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2023 Big 12 Football Recap: Week 1

Week 1 in the Big 12 was full of upsets and surprises.

Arkansas State v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Week one of Big 12 Football certainly didn’t go as planned. All fourteen teams played their first games of the season against inter-conference foes. Ten teams came out victorious, while four teams succumbed to defeat. Of course, the Horned Frogs were outplayed by Deion Sanders’ upstart Colorado Buffaloes 45-42. As TCU descends down the standings, find out which of the other Big 12 teams won their matchups and which squads lost. Here are the recaps from the first week of college football in the Big 12 Conference.

UCF 56, Kent State 6

One of the four new additions to the Big 12, UCF, proved to be too much for Kent State. The Knights came into the matchup as the heavy favorite, at -35, and proved the oddsmakers were selling them short as they demolished Kent State by more than seven touchdowns. UCF’s offense came out firing, scoring fourteen unanswered points in the first ten minutes of regulation. Graduate quarterback, John Rhys Plumlee threw for the first score of the day, then ran in it for the second score. On the day, Plumlee accounted for over 370 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. The Knights ran for a mind-boggling 389 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. The UCF defense shut down the Golden Flashes, as Kent State only mustered 240 total yards.

UCF (1-0) will face a stingier opponent next week as they clash with Boise State (0-1) on Saturday, September 9 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The Broncos are looking to bounce back after getting throttled by the highly-touted Washington Huskies in week one.

Kansas 48, Missouri State 17

Perhaps the most interesting storyline for the Jayhawks in week 1 was the absence of star quarterback, Jalon Daniels. Daniels missed this week 1 affair against Missouri State due to back tightness. However, expect the preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year to suit up next week. Starting in Daniels' place, Jason Bean played admirably. The sixth-year quarterback, who has over 4,000 yards passing in his career, went 22-for-28 to go along with 276 yards through the air and 41 yards on the ground. Like UCF, the Jayhawks ground game looked like a well-oiled machine. Kansas ran for 245 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry. The Jayhawks played with excellent efficiency as they finished with above a 50 percent conversation rate on 3rd down, committed three penalties, and only turned the ball over once.

Kansas (1-0) squares off against the Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0) in week two at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday, September 8. Illinois is coming off a solid win against a good Group-of-5 opponent in Toledo.

No. 20 Oklahoma 73, Arkansas State 0

The biggest drubbing of week one was dealt to Arkansas St. by the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners scored 28 points in the opening quarter and never looked back. By the end of the first half, the Sooners held a 45-0 lead. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel passed for over 300 yards in the first half alone. Gabriel sat out the second half, and the Sooners turned to freshman quarterback Jackson Arnold who continued to lead OU to the end zone. The Sooners finished with 642 yards of total offense and recorded 36 first downs. The Red Wolves looked miserable, as they only accounted for 208 yards of total offense and were penalized a staggering fourteen times which led to a loss of 111 yards.

The Sooners (1-0) face off against the SMU Mustangs in week two. Oklahoma will stay in Norman, as the Mustangs cross the Red River to take on the Sooners at 5:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.

Iowa State 30, Northern Iowa 9

The Cyclones defeated the Northern Iowa Panthers by a score of 30 to 9 in week one. The Cyclones jumped out to an early lead and coasted from there. The Panthers bested the Cyclones in total yardage, first downs, and time of possession, but still fell to the Cyclones. After a tumultuous offseason, Iowa State is surely happy to begin the year with a victory. The Cyclones were missing numerous starters due to a gambling probe and were tasked with playing youngsters across the board, including freshman quarterback Rocco Becht. Becht didn’t stand out, but played a solid game passing for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Perhaps the MVP of the game, defensive back Jeremiah Cooper, recorded two interceptions, one of which he returned for a score. The Cyclones came away victorious due to stout defense and good play from their special teams.

Next week, the Cyclones have a tilt against their rival, the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes. Luckily for the Cyclones, the game will be held in Ames. The game will be held at 2:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.

No. 11 Texas 37, Rice 10

The Longhorns began the day somewhat slowly against the Rice Owls. UT went into halftime with only a 16-3 lead. However, the Longhorns blew the doors off the Owls in the 3rd quarter. Heisman candidate quarterback, Quinn Ewers, tossed two touchdowns and rushed for one, as UT outscored Rice 21-0 in the third quarter. While the Longhorns’ offense looked good, their defense really came to play. The UT defense held the Rice offense to only 10 points and 176 total yards. And, the Owls' sole touchdown didn’t come until three minutes left in the game. In other news, transfer quarterback J.T. Daniels’ Texas saga finally came to an end as he lost to Texas for the third time on his fourth different team.

The Longhorns (1-0) travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) for one of the most intriguing inter-conference matchups of the college football season. The Longhorns take on their future conference opponent at 6:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.

Cincinnati 66, Eastern Kentucky 13

The Bearcats, led by former Florida and Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones, put on an offensive display en route to a 66-13 victory against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Jones played with ultra-efficiency. He passed for 345 yards while hitting on 19 of 23 attempts. Jones recorded six total scores, four in the air and two more on the ground. His backup, sophomore Brady Lichtenberg, even added another score, going 4-of-4 for 93 yards. Aside from the prolific passing numbers, the Bearcats rushed for over 225 yards. Junior Corey Kiner provided a spark on the ground as he rushed for 105 yards. The Bearcats defense gave up 300 yards but forced three turnovers. Two interceptions and one fumble. Although stout against the pass, Cincinnati allowed 125 yards on the ground.

The Bearcats (1-0) face a tougher foe in week two, as they travel to Pittsburg to take on the Pitt Panthers (1-0). The Panthers are the eight-point favorites when they take on the Bearcats at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.

No. 16 Kansas State 45, Southeast Missouri 0

The second team in the recap to hold their opponent scoreless, the Kansas State Wildcats dominated Southeast Missouri by 45 points. The Wildcats more than doubled the Redhawks in total yardage, accumulating 588 yards. Returning quarterback, Will Howard, passed for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Although star running back Deuce Vaughn departed for the NFL, the Wildcats have seemingly found a new duo to rely on. Running backs DJ Giddens and Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward combined for 184 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Speaking of rushing, the Redhawks only mustered six, yes six... total rushing yards. Southeast Missouri never got the ground game going and wasn’t able to as Kansas State jumped to a 35-0 lead by halftime.

Next Saturday, the Wildcats (1-0) face off against the Troy Trojans (1-0) on September 9 at 11:00 a.m. CT. Once again, Kansas State is a heavy favorite, but Troy will likely prove to be a tougher test than Southeast Missouri.

Texas State 42, Baylor 31

Insanity. What other word is capable of describing this week one upset? Baylor, favored by 26.5 points, lost by 11 to the Texas State Bobcats. The new-look Bobcats, led by first-year head coach G.J. Kinne, proved to be too much for the Bears. This happened to be Texas State’s first-ever win against a Power Five Conference opponent. The Bobcats have a totally revamped team, second only to Colorado, the Bobcats had 71 newcomers. These newcomers, including transfer quarterback TJ Finley, played excellently on their way to defeating the Bears. The Bobcats scored on six of eight possessions, the Bears had no answer on defense. Although Baylor scored 31 points and totaled 524 yards, they looked out of sorts. Head coach Dave Aranda looked like an ascending coach in college football after leading Baylor to a 12-2 record in year two as coach. But, after a subpar season a year ago, and a loss to Texas State, one might ponder what’s next for Aranda.

Baylor (0-1) looks for redemption against the Utah Utes (1-0) in week two. Utah travels to Waco to take on Baylor at 11:00 a.m. CT on Saturday, September 9. Utah is coming off a dominant showing in week one, as they defeated Florida 24-11.

Houston 17, UTSA 14

Houston took down Group-of-Five Conference powerhouse UTSA by three points this past Saturday. After the first quarter, the game was all tied up at seven. But, the Cougars scored ten unanswered points to take a 17-7 lead heading into the fourth. UTSA scored a late touchdown to cut the lead to three points but couldn’t get the ball back as Houston held onto the ball for the final five and a half minutes. Texas Tech transfer Donovan Smith passed for 233 yards and two touchdowns. And on defense. the Cougars turned the Roadrunners over three times. The Houston defense picked off veteran quarterback Frank Harris three times. Additionally, the Cougars only allowed Harris to pass for 209 yards and completed only 50 percent of his passes.

The Cougars (1-0) look to go 2-0 before taking on the Horned Frogs in week three as they take on the Rice Owls (0-1) in week two. This matchup against the Owls will occur on Saturday, September 9 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Oklahoma State 27, Central Arkansas 13

Too close for comfort describes this affair. After the departure of longtime starting quarterback Spencer Sanders, the Cowboys attempted to find his successor in former Texas Tech and Michigan quarterback Alan Bowman. However, Bowman passed for 80 yards and finished with a 19.3 QBR. The Cowboys trotted out two additional quarterbacks against Central Arkansas. Garrett Rangel passed for 118 yards and a touchdown but threw an interception. Garrett Gundy accumulated 126 total yards and recorded a QBR rating of 80.2. The quarterback still seems unsettled, as Gundry, the third quarterback to enter the game played the best of the trio. With the most important positions still unsettled entering week two, watch for the Cowboys to potentially struggle, especially on offense, in their upcoming games.

The Cowboys (1-0) take on the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0) in week two. The future Big 12 Conference team, Arizona State, will welcome Oklahoma State to Tempe as the two teams will face off at 9:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.

No. 7 Penn State 38, West Virginia 15

West Virginia came into this contest as a three-touchdown dog. And fittingly, the game Nittany Lions won by 23 points. Sophomore quarterback Drew Allar played fantastically, as he passed for 325 yards and threw 3 touchdowns in tune to an 86.0 QBR. After the departure of longtime starter Sean Clifford, Penn State seemingly has a new quarterback to rely on for multiple seasons. Through three quarters, Penn State led West Virginia by two scores. However, the Nittany Lions extended this lead to 24 points by the midway point of the fourth. The Mountaineers scored again to cut the lead down to two scores late in the fourth but were unable to get the ball back as Penn State scored once again with six seconds left. Although the Mountaineers played a solid first half, on offense and defense, they ultimately slowed down letting Penn State take over.

West Virginia (0-1) gets a much easier opponent in week two, as Duquesne (1-0) travels to Morgantown. The contest will be played at 5:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.

Wyoming 35, Texas Tech 33

The third stunner of the first week, Texas Tech lost a close one to the Wyoming Cowboys. The Red Raiders started off hot, scoring three times in the first quarter, and taking a 17-0 lead. Wyoming was able to cut the deficit to a single score in the second quarter. The Red Raiders were unable to find the endzone in regulation after the first quarter, as they only mustered a field goal in the fourth. This field goal came with 41 seconds left, as the Red Raiders tied up the game. Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley only passed for 149 yards but made a timely play in overtime. He threw the game-tying touchdown, and on the two-point conversation, running back, Sam Scott, punched it in to conclude Wyoming’s upset over the Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders (0-1) take on the No. 15 Oregon Ducks (1-0) at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 9. After the Ducks dropped 81 points in week one, look for the Red Raiders to prioritize stopping the Ducks’ high-flying attack.

BYU 14, Sam Houston 0

The BYU Cougars defeated the Sam Houston Bearkats in a low-scoring, defensive battle. The Cougars held the Bearkats to only 185 total yards and a 2-of-14 mark from third down. Former Pitt and USC quarterback Kedon Slovis only managed 145 yards through the air, but was supported well on the ground. Running back LJ Martin rushed for 91 yards, and the Cougars totaled 112 rushing yards in this low-scoring affair. BYU won this game on defense. The Cougars forced three turnovers, picking off Sam Houston quarterback, Keegan Shoemaker, three times.

BYU (1-0) keeps in Utah in week two, as they face off against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (0-1) at 2:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 9.