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2023 Big 12 Football Recap: Week 2

An entertaining week 2 is capped off by a Texas-sized victory.

Texas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Texas is back! This time, the Longhorns might in fact be — back. Texas beat the Alabama Crimson Tide by ten points on Saturday, after entering the weekend as the one-score underdog, more on this later. As a collective, the Big 12 went 10-4 over the weekend. Many of the teams competed against better squads than a week ago, but the Horned Frogs were in luck to play Nicholls after losing to the now, 18th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes in week 1.

Kansas 34, Illinois 23

To kick off the weekend, the Jayhawks took on the Fighting Illini on Friday night. Star quarterback Jalon Daniels returned and played well. He recorded 277 yards in the air and tossed 2 touchdowns. Additionally, Daniels chipped in 24 yards on the ground. Aside from Daniels, running back Devin Neal rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries. The Jayhawks totaled 262 rushing yards on an astounding 6.0 yards per carry. Kansas did this on an Illinois team that allowed the 8th fewest rushing yards per game a season ago.

The Jayhawks actually led 34-7 in the game before the Fighting Illini came to life. Quarterback Luke Altmyer played a much better second half, as he threw his only touchdown of the game and broke off a 72-yard touchdown run at the end of the third. Illinois came within 11 points of Kansas with eight minutes to play. However, they allowed Kansas to hold the ball for four minutes the following drive and turned the ball over on their final drive of the game.

Kansas (2-0) plays a winless Nevada (0-2) squad next weekend on Saturday, September 16 at 9:30 p.m. CT. The Jayhawks are looking for their second straight 3-0 start after more than a decade of less than 25 percent win seasons.

Texas Tech 30, No. 13 Oregon 38

One of the Big 12 favorites before the season began has fallen to 0-2. The Red Raiders were stunned by Wyoming a week ago and fell to the thirteenth-ranked Oregon Ducks this past Saturday. The Red Raiders came hot, as they scored the first touchdown and didn’t back down. Oregon went up 15-7 before Texas Tech went on a 20-3 run to lead 27-18 entering the fourth quarter. Oregon then rattled off 10 points before a Tech field goal put the Red Raiders back on top. The Ducks took back the lead with a little over a minute left as kicker Camden Lewis drilled his third field goal. Texas Tech started with a minute and 10 seconds left, with the ball on their own 25. After two straight completions, former Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough was picked off by linebacker Jeffrey Bassa who hurdled Shough and took it the distance to give Oregon a 38-31 advantage. Ducks quarterback Bo Nix continued his Heisman campaign as he threw for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns while adding 46 yards on the ground.

The Red Raiders (0-2) look for their first victory of the season as they take on Tarleton State (2-0) at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16.

Iowa State 13, Iowa 20

Iowa took back the CyHawk trophy on Saturday as they defeated the Cyclones by a touchdown. Recently, the Hawkeyes have dominated this rivalry, winning seven of the past eight matchups. Iowa also leads the all-time series 47-23. The game started in typical series fashion, as Iowa dominated the first half. The Hawkeyes led 17-0 before the Cyclones kicked a last-second field goal to lower the margin to two touchdowns at the end of the half. The Cyclones played a much better second half, but it was too late. Iowa State had possession with a minute and 47 seconds left but turned the ball over on downs after getting to a 3rd-and-1 situation. Iowa State surely missed projected starter Hunter Dekkers, as his replacement quarterback Rocco Becht averaged only 4.6 yards per pass and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

Next week, Iowa State (1-1) is favored by a point and a half against the Ohio Bobcats (2-1). The Hawkeyes take on the Bobcats at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, September 16.

No. 11 Texas 34, No. 3 Alabama 24

The game of all games. Well, not the biggest game of the year as that will likely be the National Championship, but perhaps the biggest inter-conference matchup of the season. And the Texas Longhorns came to play. Throughout the entirety of the game, each team went back and forth, although Texas seemed to be in control. After a slow first quarter yielded a score of 3-0, the second quarter provided more back-and-forth action as Texas scored a touchdown and a field goal, while the Crimson Tide kicked two field goals to cut the deficit to a touchdown entering halftime. Alabama controlled the third quarter, en route to a 16-13 lead. Then, the fourth quarter happened. Quinn Ewers went nuclear and Texas scored three touchdowns to Alabama’s one. After an Alabama punt with seven minutes left, the Longhorns held the ball for the rest of the contest to seize the victory.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers looked like a first-round draft pick as he sliced and diced Alabama’s vaunted defense to the tune of 349 yards and 3 touchdowns. The star receiving trio of Ja’Tavion Sanders, Adonai Mitchell, and Xavier Worthy combined for 13 receptions, 267 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The Longhorns played stout defense as well, forcing five punts and recording two interceptions.

The Longhorns (2-0) face off against the Wyoming Cowboys (2-0) who upset fellow Big-12 team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders in week one. Texas plays at home at 7:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 16.

Baylor 13, No. 12 Utah 20

Baylor entered week two looking for triumph after falling to underdog Texas State in week one. However, week two presented a tougher task as Baylor took on a top-12 ranked opponent in the Utah Utes. The future Big 12 foe outlasted Florida a week ago before getting another tough inter-conference matchup in Baylor. Both the Bears and Utes relied on backup quarterbacks in this affair, as Utah quarterback, Cam Rising, has yet to play this season and Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen was injured a week prior. The game began slowly, as neither team scored in the first quarter. And after the first half, Baylor held a 10-3 lead over the Utes. Entering the fourth, Utah trailed 13-6, and a win looked bleak for the Utes as their hapless offense received the ball back with about ten minutes to go in the fourth. Utah turned to third-string quarterback, Nate Johnson, who led a 15-play, 88-yard drive to tie the game at 13. Next possession, Baylor looked to get the lead back, but their drive was cut short after quarterback Sawyer Robertson threw an interception in Baylor territory. The Utes went on to score another touchdown with seventeen seconds left to dispose of the Baylor Bears.

The Bears (0-2) will be looking for their first win of the season, as they take on Long Island (0-2) on September 16, at 11:00 a.m. CT.

No. 15 Kansas State 42, Troy 13

The Wildcats scored more than 40 points for the second consecutive week, as they toppled the Troy Trojans in week two. Kansas State played an efficient brand of football, as the Wildcats went 10-for-15 on third down and only turned the ball over once. Quarterback Will Howard continued to shine as he threw for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. On defense, Kansas State held a Troy offense that scored 48 points and racked up 540 yards of total offense to only 13 points and 286 yards, respectively. Most importantly, the defense held Troy to only 70 rushing yards on 2.5 yards per carry. In week one, the Trojans rushed for an astonishing 342 yards on 8.1 yards per rush behind running back Kimani Vidal who had 248 yards of his own. Safe to say the K-State defense held Vidal in check, as he rushed for 83 yards on 4.9 yards per carry.

The Wildcats (2-0) face a tougher test this upcoming weekend, as they battle the Missouri Tigers (2-0) on Saturday, September 16 at 11:00 a.m. CT. Missouri is 2-0, but like Kansas State, hasn’t played a Power-5 opponent this year.

No. 18 Oklahoma 28, SMU 11

One of the more intriguing matchups of the week, especially for those of us with Dallas-Fort Worth ties, is Oklahoma versus SMU. The last time these two schools played against one another was in 1995. And, OU leads the all-time series with a 6-1-1 record. SMU’s only win occurred in 1968, in the Bluebonnet Bowl. This time around, neither team looked sharp, but OU came out victorious. The Sooner didn’t turn it over once, but recorded nine penalties and went 7-for-15 on third down. As for the Mustangs, they were an abysmal 4-for-16 on third down and turned the ball over twice, both in the latter half of the contest.

The Mustangs actually outpaced the Sooners in total yards and time of possession, usually two indicators of a win. But, with the Sooners not turning the ball over once, they were able to stay in control. Veteran quarterback Dillon Gabriel had a nice day as he tossed four touchdowns. Running back Tawee Walker recorded a career-high 117 yards, as the Sooners may have found their permanent starting back. Before wrapping up this blurb, it would be unfair not to shout Oklahoma linebacker Danny Stutsman. The tackling machine continued his ways as he recorded 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery, and a sack on his way to being named the Walter Camp FBS National Defensive Player of the Week.

This Saturday, Oklahoma (2-0) takes on intra-state rival Tulsa (1-1). Although Tulsa may not be the fiercest opponent, they are typically a stingy one. A season ago, Tulsa beat Houston and remained close in both their matchups against ranked foes. Look for this game to be played at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 16.

Cincinnati 27, Pittsburgh 21

A quick glance at the Cincinnati vs. Pittsburg affair and everything seems pretty even. The score, third-down conversion percentage, first downs, penalties, turnovers, but there was one resounding difference. Cincinnati rushed for 216 yards, with running back Corey Kiner chipping in 153 yards and a touchdown. Kiner is now sixth in all college football with 258 rushing yards after two appearances. Cincinnati looked like the better team for the majority of the day, as the Bearcats led 27-7 entertaining the fourth. Although quarterback Emory Jones didn’t have quite the week he had in week one, his lone touchdown pass came on a fantastic throw and an even better catch made by wide receiver Braden Smith in the third quarter. After the third, Pitt scored two quick touchdowns to cut the lead to six with about twelve minutes to go. Ultimately, the Panthers only recorded two more first downs the rest of the game as Cincinnati’s defense stymied Pittsburgh during their final two drives.

Next week, the Bearcats (2-0) travel back home to take on Miami Ohio (1-1). The game will be held in the afternoon, as Cincinnati begins play on Saturday, September 16 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Houston 41, Rice 43

Wow. Just wow. Houston begins the season 1-1 after losing to a team that hasn’t won more than five games since 2014. However, Rice does look better this season. After adding former five-star quarter JT Daniels in the offseason, the Owls accumulated 470 yards of total offense against the Cougars. Daniels threw for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns, to go along with a QBR of 89.1. On the other side, former Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith recorded 260 yards in the air and tossed 2 touchdowns. Smith did damage on the ground, as he rushed for 57 yards and 3 touchdowns. This affair between the Cougars and Owls might have been the most entertaining game of the weekend. Houston began the game slowly, going down 28-0 with only a few minutes to go in the second quarter.

It took until the fourth quarter for the Cougars to show some life. Down 28-7, Houston tallied three touchdown runs in the fourth to tie the game at 28. In the first overtime, each team scored on their first possessions. In the second overtime, Rice was given the ball first. The Owls’ Daelen Alexander rushed for a touchdown and scored the two-point conversation as well. Houston scored a touchdown to cut the lead to two but failed on the two-point conversion, ultimately allowing Rice to come away victorious.

This upcoming Saturday, the Cougars (1-1) take on the Horned Frogs (1-1) in Houston. TCU will take the field at 7:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 16.

Duquesne 17, West Virginia 56

The biggest margin of victory this week, West Virginia dismantled Duquesne by 39 points. The Mountaineers tripled most of the Dukes’ counting stats. West Virginia especially dominated on the ground, as the Mountaineers racked up 304 rushing yards as opposed to Duquesne’s three, yes, three rushing yards. Through the air, freshman wide receiver Hudson Clement showed out. In his first career game, the freshman receiver recorded 5 receptions for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hudson’s touchdowns came from 14, 46, and 70 yards. An outstanding day for the freshman receiver.

Next weekend, West Virginia (1-1) battles Pitt (1-1) in the infamous Backyard Brawl. This will be the 106th meeting between the schools. Pitt holds the edge, as the Panthers have won 62 meetings, lost 40, and tied 3. As of now, the Panthers are favored by a point. The game will be held on Saturday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m. CT on ABC.

UCF 18, Boise State 16

UCF began the year with two straight victories. Week two’s triumph came at the last second as UCF kicker Colton Boomer knocked in a 40-yarder as time expired. On the day, Boomer connected on four field goals, while nailing a 55-yarder in the second quarter. On offense, UCF executed well but only came away with one touchdown. The Golden Knights ran for a combined 258 yards on the day. The Broncos played well but were not able to put together enough scoring drives to overcome UCF’s field goals. To add insult to injury, Boise State’s quarterback Taylen Green went down with an injury in the second half, adding more adversity to the comeback.

The Golden Knights (2-0) are in for a bout against the Villanova Wildcats (2-0) in week three. The game will take place in Orlando on September 16 at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Oklahoma State 27, Arizona State 15

Defense. That’s how the Cowboys came out on top this past weekend. With the quarterback carousel still intact, the Cowboys need to find another way to win games. Against the Sun Devils, Oklahoma State forced a turnover and turned the Sun Devil offense over on downs four times. Arizona State went 1-for-5 on fourth downs in the contest. The Cowboys made life difficult for freshman star quarterback Jaden Rashada. Rashada was sacked three times, threw an interception, and only averaged 5.8 yards per attempt.

As for the Oklahoma State quarterback debacle, all three quarterbacks played efficiently. Alan Bowman went 11-for-16 with 117 yards. Garret Rangel only amassed 46 yards through the air, but tossed a touchdown and completed 6-of-9 passes. And the younger Gundy, Gunnar Gundy, tossed a touchdown as well, but only threw for 32 yards and ended with a 25.3 QBR. It will be interesting to see how the quarterbacks are played in week three, as Gundy has remained frank on his decision.

The Cowboys (2-0) will suit up against South Alabama (1-1) on Saturday, September 16 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The Jaguars are battle-tested, as they played the once-ranked Tulane Green Wave in week one. The Cowboys are only favored by a touchdown, could an upset be in the works?

BYU 41, Southern Utah 16

BYU took care of business in week two. Quarterback Kedon Slovis threw for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air, while adding 1 on the ground. The Cougars hardly had to go to the ground game as they dominated through the air. Slovis dispersed the ball to the best of his ability, as four different receivers caught touchdowns against Southern Utah. With Puka Nacua now dominating in the NFL and Kody Epps out to begin the season, the Cougars were in need of a collective effort to keep the receiving core afloat. And the Cougars receivers did just that this past weekend.

BYU (2-0) is in for a tough test on Saturday, as they take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0) in week three. The Cougars travel to Fayetteville to take on the Razorbacks at 6:30 p.m. CT on September 16. BYU has only played Arkansas once before, last season. The Razorbacks came away victorious as returning quarterback KJ Jefferson dominated the Cougars defense. Jefferson amassed 367 yards through the air and 32 yards on the ground. And most importantly, Jefferson tossed five touchdowns. Can BYU stop the Arkansas pass game this year? Tune into ESPN2 to watch the Cougs take on the Razorbacks.