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October 13, 2008
Rivals.com Week 7 National Awards
No surprise here: The Big 12 dominated the Rivals.com weekly awards.
The surprise is the unlikely candidates who were difference-makers in two critical Big 12 games Saturday. Quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy dueled in the highest-scoring Red River Rivalry of all time, but a receiver/kick returner provided the Longhorns with much-needed momentum.
In the Oklahoma State-Missouri game, neither of the Tigers' standout coordinators – Dave Christensen and Matt Eberflus – were the stars of the evening. That honor went to Oklahoma State's coaching staff.
Texas' comeback against Oklahoma couldn't have been possible without wide receiver Jordan Shipley.
After Texas fell behind 14-3 in the second quarter, Shipley returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. When Texas fell behind 28-20, Shipley caught a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Shipley finished the day with 11 receptions for 112 yards, but could have had an even bigger day. He twice was stopped at the 1 before fullback Cody Johnson capped those possessions with touchdowns.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: S Earl Thomas, Texas
Pass defense had been the Achilles' heel of Texas' defense, but that may be changing thanks to newcomers in the secondary.
The Longhorns gave up a heap of yards to Oklahoma in the passing game, but redshirt freshman safety Earl Thomas negated that by playing a part in forcing three turnovers.
Thomas intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and broke up two passes in the 45-35 win over the top-ranked Sooners.
Also considered for freshman of the week:
Oklahoma State announced its intentions to compete in the Big 12 with a 28-23 victory at Missouri. The Tigers were held to fewer than 40 points for the first time all season.
The Cowboys also put a dent in Chase Daniel's Heisman campaign by intercepting three of his passes in the upset.
Also considered for coordinator of the week:
• Dan Mullen's offense rang up 475 yards as Florida dismantled LSU 51-21.
• Greg Davis' offense helped Texas to a 45-35 win over Oklahoma. Texas had 438 yards against the Sooners and rallied after trailing for most of the first three quarters.
• Arizona was ranked second in total defense entering the week, but Stanford's David Shaw wasn't fooled as the Cardinal offense amassed 420 yards despite using three quarterbacks in a 24-23 win.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.