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September 20, 2004

Freshman and offense highlight Big 12 in Week 3

Big 12 Photo Feature

The Big 12 delivered in Week 3 as nine of 10 teams came away with victories. The conference averaged 41.6 points in last week's games (up from 28.92 in Week 2) with three teams breaking the 50-point barrier; Texas Tech (70), Oklahoma State (59), Colorado (52). Nebraska bounced back with a big road win at Pitt. Missouri's defense put Troy in the past to get the shutout against Ball State at home and Texas A&M took down the Big 12's lone ranked opponent, Clemson, in College Station. The wins helped propel Oklahoma State into the top 25 in both polls, giving the Big 12 a total of three ranked teams (No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 5 Texas).

He's Baaaack: After getting just 37 yards on the ground during the 45-21 loss to Fresno State, Darren Sproles got back on track in a big way Saturday. Sproles set a Kansas State record with 292 yards rushing in 40-20 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette, breaking his old mark of 273 yards set last year against Missouri. The explosion dropped the Ragin' Cajuns from 106th in the nation against the run to 113th (292.67 per game).

Scarlet Letters: Give credit to the Nebraska defense. Its rushing defense ranks No. 1 in the nation and the Cornhuskers rank No. 6 in overall defense. Throw in a Big 12 leading 10 takeaways (tied with Oklahoma State) and all should be rosy in Lincoln right? Well, things are getting better. Saturday's 24-17 victory at Pittsburgh was more than just a big road win. For the first time all season, Nebraska held the edge in turnovers giving away one and taking four from Pitt. That's hard to imagine when you're averaging more than three takeaways a game yourself. If the Husker offense has a turnover relapse in two weeks against Kansas, the Blackshirts may require the offense to wear a big red "T" on its jersey when Nebraska heads to Lubbock on October 9.

Freshmen Sensations: Each week veterans like Sproles, Jason White, Brad Smith continue to see their press clippings shrink little by little. The trio won't become names of the past any time soon, but with freshmen like Adrian Peterson making early impacts, the media mentions are going more and more to a talented crop of fresh faces.

In games this week freshmen played a role in helping their team to victory. Oklahoma's Peterson rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon, making him the first Sooner to rush for 100 or more yards in his first three games since sophomore wishbone quarterback Steve Davis in 1973.

Texas Tech wide receiver/return specialist Danny Amendola was the catalyst in the Red Raiders come-from-behind 70-35 crushing of TCU. Trailing 21-7, Amendola received a punt and zigzagged his way down to the TCU 3-yard line reminding, Tech fans of former great Wes Walker. The return led to a Tech touchdown despite a celebration penalty. Amendola followed with a 52-yarder early in the third quarter, and the offense took over from there.

In a big win for the Aggies, freshman cornerback Erik Mayes helped Texas A&M pull away recording 10 tackles, one interception, one pass breakup and half a sack. The swift Mayes also helped on special teams with a 49-yard punt return.

The Race to 1,000-1,000
Name Passing Yards Rushing Yards
Reggie McNeal
686
257
Brad Smith
670
182
Vince Young
303
105
Big 12 Rushing Leaders
Name Rushing Yards per Game
Vernand Morency
187.0
Cedric Benson
184.5
Darren Sproles
183.3
Big 12 Reception Leaders
Name Receptions per Game
Jarrett Hicks
8.33
Mark Clayton
6.00
Matt Herian
5.67
Big 12 Scoring Leaders
Name Total Points
Damien Nash
36
Adrian Peterson
30
Todd Blythe
30
Big 12 Sack Leaders
Name Total Sacks
Byron Jones
3
Alex Ligon
3
C.J. Mosley
3

Iowa State freshman wide receiver Todd Blythe caught four passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns in Iowa State's 48-41 win over Northern Illinois. His 4-yard touchdown reception with 5:13 remaining put the Cyclones ahead for good. The 6-foot-5 Blythe has caught a touchdown pass in each of his first three college games.

These are just a few highlights from a solid group of young players making waves across the conference.

Quick Hitters: Oklahoma State improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1997 ... The Cowboys have not committed a turnover in three games this season and four games overall including last seasonís Cotton Bowl ... Texas A&M's 27-6 win over No. 25 Clemson was its first win over a ranked opponent since the Aggies' 30-26 upset of No. 1 Oklahoma in 2002 ... Texas Tech picked up its biggest come-from-behind win in school history Saturday as the Red Raiders rebounded from a 21-point deficit to defeat TCU 70-35 ... Oklahoma wide receiver Mark Clayton now has 173 catches for 2,652 yards and 25 touchdowns in his Sooner career -- all career school records ... Iowa State and Northern Illinois' combined 89 points is the most combined points ever in a Cyclones' non-conference game (previous was 87 twice, most recently Sept. 23, 1995, in a 57-30 Iowa State victory over UNLV) ... K-State has topped the 200-yard rushing mark in 17 of its last 23 games.

Quote of the Week: "I couldn't see them. They were on the Oklahoma sideline. I thought they were called by the Oklahoma coaching staff." - Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti on a few penalties called during Oregon's loss at Oklahoma.

Board Bytes - The best of the best from Rivals.com Big 12 message boards from Week 3 action.

"I love Sonny 'Sky Captain' Cumbie and the Bowl of Tomorrow! Here's a guy who walked on, paid his own way, red-shirted since Hector was as pup, rode pine forever, finally gets to start as a 5th year senior, goes 1-1 in his first two games, then drops 70 in three quarters in his first home start ever." - RaiderRolf 13 on RedRaiderSports.com.

"I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT! Arizona State is running up the score on Iowa. A 60-yard pass completion deep into Iowa territory late in the game, already up 37-0." - AlanAldaClone comments on the Arizona State win over Iowa on CycloneReport.com.

"I asked it last week and I ask it again; So when does AD (Adrian Peterson) start? At the game again with my girlfriend passing out next to me I saw more clearly that AD juked, dragged, sidestepped and blocked his way into the starting spot..." - RedemptionSooner on SoonerScoop.com.



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