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Another impressive weekend for Big 12 teams

Sunday, September 14, 2008 | 7:43 p.m. CDT; updated 8:44 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 14, 2008

STILLWATER, Okla. - A week after going a perfect 12-for-12 against non-conference opponents, Big 12 Conference schools couldn't pull off a second straight sweep.

Hard as it is to fathom, though, the top teams in the conference found ways to look even stronger.

Oklahoma (3-0) put to rest any talk about last season's lingering road woes by decisively dispatching Washington in its first trip to Pac-10 territory since the Oregon debacle of 2006.The Sooners were rewarded with a bump to No. 2 in the AP poll Sunday.

And Missouri, which also nudged up one spot to No. 5, had a record-setting day behind Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin in another game that was over before the end of the third quarter.

The defending North and South division champions combined to win by a 124-31 margin, and this week neither one was playing a Championship Subdivision opponent.

It's hard to say which one was more impressive, but the Sooners certainly found more relief after getting upset twice on the road last season and struggling in their only other true road game.

"It was a big win," said tailback Chris Brown, who had 107 yards on 13 carries to pace the Sooners' rushing attack. "Coming on the road is always tough. We knew playing up here was a hostile environment, so it was a big test for us."

Coach Bob Stoops said he sensed a different attitude in his team on the plane and en route to the stadium, and it couldn't have helped Washington's cause when the teams got into a shoving match coming out of the Husky Stadium tunnel. It just served to wake a sleeping giant that had come out lethargic on the road lately.

Instead, the Sooners produced three first-half turnovers and led 34-0 at halftime.

"To come here and win in a strong way is pleasing and it gives you a feeling that you're getting somewhere. I feel, as a team, that we're getting stronger and better," Stoops said after the Sooners' 55-14 victory.

Daniel became Missouri's all-time passing leader Saturday, with a 405-yard performance that included three touchdown passes to Maclin as the Tigers romped against Nevada 69-17. The point total matched the highest in school history, which came against Kansas back in 1969.

"I'm not a big record guy, I just like to win," coach Gary Pinkel said. "I'm happy for our players, but honestly, that's stuff you look at after the season and feel pretty good about that. That's something I don't spend a whole lot of time looking at."

The blowout win made the Tigers the top-scoring team in the nation with a 57.7-point average, and five other Big 12 teams are in the top 15: Kansas State (57.5), Oklahoma (54.7), Oklahoma State (50.7), Texas (47.0) and Texas Tech (42.3).

Red Raiders coach Mike Leach said he didn't care about the statistics after a 42-3 win against SMU. He blasted his offense, which racked up 693 yards.

"Just because you get big numbers doesn't mean that you measured up and did the best you could, and competed with yourself and had a winning effort as far as what you could do," said Leach, whose team moved up one spot to No. 11 on Sunday.

Not even Graham Harrell, with 418 yards passing and four touchdowns, or Michael Crabtree, with 164 yards receiving and three touchdowns, got a free pass.

"What we've done (on offense), quite honestly, for 2½ games I don't consider acceptable. I don't know at what point we think that we've arrived. This group of quarterbacks and receivers, we haven't done anything impressive. I don't think it's impressive at all other than some numbers inflated by some explosiveness and the efforts of others. But as far as some steadiness, that's not impressive."

Oklahoma State and Baylor also won big. The Cowboys amassed 450 yards rushing in a 57-13 victory against Missouri State, an overmatched Championship Subdivision foe, and Baylor walloped Washington State 45-17 Friday night behind freshman quarterback Robert Griffin's school-record 217 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Nebraska had a well-rounded effort in beating New Mexico State 38-7, getting 330 yards rushing, 223 yards passing and a blocked field goal while holding the Aggies in check. With two interceptions on Saturday, the Huskers now have six on the season, more than half their total all last year.

"We're starting to get it. We're moving the right direction," said quarterback Joe Ganz, who had touchdowns passing, receiving and rushing. "We're still making some mistakes, but that's football. Nobody ever plays a perfect game."

It wasn't all good news for the Big 12 teams, which went 6-2 this week to follow up the first ever 12-0 showing in the conference's 12-plus years.

Iowa State failed to score a single point in three red zone trips in its 17-5 loss to Iowa, and Kansas dropped a 34-31 decision at South Florida on a last-second field goal after Todd Reesing threw a late interception.

The Jayhawks' loss dropped them six spots to No. 19 on Sunday.

"We're of course disappointed. It always hurts to come a long way to lose," said Kansas running back Angus Quigley. "But it's early in the season. This doesn't have any thing to do with Big 12 standings or our goal towards the North."

 


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