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2023 Big 12 Football Recap: Week 11

As more chaos ensues, one team pulls away in the Big 12 Championship race.

Baylor v Kansas State Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Week 11 offered blowouts or close affairs, not really an in-between besides the Cincinnati vs. Houston game. The championship picture is still murky. However, Texas pulled away with a narrow escape at the Horned Frogs’ expense. Texas is now 6-1 in conference, with games against Iowa State and Texas Tech on the horizon. Two winnable games for the Longhorns. Aside from the Longhorns, four other squads have a fighting chance at the conference championship game. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Iowa State are all 5-2 in conference play. While three of those squads took care of business, the Cowboys suffered an embarrassing loss to the UCF Knights. Find out how the other Big 12 teams fared in an eventful week 11.

Texas Tech 16, #16 Kansas 13

The Jayhawks are still on the hunt for their first 8-win season since 2008. Kansas entered week 11 with a 7-2 record, their first seven-win season in 15 years as well. Although the Jayhawks had a ton of momentum entering the weekend, another injury at the quarterback position doomed the Jayhawks’ hopes. Kansas backup quarterback Jason Bean, who’s been filling in for Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Jalon Daniels, went out in the first half of the game with an apparent head injury. Third-string quarterback Cole Ballard entered the game for the injured Bean and led the offense to just 13 points.

As for the Red Raiders, it took a game-winning field goal and 133 yards from their star running back to defeat the Jayhawks. Texas Tech quarterback, Behren Morton, who is filling in for the previously injured starter Tyler Shough, started the game slowly but finished strong.

With less than 30 seconds remaining, Morton completed three straight passes to move the Red Raiders into field goal range. 63 of Morton’s 176 yards passing occurred on the final drive. A win is a win for the Red Raiders, as now they’re 5-5 after a horrendous start, one win away from bowl eligibility.

Texas Tech (5-5, 4-3) faces off against another squad nearing bowl eligibility, the UCF Knights (5-5, 2-5). These two teams collide on Saturday, November 18 at 4:00 p.m. CT. Two hours later, the Jayhawks (7-3, 4-3) will look to track down that elusive eighth win. They battle their rival, Kansas State (7-3, 5-2), at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Baylor 25, #25 Kansas State 59

Perhaps one of the most likely results of the weekend, the Wildcats emphatically dominated the Bears. Playing in Manhattan, as 20-point favorites, Kansas State started fast and never looked back. The Wildcats scored on each of their initial four drives. And wedged in between the first four series, the Wildcats also returned a Bears fumble for a touchdown. After going off for 235 yards and three touchdowns, Will Howard has cemented himself as one of the best quarterbacks in Kansas State history. Howard is now the all-time leader in touchdown passes for the Wildcats. The senior quarterback’s season total is now up to 21 with two, possibly three games remaining.

Baylor was outmatched on both sides of the ball. The Bears allowed 451 total yards and amassed 332 yards themselves. Despite a decent showing on offense, the Bears turned the ball over four times. Killing drives and giving the Wildcats great field position did not ease the beatdown. Additionally, the run game was once again horrid. Baylor rushed 35 times for a total of 85 yards. The Bears are averaging a mere 111.1 yards per game on just 3.3 yards per tote. Both averages are second to last in the conference.

The Bears (3-7, 2-5) take on the Horned Frogs (4-6, 2-5) in the newly anointed ‘Bluebonnet Battle’ in Fort Worth at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 18. Three and a half hours later, the Wildcats (7-3, 5-2) take on the Jayhawks (7-3, 4-3) in Lawrence.

#15 Oklahoma State 3, UCF 45

Who saw this coming? If anyone says “I did,” well... they’re flat-out lying. While the Cowboys were only favored by 2.5 points, no one could have expected a 45-3 drubbing. Oklahoma State entered the weekend on a five-game winning streak. Three of those wins came against ranked opponents, Kansas State, Kansas, and Oklahoma. One could argue that UCF was one of the easier games on the Cowboys’ conference schedule, but the final score says otherwise.

Ollie Gordon II, the energizer of the Cowboys conference turnaround, rushed for a meager 25 yards on 12 rushes. His longest rush of the day? five yards. Gordon II was held in check and the offense suffered. Quarterback Alan Bowman tossed three interceptions and the Cowboys struggled to sustain drives. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be crystal now. The Cowboys live and die by the run.

The Knights looked unstoppable all day on offense. Behind running back R.J. Harvey, who’s had a fantastic campaign himself, the Knights flourished in all aspects of the game. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee only had to throw 19 passes. He completed 11 of those for 299 yards and three scores. Wide receiver Kobe Hudson was on the receiving end of all three Plumlee touchdowns, as he caught three passes, all for scores. And last, but not least, the MVP of the game, Harvey. The Knights star rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Including a career-long 92-yard touchdown scamper.

Coming off this atrocious loss, the Cowboys (7-3, 5-2) travel to Houston to take on the Cougars (4-6, 2-5) at 3:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 18. Contrarily, the Knights (5-5, 2-5), coming off their best win of the season, take on the Red Raiders (5-5, 4-3) at 4:00 p.m. CT on the same day.

West Virginia 20, #17 Oklahoma 59

The other Oklahoma team took care of business on Saturday. Although the Sooners went down 7-0 in the first four minutes, they looked unstoppable throughout the entirety of the game. The Sooners scored on their first five drives to go up 31-7 with six minutes to go in the second quarter.

Oklahoma accumulated an astounding 664 yards of total offense against the Mountaineers. Led by quarterback Dillon Gabriel, the Sooners proved once again they have one of the best offenses in college football. Gabriel accounted for eight scores. Five through the air and three on the ground. He finished the game with 473 yards of total offense. And shout out to Drake Stoops, the receiver hauled in three touchdown passes to along with 10 receptions and 164 yards.

Coming off back-to-back wins, West Virginia looked completely outmatched against the Sooners. The passing game was an absolute mess. West Virginia quarterbacks combined for 154 yards, two interceptions, and a less than 33 percent completion rate. To make matters worse, the Mountaineers went 4-of-16 from third down. The offense put too much stress on the defense, which completely faltered against the Sooners’ dynamic offense.

Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2) opens up as the 24.5 favorites against the BYU Cougars (5-5, 2-5) at 11:00 a.m. CT on Saturday, November 18. Heading back to Morgantown, West Virginia (6-4, 4-3), the Mountaineers will battle the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-7, 1-6) at 1:30 p.m. CT later the same day.

Cincinnati 24, Houston 14

First Big 12 win for the Bearcats! Cincinnati defeated the Houston Cougars by 10 points to achieve their first win in a new conference. The Bearcats kept it on the ground against Houston and it worked. Led by Corey Kiner, the Bearcats totaled 204 yards and two scores on the ground. While Cincinnati raked up a lot of yardage, they also burned a ton of clock. The Bearcats won the time-of-possession battle by a whopping 14 minutes. Cincinnati held the ball for nearly 37 minutes, as opposed to Houston’s 23 minutes.

Struggling Cincinnati quarterback Emory Jones outplayed Houston’s Donovan Smith in this affair. Smith passed for 102 yards, with a paltry 3.6 yards per attempt. He tossed two touchdowns but threw three interceptions. It was a rough day all around for the Texas Tech transfer. He did add 88 yards on the ground, but it didn’t help the Cougars much in the grand scheme of things. With this loss, Houston’s bowl chances took a huge hit. The Cougars have to win against Oklahoma State and UCF to continue playing into December.

The Cougars (4-6, 2-5) contest against the Cowboys (7-3, 5-2) will take place at 3:00 p.m. CT on November 18. Coming off their first win, Cincinnati (3-7, 1-6) squares off against the reeling Mountaineers (6-4, 4-3) at 1;30 p.m. CT.

Iowa State 45, BYU 13

The Cougars have been outscored by a margin of 117-26 over their last three games. Add on two more games and the Cougars have been outscored 175-64 in their last six. It’s been dreadful on offense, but equally as dreadful on defense for BYU. The Cougars managed 318 yards on offense but went for 1-for-11 on third downs. Far too many drives stalled quickly as the Cougars would have to punt or they turned it over. On a positive note, quarterback Kedon Slovis may return to action against the Sooners on Saturday.

One of the biggest surprises in the Big 12, Iowa State has improved week-by-week. Against the Cougars, the Cyclones displayed great balance on offense. Iowa State accumulated over 200 yards in the air and on the ground. The Cyclones scored two times through the air and four times on the ground. The once-forgotten team in the Big 12 is now bowl-eligible and looking to shape up the conference standings with a showdown against the Longhorns this weekend.

Iowa State (6-4, 5-2) gets a home game against the Longhorns (9-1, 6-1) in prime time, at 7:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 18. The downtrodden Cougars (5-5, 2-5) get their shot at the Oklahoma Sooners (8-2, 5-2) at 11:00 a.m. CT on Saturday.