Around the Big 12 Week 12: Coming down to the wire 

Around the Big 12

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 couldn’t make it three wins in a row on Saturday night, losing 24-23 to Texas Tech in Lubbock. UCF is now 5-6 overall and 2-6 in Big 12 play, meaning a win over Houston in the regular season’s final is needed in order to clinch bowl eligibility.

The Big 12 title picture is coming down to the wire, with the final weekend of the regular season set to determine who will square off in Arlington on the first weekend of December to determine the conference champion. Before we get there, let’s see how the rest of the conference fared in Week 12. 

UCF-Related Notes:

-UCF’s 2023 Big 12 opponents are now a combined 55-44 on the year. 

-Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the simplest resolution to the crowded Big 12 title picture is Texas and Oklahoma State winning their respective games to set up a meeting next weekend. But Oklahoma and Kansas State stay alive if Oklahoma State loses. If Texas loses, everything gets chaotic. 

-The Big 12 has four teams ranked in the College Football Playoff Rankings this week — Texas (No. 7), Oklahoma (No. 13), Kansas State (No. 19) and Oklahoma State (No. 20). 

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

No. 14 Oklahoma 31, BYU 24

Oklahoma survived a back-and-forth affair with BYU in Provo on Saturday, needing a 16-yard touchdown run from Gavin Sawchuk with 7:57 left to escape with a 31-24 win. The Sooners (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) and Cougars (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) traded scores all day and were tied at the end of the first, second and third quarters. But BYU couldn’t answer the Sawchuk touchdown, going three-and-out on its ensuing possession before Oklahoma killed the final 5:08. 

Dillon Gabriel threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-21 passing while Sawchuk ran for 107 yards and the game-winning score on 14 carries. Billy Bowman Jr. also chipped in with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter. For BYU, it was three turnovers that were ultimately too much to overcome. Jake Retzlaff threw for two touchdowns and ran for one, but he also threw an interception and fumbled four times, losing two of them. 

Up Next for No. 13 Oklahoma: vs. TCU (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) — Friday 11/24 at Noon ET

Up Next for BYU: at No. 20 Oklahoma State (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 3:30 p.m. ET

West Virginia 42, Cincinnati 21

West Virginia got out to a 21-0 lead on Cincinnati and never looked back, winning 42-21 in Morgantown. The closest the Bearcats (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) got was within 21-7 before the Mountaineers (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) scored 21 straight points again to go up 42-7. Cincinnati scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make the final score look closer than it was, but West Virginia dominated the game to the tune of 634 total yards and 31 first downs. 

The Mountaineers ran ALL OVER the Bearcats, racking up 424 yards on the ground and finishing with 9.2 yards per carry. Jahiem White ran for 204 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries (9.7 avg.) while quarterback Garrett Greene ran 11 times for 154 yards (14.0 avg.) and three touchdowns to go with 210 passing yards and another score. Emory Jones accounted for all three of Cincinnati’s touchdowns, throwing for two and running for one. Chamon Metayer caught both of his passing touchdowns while Xzavier Henderson racked up 104 yards on six catches. 

Up Next for West Virginia: at Baylor (3-8, 2-6 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Up Next for Cincinnati: vs. Kansas (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TCU 42, Baylor 17

TCU kept its quest for bowl eligibility alive for one more week with a 42-17 win over Baylor in Fort Worth on Saturday afternoon. The Bears (3-8, 2-6 Big 12) stayed in it for a while, trailing just 21-17 midway through the third quarter. But the Horned Frogs (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) scored three straight touchdowns from there to seal the deal. TCU lost the turnover battle 1-0, but Sonny Dykes’ team outgained Dave Aranda’s 531-347. 

Josh Hoover led the way for TCU with 412 yards and two scores through the air in addition to another touchdown on the ground. Emani Bailey ran for 53 yards and two scores as well, while Trey Sanders added a rushing touchdown of his own. Jared Wiley was the star receiver of the day, catching seven passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including an 81-yarder in the second quarter. Blake Shapen threw a touchdown and ran for one, but the Baylor offense ultimately couldn’t keep up.  

Up Next for TCU: at No. 13 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) — Friday 11/24 at Noon ET

Up Next for Baylor: vs. West Virginia (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 7:00 p.m. ET

No. 23 Oklahoma State 43, Houston 30

A week after getting blown out by UCF, Oklahoma State found itself in danger of dropping two straight as it trailed Houston 23-9 before storming back. The Cowboys (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) scored 27 straight points after that before the Cougars (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) managed to score again to cut it to 36-30 with 7:30 left. But Ollie Gordon II’s third touchdown run of the day put the game away as Oklahoma State won 43-30 to maintain control of its own destiny in the Big 12 title picture. 

Gordon ran for those three touchdowns and 164 yards on 25 carries, bouncing back after a quiet day against UCF in Week 11. Alan Bowman bounced back as well, throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-43 passing. Brennan Presley was his top receiver, catching 15 passes for 189 yards. Donovan Smith threw two interceptions in the loss, but the Houston defense did find the end zone itself as Isaiah Hamilton’s 57-yard pick six opened the scoring in the first quarter. 

Up Next for No. 20 Oklahoma State: vs. BYU (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Up Next for Houston: at UCF (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) — Saturday at Noon ET

No. 21 Kansas State 31, No. 25 Kansas 27

Kansas State rallied late to beat Kansas 31-27, capturing its 15th straight Sunflower Showdown victory on the road in Lawrence. The two teams traded leads in the first half before the Jayhawks (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) eventually went up 27-16 in the third quarter. But after a touchdown with 13:28 left in the third quarter, they never scored again. The Wildcats (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) got touchdown runs from DJ Giddens and Will Howard down the stretch to pull off the victory and hold on to their minuscule Big 12 title hopes.  

Howard totaled three touchdowns and Giddens added 102 yards to go with his, but the story was the Wildcat defense forcing three Jayhawk turnovers. Third-string Kansas quarterback Cole Ballard threw two interceptions as the Jayhawks largely leaned on the run game. Devin Neal did his part, rushing for 138 yards and three scores on 18 carries, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. 

Up Next for No. 19 Kansas State: vs. Iowa State (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Up Next for Kansas: at Cincinnati (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 7:30 p.m. 

No. 7 Texas 26, Iowa State 16

Texas maintained its spot atop the Big 12 standings with a 26-16 win at Iowa State. It was never all that easy for the Longhorns (10-1, 7-1 Big 12), as even a 23-9 lead in the fourth quarter quickly became a one-possession game at 23-16 a couple of minutes later. But another Bert Auburn field goal with 6:14 to go and some stops from the defense were enough to hold off the Cyclones (6-5, 5-3 Big 12), who just couldn’t do enough to pull off an upset. 

Quinn Ewers threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns and CJ Baxter ran for 117 yards on 20 carries to pace the Longhorns. The Texas defense was strong on the night, forcing a safety and picking off Rocco Becht as the Cyclones only managed 16 points. The Iowa State run game was completely shut down, running for nine yards on 21 attempts, which is a 0.4-yard average. Becht threw for two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Cyclones. 

Up Next for No. 7 Texas: vs. Texas Tech (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) — Friday 11/24 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Up Next for Iowa State: at No. 19 Kansas State (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) — Saturday 11/25 at 8:00 p.m. ET

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.