BY BROCK MURPHY
BIG 12 INSIDER
1) Nebraska: Another 70-point game for Nebraska. Fortunately, the ‘Huskers were on the correct side of this scoreboard. Two weeks ago, Nebraska gave up 76 points to Kansas – the most allowed in school history. On the wings of that debacle, a five-game losing-streak and virtual certainty that a coaching change will meet the team at the end of the year, few outside of Lincoln expected the Big Red to rebound from the KU humiliation and honor its color-based nickname on Saturday while hosting Kansas State. Yet, a diabolically efficient performance by Joe Ganz (Sam Keller’s backup) helped return pride to the entire state by leading Nebraska to a 73-31 win over the Wildcats. Just how good was Ganz? He completed 75 percent of his 40 passes (30 completions) for 510 yds (17 ypc) and seven touchdowns without throwing a single pick. Receivers Frantz Hardy and Todd Peterson were on the receiving end of five of the Ganz’s scoring tosses. All three of Hardy’s receptions (for 83 yds) were touchdowns while two of Peterson’s four catches (for 85 yds) stopped in the endzone. Nebraska’s 702 yards of total offense was astounding but it is unlikely to save Coach Bill Callahan’s job.
2) Kansas took to Stillwater last Saturday to protect its #4-ranking and in pursuit of a sweep of its Southern Division opponents. Mission accomplished. Playing mistake-free football, the Jayhawks relied on Todd Reesing, who went 27 of 40 (68percent) for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns as well as big Brandon McAnderson (6-0, 235; Sr), who pounded-out 142 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Of course, KU could not have pulled out the win without a solid game from its defense, which had more than its handful with the Cowboys’ stable of athletes on offense. Last year, Adarius Bowman torched the defense with 13 catches, 300 yards and four scores. This year, All-American CB Aqib Talib of Kansas had improved and experienced talent to help him in the backfield and, together, the unit held Bowman to 22 yards on four receptions before leaving the game after Talib gave him a hard hit on the knee while stoning a quick-screen for a loss. Kansas rose to #3 in the BCS standings this week but has continued to rank one spot below Oklahoma in the AP Rankings (OU, 3rd; KU, 4th).
3) Missouri wore its #6 ranking well Saturday at home with a 40-26 win over the visiting Aggies of Texas A&M. Having completed more than 3/4th’s of his passes (27 of 35) for 352 yards and three scores (No INTs), Chase Daniel continued his outstanding season and has demanded mention in the same sentence as that trophy with the leather-helmeted guy. Tiger Tony Temple provided offensive balance with 141 yards on the ground and a score. The Tigers’ early lead influenced A&M quarterback Stephen McGee to turn to the air… where he faired pretty well, actually. McGee completed 64 yards of his passes (18 of 28) for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Efficient, but not productive enough to keep up with the insanely dangerous Mizzou offense. The Tigers’ entered the game 25th in the nation in rushing defense which created an interesting match-up against the Aggies’ 11th-ranked ground game. Tigers won – holding Michael Goodson, Jovorskie Lane and McGee to a combined 39 carries for 133 yards and only one TD.
4) Colorado’s potential for schizophrenia is evidently boundless. The same team which dropped then-#3 Oklahoma and Texas Tech, gave Iowa State only its third-win of this, Head Coach Gene Chizik’s inaugural season. What a curious ride for the Cyclones. With losses posted against Kent State and Northern Iowa, their three wins were against Iowa (15-13), last weekend’s win against Kansas State (31-20) and, now, Colorado. Much of ISU’s success should be offered to Alexander Robinson (5-10, 181), who saw his first feature assignment three weeks ago against Mizzou (21-149, 1 TD) and followed it with a two-touchdown effort last weekend against Kansas State. Against Colorado? Robinson racked up 127 yards and two scores. With pressure taken off of the passing game, the Cyclones’ outstanding receiver, Todd Blythe, was able to draw blood, too (4 rec., 124 yds, 2 TDs).
5) Kansas State has endured an up and down 5-5 season in 2007. With impressive wins over Texas (41-21) and Colorado (47-10), they have now dropped two-in-a-row, including surrendering Iowa State’s first conference win and receiving last weekend’s 42-point drubbing by Nebraska (73-31). The Wildcats have struggled containing opponents’ passing games (93rd; 251 ypg) and could be more productive on the ground (86th; 132 ypg). However, their passing game has flourished (16th; 291 ypg) this season. The problem is that Jordy Nelson is a senior who will take 46 percent of KSU’s passing yards and nine of its 17 touchdown catches with him when he graduates.
6) Colorado, which earned only two wins last season, hoped to become bowl-eligible this past weekend. As pointed out above, Iowa State ruined that plan. Now, the Buffs must play for that honor against their arch-enemy, Nebraska, the Friday after Thanksgiving. CU ranks 99th in both turnover margin and passing-efficiency (55%, 15 INT’s, 17 TD’s). Of course, as much as Colorado would like to improve on the passing stats, the fact is they are a marked improvement over last year’s numbers (47%, 8 INT’s and 7 TD’s). Colorado managed no more than 1,422 passing yards last season. With one game left to play in 2007, sophomore Cody Hawkins has already thrown more than 1,000 yards further.
Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations