Around the Big 12 Week 13: Title game set, bowl eligibility decided 

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 beat Houston 27-13 on Saturday at the Bounce House, getting to 6-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play. With the win, UCF became the only Big 12 newcomer to reach bowl eligibility.

Chaos was largely avoided in Week 13, so this Saturday’s Big 12 Championship matchup in Arlington will feature Texas and Oklahoma State. But before we get there and into bowl season, let’s see how the rest of the conference fared on the final weekend of the regular season. 

UCF-Related Notes:

-UCF’s 2023 Big 12 opponents finished a combined 59-49 on the year. 

-The Knights’ home Big 12 opponents finished this season a combined 24-24. 

-UCF’s road Big 12 opponents finished this season a combined 35-25.  

-UCF’s conference opponents for 2024 went a combined 52-56 this year. 

-The Big 12 has four teams ranked in the College Football Playoff Rankings this week — Texas (No. 7), Oklahoma (No. 12), Oklahoma State (No. 18) and Kansas State (No. 25)

-The Big 12 also has one future member ranked — Arizona (No. 15). 

No. 13 Oklahoma 69, TCU 45

Oklahoma did its part to keep Big 12 title game hopes alive, beating TCU 69-45 in Norman on Friday afternoon. The Sooners (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) didn’t have other results to their way, meaning they will miss the conference championship game once again. But they did deny the Horned Frogs (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) from clinching bowl eligibility. Oklahoma was in control from the start and led 42-16 at halftime before continuing to roll in the second half despite some defensive lapses. TCU got within 52-38 to end the third quarter, but 17 straight points from Oklahoma after that sealed the deal. 

Dillon Gabriel threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns while running for another to lead the Sooners. Gavin Sawchuk added to the offensive explosion with 130 yards and three touchdowns of his own on 22 carries. The Oklahoma offense ran up 607 yards and despite the defense giving up 45 points, it did get in on the scoring thanks to a 45-yard pick-six by Billy Bowman Jr. Josh Hoover’s four-touchdown day and Emani Bailey’s 174 total yards and two total touchdowns weren’t enough for TCU as it missed a bowl game just one season after reaching the national title game. 

No. 7 Texas 57, Texas Tech 7

No. 7 Texas clinched its spot in the Big 12 Championship Game in resounding fashion, beating Texas Tech by 50 points — 57-7 — on Friday night. It was actually only a 10-7 game after one quarter, but the Longhorns (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) scored 47 straight points after that to send the rival Red Raiders (6-6, 5-4 Big 12) to a humiliating loss in what will be the final meeting between the two programs for some time. 

Bert Auburn kicked five field goals, Texas ran for 302 yards and three touchdowns, Jett Bush had a 43-yard pick-six and Keilan Robinson had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the win. It was a dominant performance for the Longhorns, who outgained the Red Raiders 528-198 and won the turnover battle 3-1. The passing game was especially bad for Texas Tech, with Behren Morton completing just 18 of his 36 passes for 88 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. 

No. 20 Oklahoma State 40, BYU 34 (2 OT)

Oklahoma State avoided near-disaster yet again on Saturday, holding off BYU 40-34 in double overtime to clinch their spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cowboys (9-3, 7-2 Big 12) nearly lost that spot, as they trailed 24-6 at halftime before storming back to take a 27-24 lead with 53 seconds to go in regulation. Just when it looked like they had done enough to steal the win late, a blocked PAT opened the door for the Cougars (5-7, 2-7 Big 12). They ended up sending the game to overtime on a 48-yard field goal by Will Ferrin, then they scored first in the first extra period to put the Cowboys’ backs against the wall again. But two straight Ollie Gordon II rushing touchdowns turned it around on BYU, which lost a fumble in the second overtime to lose the game and miss out on bowl eligibility.

Gordon was the star of the night for Oklahoma State—unsurprisingly. He ran 34 times for 166 yards and five touchdowns. Keep in mind, too, that Oklahoma State only scored five touchdowns. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year willed the Cowboys to the Big 12 title game, where they will face the departing Texas Longhorns. Things looked good early on for BYU as it tried to be the second Big 12 newcomer to reach six wins on the year, with Jake Retzlaff and Keelan Marion both rushing for touchdowns and Eddie Heckard coming through with a 13-yard pick-six. But the Cougars fell apart down the stretch and missed out on that all-important sixth win.

West Virginia 34, Baylor 31

Baylor nearly ended what was a very bad season on a very high note, but West Virginia pulled through late for a 34-31 win. The Bears (3-9, 2-7 Big 12) used 17 straight points to erase a 27-14 halftime deficit and take a 31-27 lead into the final minutes. But with 23 seconds to go, Garrett Greene Connected with Jahiem White for a 29-yard touchdown, crushing the Baylor faithful in Waco and send the Mountaineers (8-4, 6-3) to their eighth win. West Virginia thoroughly outgained Baylor in the game, 519-334, but the Bears hung around and nearly got their first win since Oct. 21. Dave Aranda’s team lost its last five games, while Neal Brown’s won four of its last five.

Greene was the key for the Mountaineer offense, as he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns while running for 103 yards and another two scores. White caught the game-winning touchdown, plus he ran 17 times for 133 yards. Baylor quarterback Sawyer Robertson completed 17 of his 19 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown while running for 33 yards on 15 carries. But the Bears just couldn’t hang on in the end.

Kansas 49, Cincinnati 16

Cincinnati saw its nightmarish Big 12 debut season come to an end with a 49-16 loss to Kansas at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. It was a close game early, but the Jayhawks (8-4, 5-4 Big 12) scored with five seconds left in the first half to take a 21-10 lead into the locker room. The Bearcats (3-9, 1-8 Big 12) couldn’t find enough offense to get back into it from there, only getting within 28-16 before the visitors scored three straight touchdowns to end the game. Despite Cincinnati holding possession for 32:41 to Kansas’ 27:19, it was the Jayhawks who had the edge it total yards at 562-342.

Jason Bean returned from injury to throw for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-17 passing. He also ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns on four carries, with scoring runs of 43 and 50 yards in the fourth quarter. Devin Neal ran only 10 times, but he totaled 106 yards and two touchdowns. The Jayhawks as a team ran for 312 yards on 34 carries, a 9.2-yard average. Corey Kiner was one of the lone bright spots for Cincinnati, as he ran 18 times for 106 yards in the 33-point home loss. The Bearcats finished at the bottom of the Big 12 with a 1-8 conference record, including an 0-5 mark at Nippert Stadium.

Iowa State 42, No. 19 Kansas State 35

As strong of a season as it was for defending Big 12 champion Kansas State, it ended on a sour note as the Wildcats (8-4, 6-3 Big 12) lost 42-35 to Iowa State on a snowy night in Manhattan. It was a back-and-forth contest most of the way, with the game tied at 28 after three quarters. Kansas State took a 35-28 lead early in the fourth, but two straight touchdowns by the Cyclones (7-5, 6-3 Big 12) were enough for the upset victory. The Wildcat defense simply couldn’t stop the big play, as Iowa State had touchdowns of 71, 77, 79, 60, 33 and 82 yards. All of that added up to a win and a fifth-place finish in the conference for the Cyclones.

Rocco Becht was 8-of-12 on the night for 230 yards and three touchdowns, but it was Abu Sama III who really wowed for Iowa State. He ran 16 times for 276 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 17.3 yards per carry. His three touchdown runs were from 71, 77 and 60 yards out. The game-winning score was ultimately an 82-yard touchdown pass from Becht to Jaylin Noel with 8:04 to go. Kansas State ran for 209 yards and saw tight end Ben Sinnott go for 136 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. The Wildcats also dominated the box score, finishing with advantages in the following categories: first downs (32-10), yards (497-488), third-down efficiency (11-of-23 to 3-of-7), takeaways (2-1) and time of possession (42:12-17:48). Yet all of that meant nothing as it ended in a loss.

About Bailey Adams 204 Articles
Bailey Adams is a senior writer covering UCF Football and Baseball for Knight Sports Now. You can follow him on Twitter at @BaileyJAdams22.