Big 12 superlatives: Week 3

Time to hand out some awards for deserving guys across the Big 12 in Week 3.

Best offensive performance: Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma.
In his first start, Bell was on the mark and proved his ability to throw the ball. His receivers helped him out by making plays after the catch, but Bell was throwing them into position to make those plays, too. He finished with 413 yards and four touchdowns, breaking Sam Bradford’s school record for passing yards in a debut start. I’m fascinated to see how Bell looks in two weeks at Notre Dame.

Best defensive performance: Ben Heeney, LB, Kansas.
Heeney was all over the place for the Jayhawks, even though they didn’t get the win. He took the loss hard, keeping his session with the media after the game short. He finished with a career-high 15 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two pass breakups.  Honorable mention: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU; Kip Daily, CB, Kansas State.

Best special teams performance: Josh Stewart, PR, Oklahoma State.
Stewart returned three punts for a total of 114 yards in the Cowboys’ 59-3 win over Lamar, highlighted by a 67-yard return for a touchdown early in the third quarter.

Worst play: DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech. Washington appeared to turn a deflected pass into a 49-yard, go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Red Raiders, but dropped the ball before crossing the goal line to negate the score. He was fortunate that Davis Webb found Bradley Marquez for a touchdown later on the drive to make up for the mistake and help Tech log a 20-10 win over TCU. Honorable mention: Malcolm Brown/Case McCoy fumble, Texas

Best play: Tony Pierson, RB/WR, Kansas. Pierson caught a short pass, shed a tackle and got outside to race for a 77-yard touchdown that tied the Jayhawks game against Rice early in the second quarter.

Most troubling trend: Making switches at QB. If you don’t have a settled situation at quarterback, odds are high the results on the field will suffer. That’s been true for the Big 12, which has already lost seven nonconference games (16-7) in three weeks. It suffered seven total losses in 2011 (27-3) and 2012 (26-4) combined. Five Big 12 teams started a different quarterback in Week 3 than it did in Week 1. That’s a lot of turnover in a short time.

Best team performance: Texas Tech. The Red Raiders earned a quality win in a hyped atmosphere over a ranked TCU team. The defense put together one of the best performances we’ve seen from Tech in a long time. It showcased speed and textbook tackling, and the offense made enough plays to get the win, surviving an injury to QB Baker Mayfield and a zero-reception day from the league’s receptions leader, Eric Ward. Well done, and Tech can play much, much better than it did on Thursday.

Worst team performance: Texas. The Longhorns defense didn’t show much improvement from its loss to BYU a week ago, and Texas was outscored 27-0 in the second half at home. Texas bounced back to take a 23-14 lead after going down 14-0 early, but the Longhorns are reeling with Kansas State coming to town next week. This is the second consecutive week Texas has taken home this award.

Worst gesture: Oklahoma State fans. You knew there would be some demonstration and blowback from OSU fans in the wake of an SI series last week alleging numerous improprieties within the program from 2001-2011. There’s nothing wrong with a witty T-shirt or two or waving fake money during the team’s walk to the stadium, when the series alleged some players were paid during the pregame tradition. But charging fans to stab an effigy of one of the authors? There are lines, and that’s way, way past it. Do better, OSU fans. That’s disgusting. The Oklahoma State journalism school even released a statement distancing itself from the incident.