Who will transform tomorrow: Week 5

It's a little silly, really.

He might be the most underappreciated player in the conference lately. Seth Doege can't help that his defense last year essentially said, "Hey, we're going to give up almost 40 points a game and more than 250 yards on the ground, but you go out and try to win us the game, anyway, OK?"

And that was before anyone told him his two best receivers, Darrin Moore and Alex Torres, would be banged up or out all season, and he'd lose his best receiving and blocking back, Eric Stephens, before Big 12 play even really got started. His center, Justin Keown, battled knee injuries all season but stayed on the field as a fraction of the player he'd be if he were healthy.

This year, though? His backs are, uh, back. So are his receivers. His defense is healthy this year, and questionable scheduling aside, is the nation's leader in total defense.

Saturday, in Ames, Doege will transform and remind us all that he's quietly been about as good as anybody in the Big 12 these past two years. Losses that weren't really his fault have clouded that, and injuries to his offense have prevented him from reaching the potential numbers we could see from him if his defense had the ability to get off the field and he wasn't throwing to a different set of receivers every week.

Last year, Doege threw 28 touchdowns. Only five Big 12 quarterbacks had more, but four of those (RG3 excluded) all surpassed Doege's 10 interceptions. Each had at least 13 interceptions. Doege still completed at least 68 percent of his passes, which ranked third in the Big 12, behind only a pair of first-round draft picks, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III.

This year, he's doing it again, and we'll get a glimpse of what he'll be able to do later in the season when he leads the Red Raiders to a road victory at Iowa State, one of the Big 12's most underrated defenses.

His 12 touchdowns are tied for the nation's most, and Doege's played just three games. His one interception is fewer than every QB with those 12 TDs, except Geno Smith, who's still waiting on his first pick of the year. Even with those impressive numbers, Doege's done it on just 101 attempts. All Tech does is chuck it?

Doege ranks 33rd nationally in attempts per game, in part because he's been sitting in the fourth quarter of three Tech routs this season.

Still, the senior went underappreciated even in his own conference last year. Saturday, that will transform.