Around the Big 12: Rough start for the new teams

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 hung around in their first-ever Big 12 game on Saturday night at Kansas State, but they eventually imploded late and lost 44-31.

Of course, the rest of the Big 12 was in action on Saturday as well, with a bunch of conference matchups filling up the slate. So, let’s see how everyone fared in Week 4.

UCF-Related Notes:

-The remaining conference opponents on the Knights’ 2023 schedule went a combined 4-4 in Week 4.

-Including Kansas State, UCF’s Big 12 opponents are a combined 22-14 this year.

-The teams that UCF will see at home in 2023 went a combined 2-2 yet again this week, making them 8-8 on the season.

-The new Big 12 teams — UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU — went 1-3 this weekend. All four have now lost their Big 12 openers.

-With UCF and BYU’s losses, there are three remaining undefeated teams in the Big 12: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

-The Big 12 has three teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this week — Texas (No. 3), Oklahoma (No. 14) and Kansas (No. 24).

-The Big 12 also has one future member ranked — Utah (No. 10).

-Kansas State (57) and TCU (17) are the other Big 12 teams receiving votes in the AP Top 25.

No. 16 Oklahoma 20, Cincinnati 6

Oklahoma didn’t have its best on Saturday, but still managed to spoil Cincinnati’s Big 12 debut. The Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) went to Nippert Stadium and handed the Bearcats (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) a 20-6 loss. Cincinnati struck first on a 40-yard Carter Brown field goal, but two Dillon Gabriel touchdowns and a couple of Zach Schmit field goals were enough for Oklahoma to take home the victory.

Gabriel threw for over 300 yards and a score, plus he added another on the ground. Andrel Anthony was his top receiver, catching seven passes for 117 yards. It was the Sooner defense that took care of the rest, sacking Emory Jones twice, picking him off twice and totaling seven tackles for loss. Jones was just 22-of-41 on the day and couldn’t help the Cincinnati offense find the end zone in its first taste of Big 12 action.

Up Next for No. 14 Oklahoma: vs. Iowa State (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

Up Next for Cincinnati: at BYU (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) — Friday 9/29

TCU 34, SMU 17

After winning its Big 12 opener over Houston last week, TCU wrapped up non-conference play on Saturday with a 17-point win over future ACC member SMU. It was tight in the first half, with the Horned Frogs (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) up 14-10. Sonny Dykes’ current team then went on to outscore his old team 13-0 in the third quarter to get some separation. TCU hung on from there and won its third straight game.

Chandler Morris continued to impress this week, throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns on  23-of-32 passing. He also ran for 38 yards on six carries, while Emani Bailey ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. TCU only outgained SMU 457-416, but won the turnover battle 2-0 in the win.

Up Next: vs. West Virginia (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

Kansas 38, BYU 27

BYU hung right in there on the road at Kansas in its Big 12 debut, but ultimately fell short. The Jayhawks (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) outscored the Cougars (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) 17-7 over the final 20 minutes of the game to run away with it and secure both a 4-0 start and a spot in the Top 25. BYU did lead 17-14 at one point, but just didn’t have enough to outlast Lance Leipold’s team on the road.

Jalon Daniels only threw for 130 yards, but tossed three touchdowns to lead the way for Kansas. Luke Grimm caught two passes on the day, with both going for scores. The Jayhawk rushing attack was balanced, with Devin Neal (91 yards), Daniel Hinshaw Jr. (60 yards) and Daniels (54 yards) all chipping in. Kedon Slovis threw two touchdowns for BYU, but was also intercepted twice in the loss. The Cougars couldn’t get anything going on the ground, getting outrushed 221-9.

Up Next for No. 24 Kansas: at No. 3 Texas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

Up Next for BYU: vs. Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) — Friday 9/29

West Virginia 20, Texas Tech 13

West Virginia won its third straight game on Saturday as it took an early 7-3 lead on Texas Tech and never relinquished it. The Mountaineers (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) went behind 3-0 to start, but scored the next 13 points to take a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) cut the deficit to 13-10 early in the final period, but never got any closer than that. Worst of all for Tech, it lost quarterback Tyler Shough to a serious leg injury that will reportedly require surgery.

Quarterback play wasn’t great in this one, with Nicco Marchiol completing just 12 of his 21 passes for 78 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for West Virginia. But Marchiol did lead the team in rushing, going for 72 yards on 15 carries. In place of Shough, Texas Tech’s Behren Morton finished 13-of-37 for 158 yards and a touchdown. Tahj Brooks ran for 149 yards on 25 carries, but it wasn’t enough for the Red Raiders.

Up Next for West Virginia: at TCU (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

Up Next for Texas Tech: vs. Houston (2-2, 0-1 Big 12)

Iowa State 34, Oklahoma State 27

After scoring 13 and 7 points in the previous two weeks, Iowa State found some offense on Saturday and beat Oklahoma State in both teams’ Big 12 openers. Once the Cyclones (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) went up 17-14 in the second quarter, they never looked back even as the Cowboys (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) tried to fight back. In the end, it was a 34-27 victory for Matt Campbell’s team, which won the turnover battle 2-0.

Rocco Becht had a fantastic game for Iowa State, completing 27 of his 38 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Eli Sanders ran for 58 yards and a score on 13 attempts to go with Becht’s big day. Jaylin Noel caught eight passes for 146 yards and a touchdown, while Daniel Jackson brought in six passes for 90 yards and two scores. Oklahoma State only went with one quarterback on the day, breaking its three-quarterback system. Alan Bowman got the start,  throwing for two touchdowns and two interceptions on 23-of-48 passing.

Up Next for Iowa State: at No. 14 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

Up Next for Oklahoma State: BYE WEEK

Houston 38, Sam Houston 7

Houston finished off its non-conference slate with a 31-point win over Sam Houston. The Bearkats led 7-3 early, but the Cougars (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) scored the final 28 points. This one really wasn’t close, with Houston having a massive edge in first downs (27-8), third-down efficiency (53.8%-23.1%), yards (538-178) and time of possession (34:55-25:05). The Bearkats also turned the ball over twice in the loss.

Donovan Smith was efficient for Houston, going 31-of-40 for 294 yards and a touchdown. Parker Jenkins ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns, while Ui Ale threw a 58-yard touchdown to Stacy Sneed to ice the game.

Up Next: at Texas Tech (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

No. 3 Texas 38, Baylor 6

This one was close for a quarter, but Texas really outclassed Baylor the rest of the way in a 38-6 win in Waco. The Bears (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) trailed just 7-3 after the first 15 minutes, but the Longhorns (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) scored 21 points between the 9:07 and 2:26 marks in the second quarter to run away with it. Texas led 28-6 at halftime, then scored 10 more in the third quarter to finish it off.

Quinn Ewers completed 18 of his 23 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown, plus he ran for a touchdown. Jonathon Brooks ran for 106 yards and two scores, while CJ Baxter added another rushing touchdown. Byron Murphy II tallied two sacks as part of a five-sack effort for the Longhorns defense. Baylor couldn’t get much going offensively at all, continuing to struggle early on this season.

Up Next for No. 3 Texas: vs. No. 24 Kansas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

Up Next for Baylor: at UCF (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) — Saturday 9/30

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.