Around the Big 12 Week 7: Backup QBs galore 

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 were off this weekend and will take their 3-3 overall record and 0-3 Big 12 mark to Norman on Saturday for what’s expected to be a lopsided matchup against No. 6 Oklahoma. 

Of course, while UCF and some others were off for their bye weeks, there was some Big 12 action over the weekend. Let’s see how those teams fared in Week 7. 

UCF-Related Notes:

-The remaining conference opponents on the Knights’ 2023 schedule went a combined 2-3 in Week 7.  

-Including Kansas State, Baylor and Kansas, UCF’s 2023 Big 12 opponents are a combined 33-23 this year. 

-The teams that UCF will see at home in the rest of 2023 went a combined 2-1 this week. 

-If the season ended today, the Big 12 Championship Game would feature Oklahoma and Iowa State. 

-The Big 12 has two teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this week — Oklahoma (No. 6) and Texas (No. 8).

-The Big 12 also has one future member ranked — Utah (No. 14).

-Three other Big 12 teams are receiving votes: Kansas (2), West Virginia (1) and Oklahoma State (1). 

Houston 41, West Virginia 39

It was a wild one on Thursday night between Houston and West Virginia as the Cougars (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) stunned the Mountaineers (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) with a last-second Hail Mary to win 41-39. Houston grabbed a 35-24 lead with 7:28 to go in the game, but things were just getting started. The Mountaineers clawed back with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to get within three. Then, on a 4th & 10 at the 50-yard line with 12 seconds to go, Garrett Greene connected with Hudson Clement for a go-ahead 50-yard touchdown. 

That should’ve been the game, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the touchdown helped Houston’s field position on the ensuing possession. And it ultimately made a game-changing difference, as Donovan Smith unloaded a 49-yard Hail Mary attempt that was tipped and caught for a walk-off Houston win. It was Smith’s second consecutive four-passing touchdown game, it got the Cougars their first Big 12 win and it gave Dana Holgorsen a much-needed win over his former team. 

Up Next for Houston: vs. No. 8 Texas (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) — Saturday 10/21 

Up Next for West Virginia: vs. Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1 Big 12)

Iowa State 30, Cincinnati 10

Cincinnati’s lack of offense continued on Saturday against Iowa State, with the Bearcats (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) failing to muster up much of anything in a 30-10 loss to the Cyclones (4-3, 3-1 Big 12) at Nippert Stadium. Cincinnati did lead 7-3 after one quarter, but Iowa State scored 17 straight points from there to open a 20-7 lead. The Bearcats then got within 20-10 with 4:03 to go in the third quarter, but the Cyclones scored the final 10 points the rest of the way for a big 20-point road win that shot them up the Big 12 standings. 

Rocco Becht totaled three touchdowns for Iowa State, while Jayden Higgins was his top target with six catches for 172 yards. The Cyclone defense held the Bearcats to just 214 total yards and a 3-of-13 mark on third downs while intercepting Emory Jones twice. Jones was just 14-of-26 for 96 yards and a touchdown (with the two picks). He did run for 72 yards on 15 carries, but that made him Cincinnati’s leading rusher. 

Up Next for Iowa State: BYE WEEK

Up Next for Cincinnati: vs. Baylor (2-4, 1-2 Big 12)

Oklahoma State 39, No. 23 Kansas 32

In one of the more electric games of the weekend, Oklahoma State upset Kansas, 39-32,  at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. Coming off a win over Kansas State last week, the Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) appear to be back on track. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) had a short stay back in the Top 25. Oklahoma State started fast, going up 17-7 in the first quarter. But just as quickly, Kansas came back to take a 19-17 lead and at one point led 32-24 in the third quarter. But three Cowboys field goals — with a go-ahead Brennan Presley rushing touchdown with 2:33 to go mixed in — earned Mike Gundy’s team the win. 

Oklahoma State won the turnover battle 2-0 and got a big 39-point, 554-yard performance from its offense to go with it. Alan Bowman completed 28 of his 41 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns while Ollie Gordon II ran for 168 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries as part of a 218-yard rushing day for the Cowboys. The Jayhawks were held under 100 yards rushing, but backup quarterback Jason Bean kept them in it with 410 yards and five passing touchdowns. His two interceptions proved costly in the loss, though. 

Up Next for Kansas: BYE WEEK

Up Next for Oklahoma State: at West Virginia (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) — Saturday 10/21

TCU 44, BYU 11

BYU was the second Big 12 newcomer to be dismantled on Saturday afternoon, losing by 33 at TCU. The Horned Frogs (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) scored the first 24 points — sparked by a 35-yard Millard Bradford pick six and a 42-yard strike from Josh Hoover to JP Richardson. The Cougars (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) never got back into it, only getting within 24-8 before the hosts scored 14 straight to make it a 30-point deficit. 

With usual starting quarterback Chandler Morris sidelined, Hoover — a redshirt freshman — starred. He threw for 439 yards and four touchdowns in his first career start while being intercepted twice. His four touchdowns went to four different receivers. The Horned Frogs defense did the rest, holding BYU to a 2-of-14 mark on third downs and a 1-of-3 finish on fourth downs. 

Up Next for BYU: vs. Texas Tech (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) — Saturday 10/21

Up Next for TCU: at Kansas State (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) — Saturday 10/21

Kansas State 38, Texas Tech 21

Kansas State and Texas Tech played a pretty even first half in Lubbock before the Red Raiders (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) opened up a 21-17 lead midway through the third quarter. From there, though, the Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) rode the legs of backup quarterback Avery Johnson to three straight touchdowns and a 38-21 win. Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman said Johnson played the whole second half over usual starter Will Howard because Texas Tech was giving away the quarterback run game, and that decision paid off. 

Johnson finished 8-of-9 for 77 yards through the air, but where he did his damage was on the ground. He ran for 90 yards and FIVE touchdowns on 13 carries to lead the way for the Wildcats. Treshaun Ward added 118 yards on 15 carries as part of a 272-yard rushing day for K-State. On the other side, Jake Strong threw three interceptions in relief of injured starter Behren Morton, who left at halftime. 

Up Next for Kansas State: vs. TCU (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) — Saturday 10/21

Up Next for Texas Tech: at BYU (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) — Saturday 10/21

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.