Time to hand out a few awards for Week 1 across the Big 12. Best offensive performance: Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech. Mayfield gave Kingsbury reason to trust him to throw 60 passes on Friday night, amassing 413 yard through the air and accounting for five touchdowns without a turnover. The walk-on will be hard to unseat from a starting job if he keeps playing like this. He pushed the Red Raiders to a 41-23 win over SMU. Best defensive performance: Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State. Nobody really ran away with this, and there were lots of guys in contention. Oklahoma LB Corey Nelson, Baylor DE Shawn Oakman, TCU CB Jason Verrett, Texas Tech DL Kerry Hyder, Kansas State DL Ryan Mueller and Lewis’ fellow Cowboy linebacker Caleb Lavey all deserve mentions, but Lewis led a strong defensive performance from the Pokes with three tackles for loss, including a sack. He had seven total stops.
Best performance by a new face: Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia. If Sims isn’t there, I’m not sure we’re talking about a “close call” for the Mountaineers, who beat FCS William & Mary 24-17 on a late touchdown. He scored a touchdown on the first drive of the day and finished with 120 yards on 23 carries. He also turned his only reception of the day into 12 yards.
Best team performance:Oklahoma. Louisiana-Monroe’s a solid team with a good offense and plenty of experience. The Sooners D was stifling and held the Warhawks to 2.7 yards per play in the 34-0 win.
Best performance in relief: J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State. Walsh’s legs were too much for Mississippi State, coming in for Clint Chelf early in Oklahoma State’s 21-3 win over the Bulldogs. His day included a 46-yard score, and he completed 18-of-27 passes for 135 yards, adding 125 on the ground on just 13 carries.
Worst team performance: Iowa State. No excuses to lose to Northern Iowa, an FCS team within state lines. Yes, Iowa State has a passing game still trying to feel itself out and a defense with a lot of inexperience on the front seven, but both the offense and defense lost the battle on line of scrimmage. You saw the results. I wasn’t a huge fan of Paul Rhoads’ postgame approach. He mostly credited Northern Iowa and talked about improving moving forward. He didn’t need to rant and rave and lose control, but I know ISU fans would have liked to have seen more emotion. Maybe he’s delivering it in private to his team, but they might need a jolt, too.
Best quote:Bill Snyder, Kansas State. Leave it to Snyder to add a little levity to a crushing loss for the reigning Big 12 champs. “Now will you believe me when I say we’re not very good?” he told reporters after the Wildcats were upset by FCS champion North Dakota State at home, 24-21.
Best photo: Yeah, nobody’s beating this absolute gem from the Tulsa World’s Kelly Hines. I was unaware that the winning coach of the Texas Kickoff gets a cowboy hat. I’ll never forget it now.
Best offensive play:Reginald Davis, WR, Texas Tech. Maybe you didn’t see the late score in Texas Tech’s 41-23 win over SMU, but Davis caught a short pass, broke a couple tackles, reversed field, made a couple others miss and got into the end zone for the 22-yard score, sending the Tech sideline into a frenzy. Heck of a debut for the redshirt freshman.
Best defensive play:Chris McAllister, DE, Baylor. The Bears’ playmaker on the front line managed to tip Wofford QB Michael Weimer’s pass to himself, haul it in and race 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter in their 69-3 win over Wofford.
Worst decision: Colton Chelf, ex-Oklahoma State receiver. Pokes QB Clint Chelf’s older brother most famously caught a near game-clinching pass in the Fiesta Bowl win over Andrew Luck and Stanford, but found himself in hot water on Saturday after criticizing OSU coach Mike Gundy on Twitter. “2 series lol,” he tweeted, including Gundy’s Twitter handle. “Your a chicken s—.” Less than an hour after posting the tweet, he deleted it, but the tweet caught attention from national sites and detracted from a good win from OSU. Blame playcalling or whoever you want, but Chelf wasn’t playing well on the opening two drives. Walsh took advantage of his opportunity. Gundy’s not in a position to worry about who’s playing how much in a game like that. He’s trying to win at any cost. And in any situation, grammatical errors never help “you’re” argument.