Time to hand out this week's helmet stickers for a job well done. Sorry, Baylor. Ask Texas Tech in 2010 and Texas A&M last year. Sunday games don't get consideration, but I've attended the Big 12 Sunday openers in each of the past two seasons.
I'm coming to your game today, too, so you'll survive. I'll have plenty of coverage from Waco throughout the night.
On to the helmet stickers!
Geno Smith, QB, WVU: Geno's debut as a member of the Big 12 was by far the most impressive of the day. The man validated his status as the league's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. He completed 32 of 36 passes for 323 yards and four scores, and looked sharper than any QB in the Big 12 as the Mountaineers rolled over Marshall, 69-34. Just about every throw was on the money, at every level of the defense. He broke into the school's record books in style today, breaking Marc Bulger's records for career completions (651) and touchdown passes (60).
Shontrelle Johnson, RB, Iowa State: Only a few months ago, Johnson wasn't sure if he'd ever play football again. In his first game back, he set a career high with 120 rushing yards and scored his only touchdown of the day to ice a huge 38-23 win over Tulsa. The Cyclones rallied from an early nine-point deficit to score 24 consecutive points, and Johnson was a big part of the attack. Great to see him back on the field after a very scary neck injury early last season.
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State: Hubert took center stage after playing second fiddle to Collin Klein for most of last season. He had the league's longest play of the day, racing 95 yards for a touchdown to put K-State up three scores in its 51-9 win over Missouri State that featured a 35-point fourth quarter. He finished with 152 yards on just 12 carries, an average of more than 12 yards per touch.
Oklahoma State's offensive line: No big test for the Cowboys in their 84-0 win over Savannah State, but the ever-revolving unit had its starters on the bench by the end of the first quarter and the Cowboys kept rolling over the Tigers. They finished with a pair of 100-yard rushers, and compiled 395 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. The Cowboys scored 12 touchdowns on the day, and their starting quarterback didn't have an incompletion in his first career start. The competition was bad, but this unit will have to nitpick to find issues in its game this week.
Texas Tech's defense: This unit's taken its lumps lately, and that's not to say it wasn't deserved. Still, after their opening night performance, the unit deserves a helmet sticker. Northwestern State's no juggernaut, but the Red Raiders allowed just 84 total yards in the 44-6 win. Both field goals were from beyond 45 yards, and the league's worst run defense last year gave up just 13 yards on 28 carries. Strong stuff, no matter the opponent. Tech gave up just six first downs and allowed Northwestern State quarterbacks just 71 yards on 11-of-21 passing. Who leads the Big 12 in defense now? Oh, I think you know, even if it's temporary.