clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 Big 12 Football Recap: Week 12

The favorites took care of business this past weekend. Find out how each team stacks up before the final week of the season.

Texas v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

As we enter the last weekend of the season, four teams have a shot of making the Big 12 Championship. Only one squad controls its destiny, Texas. The remaining three, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Kansas State need a little help to reach the Championship. If Oklahoma State wins, they’re in. Oklahoma needs one of Texas or Oklahoma State to lose to get in. And the Wildcats need both Oklahoma schools to lose or both to win and Texas to lose to get a spot in the Championship. In this iteration of the Big 12 recap, we’ll briefly discuss the outcome of each game while also preparing for the final week of the regular season.

#7 Texas 26, Iowa State 16

The Longhorns took care of business in Ames this past weekend. After becoming a trendy upset pick throughout this past week, Texas played well in all aspects of the game to defeat an impressive Iowa State squad. After defeating the Cyclones, the Longhorns have secured their first double-digit win season since 2018. And their first 10-win regular season since 2009. Despite the loss of Jonathon Brooks, the Longhorns looked good on offense. Brooks’ replacement, running back CJ Baxter, ran for 117 yards and added five receptions for 13 yards. Through the air, Quarterback Quinn Ewers passed for 281 yards and two scores.

The Cyclones passed the ball extremely well but struggled on the ground. Quarterback Rocco Becht accumulated 323 passing yards and two scores. He spread the ball around, as nine players were a recipient of a Becht pass. Despite the effective through the air, the ground game yielded only nine yards and 21 attempts. The Texas defensive line completely stymied the Iowa State run game. With a loss, the ‘Cyclones' hopes of reaching the Big 12 Title game were crushed. Although it was a long shot, there was still a chance.

Texas (10-1, 7-1) faces off against the Texas Tech Raiders (6-5, 5-3) in a Friday night battle. The Longhorns must beat the Red Raiders to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive. They’ll do so on November 24 at 6:30 p.m. CT. The Cyclones (6-5, 5-3) take on the Kansas State Wildcats (8-3, 6-2) at 7:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 25.

#14 Oklahoma 31, BYU 24

Not quite the score we thought we’d get. After getting demolished three weeks in a row, the Cougars put up a quality fight against the Sooners. Oklahoma hadn’t been playing their best football either. Following their big win against the Longhorns, the Sooners went 2-2, with one of those wins coming by only two points. This clash between two downtrodden squads certainly provided fireworks. The Sooners didn’t play their best game offensively and to make matters worse, star quarterback Dillon Gabriel exited in the second half due to injury. While the offense lacked, the defense did not. The Sooners forced three turnovers and scored 21 points off those takeaways.

The Cougars out-gained the Sooners on Saturday, but their turnovers were too much to overcome. BYU running back Aidan Robbins rushed for 182 yards on a mere 22 rushes. He was key for the Cougars in winning the time of possession and yardage battle. Next to Robbins in the backfield, quarterback Jake Retzlaff made his third consecutive start and underwhelmed. He did manage two touchdowns, but only passed for 173 yards and turned the ball over three times.

The Sooners (9-2, 6-2) will take on the Horned Frogs (5-6, 3-5) in a must-win game. These two teams kick off the weekend with a battle on Friday, November 24 at 11:00 a.m. CT. On the brink of bowl eligibility, the Cougars (5-6, 2-6) take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-3, 6-2) at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 25.

#21 Kansas State 31, #25 Kansas 27

The Jayhawks surprised everyone in this affair, keeping the score tight and even leading at some points in the game. The Jayhawks were well aware of their offensive limitations and decided to play smash mouth football. Kansas ran the ball 41 times to the tune of 234 yards and three scores. Devin Neal led the way with 138 yards. As Cole Ballard, the young quarterback who replaced Jason Bean. He passed for 162 yards and a score, but did toss two costly interceptions. Both came in the second half and the second of two essentially sealed the game. Looking for a touchdown to take the lead, Ballard tossed an interception with only five and a half minutes left.

Although the Wildcats didn’t play a perfect game, they once again proved to be a resilient squad. The Wildcats trailed by two scores with less than 25 minutes to go in the game. With a vaunted rushing attack, the Jayhawks had control of the clock. However, the Wildcats flipped the script and controlled the second half. The Jayhawks only possessed the ball for 10 minutes in the third and fourth quarters. Kansas State played opportunistic football, intercepting the Jayhawks twice and forcing a punt. Despite a so-so offensive performance, the Wildcats displayed the ability to get it done by any means necessary.

Kansas (7-4, 4-4), looking for a bounce-back win, takes on the Bearcats (3-8, 1-7) on Saturday, November 25 at 6:30 p.m. CT. As for the Wildcats (8-3, 6-2), they’ll put their Conference Championship aspirations in the line as they take on the Cyclones (6-5, 5-3) in Manhattan later that night at 7:00 p.m. CT.

#23 Oklahoma State 43, Houston 30

The Cowboys or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Oklahoma State was trounced last weekend by 42 points. By no other than the UCF Knights. The week prior? The Cowboys knocked off the 9th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Fast forward to week 12, and the Cowboys defeated the Houston Cougars by 13 points after beginning the game with a 14-3 deficit. A typical conference title contender doesn’t look like these Cowboys. They began the year slow but dominated Big 12 play until the fateful night day against the Knights.

In this affair, Oklahoma State did what they do best. They ran the ball down the Cougars throats. Star running back Ollie Gordon II rushed 25 times for 164 yards and found paydirt on three separate occasions. Quarterback Alan Bowman played well, he passed for 348 yards and two scores. He often looked in the direction of receiver Brennan Presley, who reeled in a career-high 15 receptions for 189 yards. As for the Cougars, they played yet another hard-fought game. However, hard-fought games don’t equate to bowl games. At 4-7, the Cougars are out of bowl contention for the first time since 2019. While this season is a wash, there’s hope for next year. Quarterback Donovan Smith, who has thrown for over 2500 yards and 20 touchdowns, should be back next season to lead the Cougars once again.

Oklahoma State (8-3, 6-2) is looking to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship with a win in Stillwater against the BYU Cougars (5-6, 2-6) this Saturday. This clash will take place at 2:30 p.m. CT on November 25. Earlier in the day, the Cougars (4-7, 2-6) will match up with the UCF Knights (5-6, 2-6) at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Cincinnati 21, West Virginia 42

Cincinnati had no shot in this affair. The Mountaineers played fantastic on both sides of the ball. West Virginia rushed for an astounding 424 yards and five scores against the Bearcats’ defense. Running back Jaheim White gained 204 yards and a score on the ground. He averaged an impressive 9.7 yards per carry. Quarterback Garrett Greene averaged an even more impressive 14.0 yards per rush. He ran wild for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, Green added 210 yards and a touchdown through the air. The Mountaineers only turned the ball over once, coincidentally the same amount of times they ended a possession with a punt.

Despite a horrific defensive showing, the Bearcats played an efficient brand of football. Cincinnati didn’t turn the ball over once and went 5-of-12 on third downs. The Bearcats couldn’t sustain drives. 6 of the 10 Cincinnati drives last five or less plays. The Bearcats only managed 25 minutes of possession. The offense did nothing spectacular. Cincinnati totaled 191 yards and two scores through the air and 141 yards and another score on the ground. It’s been a disappointing inaugural season in the Big 12 to say the least for the Bearcats. And while it may take a few years to solidify themselves as conference contenders, the defense needs fixing asap.

The Mountaineers (7-4, 5-3) are gunning for their first eight-win season since 2018. West Virginia travels to Baylor to take on the Bears at 6:00 p.m. CT on the 25th of November. The Bearcats (3-8, 1-7) end the season at home, with a battle against the bowl-eligible Kansas Jayhawks (7-4, 4-4) on Saturday, November 25 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

UCF 23, Texas Tech 24

Relying on Tahj Brooks happens to be a sound strategy. The star running back gashed the Knights defense to the tune of 182 yards and a touchdown. Otherwise, the offense played well. But the same can’t be said for the Red Raiders defense. Texas Tech allowed 486 yards and a 57 percent conversation rate on third downs. A tie ball game seemed imminent as the Knights scored a 71 yard touchdown with under six minutes to go. However, the extra point was blocked, thus the Knights remained behind, by a single point. UCF actually led 14-0 in this contest, but couldn’t score in the red zone. Twice the Knights marched down to get within the 10 yard line, only to come away with 3 points. The Knights offense is ho-hum, but several mistakes snatched the defeat from the jaws of victory.

What a season turnaround for the Red Raiders. After rocky start, the dark horse Big 12 favorite is now bowl eligible. This is the second consecutive winning season for Texas Tech, the first time accomplishing this feat since 2009, under legendary head coach Mike Leach. Although they allowed 238 yards on the ground, the Red Raiders didn’t allow a single Knight to surpass the 100-yard mark. Next week, Texas Tech’s defense will be tested once again, as they battle Quinn Ewers, CJ Baxter, and the Longhorns prolific offense.

Despite the loss, the Knights (5-6, 2-7) still have one last shot at bowl eligibility. They take on the Houston Cougars (4-7, 2-6) at 11:00 a.m. CT on Saturday, November 25. The Red Raiders (6-5, 5-3) are in for a prime-time contest. Texas Tech travels south to Austin to take on the College Football Playoff-hopeful Longhorns (10-1, 7-1) on Friday, November 24 at 6:30 p.m. CT.