The Greatest Big 12 Games Of All-Time
Texas A&M LB Dat Nguyen
Texas A&M LB Dat Nguyen
Posted Aug 14, 2011

With the Big 12 in big trouble, with Nebraska and Colorado already gone and Texas A&M and Missouri possibly leaving, we take a look back at the great conference at the greatest moments, players, teams, and games. Here are the ten greatest games in Big 12 history.

Big 12's Greatest Games

The Ten Best Of All-Time

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The Big 12
- Ten Greatest Big 12 Seasons | CFN All-Time Big 12 Team & Top Players
- Ten Greatest Big 12 Games | 2011 Big 12 Preview
- Classic CFN: 2006 Rose Bowl: Texas vs. USC, Stream-of-Consciousness Notes
- Classic CFN: Reader Reaction to the 2006 Rose Bowl, Texas vs. USC

With the Big 12 in big trouble, with Nebraska and Colorado already gone and Texas A&M and Missouri possibly leaving, we take a look back at the great conference at the greatest moments, players, teams, and games.

First of all, we know, we know, we know. The James Brown Big 12 Championship game of 1996 belongs on here, and the Boise State Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma was one of the greatest games of all-time (just not for the Big 12) and several other games belong on here, but we wanted to limit this to ten games. There's no argument from us it you have a classic that belongs on here, but which one gets knocked off?

10. Nov. 23, 2001
Colorado 62 … at Nebraska 36

Colorado RB Chris Brown ran for a school record six touchdowns and the Buffs ran for eight touchdowns as a team in one of the most shocking games in the last decade. Nebraska was the heavy favorite and was supposed to roll in the Thanksgiving weekend game, but Colorado jumped all over one of the nation's top run defenses getting out to a 42-23 halftime lead.

Nebraska came out roaring for the second half, and cut the score to 42-30, but the offense never got its groove back after Dahrran Diedrick fumbled the ball on the one-yard line. The Buffs went on another crunching drive culminating with a one-yard Brown touchdown run to seal the Big 12 North title. The Nebraska defense couldn't tackle all game long giving up 376 yards on the ground with most of the yards coming after the first hit.

Colorado tight end Daniel Graham caught four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, while eventual Heisman winner Eric Crouch completed 14-of-29 passes for 202 yards passing with two interceptions, and carried the ball 18 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns. The star, though, was Brown, who carried the ball 23 times for 197 yards and six scores.

9. Jan. 5, 2009
2009 Fiesta Bowl
Texas 24 … Ohio State 21

The defensive battle turned into a heart-stopping thriller over the final few minutes as Colt McCoy finished off a 78-yard drive in the last 1:42 with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Quan Cosby with :16 to play. Ohio State had taken the lead on a 15-yard Dan Herron scoring run with 2:05 to play as part of a Buckeye run of 15 straight fourth quarter points, but the defense couldn't hold on. OSU slowed the game down in the first half on the way to a 6-3 lead, helped by an Anderson Russell interception to stop a late UT drive, but the third quarter was all Texas as McCoy ran for a 14-yard score and hit Cosby for a seven-yard touchdown to cap off two long drives. Ohio State's final shot to score was stopped by a Brian Orakpo sack and a broken up Hail Mary attempt. McCoy completed 41-of-59 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran seven times for 27 yards and a score, and Cosby caught 14 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. The win capped off a tremendous season for the Longhorns after finishing in a three-way tie for the Big 12 South title. They didn't get to play Missouri for the Big 12 championship and they didn't get to face Florida for the national title, but this was a signature moment for McCoy and the program.

8. Dec. 1, 2001
2001 Big 12 Championship
Colorado 39 ... Texas 37

Colorado picked off Chris Simms four times in the first half jumping out to a 29-10 lead, then hung on for deal life as Major Applewhite passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns, both going to B.J. Johnson, including a 79-yarder to close out the wild end to the first thirty minutes.

Colorado's Marcus Moore picked off a Simms pass and went 64-yards for a score before the Johnson touchdown, but Texas roared back in the fourth quarter with a 54-yard interception return for a score on a fake punt from Roderick Babers to pull to within six. The Longhorns forced a Buff punt late, but a roughing-the-punter call gave the ball back to the CU offense, which took advantage of the opportunity with a 38-yard Jeremy Flores field goal. Applewhite threw a one-yard scoring pass to B.J. Johnson with :31 to play, but CU recovered the onside kick to preserve the win.

Colorado RB Chris Brown came off his epic six touchdown day against Nebraska to carry the ball 33 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns.

After Tennessee lost to LSU in the SEC Championship, meaning the door was wide open for Texas to play for the national title. Instead, Nebraska, who didn't even with the Big 12 North, ended up losing to Miami in the Rose Bowl.

7. Oct. 11, 2008
Texas 45 … Oklahoma 35

In a wildly fun game with each offense throwing haymaker after haymaker, Texas overcame an early 14-3 deficit thanks to a 96-yard kickoff return for a score and a 25-7 second half run to close out the game. Cody Johnson ran for three short scores and Jordan Shipley, who caught 11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, and he returned two kickoffs for 112 yards and a score, caught a two-yard touchdown pass for the Longhorns to stay ahead of the OU offense.

Eventual Heisman winner, Sam Bradford, threw fpr 387 yards and five touchdown passes, including three to Manuel Johnson and a 52-yarder to Jermaine Gresham. The 80 combined points were the most ever in the 103 times the two teams have played.

It turned out to be a playoff for the national championship appearance. Texas lost to Texas Tech, and OU blew away the Red Raiders, to force a three-way tie-breaker for the Big 12 South title. Oklahoma won based on the higher BCS ranking, went on to beat Missouri in the championship, and ended up losing to Tim Tebow and Florida in the BCS Championship. Texas, who screamed about not getting to play for the Big 12 title, ended up beating Ohio State in a classic Fiesta Bowl.

6. Nov. 8, 1997
Nebraska 45 … at Missouri 38 OT

The No. 1 ranked Huskers came rolling into Columbia to square off against quarterback Corby Jones and a plucky Missouri team looking to make a big statement. Nebraska QB Scott Frost, who was maligned through most of his career, mostly because he had to follow the footsteps of Tommie Frazier, led the Big Red to a 14-7 lead on two touchdown runs, but Missouri would roar back taking a 24-21 halftime lead.

Jones and Frost would trade punches in the third quarter with Frost running for his third touchdown of the day, while Jones put the Tigers back on top with a scoring run of his own to take a 31-28 advantage. Nebraska tied the game on a field goal, but Jones appeared to have the final answer with a 15-yard scoring pass with 4:39 to play for a 38-31 lead.

But the fun was just getting started.

The teams traded punts, but the Huskers got the ball back with 1:02 seconds to play on their own 33 with one last shot. Frost marched the offense into scoring position, and then came one of the most controversial plays in college football history.

On third down on the Missouri 12 with seven seconds to play, Frost dropped back and threw it in the end zone to Shevin Wiggins. Falling backwards, Wiggins kicked the ball up in the air - an illegal play which went uncalled – and an alert Matt Davidson made a diving play for the touchdown to force an improbably overtime.

With all the momentum on Nebraska's side, Frost ran for his fourth touchdown of the day, finishing with 141 yards rushing to go along with Ahman Green's 189 yards and a score. Missouri couldn't get into the end zone on its turn. and Nebraska had pulled off the shocker.

After much campaigning and helped by voter sentiment in head coach Tom Osborne's final season, Nebraska won a share of the national title. Michigan fans point to this game as why the Wolverines deserved the title outright as the final touchdown in regulation should've been ruled illegal.

5. Jan. 8, 2009
2009 BCS Championship
Florida 24 … Oklahoma 14

Florida PK Jonathan Phillips broke a 14-14 tie with a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and following an interception from Ahmad Black, the Gator offense marched 76 yards in 11 plays with Tim Tebow hitting David Nelson with a jump-pass from four yards out for a game-clinching touchdown. Tebow started off the scoring with a 20-yard pass to Louis Murphy, but OU answered 2:13 later on a six-yard touchdown catch from Jermaine Gresham. The Sooners marched down near the goal line on two more drives, but were stuffed on two plays from the one to halt one march, and a Sam Bradford pass was batted and bounced into the hands of Major Wright at the end of the half. The Gators took the lead late in the third on a two-yard run by Percy Harvin off a direct snap, but OU tied it up in the fourth on an 11-yard Gresham catch. Florida was able to answer right back with a 68-yard drive culminating in the Phillips field goal, which turned out to be the winning points to give the Gators their second national title in three years.

In the game matching up two college football legendary quarterbacks, Tebow completed 18-of-30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, and ran 22 times for 109 yards, while Bradford, who won the 2008 Heisman, was kept under wraps completing 26-of-41 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns with two picks.

4. Nov. 1, 2008
at Texas Tech 39 … Texas 33

Graham Harrell connected with Michael Crabtree for a 28-yard touchdown with one second left on the clock as Texas Tech fought back to pull off the biggest win in school history.

The Red Raiders got up 19-0, starting out with a safety on the first Texas offensive play, and Baron Batch ran for a three-yard touchdown and Harrell hit Eric Morris for an 18-yard touchdown. Texas struggled to get back, but was able to get a field goal at the end of the first half and got a spark on a 45-yard Jordan Shipley punt return for a score early in the second. Tech got the momentum back with an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown from Daniel Charbonnet, but Texas wasn't done. Colt McCoy hit Malcolm Williams for a 37-yard touchdown late in the third, and hooked up with Williams again for a 91-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth.

Texas was able to finally take the lead on a four-yard Vondrell McGee touchdown run with 1:29 left to play, but after a big kickoff return from Jamar Wall, Texas Tech had a short field to work with. With 11 seconds to play, Texas appeared to have a sure interception, but Blake Gideon let the ball slip through his hands allowing Tech one final shot. And that's when Harrell and Crabtree made their magic.

Harrell completed 35-of-52 passes for 476 yards and two touchdowns, and WR Michael Crabtree caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. McCoy completed 20-of-34 passes for 294 yards and two scores, while Williams caught four passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

3. Jan. 3, 2001
2001 Orange Bowl
Oklahoma 13 … Florida State 2

To understand the 2001 Orange Bowl, it's important to remember the circumstances surrounding why such a relative dud of a defensive slugfest was such a classic.

Florida State was given a huge break just to get to the national title game, considering it lost to Miami in an epic 27-24 battle early in the season. After the setback, the Noles went on a roll winning their final six games by a combined score of 277 to 51, led by quarterback Chris Weinke, who won the Heisman Trophy over OU QB Josh Heupel. Both teams were known for their offensive firepower, but instead, they turned in one of the tensest defensive performances of all-time.

Oklahoma's defense shut out the high powered Seminole offense all night long, stopping drive after drive while frustrating Weinke. The Sooner offense wasn't exactly rolling, managing just two Tim Duncan field goals and a late touchdown from Quentin Griffin on a ten-yard run following a Weinke fumble, but it would be enough.

Weinke threw 52 times for 272 yards, but the offense never really threatened, even though it seemed like just one play would break the game open. In the end, with a slew of stars on each team, the unsung hero turned out to be OU punter Jeff Ferguson, who kept the Noles pinned deep all game long. He also saved a touchdown by falling on a late safety.

Unofficially, the game signaled the end of Florida State's run as the college football's superpower of superpowers, following up the game with nine losses in two years after losing just nine games over the previous seven seasons. On the flip side, the win marked the official return of Oklahoma as one of the elite programs in college football after nearly a decade out of the spotlight, and catapulted head coach Bob Stoops into a superstar.

2. Dec. 5, 1998
1998 Big 12 Championship
Texas A&M 36 … Kansas State 33 2OT

It was all up to Kansas State. If the heavily favored Wildcats could beat Texas A&M, they'd be in the national title as UCLA, who was undefeated when the day started, lost to Miami. The door was open and there wouldn't be any controversy if the Wildcats won; they would've played Tennessee for the national championship.

Everything was going according to plan as KSU was coasting after three quarters up 27-12. And then everything changed.

The UCLA-Miami score was announced over the loudspeakers and the Wildcat players started celebrating like mad on the sidelines while the fans went wild in the stands.

A&M went to work.

Aggie quarterback Branndon Stewart hit Leroy Hodge on a 13-yard scoring strike, but with KSU up eight points and running out the clock with 3:26 to play, it still looked like the game was over. Wildcat quarterback Michael Bishop fumbled, A&M got the ball back on the KSU 35, and Stewart went to work throwing his second scoring pass of the quarter, connecting with Sirr Parker from nine yards away to pull within the Aggies within two. Parker caught a lofted Stewart pass for the two-point conversion and like that, it was it tied up.

KSU still had a shot in regulation with a Hail Mary pass that almost won it, with Aaron Lockett making the improbable grab before getting tackled at the one with no time left on the clock to force overtime.

The two teams traded field goals in the first overtime, and KSUs Martin Gramatica hit a 25-yard field goal to start the second overtime. On A&Ms turn, the Aggies were having problems with penalties and appeared to be dead, but on third and 17, Stewart hit Parker on a slant pattern in an attempt to get into field goal range. But Parker kept going … and going. He barely got into the end zone, and A&M had pulled off the upset and killed the Kansas State national title hopes.

The loss allowed Florida State to slip in to play Tennessee for the national title, while Kansas State would end up losing another classic heartbreaker, dropping the Alamo Bowl to Drew Brees and Purdue in the Alamo Bowl.

1. Jan. 4, 2006
2006 Rose Bowl
Texas 41 ... USC 38

In one of the greatest games of all-time, Texas came back from down 12 in the final 6:42 as Vince Young ran for a 17-yard score with 4:03 to play. The defense held USC's LenDale White on fourth down, and then Young led the offense on a ten-play, 56-yard drive culminating in an eight-yard touchdown run on fourth down for the win. Young ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns, but the Trojan rushing attack was equal to the task with 209 yards led by White's 124 yards and three scores. USC appeared to have it won after Reggie Bush dove for a 26-yard touchdown and Dwayne Jarrett caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but Young proved to be too much to stop. The Trojans cranked out 574 yards of total offense to Texas' 556, as Young completed 30-of-40 passes for 267 yards, and ran 19 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns.

All the superstars played at the highest level. From Young's transcendent performance, to Matt Leinart's 365 yards, to White's three scores, to Jarrett's ten catches for 121 yards and a score, to Bush's all-around great game, cranking out 275 total yards.
- Classic CFN: 2006 Rose Bowl: Texas vs. USC, Stream-of-Consciousness Notes
- Classic CFN: Reader Reaction to the 2006 Rose Bowl, Texas vs. USC

The Big 12
- Ten Greatest Big 12 Seasons | CFN All-Time Big 12 Team & Top Players
- Ten Greatest Big 12 Games | 2011 Big 12 Preview