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The Big 12 Conference’s Top 10 Plays of 2012

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The Big 12 Conference's Top 10 Plays of 2012

1. The Big 12 Conference's Top 10 Plays of 2012
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

From Texas Tech’s triple overtime thriller against Texas Christian University, to Baylor stunning the nation by knocking Kansas State off the No.1 ranking (a spot they held for the first time this season, that only lasted for a week), and everything in between, the Big 12’s 2012 season was entertainment at its’ finest, and lived up to all the southern hype.

I wanted to switch up the standard “Top Play” format a bit, and take the best play from each of the 10 teams, ranking them 1-10 on the basis of how they effected the outcome of either a big game, or conference rankings entirely.

As we are well aware, many games come down to a “Moment of Impact” play where athletes become heroes, and are enshrined into memories as players and fans storm the fields in celebration. Unfortunately, there are also moments where Heisman hopefuls throw picks and lose all momentum.

Many will disagree with these rankings, but combing through 455-/+ hours of game film is tedious, but most of these plays became so infamous, they couldn't be disputed.

Readers also have to take into consideration that there was a three-way tie between TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia, with Kansas 0-9 in conference, and 8-1 Kansas State, who lost their only game this season at Baylor. With those factors in mind, it wouldn’t be entirely fair to base these rankings off of how teams finished, or started their seasons.

Without further ado, here are The Big 12 Conference’s Top 10 Plays of 2012.

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Kansas Jayhawks: Tony Pierson’s 69-Yard Run

2. Kansas Jayhawks: Tony Pierson’s 69-Yard Run
Michael C. Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

While the Jayhawks’ only win of the season came at home against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, they came insanely close to defeating Texas and Texas Tech in OT (no surprise), and Oklahoma State.

Considering the record, deciding a game changing play became a little difficult, however, I decided that due to their dominance in the second half of regulation against the Red Raiders, to pick from there.

On 1st & 10 at the KU 28-yard line, Tony Pierson rushed for 69-yards to the Texas Tech 3-yard line, which set the Jayhawks up to score the only touchdown of the half, two plays later, sending this game into OT in Lubbock, TX.

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Iowa State Cyclones: David Irving’s 21-yard Pick-6

3. Iowa State Cyclones: David Irving’s 21-yard Pick-6
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

The Cyclones shocked TCU on October 6 in Fort Worth with a 37-23 win created by huge defensive stops. Despite their 3-6 in conference season, the Cyclones are ranked 36th nationally in points against, and nobody can attest to that statistic better than the formerly No. 15 ranked Horned Frogs.

In my opinion, the biggest play that happened was when defensive end David Irving picked off TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin and returned it 21-yards for a touchdown with 7:51 in the fourth.

TCU committed five turnovers, which included two interceptions alone in the fourth quarter.

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Texas Tech Red Raiders: Kenny Williams’ 47-Yard Touchdown Run

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders: Kenny Williams’ 47-Yard Touchdown Run
Shanna Lockwood - USA TODAY Sports

As cliché and predictable as this selection is for the Red Raiders, I have to pick a play from the October 20th game versus No. 23 ranked TCU. This game ended in a thrilling 3OT, with TTU QB Seth Doege throwing down a career-best, seven touchdowns for the day.

While Doege and WR Alex Torres had connected for big plays throughout the game, when Doege handed the ball off to RB Kenny Williams at midfield, who shed numerous tackles for a 47-yard touchdown run with 5:33 in regulation, all of Red Raider Nation was hyped.

While that was Williams’ only touchdown for the day, it was an impact play, as Texas Tech would be forced to punt on the next possession, and only have :18 seconds at the end of regulation, following a TCU field goal.

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Kansas State Wildcats: Jarell Childs’ Fumble Recovery

5. Kansas State Wildcats: Jarell Childs’ Fumble Recovery
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

On September 22, 2012 in Norman, OK, the (No.15) Kansas State Wildcats avenged their 2011, 58-17 loss at home against the (No.9) Oklahoma Sooners with a 24-19 win.

Victory never tasted so sweet for K-State Senior LB Jarell Childs, who scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

While Childs’ 1-yard return seems small, it created ample separation to lock in the win for the Wildcats, even on the Sooners’ final scoring drive and failed two-point conversion.

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Texas Longhorns: Mike Davis’ 25-yard Touchdown

6. Texas Longhorns: Mike Davis’ 25-yard Touchdown
Michael C. Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

Texas' losses to ranked teams were beginning to take its toll, and nothing made the seasonal lethargy more apparent than when the Longhorns barely survived the Kansas Jayhawks on October 27th. Considering the seasonal lows, their win against No.18 ranked, in-state rival, the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock on November 3rd was the highlight in itself.

While Texas had a 10-point lead at the half, they came back with a scoreless third quarter, allowing the Red Raiders to score 9. Longhorn Nation sounded more like Austin’s crickets until the 4th quarter, when Texas’ defense forced a three and out, and blocked a field goal.

With momentum high following the TTU punt, Texas’ QB David Ash hit WR Mike Davis with a 25-yard laser pass for a touchdown. While the season ended 5-4 in conference, the Longhorns can still say they’ve won three straight against Texas Tech.

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Oklahoma State Cowboys: Clint Chelf’s 4 Touchdown Passes Against West Virginia

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Clint Chelf’s 4 Touchdown Passes Against West Virginia
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State versus West Virginia was such an explosive game, both offensively and defensively, that selecting a play that definitively changed the outcome was difficult.

While this is a completely predictable move, Cowboys’ QB Clint Chelf throwing for four TD’s in his first start was impressive, especially considering the hype that Brandon Weeden left to his successors (including Wes Lunt who left after an injury against Kansas State – after throwing three interceptions by the third quarter).

Chelf threw for 292-yards, including a 21-yard TD pass to Josh Stewart in the 1st quarter, a 48-yard pass to Blake Jackson in the 2nd, a 5-yard pass to Charlie Moore in the 3rd, and a 20-yard pass to Stewart in the 4th quarter – all touchdown passes, and 24 points that contributed to the 55-34 win over the Mountaineers, and a 186.2 passer rating.

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West Virginia Mountaineers: Stedman Bailey’s 87-Yard Touchdown

8. West Virginia Mountaineers: Stedman Bailey’s 87-Yard Touchdown
Rob Christy - USA TODAY Sports

It goes without question that Geno Smith is a very good quarterback; so good, that the Mountaineers are currently ranked 6th in the nation in passing.

On September 29, Smith was truly in a class of his own in the Heisman discussion when the No.9 Mountaineers beat the No. 25 ranked Baylor Bears, 70-63. This was one of those games where the offense was so good, it delivered a ping pong match that felt like a video game.

Naturally, I selected a play from this game, but not because of Smith’s 656-yards and 8 touchdowns, but for Stedman Bailey’s insane 87-yard touchdown run.

Bailey put up 303 total yards, and set a West Virginia school record with five touchdowns.

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Oklahoma Sooners: Blake Bell’s Touchdown Run To Force Overtime In Bedlam Rivalry

9. Oklahoma Sooners: Blake Bell’s Touchdown Run To Force Overtime In Bedlam Rivalry
Richard Rowe - USA TODAY Sports

Overtime games are where magic happens, and while we expected great plays out of the Bedlam Rivalry, nobody anticipated their first overtime in the rivalry’s history.

Another record was set that day, when Sooners’ QB Landry Jones’ (16,124) threw for 500 yards, eclipsing former Texas Tech QB, Graham Harrell (15,793, 2005-2009), to become the newest all-time Big 12 leader in passing.

This wasn’t the moment of impact, however. That happened in a “Madhatter” call by OU head coach Bob Stoops to go for it on 4th & 1 at the Oklahoma State 4-yard line. In the final 30 seconds of the game, Blake Bell rushed for 4-yards for the TD, and with Michael Hunnicutt’s extra point good, Bedlam had its first OT game.

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Baylor Bears: Joe Williams Interception/Lache Seastrunk’s 80-yard TD run

10. Baylor Bears: Joe Williams Interception/Lache Seastrunk’s 80-yard TD run
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Even though Robert Griffin III put Baylor on the map during his senior season, the expectations weren’t too high for 2012. For this reason alone, their top play for 2012 should come as no surprise.

On November 17th, Baylor – who was 5-5 at the time – stunned the nation by dismantling the No.1 team in the country, the Kansas State Wildcats, 52-24 in Waco.

I think the best play from the game, was when Baylor CB Joe Williams intercepted a pass on 4th & 10 at the Baylor 17, intended for Wildcats’ WR Tramaine Thompson. This was a huge statistic in the long run for Williams, as K-State QB Collin Klein was a Heisman finalist.

Due to how huge this game was, and the implications its’ loss had for K-State, it’s fair to Baylor to mention that the Bears went on to score on the play following the pick, when Sophomore RB Lache Seastrunk scored a touchdown on a tremendous 80-yard run for the final points of the game.

It’s a toss up, but considering a win for K-State would have all but assured a National Championship trip against Notre Dame, I’d say this game, and the plays listed, top this list.

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Texas Christian University Horned Frogs: Dominic Merka’s Fumble Recovery, TD

11. Texas Christian University Horned Frogs: Dominic Merka’s Fumble Recovery, TD
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

Sure their mascot might be hilarious, but there was nothing funny about what TCU did to the BCS No. 21 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on November 3rd, when TCU won this epic 2OT game in Morgantown.

Perhaps due to the media circus surrounding West Virginia QB, Geno Smith regarding his potential Heisman nomination, this game was truly the end-all for such discussion.

The game changing play didn’t come off of Trevone Boykin’s pass to Josh Boyce for a two-point conversion in 2OT, following Brandon Carter’s 25-yard pass to Corey Fuller for a touchdown. It happened when WVU’s kicker, Tyler Bitancurt couldn’t react fast enough on a low snap on a punt, which caused a fumble recovered by TCU’s Dominic Merka, who ran it in 15-yards for the 6.

Bitancurt had several missed field goals throughout the game, including a 36-yard attempt that was blocked. This would have sealed the W for the Mountaineers at the end of the first OT, but TCU came out on top.