 45-7 loss at Oklahoma. The usually explosive offense was held to just one trip to the end zone and that came via a wide receiver pass.
Though not an ideal conference closing performance, Texas Tech still has two more chances to gain bowl eligibility as it hosts Weber State and Houston in Lubbock. Though it's no Big 12 championship, a 7-5 mark should not be too disappointing for Tommy Tuberville in his first season.