Terrance Williams

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Baylor loses Seth Russell as No. 11 Oklahoma remains unbeaten in Big 12

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Anything that could have gone wrong for Baylor (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) on Saturday appeared to go wrong against No. 11 Oklahoma (8-2, 7-0 Big 12). Baylor running back Terrance Williams was knocked out of the game in the first half (he would eventually return though)and quarterback Seth Russell suffered a horrific injury to his left leg in the second half. Injuries aside, Oklahoma left little doubt which team was the best in the Big 12 with a 45-24 victory.

Joe Mixon (124 yards, 1 TD) and Samaje Perine (100 yards, 2 TDs) were dominant on the ground and Baker Mayfield thrived through the air with 300 passing yards and two touchdowns. Dede Westbrook was a big factor for the Sooners as well with two touchdown catches. On defense, linebacker Jordan Evans made some history by becoming the first Oklahoma player to record two sacks and two interceptions in the same game.

Russell left the game with a severe left leg injury. It was a pretty gruesome injury that should keep him out for the remainder of the season. I’ll just put it this way. His foot is not supposed to point that way. You know it was bad when Oklahoma defenders around him on the play were showing how in shock they were about the injury, waving for medics to come rushing out for assistance.

Defense, as you might suspect in a big 12 game, was pretty much optional. Both teams had over 500 yards of offense, but Baylor’s miscues (three turnovers) prevented them from keeping this one closer than it turned out. Two interceptions thrown by Baylor ended up leading to Oklahoma touchdowns. One of those interceptions came in the end zone, for what turned out to a be a pivotal 14-point swing.

With the win, Oklahoma remains in full control of the Big 12 race with two games still to play. The Sooners lead Oklahoma State and West Virginia by one game. It just so happens those are Oklahoma’s final two opponents, starting with next week’s game in Morgantown against West Virginia. West Virginia held on for a 24-20 road win at Texas shortly after Oklahoma wrapped up this win. Oklahoma has won eight straight games since starting the season 0-2 with losses to Houston and Ohio State.

Baylor has now lost three straight game sin Big 12 play and will hope to get back in the win column next week against Kansas State in Waco.

Mid-season Biletnikoff check: Who’s leading the pack?

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Last season, USC’s Marqise Lee won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s finest wide receiver, beating out quality players such as Terrance Williams of Baylor, Stedman Bailey of West Virginia, DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson, Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas and Austin Hill of Arizona.

With this year halfway over, we’ve got another fine group of receivers vying for the award. Here are the top five candidates for the Biletnikoff at the mid-season point:

1. Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State — If the Biletnikoff was handed out today, Cooks would probably run away with it. Through six games, the junior already has 63 catches for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s caught at least two touchdown passes in five of his outings this year. He’s on pace to challenge the NCAA record for most receiving yards in a season (2,060) set by Trevor Insley of Nevada in 1999. Can he keep it up? With the meat of OSU’s schedule approaching, it’s going to be tough. Barring a collapse on his part, though, he has to be considered the heavy favorite to win his school’s second Biletnikoff, with Mike Haas being the other in 2005.

2. Antwan Goodley, Jr., Baylor — After catching a combined 19 passes his first two seasons, Goodley has burst onto the scene this year, emerging as the main deep threat in Baylor’s explosive offense. Goodley has 26 catches for 679 yards and six touchdowns and is averaging an incredible 26 yards per reception. The junior leads the nation with five receptions of 60 yards or more and has two of 70 or more. With his combination of speed and strength, he’s looking like a potential high NFL draft pick next spring.

3. Mike Evans, So., Texas A&M — We all saw the way Evans dominated against No. 1 Alabama, catching seven passes for 279 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown run late in the game.  The 6-5 sophomore is Johnny Manziel’s No. 1 target, with 32 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns and a 23 yards-per-catch average so far.

4. Jared Abbredaris, Sr., Wisconsin — Abbredaris has an amazing knack for getting open and has become the heart and soul of the Badgers offense. His resume this year includes a 10-catch, 207-yard effort against Ohio State. On the season, he’s got 35 catches for 646 yards and five touchdowns.

5. Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado — Richardson has overcome a knee injury to become one of the best receivers in the country. He’s perhaps the lone bright spot on what is shaping up to be another dismal Colorado team. On the season, he has 35 catches for 660 yards and five touchdowns. He’s slowed down a bit after opening the year with two 200-yard receiving games.

Honorable mention: Jeremy Johnson, SMU; Tevin Reese, Baylor; Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Jaelen Strong, Arizona State; Odell Beckham, LSU.

CFT Predicts: the Big 12

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As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the Big 12. 

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SECBig TenPac-12

1. TCU (Last year: 7-6; lost to Michigan State in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl) 
What happened last season?
Thanks to injuries, dismissals and attrition of various varieties, the Horned Frogs tossed a lot of young players into their first Big 12 fire and still managed to win seven games. Included in the list of new faces was quarterback Trevone Boykin, who played out the final two months of the season while Casey Pachall dealt with substance abuse issues. Of all the success Gary Patterson‘s had in Fort Worth, 2012 may have been was his best coaching job, and a young defense buckled down in the final month of the season.

So why are they picked here?
Most of them youngins mentioned above are back. The offense should be fine no matter which quarterback, Pachall or Boykin, takes the field. And they’ll have options at their disposal too. Running back Waymon James averaged nearly 10 yards per carry in two games before going down with a season-ending knee injury. In that vein, TCU’s backfield had its fair share of injuries, but when healthy, it should flourish alongside a solid receiving unit.

And that defense? It should be the best in the conference with just about everybody coming back (minus linebacker and second-leading tackler Joel Hasley).

Anything else?
Some departures just before, and around the start of, preseason camp have put a dent in the offensive line and linebacker units. Defensive end Devonte Fields will miss some early-season action as well. But Patterson is well-respected around these parts and he’s shown as recently as a year ago that he can coach around injuries. Also, the Horned Frogs have some intriguing road games at Oklahoma (Oct. 5), Oklahoma State (Oct. 19) and Kansas State (Nov. 16) that should provide tough tests. Going to Lubbock in the early portion of the season (Sept. 12) and Ames in November (Nov. 9) aren’t always picnics, either.

2. Texas (last year: 9-4; beat Oregon State in Alamo Bowl)
What happened last season?
Texas experienced about as many ups and downs as a nine-win team could possibly go through in one season. The Longhorns got taken to the woodshed (again) by Oklahoma and still couldn’t find a way to beat Kansas State, but a come-from-behind win against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl cleansed the football palate just enough to make the offseason bearable. The offense, led by quarterback David Ash, was inconsistent and the defense exhibited too many breakdowns in fundamentals and tackling. 

So why are they picked here?
That’s a handsome question considering there wasn’t a lot praise being doled out in the 2012 recap. But the simple answer is Texas brings back among the most experienced group of starters not just in the Big 12, but in the country. There’s no denying the skill position talent on offense, where receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley should be complemented by the deepest backfield in the conference. If the defense can improve even a little — getting Jordan Hicks back should help — this team has the potential to be dangerous.

Anything else?
Yeah, about that Mack Brown. Two BCS championship appearances (and winning one) would normally eliminate Brown from being mentioned as a concern, but media members in Big 12 country didn’t seem to have a lot of confidence in him when they picked Texas to finish fourth in the conference this year. I’m a little more convinced Texas will ascend to the top, or near the top, of the Big 12, which should be wide open this year. But if Brown can’t make it happen this year, it’s hard to see him hanging around much longer.

(more…)

UCLA’s second-leading tackler will miss Holiday Bowl

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It’s the season for giving — as in teams giving opponents an advantage during bowl season.

UCLA’s gift to Baylor for the Holiday Bowl next week is safety Tevin McDonald, nicely-wrapped and ready to watch the game from Los Angeles. Per a release from the school, McDonald did not travel with the Bruins to San Diego for violating an unspecified team policy.

The Los Angeles Times reports that McDonald tested positive for marijuana.

McDonald was the team’s second-leading tackler and had nine pass break-ups. He also forced a fumble and recorded an interception this year.

That’s not particularly great news as Baylor is third in the nation in passing yards and fifth in scoring. Bears quarterback Nick Florence has thrown for over 4,000 yards and wide receiver Terrance Williams was a Biletnikoff finalist.

The Holiday Bowl will be on Dec. 27 at 9:45 p.m. ET.

Heisman Trophy winner Manziel leads AP All-American team

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Last month, the American Football Coaches’ Association selected its All-American team, which featured Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Tuesday, the Associated Press released its list of All-Americans. Alabama leads all teams with four first-team members (linemen Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, linebacker C.J. Mosley and cornerback Dee Milliner) and had six selections over the three teams. Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was selected as first team quarterback as one of two Aggies to make the first team.

Nine SEC players made the first team, more than any other. The Pac-12 was second with six first-team players and  o other conference had more than two.

Here’s how the first-team was voted. You can see all the teams HERE.

OFFENSE
QB – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB – Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB – Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
OL – Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OL – Taylor Lewan, Michigan
OL – Chance Warmack, Alabama
OL – Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
OL – Barrett Jones, Alabama
TE – Zach Ertz, Stanford
WR – Marqise Lee, USC
WR – Terrance Williams, Baylor
AP – Tavon Austin, West Virginia
PK – Cairo Santos, Tulane

DEFENSE
DE – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DE – Bjoern Werner, Florida State
DT – Star Lotulelei, Utah
DT – Will Sutton, Arizona State
LB – Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
LB – Jarvis Jones, Georgia
LB – C.J. Mosley, Alabama
CB – Dee Milliner, Alabama
CB – Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
S – Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
S – Matt Elam, Florida
P – Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech