By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
Things to watch in the Big 12 Conference in Week 7:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 23 Kansas (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) at Oklahoma State (3-2, 1-1). The Jayhawks have played half of their games without injured star quarterback Jalon Daniels, but are the only continuing Big 12 team currently ranked in the AP poll— fifth-ranked Oklahoma and No. 9 Texas are SEC-bound next season. Daniels missed the season opener and then the last two games, including a loss at Texas, because of back issues. He likely won’t play again this week before an open date that will provide more time to recover.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy fully anticipates that his team will be facing Kansas backup quarterback Jason Bean, just like last year in a 37-16 loss that ended the Cowboys’ 12-game winning streak in the series. That was one of four games Daniels missed in 2022 with a shoulder injury. Bean completed 18 of 23 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns and ran four times for 93 yards with a 72-yard TD.
The Cowboys are coming off a 29-21 win over defending Big 12 champion Kansas State, a year after a 48-0 loss to the Wildcats.
Texas Tech running back Tahj Brooks against the Kansas State rushing defense. Brooks has four consecutive 100-yard rushing games, including career highs with 31 carries for 170 yards in a win last week at Baylor. He is third in the Big 12 and fifth nationally averaging 114.7 yards rushing per game for the Red Raiders (3-3, 2-1). The defending Big 12 champion Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) have allowed only 93.4 yards rushing per game, best in the Big 12. Brooks has faced K-State three times, and limited to 72 yards on 15 carries combined in those three games.
Iowa State junior safety Beau Freyler is the only Big 12 player to rank in the top 10 in the league in tackles (46) and interceptions (3). Freyler is coming off his first career game with multiple interceptions, in a win over TCU last Saturday when he had two picks and a team-high 11 tackles. It was his fifth career 10-tackle game. The Cyclones (3-3, 2-1) play at Cincinnati (2-3, 0-2) in a matchup of two of the league’s best defenses.
When Big 12 newcomer BYU (4-1, 1-1) plays TCU (3-3, 1-2) for the first time since 2011, it will be the third different conference in which they have played games against each other. The Cougars and Horned Frogs previously overlapped in the Western Athletic Conference (1996-98) and were also together in the Mountain West (2005-10). They are nearly identical in scoring this season — both on offense and defense. TCU averages 31.3 points per game, while BYU averages 31.0 a game. The Frogs give up 22.0 points a game, and the Cougars 22.4.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Among conferences, the Big 12 is first with its teams combining to average 171.1 yards rushing per game. That includes three of the nation’s top five individual rushers: Texas’ Jonathon Brooks (121 yards per game, second among FBS rushers), TCU’s Emani Bailey (115 ypg, fourth FBS) and Texas Tech’s Brooks (fifth FBS). … For the second weekend in a row, there are four teams with open dates. The teams getting a break are Red River rivals Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0) and Texas (5-1, 2-1) a week after their latest classic game, along with slumping Baylor (2-4, 1-2) and UCF (3-3, 0-3). The Knights are only team with three conference losses so far.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll