Archive for Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday’s Big 12 games encapsulated

November 20, 2010


Kansas State (6-4) at Colorado (4-6), 1 p.m.

Line: Kansas State by 2

Fun facts: Colorado leads the all-time series, 44-20-1. The home team has won the last three matchups.

Player to watch: Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. The sophomore saw significant action for the second week in a row and responded with 141 rushing yards, and an additional 65 yards passing, plus a score. The speedy Klein now has 268 rushing yards in the last two games. Only problem is, he can’t get in a groove because K-State coach Bill Snyder continues to play quarterback Carson Coffman as well. In fact, the two quarterbacks switched in and out between plays, not just in between series. Coffman played poorly against Missouri, throwing an interception, losing two fumbles and taking four sacks. How will Snyder divide the snaps this week? Klein seems to be more effective, but Snyder may want to see Klein prove he can throw the ball more consistently before he takes over the job full-time.

Key matchup: Colorado pass rush vs. Kansas State passing attack. If and when K-State is forced to pass, will the Wildcats be able to convert key third-down situations? Colorado interim head coach Brian Cabral had his fingerprints all over the Buffaloes’ 34-14 victory against Iowa State last week in Boulder. Colorado produced eight sacks under the leadership of Cabral, the former CU linebackers coach who made his head coaching debut last week in place of recently-fired Dan Hawkins. K-State is 83rd in the country, giving up 2.40 sacks per game. Far from ideal when you consider how much the Wildcats run the ball with Daniel Thomas and Klein.

Weber State (6-4) at Texas Tech (5-5), 2 p.m.

Line: None

Fun facts: Weber State, a lower-level FCS team in the Big Sky Conference, has played one BCS conference team this season. In the season opener, Weber State fell, 38-20, to Boston College (5-5 overall, 3-4 ACC).

Big 12 player to watch: Texas Tech receiver Lyle Leong. The senior is quietly having an outstanding year, hauling in 58 catches for 725 yards and 15 scores (second in country behind Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, who has 16). Leong should have his way with Weber State.

Key matchup: Texas Tech passing attack vs. Weber State secondary. It’s going to be a long day for the Wildcats if they can’t contain Taylor Potts and the Red Raiders passing attack, which is 12th in the country (fourth in Big 12) with 296 yards in the air per game.

Florida Atlantic (4-5) at Texas (4-6), 2:30 p.m.

Line: Texas by 21

Fun facts: Florida Atlantic, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, is on a three-game winning streak. The Owls have seen BCS competition this season. Florida Atlantic faced Michigan State on a neutral field in Detroit and lost, 30-17, on Sept. 11. Michigan State is now 9-1 and No. 11 in the country. The last time Florida Atlantic faced Texas, it was destroyed, 52-10, in 2008 in Austin, Texas.

Big 12 player to watch: Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson. Florida Atlantic does not move the ball on offense. The Owls are 112th in rushing offense, 78th in passing offense and 110th in total offense. They also give up 2.67 sacks per game, 97th in the country. Not pretty. Look for the junior Robinson to have opportunities all over the field today.

Key matchup: Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert vs. Florida Atlantic defense. An area of strength for Florida Atlantic is defending the pass. The Owls surrender only 180 yards through the air per game, 17th in the country. In his last three games, Gilbert has thrown seven interceptions and only one touchdown. Look for the sophomore to improve against an inferior opponent today.

No. 15 Missouri (8-2) at Iowa State (5-6), 6 p.m.

Line: Missouri by 11

Fun facts: Missouri leads the all-time series, 59-34-9. The Tigers have triumphed in the last three meetings, and in six of the past seven.

Player to watch: Iowa State quarterback Jerome Tiller. The sophomore will be thrust into action today because Cyclones starting quarterback Austen Arnaud injured his knee and will miss the remainder of the season. Tiller filled in nicely last week, completing 12 of 19 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Throwing on Missouri shouldn’t be overwhelming for Tiller. The Tigers allow 222 yards per game, 73rd in the country. If the Cyclones spring an upset, Tiller will likely have to spark a huge play or two. Running back Alexander Robinson (848 yards, nine TDs) can’t do it all himself.

Key matchup: Missouri rush offense vs. Iowa State rush defense. In the past three weeks, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has dialed up a slew of running plays for quarterback Blaine Gabbert. That wasn’t the case early in the season. In the first seven games, Gabbert registered only 41 rushing attempts. He actually has 41 attempts in the last three games. Iowa State has struggled against the run this season, allowing 191 yards on the ground per game. Should Gabbert, De’Vion Moore, Henry Josey and Kendial Lawrence get going on the ground, it’s going to be a long day for ISU.

No. 16 Oklahoma (8-2) at Baylor (7-4), 7 p.m.

Line: Oklahoma by 71⁄2

Fun facts: Baylor has never beaten Oklahoma. The Sooners lead the all-time series, 19-0. In Big 12 play this season, Oklahoma is 3-0 at home, 0-2 on the road and 1-0 in neutral locations.

Player to watch: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. The sophomore had one of his best games last week against Texas Tech, completing 22 of 29 passes for 317 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. But can he put up similar numbers on the road? OU has only played three road games this season, but finishes up its schedule with two (today at Baylor, next Saturday at Oklahoma State). If Oklahoma wants to play in the last Big 12 Championship before Nebraska and Colorado bolt the conference, the Sooners must win their final two regular season games away from home.

Key matchup: Oklahoma rush offense vs. Baylor rush defense. The Sooners ran the ball with authority last week to open up the pass for Jones. OU rambled for 246 yards on the ground at an average of 5.6 yards per attempt. When OU’s running attack is working, Jones isn’t under as much pressure to make plays. He only threw 29 times last week, yet still went over 300 yards with five scores. In OU’s two Big 12 losses this year, Jones threw 50 times at Missouri and an absurd 59 times at Texas A&M.; In both games, the Sooners didn’t eclipse 100 yards on the ground. Running the ball will be critical for OU today.

No. 9 Nebraska (9-1) at No. 18 Texas A&M; (7-3), 7 p.m.

Line: Nebraska by 21⁄2

Fun facts: Nebraska leads the all-time series, 10-3. The Aggies won the last battle, 36-14, in 2007 at Nebraska. The Huskers need one more victory this season to clinch the Big 12 North. A&M; started the conference season 0-2, but now finds itself 4-2 with an outside chance of winning the Big 12 South.

Player to watch: Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. The red-shirt freshman did not look 100 percent in his return from an ankle injury last week against Kansas. He ran 11 times for 71 yards, but held up on a few runs and didn’t appear to go all out for extra yardage like he typically does. It didn’t really matter because Nebraska’s defense held Kansas to 87 total yards, KU’s lowest offensive output since 2001. Texas A&M;’s offense is quite a bit better, though. The Aggies have a new-found spark since Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback. They’re 4-0 since the junior replaced Jerrod Johnson. In that time, A&M; is averaging 41.25 points per game. There should be more than 23 total points scored today — NU beat KU, 20-3, last week — so Martinez may have to step it up today and not rely as much on the defense.

Key matchup: Nebraska rush offense vs. Texas A&M; rush defense. If A&M; wants to continue its winning streak in front of a prime-time audience, it will have to contain Nebraska’s three-headed rushing monster of Martinez, Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead. The Aggies are 13th in the country in rush defense, allowing only 112 yards on the ground per game. Seems impressive, but a big reason for that is because teams pass on A&M; at will. The Aggies are 102nd in pass defense. Nebraska likely won’t care about these splits and will try to pound the ball anyway. It will be up to A&M; to contain it.


mcontrary 7 years, 4 months ago

The "funnest" fact about this football season is that is almost over. Perhaps we will have a fresh start next year with a new athletic director and a new football coach.

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