For a day, Kansas football took center stage in Lawrence as the Jayhawks ended three years of Big 12 futility with their first conference win since Nov. 6, 2010.
Kansas had been in close games during the 0-27 stretch before, but the Jayhawks finally found a game they could close out against a wounded and lackluster West Virginia team.
James Sims led the way with 211 rushing yards, earning Athlon’s Big 12 offensive player of the week honors, but he wasn’t the only standout in key games this week.
Offensive numbers were huge this week in the league, but key defensive performances earned mention for Baylor and Oklahoma State.
Big 12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Offensive player of the week: James Sims, Kansas
For the first time in a long time, Kansas gets a tip in on the football side with an easy choice for Big 12 offensive player of the week. Sims rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries in the 31-19 win over West Virginia, a victory that ended the Jayhawks’ 27-game Big 12 losing streak. Powered by a 68-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Sims’ effort was the best rushing day by a Kansas player since 2001.
Defensive player of the week: K.J. Morton, Baylor
Last week, Baylor’s run defense was the key to the victory over Oklahoma. Against Texas Tech, a defensive back was the key defender. The dreadlocked Morton finished with a wild stat line of nine tackles, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, a sack and an interception. His athletic, leaping pick of Baker Mayfield on a corner blitz was one of the highlights of the game and a key turning point.
Freshman of the week: Shock Linwood, Baylor
Linwood stepped in last week for an injured Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin last week against Oklahoma, but against Texas Tech, he carried the load from the start. The redshirt freshman rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against a regressing Texas Tech run defense. Linwood has rushed for 100 yards in three consecutive games and has only 76 fewer rushing yards than Seastrunk.
Team of the week: Oklahoma State
The question last week was how did Stanford lose to Utah. The question this week is how did Oklahoma State lose to West Virginia. The Cowboys needed two months to round into form, but that loss on 30-21 in Morgantown robs the Big 12 of an undefeated team and an even juicier matchup this week against Baylor. In any event, Oklahoma State looked every bit the part of a Big 12 championship contender by taking care of Texas before halftime in Austin. Clint Chelf suddenly made the Texas defense look vulnerable against mobile quarterbacks again with 95 rushing yards, and the Oklahoma State D held the Longhorns to 4.5 yards per play.
Coordinator of the week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
The moving parts on Oklahoma State’s offense have been the key storyline for the Cowboys’ season, but the one constant has been the defense and its ability to force turnovers. Against Texas, Oklahoma State extended its streak of 18 consecutive games with a takeaway. The Cowboys’ three interceptions led Oklahoma State in the 38-13 win over Texas that kept the Pokes in Big 12 contention. Star cornerback Justin Gilbert was the star for Spencer’s D Saturday with two interceptions, including a 48-yard pick six.
W, Texas Tech 63-34
at Oklahoma State
W, at Texas 38-13
L, Oklahoma State 38-13
W, Iowa State 48-10
at Kansas State
W, TCU 33-31
L, Baylor 63-34
L, at Kansas State 33-31
L, at Kansas 31-19
W, West Virginia 31-19
at Iowa State
L, at Oklahoma 48-10