Welcome back to Around the Big 12, where we take a look back on the week that was for the other members of UCF’s new conference. The Knights put their best performance of the season together in Week 11, beating No. 15 Oklahoma State 45-3 to improve to 7-0 all-time in Space Games. UCF is now 5-5 overall and 2-5 in Big 12 play. One more win in the last two games would clinch bowl eligibility.
The Knights’ win over the Cowboys threw a wrench into the Big 12 title picture. So, let’s see how the rest of the conference fared as the regular season winds down.
-The remaining conference opponents on the Knights’ 2023 schedule went a combined 1-1 in Week 11.
-UCF’s 2023 Big 12 opponents are now a combined 50-40 on the year.
-If the season ended today, the Big 12 Championship Game would still feature Texas and Oklahoma State, the latter of which would get in via tiebreaker over Oklahoma and Kansas State.
-The Big 12 has five teams ranked in the College Football Playoff Rankings this week — Texas (No. 7), Oklahoma (No. 14), Kansas State (No. 21), Oklahoma State (No. 23) and Kansas (No. 25).
-The Big 12 also has two future members ranked — Arizona (No. 17) and Utah (No. 22).
Texas Tech 16, No. 16 Kansas 13
The first Big 12 upset in Week 11 came in Lawrence, with Texas Tech beating then-No. 16 Kansas by a score of 16-13. This defeat came as a result of some bad injury luck for the Jayhawks (7-3, 4-3 Big 12), as quarterback Jason Bean left with an injury early. Of course, they’ve been without their actual starter, Jalon Daniels, for most of the season. So being down to QB3 against the resurgent Red Raiders (5-5, 4-3 Big 12) was a recipe for disaster. Texas Tech won 16-13, thanks to a walkoff 30-yard field goal by Gino Garcia. This came just 25 seconds after Kansas knotted the game at 13 with a 22-yard Seth Keller field goal.
As usual, Tahj Brooks carried the Red Raiders, rushing for 133 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. Texas Tech almost let the upset get away in the fourth quarter as it saw a 13-0 lead turn into a 13-13 tie, but it was Garcia’s field goal as time expired that resulted in a top-20 road win. For Kansas, third-string quarterback Cole Ballard was just 9-of-20 for 124 yards and an interception, though Devin Neal ran for 137 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries to outdo Brooks’ effort on the other side.
Up Next for Texas Tech — vs. UCF (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 5 p.m. ET
Up Next for No. 25 Kansas: vs. No. 21 Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Kansas State 59, Baylor 25
Kansas State absolutely steamrolled Baylor in Manhattan on Saturday, winning 59-25 as Will Howard set the program record for career passing touchdowns. The Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) got out to a 35-7 lead by the 13:07 mark in the second quarter and didn’t let up from there. The closest the Bears (3-7, 2-5 Big 12) got was 38-19 before K-State poured it on late. The Wildcat defense forced four turnovers as the team bounced back from a devastating loss to Texas last week.
Howard completed 19 of his 29 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns on the day while Avery Johnson added another one. Four different receivers caught touchdowns and the defense scored two touchdowns of its own in the win. Baylor’s Blake Shapen did throw for four touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Bears to stay in this one with the Wildcats.
Up Next for No. 21 Kansas State: at No. 25 Kansas (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) — Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET
Up Next for Baylor: at TCU (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 3:30 p.m. ET
No. 17 Oklahoma 59, West Virginia 20
Oklahoma rebounded from its loss in Bedlam by taking it to West Virginia, winning 59-20 in Norman on Saturday night. The Sooners (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) initially went down 7-0 in the first quarter before scoring the next 31 points to take a 31-7 lead over the Mountaineers (6-4, 4-3 Big 12). West Virginia got within 38-20 in the third quarter, but Oklahoma scored the game’s final three touchdowns from there to keep itself firmly in the Big 12 title picture with two weeks to go.
Dillon Gabriel totaled eight touchdowns on the night for Oklahoma, throwing for five and rushing for three to go with his 473 total yards. Gavin Sawchuk ran for 135 yards on 22 carries, but this one was all about Gabriel. West Virginia was outgained 644-330, with Oklahoma going 8-of-14 on third downs and 2-of-2 on fourth. Garrett Greene threw for two touchdowns, but this one was never in doubt for the Sooners.
Up Next for No. 14 Oklahoma: at BYU (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at Noon ET
Up Next for West Virginia: vs. Cincinnati (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Cincinnati 24, Houston 14
Cincinnati finally earned its first-ever Big 12 win, becoming the final new team to do so by beating fellow newcomer Houston 24-14. The Bearcats (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) went up 14-7 at halftime and eventually built that lead to 24-7 before the Cougars (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) put any more points on the scoreboard. The Cincinnati defense held Houston to 241 total yards and forced three turnovers in the win, the first for Scott Satterfield’s team since Sept. 9.
Emory Jones was efficient for the Bearcats, finishing 13-of-16 for 131 yards and a touchdown. But it was Corey Kiner who led the way for the offense, running for two touchdowns and 129 yards on 23 carries. The Cougar offense continued to sputter, with Donovan Smith throwing three interceptions. The quarterback was also the leading rusher for Houston, running for 88 yards on 13 attempts.
Up Next for Cincinnati: at West Virginia (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Up Next for Houston: vs. No. 23 Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 4:00 p.m. ET
No. 7 Texas 29, TCU 26
Texas narrowly escaped an upset bid by TCU, holding on late for a 29-26 win. The Longhorns (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) only led 7-6 after one quarter before a 19-0 run in the second quarter gave them a 26-6 lead. The Horned Frogs (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) got within 29-26 with 3:28 to go, but they never got the ball back from there. With the win, Texas kept rolling and is nearing a Big 12 title game berth.
Quinn Ewers returned for the Longhorns and threw for 317 yards and a touchdown to one interception. Jonathon Brooks ran for 104 yards and two scores on 21 carries while Bert Auburn went 3-of-3 on field goals. Savion Williams was the star for TCU, catching 11 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. The Horned Frogs now need to win their final two games to reach bowl eligibility after playing for the national championship last season.
Up Next for No. 7 Texas: at Iowa State (6-4, 5-2 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 8:00 p.m.
Up Next for TCU: vs. Baylor (3-7, 2-5 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Iowa State 45, BYU 13
BYU suffered another blowout at the hands of a Big 12 legacy team, losing 45-13 to Iowa State at home. The Cyclones (6-4, 5-2 Big 12) went up 31-7 by halftime and the closest the Cougars (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) got from there was 31-13. After that point, Iowa State scored the next 14 points. With the win, the Cyclones clinched bowl eligibility and ket the Cougars from getting there.
Rocco Becht threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-23 passing to lead Iowa State, with Abu Sama III running for 110 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Jaylin Noel was the Cyclones’ leading receiver, catching five passes for 98 yards and two scores. BYU finished just 1-of-11 on third downs and 1-of-4 on fourth downs. The Cougars also lost the turnover battle 3-0 as they suffered their fourth loss of the season by 28-plus points.
Up Next for Iowa State: vs. No. 7 Texas (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Up Next for BYU: vs. Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) — Saturday 11/18 at Noon ET