The best and worst of the Big 12: Week 12

We’ve got a lot to get to, so let’s hand out some awards for the best and worst of the week in the Big 12.

Best offensive performance: Levi Norwood, WR/PR, Baylor. Baylor needed a big play receiver to emerge with Tevin Reese out, and Norwood was that guy, while also writing “16” on his eye black to support Reese, who will miss the rest of the regular season with a dislocated wrist. Norwood caught seven passes for 156 yards and two scores, and returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown.

Second-best offensive performance: James Sims, RB, Kansas. I feel terrible not giving my player of the week to Sims, who tore up West Virginia’s front seven with 211 yards and three scores on just 22 carries, averaging almost 10 yards a touch. Most importantly, he helped KU get over the hump and end its 27-game losing streak in Big 12 play.

Best defensive performance: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State.
Gilbert was second on the team with nine tackles, but he made a game-changing play with by picking off Case McCoy and returning it 43 yards for a score to put OSU up 28-10 just before halftime. He added another interception in the second half and broke up another pass. His six interceptions lead the Big 12, and it’s a nice rebound for Gilbert after a disappointing 2012 season, when he didn’t intercept a single pass.

Biggest play: Jack Cantele, K, Kansas State. Cantele nailed a 41-yard, game-winning field goal to give K-State its fourth consecutive win and officially send the Wildcats to a bowl game. Jack Cantele’s 41-yards game-winner. I’m only sad that it erased an even better kick: TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom’s 56-yard go-ahead kick that curled inside the uprights with 2:13 left to play.  Props to Cantele for a nice celebration, too. When was the last time you saw a kicker pounding the turf?

Best play: Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech. Unbelievable body control and balance, combined with the focus to catch a one-handed touchdown pass when he was being interfered with. The degree of difficulty on this catch is off the charts. He even had to stay inbounds!

Worst play: TCU’s punt team. The Frogs got caught with two No. 2s on the field, Jason Verrett and Trevone Boykin, who was back returning the punt. It came on 4th-and-6, but Bill Snyder alerted officials, who flagged TCU for “illegal equipment.” I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before, but Daniel Sams converted a 4th-and-1 and K-State closed the drive with a go-ahead field goal. Props to the silver fox for that piece of greatness from the sidelines.
Best team performance: Oklahoma State. No Josh Stewart, no problem. If you go on the road and beat a team that’s 6-0 in Big 12 play by 25 points without your best player, you win this award. No questions asked. Wow-worthy stuff from Oklahoma State, who may prove to be a pretty formidable opponent next week for Baylor.

Worst team performance: West Virginia.
How did this team beat Oklahoma State? That was WVU’s only win this season against a bowl team, and the Mountaineers’ ugly loss to two-win Kansas marks the lowest point of Dana Holgorsen’s tenure in Morgantown. WVU didn’t just lose, it was manhandled by a team that’s won just one Big 12 game since its league opener in 2009. 

Best/worst quote: Barry Switzer, Oklahoma.
Switzer jumped the gun with a rather incendiary tweet on Friday, even if it proved ultimately correct. Ouch. Switzer later sent out a tweet stating his regret, but the damage was done.

Best karma: Switzer. The former Oklahoma coach reportedly apologized to some Iowa State fans with OU trailing 10-3 in the first quarter. Shortly after, Jalen Saunders returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown to kick off 45 consecutive points for the Sooners in their 48-10 blowout win over Iowa State.

Best self-deprecation: Well played, Kansas fans. Well played.

Best postgame celebration: Kansas fans. We haven’t seen the tradition come alive in quite awhile, but it was a fantastic reminder of the traditions that make college football special. KU fans took down the goal posts at Memorial Stadium and, per tradition, dumped them in Potter Lake outside the stadium. Awesome.

Best hit: Brian Orr, Oklahoma State trooper.
One of Bob Stoops’ gameday bodyguards laid the boom on Saturday’s idiot on the field in Norman. Best hit of the day? “I’m surprised he didn’t get flagged for targeting,” Stoops told reporters after the game.

Best rendition of the Gundy: Mike Gundy.
No one does it better. Take it away, Mike.

Worst chest paint: Texas fans. Oh, Longhorns. I don’t even know what to say about this. Symbolic of the day, I suppose.