Big 12

Blair Kerkhoff's Big 12 Report

Texas faced a fourth-and-1 from its 29. The Longhorns held a three-point lead late in the third quarter at Texas Tech, and wisely, coach Mack Brown sent out the punting team.

Fake.

Upback Ryan Roberson took the snap and plowed two yards for a first down on a touchdown drive that would grind up 22 plays. After the game, Brown talked about the element of surprise.

Monday, Brown suggested another condition critical to the decision: job security.

"I was not going to get fired over that call," if it failed, Brown said. "There's absolutely no doubt that a young guy that's growing in this business who makes that call and it doesn't work will be fired.

"It's easier when you've been around a long time because I'm not coaching from fear."

Neither was Mark Dantonio, whose gutsy fake field goal call provided the winning touchdown for Michigan State in overtime against Notre Dame.

Or Urban Meyer, who called a fake punt to help Florida win at Tennessee.

Meyer and Brown have won three of the past five national championships and have combined to win more than 300 games.

Dantonio is a relative pup with seven seasons as a head coach, but has great respect among his peers.

Such calls add to coaching stress levels that should be measured by a richter scale. Dantonio remains hospitalized after suffering heart attack symptoms early Sunday morning. Meyer had suffered chest pains each of the previous three years before taking a hiatus in the spring.

But none needs to worry about losing a job with a risky play-call.

"Most young coaches have a five-year contract but they really have three, and if they make a move or two that are wrong and their fan base turns on them they never get it back," Brown said.

Two players no longer under the radar

William Powell, RB/KR, Kansas State — He's played the role of Daniel Thomas' change-of-pace back and the Wildcats' kick-return specialist about as well as it can be done. Powell is averaging 11.2 yards per rushing attempt and 31.7 yards per kickoff return. He was chosen Big 12 special teams player of the week.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State — As a redshirt freshman last season, Blackmon caught 20 passes with two touchdowns. In three games this year, his 24 receptions include eight touchdowns. He leads the nation in scoring (18 points per game and touchdown grabs).

Ranking the Big 12

TeamSaturday's opponentComment

1. Nebraska (3) South Dakota StateMartinez is special

2. Texas (1) UCLAStill fixing running game

3. Oklahoma (2) at CincinnatiLast in Big 12 total defense

4. Kansas State (6) Central FloridaSaddle up Daniel Thomas

5. Missouri (4) Miami, OhioRecord on track, offense isn't

6. Oklahoma St. (8) openEye-popping offensive numbers

7. Texas Tech (7) openLonging for Leach offense

8. Texas A&M (5) openJohnson: four picks, sacked six times, won

9. Baylor (9) at RiceGriffin not at pre-injury mobility

10. KansasNew Mexico StateIncline week on roller coaster

11. Iowa State (11) Northern IowaCyclones need burst plays

12. Colorado (12) openGreat balance vs. Hawaii

Last week's ranking in parenthesis

Games on TV

Saturday

Central Florida at Kansas State, 11:30 a.m. (FSN)

UCLA at Texas, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

Oklahoma at Cincinnati, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)

New Mexico State at Kansas, 6 p.m. (FCS)

Thursday, Sept. 30

Texas A&M at Oklahoma State, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, Oct. 2

Kansas at Baylor, 11 a.m. (FSN)

Texas vs. Oklahoma at Dallas, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

Texas Tech at Iowa State, 6 p.m. (FCS)

Georgia at Colorado, 6 p.m. (FSN)

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