Tag:E.J. Gaines
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:57 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 2:58 pm
 

CBSSports.com 2011 All-Big 12 Team

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The season has wrapped, the bowl games are set and it's time to hand out some awards. As part ofCBSSports.com's look at the regular season, here is the best of the Big 12 conference.

Awards

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Robert Griffin, quarterback, Baylor

When it comes to choosing only one person to be the Offensive Player of the Year in a conference that features so many potent offenses as the Big 12, it's not easy. Or at least, it shouldn't be. Still, despite all the amazing offensive players in the Big 12 this season, the choice here was pretty clear for me. Robert Griffin set an NCAA record with his 192.3 efficiency rating this season, all while throwing for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns compared to only 6 interceptions. No one player was more important to his team this season than Griffin was, and he'll likely be adding a Heisman Trophy to his collection soon enough.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Frank Alexander, defensive line, Oklahoma

There were a few other players I considered for this like Iowa State's A.J. Klein and Texas A&M's Sean Porter, but in the end I went with Alexander. He was a force on the defensive line for one of the conference's best defenses all season long. Alexander finished the season leading the Big 12 in tackles for loss with 18, and was tied with Porter for most sacks in the conference with 8.5.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Quandre Diggs, defensive back, Texas

This was between Diggs and Kansas State's Tyler Lockett for me, but I went with Diggs since Lockett missed the final three weeks of the season. I also went with Diggs because he deserves the honor, picking off 3 passes and breaking up another 13 while making 46 tackles for the Longhorns in 2011.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Bill Snyder, Kansas State

This was extremely tough, as I mulled between Snyder, Mike Gundy and Art Briles for a while. In the end I went with Snyder because I'm still amazed by what he's now done twice in Manhattan. I had a feeling before the season began that Kansas State would be better than we thought, but I didn't see a 10-2 season and a near berth in a BCS bowl being possible. So because of that I have to give the nod to Snyder.

All-Big 12 Offense

QUARTERBACK

Robert Griffin, Baylor

He was my offensive player of the year, so he's my selection for quarterback here as well. Though I'd be remiss if I didn't give a tip of my non-existent cap to Brandon Weeden and Collin Klein.

RUNNING BACKS

Terrance Ganaway, Baylor and Henry Josey, Missouri

When it comes to the Baylor offense, Griffin and the passing game get a lot of credit, but Ganaway is what helps make that passing attack even more dangerous. When you have a running back who rushes for a Big 12-best 1,347 yards and 16 touchdowns, defenses can't just drop back into coverage and take away your passing game. Ganaway's presence gives Baylor its balance. As for Henry Josey, he finished the season averaging more yards per game than any other Big 12 running back and would have led the conference in rushing yards if not for a knee injury against Texas that cost him the last few weeks of the season. Still, 1,168 yards in 10 games and over 8 yards a carry will get you here injury or not.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kendall Wright, Baylor and Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

Too many deserving receivers to choose from, but I went with Wright and Blackmon. Somebody had to be on the receiving end of all those Robert Griffin passes, and Wright was the most popular target. He led the conference with 1,572 receiving yards and had 13 touchdowns. Only one receiver finished the year with more receptions and touchdowns than Wright, and that was Oklahoma State's Blackmon. He came into the season with enormous expectations considering what he did in 2010, and though he didn't match those numbers, 113 receptions for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns is one hell of a letdown. Also, honorable mention to Ryan Broyles who had his senior season cut short and Texas A&M's Ryan Swope.

TIGHT END

Michael Egnew, Missouri

This wasn't that hard of a decision since Egnew led all Big 12 tight ends in receptions (47), yards (484), and was tied in touchdowns (3). Egnew was a reliable target for James Franklin all season.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Grant Garner, Oklahoma State; Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State; Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma, Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State, Jeremiah Hatch, Kansas

No matter what kind of scheme you use, there are no great offenses without great offensive lines, which means the Big 12 had plenty to choose from. Trying to pare a long list down to five was not easy, but these are the guys who stood out to me the most all season.

All-Big 12 Defense

DEFENSIVE LINE

Frank Alexander, Oklahoma; Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma; Ray Kibble, Kansas State; Alex Okafor, Texas

If you're an offensive lineman and you look across the line of scrimmage to see these four men in your face, you know you are going to be in for a long day. Whether getting to the quarterback or stuffing the run, all four of these lineman had their names called quite often this season.

LINEBACKERS

Arthur Brown, Kansas State; A.J. Klein, Iowa State; Sean Porter, Texas A&M

While Porter was tied for the Big 12 lead with 8.5 sacks, Klein was a tackling machine for the Cyclones with 101 tackles and also proved useful in coverage. Then there's Arthur Brown who, in my opinion, may be the best all-around linebacker in the conference. Whether stopping the run, in pass coverage, or just being wherever he needs to be to make a big play. Kansas' Steven Johnson and Texas' Emmanuel Acho also deserve a mention here.

SECONDARY

Nigel Malone, Kansas State; Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma; Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State, E.J. Gaines, Missouri

If you're a cornerback or a safety at a Big 12 school, you are going to be tested week in and week out. There's no way around it, and some plays you're going to get beat, as it happens to everybody. Still, more often than not, these were the four defensive backs whom I saw making the plays their defenses needed them to make this season.

SPECIALISTS

PK Randy Bullock, Texas A&M; P Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State; Returner Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

I could have gone with Quinn Sharp for both punter and placekicker as he performed both duties for Oklahoma State this season, and performed extremely well in both jobs. I decided to go with Bullock however as he was called on more often than Sharp to put points on the board and did so at the same rate. Then there's Tyler Lockett who was one of the more exciting returners in the conference this season, with two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. He just slightly edged out Texas' Fozzy Whittaker.
Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 3:51 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Oklahoma State 45 Missouri 24

Posted by Tom Fornelli

OKLAHOMA STATE WON. Yet another Big 12 unbeaten remained that way on Saturday, as Oklahoma State went on the road against Missouri and emerged with a 21-point victory. Oklahoma State used the same formula it had been all season, combining a very powerful offense with a defense that has a knack for takeaways. Brandon Weeden finished the day with 338 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, but he was not alone, as Joseph Randle paced the Oklahoma State rushing attack with 138 yards rushing and 4 total touchdowns on the day. The Cowboys offense finished with 533 yards of total offense on the day.

WHY OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The key factor in this game was turnovers. The Oklahoma State defense came into this contest leading the Big 12 conference with 20 takeaways on the season and it picked up 4 more thanks to Missouri quarterback James Franklin on Saturday. Three of the turnovers came at key points in the game as well and helped kill any momentum the Tigers had been building as they tried to get back into the game.

WHEN OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The back-breaking turnover came late in the third quarter. Missouri corner E.J. Gaines had intercepted a Brandon Weeden pass in the end zone and returned it to midfield to keep Missouri alive while trailing 31-17. A few plays later Missouri was inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line when James Franklin fumbled while faking a hand off to Henry Josey. Oklahoma State jumped on the ball and a few plays later Joseph Randle broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run that sucked the life out of Faurot Field.

WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The computers used in the BCS rankings have been big fans of Oklahoma State all season, and I don't think that will change much following this win. The Cowboys may see a slight bump in their BCS ranking this week, but most importantly, they're still undefeated and control their own championship destiny for the rest of the season.

WHAT MISSOURI LOST. There's not much room for comfort left for the Tigers if they want to go bowling this year. Mizzou is 3-4 following this loss which means that it'll have to go 3-2 in its final 5 games to reach 6 wins. With road games against Texas A&M and Baylor, along with a date against Texas and a tough Texas Tech team still on the schedule, those three wins aren't going to come easily.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 3:37 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Missouri 17 Miami (OH) 6

Posted by Tom Fornelli

MISSOURI WON. It wasn't pretty, and it was a lot closer than most Missouri fans were expecting, but the Tigers got off to a 1-0 start thanks to a 17-6 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday morning in Columbia. All eyes were on quarterback James Franklin as he made his first start, and it was an uneven performance to say the least, as Miller finished the game with 129 yards passing, 1 touchdown and an interception. He also picked up 72 yards and a score with his legs.

WHY MISSOURI WON. Missouri's offense did what it could to keep the Redhawks in the game, but the defense made sure to keep the Redhawks off the board. It wasn't a dominant performance by the Missouri defense, but we were reminded why this team only gave up 15 points a game last season. Yes, Miami had some nice drives, but when the Mizzou defense needed a stop, it made one. In fact, Miami's only points came after a Franklin interception gave the Redhawks the ball at the Missouri 14.

WHEN MISSOURI WON. When James Franklin hit Marcus Lucas for a 10-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Missouri a 17-6 lead, it was over. There was just no reason to believe that the Redhawks could manage 11 points in one guarter when it barely managed to get 6 through the first three.

WHAT MISSOURI WON. A game that it should have. I'm not sure how confident Missouri can be in its passing offense going into next week's game against Arizona State on the road. Franklin may have completed 65% of his passes but the overwhelming majority of his 17 completions came on screens and short passes. Any attempt more than 7 yards looked incredibly shaky and the Tigers will face a better defense next week.

WHY MIAMI (OH) LOST. The Redhawks shot themselves in the foot a few times too many. A nice drive early in the game resulted in a missed field goal, and then the team's best drive of the game ended when Zac Dysert was picked off by E.J. Gaines at the goal line. While the defense can be happy with its performance, a team like Miami just can't afford to leave that many points on the board against an opponent like Missouri.

WHAT MIAMI (OH) LOST. Not much, honestly. The Redhawks weren't expected to win this game anyway, and they might have gained some respect keeping it as close as they did.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com