Symons closing on record

Texas Tech’s quarterback needs 82 yards to break the NCAA’s single-season passing mark.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:56 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Despite the hype around running quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference, a passing quarterback will likely make history Saturday.

Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons is poised to fly past the NCAA record for passing yards in a season, and he will probably do it in the first half Saturday against No. 1 Oklahoma.

Symons needs 82 yards to pass Ty Detmer’s mark of 5,188. Detmer won the Heisman Trophy after setting the mark for Brigham Young in 1990.

Symons, a senior, has thrown 47 touchdown passes with only 16 interceptions, leading Texas Tech to a 7-4 record, but he is not considered among the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy.

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said he thinks Symons should be considered for any and all awards for which he is eligible, especially considering that Symons will almost certainly break Detmer’s record.

“The record speaks for itself,” McCarney said. “He’s done a phenomenal job. I can’t imagine him not being up for any award that’s out there for a quarterback.”

Many critics say Symons’ numbers are a product of Texas Tech’s pass-happy system, though, and his name is often left out of the award debates.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach makes it clear that he thinks Symons is deserving of more recognition, but Leach said he doesn’t know what to expect when it comes to Symons’ chances of winning postseason awards.

“I don’t have one earthly idea, no idea whatsoever,” Leach said. “These things are politically motivated in many cases.”

Striking a balance

Faced with the challenge of balancing success in athletics and academics, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says he feels he has succeeded.

The Sooners are the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship, and Stoops said the Oklahoma athletic department’s graduation rate is about 73 percent, which he said ranks second in the Big 12. Stoops said the football program’s rate is about 65 percent.

Stoops said carefully looking at athletic and academic abilities when recruiting is the key to having success in both areas.

“We look at both,” Stoops said. “We want to evaluate and make sure they’re capable of handling the workload in the college atmosphere socially as well as academically.”

Stoops didn’t take all of the credit, though. He said it seems as though incoming students across the country are better prepared coming out of high school than they once were.

“All these young men coming into school are more and more prepared each and every year,” Stoops said. “These are sharp guys. Overall, I believe the quality of students coming in and playing improves each year for everybody.”


Kansas State dominated Nebraska in a 38-9 win Saturday, and the Wildcats were rewarded. Quarterback Ell Roberson and linebacker Bryan Hickman are the Big 12 Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.

Roberson racked up a career-high 403 yards of offense and threw for three touchdowns and ran for one. He completed 15-of-28 passes for 313 yards against the nation’s top-ranked pass efficiency defense, leading the Wildcats to their first win at Nebraska since 1968.

Hickman had 10 tackles, including a sack on which Nebraska’s Jammal Lord fumbled. The fumble led to a Kansas State touchdown that started a run of 24 straight points.

Oklahoma State kicker Luke Phillips is the Special Teams Player of the Week. Phillips made three field goals and five extra points in the Cowboys’ 44-21 win against Kansas.

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