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September 30, 2004
Big 12 features a full slate of conference games
Texas Tech (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 2 Oklahoma (3-0)
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. CDT, Fox Sports Net
The Daily Line: Oklahoma -28
Texas Tech player to watch: Everyone is aware of the Raiders' high-powered passing attack, but Tech is at its best when it gets production on the ground from junior tailback Taurean Henderson. He had 169 yards in last week's 31-30 win over Kansas and has six rushing touchdowns this season.
Oklahoma player to watch: Quarterback Jason White has been quiet (for him, anyway) this season with 708 yards and six touchdowns through the air in three lopsided wins. But he torched the Raiders last season for 394 yards and four scores in a 56-25 victory.
The inside scoop: Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie leads the nation in passing with more than 1,700 yards in just four games. He's also thrown 11 touchdowns passes and averages nearly 60 attempts per game. Meanwhile, pass defense has been the Achilles' heel for the Oklahoma defense this season. The Sooners allow opposing quarterbacks to complete 64 percent of their passes for an average of 207 yards per game. They also have yet to record an interception. Last season, in this matchup, OU picked off five Texas Tech passes and held the Raiders to a season-low 230 yards through the air. Look for Oklahoma to feature standout freshman running back Adrian Peterson, who's averaging 133 yards per game, in an effort to keep the Red Raiders' offense on the sideline.
Texas Tech could stay close if ... it gets balance on offense, slows down Peterson and Cumbie throws no interceptions.
Oklahoma will win because it has superior talent and too much speed to be victimized by Tech's spread formations.
Notes: Oklahoma has won nine of the 11 previous meetings, including the last four The Sooners have won 19 of their last 20 games against teams from Texas Tech receiver Jarrett Hicks leads the nation with 161 receiving yards per game.
The pick: Oklahoma 52, Texas Tech 33
Baylor (2-1) at No. 5 Texas (3-0)
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Pay per view
The Daily Line: Texas -36.5
Baylor player to watch: One of the reasons the Bears are off to a 2-1 start has been the solid play of their defense, which is allowing just 345 yards per game. Senior linebacker Justin Crooks is the leader on defense. He's recorded 21 tackles and a sack, while also forcing two fumbles.
Texas player to watch: Senior running back Cedric Benson needs 180 yards to move past Earl Campbell into second place on the school's career rushing list. Benson, who's averaging 186 yards per game, has 4,264 yards in his career. He's also averaging 8.7 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns.
The inside scoop: Baylor has made strides this season, as was evident in last week's 37-14 win over North Texas. But it hasn't played a team with as much talent and speed on both sides of the ball as Texas. The Bears will have to stop Benson to have any chance, a task easier said than done. Baylor junior quarterback Dane King has thrown for 604 yards and five touchdowns this season. But he'll have to account for Longhorns linebacker extraordinaire Derrick Johnson on every snap.
Baylor will win .. again this season, but it won't happen this Saturday.
Texas will win and it's likely to be a woodshed special.
Notes: Texas leads the series 67-22-4 and has won the last five meetings by a combined score of 256-24 The Longhorns lead the nation is rushing with 370 yards per game The Bears 23-point win over the Mean Green last week marked a 61-point turnaround from last season's 52-14 loss.
The pick: Texas 42, Baylor 10
Colorado (3-0) at Missouri (2-1)
Saturday, 2:30 a.m. CDT, ABC Sports
The Daily Line: Missouri -7
Colorado player to watch: Senior running back Bobby Purify has been the man for the Buffs this season. He's averaging 118 yards per game, which ranks 14th in the nation. He also averages 5.5 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns.
Missouri player to watch: Junior quarterback Brad Smith is no longer a leading Heisman candidate, but he remains one of the most dangerous players in the country. Smith ranks 15th nationally in total offense with an average of 284 yards per game, and he has completed 57 percent of his passes, including six touchdowns.
The inside scoop: On paper, you would never believe that Colorado is 3-0. But as the saying goes, that's why the games aren't played on paper. The Buffs are ninth in the Big 12 in total offense, last in the Big 12 in total defense (by more than 100 yards per game) and 116th out of 117 teams nationally against the pass. But Colorado has been opportunistic on defense and Purify has been a reliable threat on offense. Smith, however, will provide the Buffaloes defense with a huge challenge, while the Tigers defense, which allows just 2.9 yards per carry, likely will force CU quarterback Joel Klatt to win the game with his arm.
Colorado will win if ... it can force at least three takeaways and the offensive attack is balanced.
Missouri will win if if it can shut down the Buffaloes running attack and Smith takes care of the ball.
Notes: Missouri leads the series 35-30-3, but Colorado has won five straight and 17 of the last 19 The Buffaloes are entering conference play unbeaten for the first time since 1998 Smith is 13th all-time in NCAA history in rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,617.
The pick: Missouri 24, Colorado 17
Kansas State (2-1) at Texas A&M (2-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m. CDT, TBS
The Daily Line: Texas A&M -5
Kansas State player to watch: After being shut down by Fresno State, running back Darren Sproles ripped off a new school record with 292 yards in a 40-20 win against Louisiana-Lafayette two weeks ago. For the season, he is averaging 183 yards per game, which ranks third in the country, and six yards per carry.
Texas A&M player to watch: Freshman cornerback Erik Mayes is making quite a difference for the Aggies defense this season. He's tied for the team lead in tackles with 20 and has been effective in defending opposing receivers and on run support. Mayes also is averaging 19 yards per punt return, which would rank second in the Big 12 if he had enough attempts to qualify.
The inside scoop: Texas A&M had a week off after physically dominating Clemson in a 27-6 win on Sept. 18. The Aggies controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, a feat they will try to duplicate against the Wildcats. Priority No. 1 will be to limit Sproles, and A&M has been good against the run this season, allowing just 89 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry. Kansas State, meanwhile, will look to contain quarterback Reggie McNeal, who is second in the Big 12 in total offense with nearly 315 yards per game.
Kansas State will win if ... Sproles tops 170 yards and the defense can keep McNeal confined to the pocket for most of the game.
Texas A&M will win if it can run the ball effectively and not give up any long runs.
Notes: Texas A&M leads the series 6-4, winning the last meeting 31-24 in 2001 The Aggies' Byron Jones is tied for the Big 12 lead with three sacks The Wildcats have lost three straight conference openers.
The pick: Texas A&M 21, Kansas State 17
Iowa State (2-1) at No. 25 Oklahoma State (3-0)
Saturday, 1 p.m. CDT
The Daily Line: Oklahoma State -17.5
Iowa State player to watch: Senior linebacker Tyson Smith has been a force for a Cyclones defense that ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing defense and total defense. He has 16 tackles, including 4 ½ for losses, and two sacks. Smith missed most almost all of last season with an injury, but he had 104 tackles two years ago.
Oklahoma State player to watch: Junior running back Vernand Morency is the nation's leading rusher with an average of 187 yards per game. He averages 7.4 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns. Morency's production has been a key for the Cowboys, who rank next to last in Division I in passing offense with just 86 yards per game.
The inside scoop: The Cowboys don't offer many surprises on offense. They are going to try to pound opposing teams with a devastating ground attack that averages 334 yards per game. That strategy, however, plays into the hands of the Cyclones, who are allowing 79 yards per game and just two yards per carry, albeit against inferior rushing offenses. Iowa State put 48 points on the board in a seven-point win against Northern Illinois last week, but it ranks last in the Big 12 in total offense and can't expect to win a high-scoring affair.
Iowa State will win if ... it takes care of the ball and holds the Cowboys to less than 175 yards on the ground.
Oklahoma State will win if it plays a sound game defensively and runs the ball the way it has all season.
Notes: Oklahoma State leads the series 22-16-3, but the Cyclones have won the last two meetings The Cowboys have not turned the ball over this season and rank second in the nation in turnover margin at plus-10 ISU wide receiver Todd Blythe is the first freshman in school history to catch at least one touchdown pass in his first three games.
The pick: Oklahoma State 28, Iowa State 17
Kansas (2-2, 0-1) at Nebraska (2-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m. CDT, Pay per view
The Daily Line: Nebraska -13
Kansas player to watch: Junior quarterback Adam Barmann is helping Jayhawks fans forget about Bill Whittemore. Barmann is 90-for-159 for 927 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He ranks 28th nationally in total offense with an average of 246 yards per game.
Nebraska player to watch: Junior running back Cory Ross has emerged as the Cornhuskers' most reliable offensive weapon. He's averaging 122 yards per game, which ranks 13th in the country, and 5.7 yards per carry for the Big 12's third-ranked rushing offense.
The inside scoop: The Jayhawks have played well this season and are just six points shy of being unbeaten. Last week's second-half meltdown in a 31-30 loss to Texas Tech was surprising and might be tough to overcome this week. Look for Nebraska to try to jump on Kansas early and take control of the game from the outset. The Cornhuskers rank sixth in the nation and first in the Big 12 in total defense, allowing 239 yards per game, and they likely will rely on their defense and running game.
Kansas will win if ... it can enjoy some production in the running game, and it is emotionally ready to play after last week's heartbreaking loss.
Nebraska will win if it takes care of the ball and doesn't give up any big plays in the passing game.
Notes: Nebraska leads the series 86-21-3 and has won the last 35 meetings. The 35 straight wins mark the second-longest win streak against one opponent in Division I.
The pick: Nebraska 37, Kansas 24
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