Around the Big 12 Week 2: Big wins and narrow losses

Welcome back to Around the Big 12, where we look back on the week that was for the other members of UCF’s new conference. The Knights escaped their Week 2 road matchup at Boise State with a walk-off 18-16 win, getting them to 2-0.

Of course, the rest of the Big 12 was in action throughout the weekend as well, so let’s see how everyone fared in Week 2.

UCF-Related Notes:

-The conference opponents on the Knights’ 2023 schedule went a combined 6-3 once again in Week 2, making them 12-6 on the year.

-The teams that UCF will see at home in 2023 went 2-2 again over the weekend, making them a combined 4-4 this season.

-UCF’s two-point margin of victory over Boise State was the narrowest in the conference this weekend. The only other Big 12 team to win by single-digits was Cincinnati (by 6 over Pitt).

-The new Big 12 teams — UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU — combined to go 3-1 in Week 2.

-The Big 12 has three teams ranked in the AP Top 25 heading into Week 3 — Texas (No. 4), Kansas State (No. 15) and Oklahoma (No. 19). Future members Utah (No. 12) and Colorado (No. 18) are also in the Top 25.

-Other Big 12 teams receiving Top 25 votes include TCU (19), Kansas (19), Cincinnati (3) and Oklahoma State (1).

Kansas 34, Illinois 23

The Jayhawks (2-0) got star quarterback Jalon Daniels back this week and absolutely rolled to another win. They got out to a 21-0 lead and eventually led 34-7 before Illinois scored two touchdowns and two two-point conversions to make the score look much closer than it was. Kansas dominated the whole way and racked up 539 yards while possessing the ball for 36:39.

In his return from injury, Daniels completed 21 of his 29 passes for 277 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Devin Neal had another big game, carrying the ball 10 times for 120 yards and a touchdown in addition to catching four passes for 47 yards. Daniel Hinshaw Jr. ran for 98 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries as well. The Jayhawk defense racked up six sacks and two interceptions before letting Illinois close the gap late.

Up Next: at Nevada (0-2)

No. 12 Utah 20, Baylor 13

After a bad loss to Texas State in its opener, Baylor (0-2) just came up short of an upset against Utah. After a scoreless first quarter, the Bears took a 10-3 lead into halftime and then extended that lead to 13-3 early in the third quarter. But the Utes came back, first tying the game with 1:59 left before scoring the game-winning touchdown with 17 seconds to go. Baylor got itself in position to potentially tie the game, but a controversially uncalled pass interference on the last play of the game robbed them of truly getting the chance.

Sawyer Robertson struggled for the Bears, completing just 12 of his 28 pass attempts for 218 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bears just got very little going offensively, and the defense couldn’t do quite enough to beat a Cam Rising-less Utah team. Even Isaiah Hawkings, who kept the team in the game with his two field goals, missed a 44-yard field goal.

Up Next: vs. Long Island (0-2) — Saturday 9/16

No. 15 Kansas State 42, Troy 13

Troy played Kansas State (2-0) surprisingly close early on, but the Wildcats eventually ran away with the game. The home team went up 14-0 early, but the Trojans got back within 14-10. A 39-yard touchdown pass from Will Howard to Phillip Brooks with 10 seconds left in the first half gave K-State more separation and the closest Troy got after that was 28-13. Two fourth-quarter touchdowns made it a big blowout in favor of the Wildcats.

Howard totaled five touchdowns, with three through the air and two on the ground. He threw for 250 yards on 21-of-32 passing while running for 33 yards and the two scores on eight carries.  Brooks caught seven passes for 94 yards and a touchdown, while Jadon Jackson hauled in four for 77 yards and a score. K-State was 10-of-15 on third downs in the win.

Up Next: at Missouri (2-0) — Saturday 9/16

BYU 41, Southern Utah 16

BYU (2-0) remained undefeated on the young season with an easy win over Southern Utah. The Cougars actually went down 3-0 halfway through the first quarter, only to score the next 27 points. Southern Utah got back within 27-10, but BYU scored the next 14 points and put the game away.

Kedon Slovis had a big game, completing 22 of his 32 pass attempts for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another touchdown, as did Deion Smith. Slovis’ four touchdown passes went to four different receivers, with Isaac Rex being the leader on the afternoon (four catches for 112 yards).

Up Next: at Arkansas (2-0) — Saturday 9/16

Iowa 20, Iowa State 13

After Iowa State’s offense was unimpressive in Week 1 against Northern Iowa, it came back and struggled again against Iowa. The Cyclones (1-1) couldn’t do enough to win the Cy-Hawk Trophy, losing 20-13. The Hawkeyes took a 17-0 lead and Iowa State never recovered, though Matt Campbell’s team did get within seven points late in the game. Iowa State even had one final chance with under two minutes left, but couldn’t convert a 4th & 1, leading to a loss.

Rocco Becht was 23-of-44 for 203 yards, a touchdown and an interception, with the interception going for a crucial pick-six. Of the three Cyclones players with a rush attempt in the game, none averaged more than 3.0 yards per carry. Jayden Higgins was perhaps the lone offensive bright spot, catching eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. The Iowa State defense only allowed 235 total yards, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a poor offensive day.

Up Next: at Ohio (2-1) — Saturday 9/16

No. 18 Oklahoma 28, SMU 11

Oklahoma (2-0) had to grind its way to a home victory over SMU. The game was as close as 14-11 in the fourth quarter before two Dillon Gabriel passing touchdowns gave the Sooners some separation and ensured that they would not be upset by the Mustangs. It was a less-than-impressive performance by Brent Venables’ team, which was locked in a close one despite winning the turnover battle 2-0 and going 7-of-15 on third downs.

Gabriel finished with four passing touchdowns on the day, though he only totaled 176 yards through the air on 19-of-27 passing. Tawee Walker was the big playmaker for the Sooners on offense, as he ran for 117 yards on 21 carries. Four different receivers caught touchdowns for Oklahoma while the defense held SMU to a 4-of-16 mark on third downs and a 2-of-4 finish on fourth downs.

Up Next: at Tulsa (1-1) — Saturday 9/16

West Virginia 56, Duquesne 17

The Mountaineers (1-1) rolled to a bounce-back win over Duquesne on Saturday, going up 35-10 by halftime before scoring three more touchdowns in the second half. The offense totaled 619 yards and split the yardage pretty evenly, posting 315 passing yards and 304 rushing yards. The defense, meanwhile, picked off two passes in the victory.

Garrett Greene completed 10 of his 18 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns, with his standout receiver being Hudson Clement, who caught five passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. After the game, Clement was out on full scholarship by head coach Neal Brown. The West Virginia rushing attack was strong, led by a 110-yard, one-touchdown performance by Jahiem White. Four different Mountaineers rushed for scores in the blowout win.

Up Next: vs. Pitt (1-1) — Saturday 9/16

Cincinnati 27, Pitt 21

In somewhat of a surprise, the Bearcats (2-0) never really looked in danger of losing this game to Pitt through the first three quarters. Scott Satterfield’s team went up 20-7 by halftime and then scored the game’s only third-quarter touchdown to extend its lead to 27-7. From there, the Panthers closed the gap with two early fourth-quarter touchdowns, but couldn’t do much else as Cincinnati came away with a road victory.

Emory Jones had a less-spectacular performance this week after earning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors last week. He finished 18-of-26 for just 125 yards and two touchdowns while throwing an interception. Corey Kiner was the leading force on the Cincinnati offense, running for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts. The Bearcat defense was strong, allowing under 275 yards in the win.

Up Next: vs. Miami Ohio (1-1) — Saturday 9/16

No. 11 Texas 34, No. 3 Alabama 24

College GameDay was on site in Tuscaloosa for one of the biggest non-conference games of the 2023 season (though the matchup will be a conference game starting next year). And what came of this big-time game was a massive win for Texas (2-0), which dealt with the pressure well and walked away with a 10-point win over Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. The Longhorns likely should’ve been up by more than 13-6 at halftime, and they paid for it by falling behind by the end of the third quarter. But after trailing 16-13 entering the fourth, they outscored Alabama 24-8 in the final 15 minutes to secure a fantastic win.

Quinn Ewers was great in the win, going 24-of-38 for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Ja’Tavion Sanders caught five passes for a team-high 114 yards, but it was Adonai Mitchell finding the end zone twice while catching three passes for 78 yards. The Texas defense totaled five sacks and nine tackles for loss while intercepting Alabama’s Jalen Milroe twice.

Up Next: vs. Wyoming (2-0) — Saturday 9/16

No. 13 Oregon 38, Texas Tech 30

Texas Tech (0-2) nearly bounced back from its bad Week 1 loss with a big Top-15 win over Oregon, but it ultimately didn’t come to fruition. After trailing 18-13 at halftime, the Red Raiders went on a 14-0 third-quarter run to take a 27-18 lead. A 10-0 run of their own gave the Ducks the lead back, but Texas Tech took a narrow 30-28 lead with 5:13 to go. The defense couldn’t hold, however, with Oregon coming back with the go-ahead field goal at the 1:10 mark before a pick-six with 35 seconds left sealed the game.

Tyler Shough had an uneven night, completing 24 of his 38 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing three interceptions. He also ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, though he also fumbled twice (losing one). Without the four turnovers, the Red Raiders likely win the game, as they were right there with Oregon the whole way. The Ducks’ 14 penalties for 124 yards nearly evened out the turnovers, but Texas Tech couldn’t pull off the upset.

Up Next: vs. Tarleton State (2-0) — Saturday 9/16

Rice 43, Houston 41 (2 OT)

After escaping a dodgy Week 1 matchup with UTSA, Houston (1-1) couldn’t avoid an upset this week against Rice, another in-state opponent. The Cougars have a hideously poor start to blame, as they fell behind the Owls 28-0 by the 8:32 mark in the second quarter. Houston did come all the way back, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 28 and force overtime. But in the second extra period, Rice’s successful two-point conversion was the difference as the Cougars were left stunned with a road loss.

Donovan Smith was a big factor on the ground, running 16 times for 57 yards and three touchdowns to go with his two passing scores on 24-of-42 passing. But the early deficit and the Houston defense’s inability to stop Rice’s JT Daniels (28-of-42, 401 yards, three touchdowns) added up to a bad loss ahead of next week’s conference opener.

Up Next: vs. TCU (1-1) — Saturday 9/16

TCU 41, Nicholls 6

After losing a thriller to Colorado in Week 1, the Horned Frogs (1-1) had it easier in Week 2. They completely overmatched Nicholls en route to a 35-point win. A blocked punt returned for a touchdown for things started for TCU as it got out to a 21-0 lead. It was easy from there (despite two turnovers) as Sonny Dykes’ team got to 1-1.

Chandler Morris finished with three total touchdowns, throwing for 263 yards and running for another 63. Former UCF wide receiver Jaylon Robinson caught five passes for 39 yards and a touchdown, and 13 different TCU receivers caught a pass in the win.

Up Next: at Houston (1-1) — Saturday 9/16

Oklahoma State 27, Arizona State 15

Late Saturday night, the Cowboys (2-0) ran away with a double-digit victory over future conference mate Arizona State. The Sun Devils held a 15-7 lead early in the second quarter, but Oklahoma State scored the game’s final 20 points to remain undefeated. Mike Gundy continued to play three different quarterbacks, and for the second straight week, none of the three really stood out as a clear answer.

Alan Bowman threw for 113 yards on 11-of-16 passing, while the other two quarterbacks threw the touchdowns. Garret Rangel went 6-of-9 for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Gunnar Gundy finished 5-of-7 for 32 yards and a score. The Cowboys defense tallied three sacks, eight tackles for loss and an interception, shutting out Arizona State over the final 34:53 of the game.

Up Next: vs. South Alabama (1-1) — Saturday 9/16

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.