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Archive for Saturday, October 2, 2010

Today’s Big 12 games encapsulated

October 2, 2010

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No. 21 Texas (3-1) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (4-0) in Dallas, 2:30 p.m.

Line: Oklahoma by 31⁄2.

Fun facts: Texas leads the all-time series, 59-40-5. The Red River Rivalry has been held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas since 1932. The existing contract has the two schools meeting at the Cotton Bowl through 2015.

Player to watch: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. Red River was and still is a time when quarterbacks (UT’s Vince Young, OU’s Sam Bradford, UT’s Colt McCoy) cement their legacy. Will the sophomore Jones be the next great quarterback in the rivalry? He seems to be ahead of Texas sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert, in terms of maturation and his abilities as a passer. Jones possesses the best wide receiver on either team in junior Ryan Broyles, who leads the country in catches per game (10.25) and is fourth in the country in receiving yards per game (120.50). Texas ranks fifth in the country in pass defense, surrendering only 128.75 passing yards per game. Jones filled in for the injured Sam Bradford in last year’s 16-13 Texas victory, and threw two interceptions.

Key matchup: Gilbert vs. Oklahoma defense. Gilbert has struggled this season with four touchdowns versus four interceptions. He’s averaging only 6.4 yards per completion. Texas is not extending the field as much as when it had Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley. The positive for Gilbert and UT: Oklahoma’s defense has been inconsistent. The Sooners rank toward the bottom of the country in pass defense (90th, 243.75 yards given up per game) and rush defense (93rd, 177.50 yards given up per game). Can Gilbert bounce back from UT’s ugly loss to UCLA? Remember, the Horns have already won a Big 12 game over Texas Tech. Starting 2-0 in conference would be a great way for UT to start forgetting about last week’s catastrophe.

Georgia (1-3) at Colorado (2-1), 6 p.m.

Line: Georgia by 41⁄2.

Fun facts: The Bulldogs have had just a few run-ins with the law this season. Last week, freshman linebacker Demetre Baker was the 10th Georgia player to be arrested this year. Yikes. Baker was kicked off the team following an arrest on drunken-driving charges. The Big 12 struggled against the SEC last season, compiling a 1-3 record between the regular season and bowl games.

Big 12 Player to watch: Wide receiver Scotty McKnight. In games the senior catches a touchdown pass, the Buffaloes are 2-0. In CU’s loss, a 52-7 pasting at California, McKnight caught only two passes for 14 yards, and quarterback Tyler Hansen was sacked six times. If the Buffaloes protect Hansen and give him time to find McKnight, CU has a considerably better chance of protecting its home field against Georgia.

Key matchup: Georgia passing attack vs. CU secondary. The Buffaloes have stopped the run this year, giving up only 71.67 yards per game, good for seventh in the country. Defending the pass? Not so much. Colorado has given up an alarming 241 yards per game through the air, 87th in the country. Georgia has a freshman quarterback in Aaron Murray, but he’s been accurate this season, completing 61 percent of his passes for 219.8 yards per game. Murray has five touchdown passes versus two interceptions. How much will he hurt Colorado?

Texas Tech (2-1) at Iowa State (2-2), 6 p.m.

Line: Texas Tech by 7.

Fun facts: Texas Tech won the last battle, 42-17, in 2007. The Red Raiders have won the past three meetings.

Player to watch: Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud. The senior has battled shoulder issues the past week or so. Thankfully for the Cyclones, it’s his non-throwing, left shoulder, but he had to come out of last week’s game against Northern Iowa after throwing just two passes. If Iowa State has to play from behind, will Arnaud be able to engineer the comeback? The Cyclones have only two passing touchdowns all season.

Key matchup: Tech receiver Lyle Leong vs. Iowa State secondary. The senior Leong has six touchdown grabs in only three games for the Red Raiders. He figures to face a stern test against a Cyclones defense that ranks 10th in the country in passing defense, giving up only 143.75 yards per game.

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