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2023 Big 12 Football Recap: Week 7

New Big 12 squads looked overmatched, but a Hail Mary saved the day.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 West Virginia at Houston Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week seven kicked off with a wild game in Houston. The Mountaineers and Cougars went back and forth all night before a last-second fling put the game away. The Saturday results weren’t as interesting, but some reeling squads secured much-needed victories. The Horned Frogs stunned the BYU Cougars, winning by 33 points without starting quarterback Chandler Morris. Moreover, the Oklahoma State Cowboys again look like a legitimate squad, downing the Kansas Jayhawks in a high-scoring affair. And the Kansas State Wildcats bounced back against the Texas Tech Raiders, who lost yet another quarterback to injury. Last but not least, the Iowa State Cyclones continued their Big 12 revenge tour with a dominant victory over the hapless Bearcats.

West Virginia 39, Houston 41

This Thursday night matchup certainly provided the most fireworks in week seven. After a back-breaking fourth down conversion from West Virginia that resulted in a 50-yard touchdown, the Cougars got the ball back with seven seconds left in the game. After the wild fourth down score, the Mountaineers received a penalty for an excessive celebration, giving the Cougars great starting field positions. Quarterback Donovan Smith completed a short pass before getting in position for a Hail Mary. Smith rolled out to the left and heaved a 50-yard bomb which was tipped, and then caught by receiver Stephon Johnson to put away the Mountaineers.

The Cougars played an efficient game, only possessing the ball for 23 minutes. Houston didn’t turn the ball over and Smith played perhaps his best game as a Cougar. He went 21-of-27 for 253 yards and four scores. As for the Mountaineers, they possessed the ball for almost 37 minutes. West Virginia remained on the field in part due to their excellent conversation rate on third down. Although the Mountaineers faced third won nineteen times, they converted thirteen of them. Quarterback Garrett Greene threw for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns, but did throw an interception. However, he did add 47 yards and two scores on the ground.

Next week, West Virginia (4-2, 2-1) takes on the ascending Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-2, 2-1) at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 21. Coming off a lively win, the Houston Cougars (3-3, 1-2) battle the Texas Longhorns (5-1, 2-1), who had a bye week after losing the Red River Rivalry. This matchup will be played at 3:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 21.

Iowa State 30, Cincinnati 10

Maybe the Cyclones are better than we thought. After a poor non-conference showing, including a loss to the Ohio Bobcats, the Cyclones have looked like a competent team in conference play. Iowa State has now won three conference games and lost one. Their only loss came at the hands of the now sixth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. In this affair, Iowa State played extremely well on both sides of the ball. Freshman quarterback Rocco Becht continues to improve week-by-week. He passed for 241 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Jayden Higgins had a big game as he reeled in six passes for 172 yards. The defense stymied Emory Jones and Co. Iowa State picked off Jones twice and only gave up 214 total yards.

Cincinnati scored its only touchdown in the first quarter as Jones connected with tight end Chamon Metayer for a 20-yard score. Besides this score, Cincinnati looked helpless on offense. The Bearcats only averaged 3.5 yards per play and went 3-for-13 on third down. This was easily Jones's worst performance of the season as he had yet to pass for less than 200 yards and/or two scores in a game. Despite a strong start for the Bearcats, they have now dropped four consecutive games. This is the first time since 2017 that Cincinnati has lost four games in a row.

Iowa State is idle in week eight, but Cincinnati gets the chance for revenge. Perhaps the most winnable game from here on out, the Bearcats (2-4, 0-3) face the Baylor Bears (2-4, 1-2). And despite this unfortunate start to the season, Cincinnati will be favored for the fourth time this season when they take on the Bears at 11:00 a.m. CT on Saturday, October 21.

#23 Kansas 32, Oklahoma State 39

The Jayhawks just can’t seem to find their footing. After four straight wins, Kansas got pummeled by the Texas Longhorns. Then, the Jayhawks destroyed the UCF Knights before falling to the Oklahoma State Cowboys this past Saturday. After a dominant rushing performance a week ago, the Jayhawks went to the air against the Cowboys. Kansas only mustered 90 rush yards on 29 carries. Conversely, quarterback Jason Bean completed 23 passes for 410 yards and five touchdowns, but he did throw two costly interceptions. Kanas led 32-24 with eleven minutes left in the third but failed to find the end zone for the rest of the game. Both of Bean’s interceptions came after Kansas’ last touchdown of the game.

After a quarterback conundrum to begin the year, the Cowboys have finally settled on their starter and positive results have followed. Alan Bowman played his third straight full game and did so very well. He threw for 336 yards and two scores. Despite a good game from Bowman, the game ball goes to running back Ollie Gordon II. The Cowboys running back truly did it all. He rushed for 168 yards and caught six passes for 116 yards. Gordon II scored once on the ground and once through the air. After a horrid start to the season, Oklahoma State seems to be settling in, especially on offense. The Cowboys are quickly becoming an efficient ball club with multiple explosive playmakers at Bowman’s disposal.

Kansas (5-2, 2-2) gets a much-needed rest, as quarterback Jalon Daniels is still on the mend. As for the Cowboys (4-2, 2-1), they travel to Morgantown to face off against the Mountaineers (4-2, 2-1) next Saturday.

Kansas State 38, Texas Tech 21

Deja Vu for Kansas State fans? Just like a season ago, a new quarterback entered the game and sparked the Wildcats offense. Freshman quarterback Avery Johnson ran wild on the Red Raiders defense. He totaled five scores and 90 yards on the ground. Johnson tied the Kansas State single-game record for most rushing touchdowns in a game. He also added 77 passing yards as previous starter Will Howard watched from the sidelines. Howard played poorly a week ago but had a decent showing against the Red Raiders until Johnson took over.

Another week, another injury to the starting quarterback for the Red Raiders. This time, starter Brehen Morton was injured against the Wildcats and was replaced by freshman Jake Strong. Strong led a 10-play, 99-yard touchdown drive, but followed it up with three straight interceptions. The most important position in football has been a revolving door in Lubbock and if the Red Raiders are unable to rely on another aspect of the game, this team might be doomed.

Kansas State (4-2, 2-1) will take on the TCU Horned Frogs (4-3, 2-2) in week eight. The 2022 Big 12 Champion and Runner-up will square off on Saturday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The Red Raiders (3-4, 2-2) look to get back in the win column, as they face the BYU Cougars (4-2, 1-2) at 6:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 21.