- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Not surprisingly, Grant Teaff, the Baylor coach, spent some time early last week pushing the All-America candidacy of his prize running back, Walter Abercrombie. Abercrombie then returned the favor—and strengthened his credentials—by racing 79 yards to the Rice one on the Bears' first play of the game. On the next play, he rammed into the end zone to start Baylor on its way to a 16-6 triumph that clinched the Southwest Conference championship. For the day, Abercrombie gained 168 yards.
Quarterback Donnie Little of Texas, who had been demoted to second string two weeks ago, got a chance to start once again when his replacement was hurt. Little came through, completing 12 passes in a row in one span and winding up with 334 yards in total offense while the Longhorns beat Texas Christian 51-26. Little completed 16 of 22 passes for 215 yards and one TD, and in 16 carries he gained 119 yards and scored twice.
Arkansas, which led 24-0 at the intermission, was caught at 24-all by Texas A&M after 17 minutes of the second half. The Aggie rally went for naught, however, when Ish Ordonez kicked a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds to go for a 27-24 Hog victory.
Southern Methodist's Mustangs expected a cakewalk at Texas Tech. What they got was a pie in the face. Ron Reeves of the Red Raiders tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Jamie Harris and set up another touchdown by hitting him with a 38-yarder to the SMU one. That was enough to give Tech a stunning 14-0 win. Nevertheless, the Mustangs were one of five SWC teams to accept bowl invitations. The lineup: SMU vs. the WAC champ in the Holiday Bowl; Baylor vs. Alabama in the Cotton; Texas vs. North Carolina in the Blue-bonnet; Houston vs. Navy in the Garden State; and Arkansas vs. Tulane in the Hall of Fame.
"The idea was Coach McCartney's," said Bo Schembechler of Michigan Defensive Coordinator Bill McCartney's plan to deploy six defensive backs in an attempt to thwart the passing of Purdue's Mark Herrmann. McCartney's scheme worked well: of Herrmann's 34 passes, three were intercepted by those backs and one by Linebacker Andy Cannavino. He completed 21 for a measly 129 yards. Wolverine Quarterback John Wangler and Wide Receiver Anthony Carter accounted for more than that all by themselves, collaborating on eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. That, plus 164 yards and one TD rushing by Stanley Edwards, made Michigan a 26-0 victor. The shutout was the Wolverines' third straight.
For Iowa, the nicest thing about its 41-7 loss to the Buckeyes was that it was the last time it will meet Ohio State until 1983. Art Schlichter riddled the Hawkeyes by completing nine passes in a row and 13 of 18 for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Two of those tosses—one for a TD—were grabbed by Tailback 'Calvin Murray, who also ran for 183 yards in 25 carries. Murray's 208 all-purpose yards were 61 more than Iowa had all afternoon.
Michigan State beat Minnesota 30-12, Wisconsin defeated Northwestern 39-19, and Indiana hung on to edge Illinois 26-24. When Mike Harkrader of the Hoosiers banged up his left knee in the first period, the tailback duties fell to Lonnie Johnson, who set up a touchdown with a 41-yard pass reception and ran for three scores. Johnson combined with Quarterback Tim Clifford to rally Indiana from an 18-7 deficit. Clifford, who'd suffered a shoulder injury the week before, entered the game in the third period, passed for 119 yards and put the Hoosiers on top 26-18 with a seven-yard pass to Dave Harangody. David Wilson of Illinois, who completed 24 of 41 for 403 yards and three touchdowns, guided his team 84 yards for the final score, but his try for a game-tying two-point conversion on a pass was intercepted by Tim Wilbur.
Nebraska and Oklahoma both won—meaning that this week's encounter between the two will decide which of them will play in the Orange Bowl against Florida State. The Huskers pounced on six Iowa State fumbles while winning 35-0. Andra Franklin of Nebraska rushed for 104 yards on 10 carries, and Jeff Quinn ran for two touchdowns and passed for a third. Oklahoma kept pace by playing its best defense of the year during a 17-7 victory over Missouri. The Tigers, who had been averaging more than 375 yards a game, got only 210 against the Sooners. Nonetheless Mizzou earned a consolation prize: a trip to the Liberty Bowl to face Purdue. Despite injuries that sidelined starting Halfback David Overstreet and the top two fullbacks. Oklahoma rushed for 310 yards. Second-string Halfback Buster Rhymes filled in well, racking up 132 yards and scoring on runs of five and 55 yards. In other conference games, Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State 10-0 and Kansas routed Colorado 42-3.