Let’s hand out a few awards for Week 11 in the Big 12.
Best offensive player: Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor. No Lache Seastrunk? No Glasco Martin? No problem for fellow All-Name teamer Shock Linwood. His first meaningful action this season came in Baylor’s biggest game yet, and he proved he was ready. Linwood helped keep Oklahoma at an arm’s length with 182 yards on 23 carries. The Sooners ran just 69 plays, an Linwood is a big reason why. His effort was enormously valuable.
Best defensive player: Steve Edmond, LB, Texas. On the final two plays of Texas’ 47-40 overtime win at West Virginia, Edmond made a play on a pass intended for a player other than the man he was supposed to cover. He tipped a ball on third down, and on fourth down, sealed the win with an interception. Those were smart, difficult, plays and he finished with a team-high 12 stops and half a tackle for loss with a pair of quarterback hurries. Honorable mention: Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State.
Best performance in relief (Non-Shock Linwood division): Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas. Seeing Johnathan Gray leave with a non-contact injury that will keep him out the rest of the year was deflating, but Brown stepped up with a career-high 28 carries and helped keep Texas’ offense moving. He finished with 89 yards and a score.
Toughest player: Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State. Zimmerman had to leave the game twice with a bum shoulder (trainers stripped his pads at least once), but helped K-State tame Texas Tech and helped seal the game with a 43-yard pick six in the fourth quarter.
Best team performance: Baylor. The defense showed up to play, but I can’t stop being amazed at the offense getting a subpar game from its quarterback, losing its top receiver early and its top two running backs. … and scoring 41 points. This award is mostly because of that defense’s performance, but this team truly is unbeatable if the offense is clicking.
Best offensive play: DeVondrick Nealy, KR/RB, Iowa State. Nealy bobbled the ball to start his 98-yard touchdown return to tie the game on the second half’s opening kick. He read his blocks perfectly and broke a couple of solid efforts at bringing him down. Who doesn’t love to see crowd noise make the camera shake at the end of a play, too.
Honorable mention: West Virginia WR Mario Alford’s first career touchdown, a 72-yard catch-and-run that gave WVU a 40-37 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Best defensive play: Edmond. We mentioned it earlier, but the back-to-back plays in the end zone won the game for the Longhorns. You can’t really single out either of them. Honorable mention: Zimmerman’s interception for a touchdown.
Best quote: Edmond. He told the Longhorn Network after the game that he would have thrown the ball into the stands, but he was too tired. “”I felt like I just won the lottery, like I was the richest man on the Earth,” he said.
Worst call: TCU/Iowa State on Brandon Carter catch. Officials ruled that Carter was forced out of bounds and thus, was still eligible to catch a 33-yard bomb from Casey Pachall. Iowa State CB Nigel Tribune had his hand on Carter, but the Frogs’ receiver was more than willing to go onto the white paint on the sideline. Additionally, it looked like the ground jostled the ball loose when he landed. For both reasons, I can’t believe officials ruled it a catch.
Best fashion statement: Baylor. The Bears led the way on Thursday’s #EveryoneInBlack theme, but man, the all-black uniforms with the matte black helmets were perfection. When will we see the chrome domes again? The Bears are wearing 1950 throwbacks against Texas to celebrate the first year of the stadium, but what about this weekend or the trip to Stillwater? Perhaps the bowl game?
Best fashion deception: West Virginia. The Mountaineers warmed up in yellow helmets, but returned to the field for the game in these beauties. They’re a tribute to WVU’s old helmet before the flying “WV” logo debuted. Awesome. Also, I’m told that helmet switch is illegal in the NFL. Who knew?
Worst team performance: Texas Tech. The Red Raiders didn’t have Dartwan Bush and Terrance Bullitt could only play with a bulky cast on his and looked understandably timid, but the defense got absolutely manhandled by Kansas State’s offensive line. John Hubert wasn’t touched on his 63-yard touchdown to kick off the day’s scoring, and it didn’t get any better. When K-State throws just 11 passes (completing seven) and rushes for 291 yards, you don’t give yourself any chance to win.
Worst play: Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor. I love Dixon’s effort and talent, but how can you not laugh at this? Baylor’s early goal-line stand is even more incredible when you look closely at Dixon’s location during the play. Baylor made the stop with 10 players! I’d love to read a transcript of Phil Bennett’s comments after the play. It’s easy to laugh at when the game on Thursday went like it did for Baylor.