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September 27, 2007

Texas knows it can't look past K-State

» MORE WEEK 5 BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Buchanan's Big 12 picks
Saturday's Games:
Texas A&M 27, Baylor 20
Oklahoma 38, Colorado 13
Nebraska 31, Iowa State 24
Texas 28, Kansas State 24
Oklahoma State 52, Sam Houston State 20
Texas Tech 48, Northwestern State (La.) 14
Overview: The Big 12 schedule is highlighted by a rematch and a mismatch that will set up an annual grudge match. Texas plays host to Kansas State, who last season upset the Longhorns. Texas could have clinched the Big 12 South championship with a victory. Oklahoma travels to Colorado for a game that features the Sooners' defense, which ranks fourth against the run. The Buffaloes average 123.3 rushing yards per game, but that includes the 359 yards they accumulated against lowly Miami University last week. The Longhorns and Sooners could be vulnerable if they're looking ahead to next week's Red River Rivalry.

Best matchup: Kansas State-Texas. Last season Texas appeared to be cruising to the South Division title until going to Manhattan, Kan., for what was expected to be an easy victory. Instead, K-State's Josh Freeman threw for 269 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-42 upset. Kansas State (2-1), which has scored 95 points in its two previous games and is coming off an open week, goes to Austin to face the unbeaten but unimpressive Longhorns. Freeman has thrown for 559 yards in the past two games and will test the Longhorns' defense. Texas' defense has been inconsistent at best, and allowed UCF to score 32 points two weeks ago. Texas tailback Jamaal Charles has rushed for 471 yards and has exceeded 100 yards in three of four games. But running doesn't figure to be easy against Kansas State, which ranks ninth nationally in rush defense.

The pressure is on: Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione. It seems the pressure is really never off Franchione, who led the Aggies to nine victories a year ago but still is getting blasted by fans in College Station. Last week's disappointing 34-17 nationally televised loss at Miami fanned the flames of discontent. A loss to Baylor this weekend would cause a raging inferno. The Bears, who haven't managed a winning season in 11 years, recently have given the Aggies a hard time. Baylor won in 2004, forced overtime in 2005 and played A&M close in 2006. Losing to Miami on the road may be tolerable to the Aggies, but losing to Baylor in College Station may turn Franchione's staunchest supporters against him..

Who's hot: Colorado linebacker Jordan Dizon accumulated 55 tackles in nonconference play. He leads the nation in total tackles and tackles per game. … Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller has thrown for 827 yards and five touchdowns in the past two games. He set a school record with 438 passing yards in last week's 41-40 victory over Ball State. … Baylor quarterback Blake Szymanski already has thrown 14 touchdowns passes; the school record is 19. … Kansas' defense has forced nine turnovers in the past two weeks.

Who's not: Oklahoma State already has allowed 16 touchdowns. The Cowboys are giving up 360.8 passing yards per game. … Missouri is 4-0, but the Tigers have allowed a league-high 93 first downs to opponents. … Iowa State is 1-3 and has a minus-7 turnover margin.

Numbers game: Oklahoma has scored at least 50 points in all four games. The last time the Sooners accomplished that in four consecutive games was in 2003 – when they played for the national championship. Oklahoma has never scored 50 points in five consecutive games. … After rushing for a combined 5 yards on 52 attempts in two previous games against Arizona State and Florida State, Colorado rolled up 359 rushing yards against Miami University. It was the first time Colorado topped 300 rushing yards since gaining 331 against Iowa State on Nov. 16, 2002. … Texas' Charles has already lost three fumbles, all in the past two games. … Baylor's defense has posted 12 sacks through the first four games, which is one more than the Bears managed all of last season. … Baylor's 229 rushing yards in last week's victory over Buffalo was its highest single-game total since 2002. … Iowa State has just one play from scrimmage that has covered 30 yards. … Under coach Mack Brown, Texas is 8-1 in the game before facing Oklahoma. The only loss was to Kansas State 35-17 in 1999..

Keep your eye on: Kansas State punt return specialist Deon Murphy ranks sixth nationally with a 20.1 average per return and returned one 80 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago. He has said his goal was to score this week against Texas, which has not allowed a punt return for a touchdown in 101 games. The last time the Longhorns allowed one was in 1999 to David Allen of Kansas State. The Longhorns' punt-coverage unit allows an average of 10.5 yards per return.

They said it: " We're not worried about the fans. They can't play for us. They're not on the field. We're the ones putting in the hard work. If they don't like it, they don't have to come out and watch the games."
- Nebraska linebacker Steve Octavien, who later offered an apology

"I don't dislike Jenni. Jenni and I have a good relationship. Her and I joke about things. Obviously, I didn't feel real comfortable with that article. I'm not mad at her and I don't dislike her. I don't think she's a bad person – not that I'm somebody to judge."
- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on Daily Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson, whom he vehemently criticized for a column she wrote about Cowboys quarterback Bobby Reid

" My problem is, I thought Aggies took care of other Aggies. Now that I've said that, I'll have a car bomb attached to my truck."
- Texas A&M guard Kirk Elder on the fans' reaction to a 34-17 loss to Miami

BIG 12 STANDINGS
NORTH DIVISION
TeamConf.All
Kansas0-04-0
Missouri0-04-0
Nebraska0-03-1
Kansas State0-02-1
Colorado0-02-2
Iowa State0-01-3
SOUTH DIVISION
TeamConf.All
Oklahoma State1-02-2
Oklahoma0-04-0
Texas0-04-0
Texas A&M0-03-1
Baylor0-03-1
Texas Tech0-13-1
Injury update: Oklahoma DE John Williams tore his left Achilles tendon last Friday night against Tulsa and will miss the rest of the season. It's the second time he has lost a season to injury; he tore his right ACL in the 2005 season-opener. … Colorado TE Tyson DeVree and WR Scotty McKnight (concussions) are day-to-day. TE Riar Greer (knee) is questionable. …Nebraska LB Lance Brandenburg (high ankle sprain) and CB Zackary Bowman (pulled hamstring) are probable. … Baylor LB Antonio Jones (ankle) and WR Brad Taylor (knee) are questionable. … Iowa State LB Adam Carper (knee) is out. … Kansas State LB Antwon Moore (knee) is out. … Texas DE Eddie Jones (shoulder) is doubtful. LB Sergio Kindle (knee) and CB Brandon Foster (quadriceps) are questionable. … Texas Tech LB Julius Howard (knee) is out.

Etc.: Oklahoma State on Saturday will face former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar, who now plays at Division I-AA Sam Houston State. The only time Bomar previously faced the Cowboys, he passed for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-14 win in 2005. ... Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib set a school record with a 100-yard interception return last week against Florida International. The previous record was a 96-yard return by John Hadl in 1959. … Jayhawks backup quarterback Kerry Meier played a few plays at receiver last week. … Baylor safety Jordan Lake forced two fumbles and had two interceptions against Buffalo. … Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer increased his career passing yards total to 8,159 and moved past Oklahoma's Jason White (7,922) into fourth place on the Big 12 career list. This week, he could pass Texas' Major Applewhite (8,353 yards). … In two drives in the third and fourth quarters in last week's victory over Rice, Texas' offensive unit included 11 freshmen (seven true, four redshirts). One possession resulted in an 80-yard touchdown drive and the other covered 59 yards and led to a field goal..

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