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September 4, 2011
One of the most impressive plays for Baylor's Robert Griffin on Friday didn't involve the star quarterback throwing a pass or escaping the pocket to run for a first down. It did illustrate just how many headaches he's going to cause the Big 12 this season.
With Baylor trailing TCU by one and facing a third-and 10 in the fourth quarter, wide receiver Kendall Wright - who had thrown a touchdown pass earlier in the game - took a lateral and completed a 15-yard pass on a throwback to Griffin.
Griffin took a big hit in the middle of the field but returned to the huddle. Still, with the wind knocked out of him, Griffin had to rely on tailback Terrance Ganaway to call the plays for the next two. No matter: Griffin completed two passes for 28 yards and rushed once for 7 yards in the ensuing four plays to put Baylor in position for the game-winning field goal.
"Robert ran a good route because we really thought he'd get the ball about eight or nine yards," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "Kendall, an ex-high school quarterback, made a big-time throw and it gave us a little life, maybe a little momentum to get going."
That play was only one highlight in a performance that will be difficult to top. Griffin was 21-of-27 for 359 yards and five touchdowns to earn Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors.
TCU's defense was dominant last season and had led the nation in total defense in each of the past three seasons. TCU didn't give up more than 35 points in a game last season, and during one six-game stretch, the Horned Frogs gave up 23 points combined. But Baylor led 34-23 at halftime.
Griffin redeemed himself after Baylor lost 45-10 to TCU last season, a game in which he amassed a season-low 185 yards of total offense. In the rematch, Griffin vaulted himself into the Heisman discussion.
"It wasn't about revenge," Griffin said. "They played good last year, and we didn't. This year, we came out and we executed."
NATIONAL FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
On paper, a true freshman quarterback for a team that hasn't played in a bowl since 1997 making his first start on the road against the defending national champions is a mismatch of grand proportions.
Auburn, though, got all it could handle from Keeton.
Keeton, a two-star recruit from Houston Cypress Creek, was 21-of-30 for 213 yard in a 42-38 loss to Auburn. He also rushed for 33 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
A former Air Force commitment, Keeton won the starting job in fall drills, taking over for the productive Diondre Borel, who graduated
"Chuckie is a special player," Utah State coach Gary Andersen said. "I promise you no one is hurt more, even though he has been with us for a short period of time. We are in very good hands at the quarterback position. ... I love Chuckie Keeton. I have loved Chuckie Keeton since I walked into his living room."
NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK
If you're looking for a way to slow Oregon coach Chip Kelly's offense, LSU may have it - an entire offseason. A defense run by Chavis and full of blue-chippers doesn't hurt, either.
"We started at the spring ... with what we called the 'tempo drill,' " LSU coach Les Miles said. "We ran two offenses in rapid-fire to get the defense used to a fast pace. We continued right through two-a-days and virtually every day."
LSU held Oregon to 95 rushing yards and forced four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) in the 40-27 win in Arlington, Texas.
LSU reinforced a key lesson: Disrupting Oregon's run game is the key to beating the Ducks. With Kelly as offensive coordinator or coach, the Ducks are 0-5 when held to fewer than 100 rushing yards. Three of those losses include the season-opening loss to Boise State in 2009 and the BCS national championship game to Auburn in 2009. Each time, Oregon's opponent had more than a week to prepare.
"We challenged them to be ready, and ready is a big deal when you line up against team that will face-pace you," Miles said. "They were ready. That defense was pretty special."
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