The 2012 regular season is in the books, and it's time to hand out some awards for the Oklahoma Sooners.
MVP- Landry Jones
The fifth-year senior came back to Oklahoma to try to win a national championship. While that dream never came to fruition, Jones had perhaps his best overall season as the starting quarterback in Norman. His 10 interceptions were a career low, while his 65.5 completion percentage is just a tenth off from his career-high percentage in 2010. While Jones' mistakes against Kansas State arguably cost the Sooners that game, he showed the poise of a senior by bouncing back and performing well the rest of the season. He wasn't perfect, but led two game-winning drives against West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The most impressive part of his season was his response to any mistake he made during a game. Instead of letting that mistake compound itself, Jones shook off the mistake to perform admirably.
Most Improved- Brennan Clay
After two years filled with injuries and a backup role, Clay took full advantage of the opportunities to showcase his talents in 2012, putting up career numbers in every rushing category. Thanks to an injury to Damien Williams, Clay got the start against Iowa State, carrying the ball 24 times for 157 yards and a score. Clay also scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime against Oklahoma State. Clay's performance over the second half of the season gives OU a lot to look forward to at the running back position in 2013.
Offensive Player of the Year- Kenny Stills
You could easily put Jones in this spot, but him being MVP speaks for itself. This could have gone to any of three players: Stills, Justin Brown, or Jalen Saunders. Each provided a very young wide receiver corps with experience and talent that was sorely lacking at the beginning of the season. But Stills stepped up in a big way. Last season, when Ryan Broyles went down with an ACL injury, Stills wasn't ready to fill that void. A year later, Stills proved he was up to the task of being the go-to guy, leading the team with 75 catches for 892 yards and 11 touchdowns. Stills had a couple of drops down the stretch of the season, but came up huge in the West Virginia game, catching two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to propel OU to victory. It's unclear whether or not Stills will head to the NFL early, but if he doesn't, the next OU quarterback will have a very reliable target to work with.
Defensive Player of the Year- Aaron Colvin
In the pass-happy Big 12, you need at least one ace cornerback. That's exactly what Colvin was for the Sooners this season. Colvin set a career high with four interceptions this season, including a leaping interception at Texas Tech, where he picked quarterback Seth Doege off at the line of scrimmage. Colvin played 2011 at safety, but was moved to corner by Mike Stoops, a more natural position for the junior. Colvin lined up opposite the opponent's top receiver week in and week out, and did a solid job every week, including holding NCAA receiving leader Terrance Williams of Baylor to six catches for 91 yards, more than 50 yards below his season average.
Play of the Year- Blake Bell's game-tying touchdown against OSU
Things looked bleak in Bedlam for the Sooners. OSU lead 14-0 early on, but the Sooners came back to tie at halftime. The Cowboys took an 11-point lead in the second half, and led by seven when the Sooners began their final march with 6:18 remaining in the game. Quarterback Landry Jones calmly moved the Sooners down the field, getting them inside the 10-yard line with less than 45 seconds remaining. Then, on fourth down, quarterback Blake Bell took the shotgun snap, dodged the tackle attempt of OSU linebacker Caleb Lavey, and plowed through Brodrick Brown into the end zone to tie the score. The Sooners went on to win in overtime.