COUGAR TRACKS

How BYU Football Has Performed Against Big 12 Conference Foes

Jun 13, 2022, 2:54 PM
BYU Football, Big 12, UCF, Isaac Rex...
BYU football will join the Big 12 Conference on July 1, 2023 beginning new matchups with league foes such as UCF. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – When BYU football joins the Big 12 Conference on July 1, 2023, it will open a new world of possibilities for the Cougars. Most notably, the opportunity to play teams that they haven’t faced often in their history.

With all four of the new Big 12 members set to join the league in 2023, it’s a great time to look at how BYU football has fared against their future Big 12 counterparts on the gridiron.

For this listing, we’re including Texas and Oklahoma. This is because the two bell-cow brands are still locked into the Big 12’s Grant of Rights through June 30, 2025. After that date, they will then leave for the SEC. But there are reports they could go before the 2024-25 academic year when ESPN takes over the exclusive SEC contract.

History of BYU Football games against the Big 12 Conference (2023)

In total, BYU has faced the 13 other Big 12 members (for the 2023 season) 44 times, posting a record of 22-22 in those meetings.

Here’s a look back at BYU’s history in those games by the opponent.

Baylor Bears

Games played: Three

All-time record: Baylor leads 2-1

Meetings:

  • September 10, 1983: Baylor 40, BYU 36 in Waco
  • September 8, 1984: BYU 47, Baylor 13 in Provo
  • October 16, 2021: Baylor 38, BYU 24 in Waco
  • September 10, 2022: BYU vs. Baylor in Provo

Home: 1-0

Road: 0-2

Neutral: 0-0

In BYU’s three previous meetings with Baylor, the Cougars finished nationally ranked. The lone win over the Bears took place during BYU’s 1984 National Championship season.

BYU’s loss in Waco last season showed how much the Cougars would have to improve physically before they contend for the Big 12 championship.

The meeting coming up in September will be a big revenge opportunity for BYU.

Cincinnati Bearcats

Games played: Two

All-time record: BYU leads 2-0

Meetings:

  • October 16, 2015: BYU 38, Cincinnati 24 in Provo
  • November 5, 2016: BYU 20, Cincinnati 3 in Cincinnati

Home: 1-0

Road: 1-0

Neutral: 0-0

The only meetings between BYU and fellow Big 12 newcomer Cincinnati occurred during the Cougars’ Independent era. BYU won both meetings of a home-and-home series against the Bearcats. Cincinnati was coached by now U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, who had a meltdown on a Bearcat fan after losing to BYU in 2016.

BYU was coached by Bronco Mendenhall in the first meeting in Provo, then by Kalani Sitake in the first-ever BYU game played in Ohio.

Houston Cougars

Games played: Three

All-time record: BYU leads 3-0

Meetings:

  • October 19, 2013: BYU 47, Houston 46 (NRG Stadium)
  • September 11, 2014: BYU 33, Houston 25 in Provo
  • October 16, 2020: BYU 43, Houston 26 in Houston

Home: 1-0

Road: 2-0

Neutral: 0-0

BYU and Houston have put together some classics. The All-Cougar matchup first occurred in 2013 at NRG Stadium as Houston’s current home venue (TDECU Stadium) was under construction.

Taysom Hill put together a performance that only 12 QBs have accomplished in college football history. Hill passed for 400+ and ran for 100+ in a single game. The final totals were 417 passing yards and 128 rushing as he led BYU to a 47-46 win over Houston.

BYU also took down Houston in a Thursday night showcase game where they donned 9/11 tribute helmets in 2014.

During the 2020 season, Houston was originally supposed to play in Provo. But that was switched to a game in Texas. As a result, Zach Wilson and the undefeated Cougars were experiencing their first taste of fans in the stands. The outcome ended up memorable as well as Wilson led a comeback victory.

Iowa State Cyclones

Games played: Four

All-time record: Iowa State leads 4-0

Meetings:

  • September 28, 1968: Iowa State 28, BYU 20 in Provo
  • September 27, 1969: Iowa State 10, BYU 0 in Ames
  • October 13, 1973: Iowa State 26, BYU 24 in Provo
  • September 28, 1974: Iowa State 34, BYU 7 in Ames

Home: 0-2

Road: 0-2

Neutral: 0-0

Some legendary coaches were in these battles between BYU and Iowa State. Johnny Majors and Earl Bruce were the coaches for the Cyclones and then for BYU, it was Tommy Hudspeth and later the early years of the LaVell Edwards era.

Iowa State is tied with Florida State for most games against BYU without the Cougars coming away victorious at least once.

Kansas Jayhawks

Games played: One

All-time record: Kansas leads 1-0

Meeting:

  • December 25, 1992: Kansas 23, BYU 20 (Aloha Bowl)

Home: 0-0

Road: 0-0

Neutral: 1-0

There was a time when Kansas wasn’t a laughing stock in college football. In 1992, the Jayhawks and BYU squared off on Christmas Day in the Aloha Bowl. Kansas, led by Dana Stubblefield, who had three sacks on BYU QB Tom Young (Steve Young‘s younger brother), put together a fourth-quarter comeback to give BYU another bowl game heartbreak.

Kansas State Wildcats

Games played: Eight

All-time record: Series Tied 4-4

Meetings:

  • September 28, 1957: Kansas State 36, BYU 7 in Manhattan
  • September 21, 1963: Kansas State 24, BYU 7 in Manhattan
  • September 24, 1965: BYU 21, Kansas State 3 in Provo
  • September 25, 1971: Kansas State 23, BYU 7 in Manhattan
  • September 16, 1972: BYU 32, Kansas State 9 in Provo
  • September 11, 1976: Kansas State 13, BYU 3 in Manhattan
  • September 10, 1977: BYU 39, Kansas State 0 in Provo
  • January 1, 1997: BYU 19, Kansas State 15 (Cotton Bowl)

Home: 3-0

Road: 0-4

Neutral: 1-0

There’s a unique history between BYU and Kansas State. LaVell Edwards’ first win as BYU’s head coach was against K-State in Provo. Then BYU’s lone New Year’s Day bowl appearance took place in 1997 against K-State’s sea of purple at the Cotton Bowl to cap off a memorable 15-game season.

Oklahoma Sooners

Games played: Two

All-time record: BYU leads 2-0

Meetings:

  • December 31, 1994: BYU 31, Oklahoma 6 (Copper Bowl)
  • September 5, 2009: BYU 14, Oklahoma 13 (Cowboy Classic in Arlington, Texas)

Home: 0-0

Road: 0-0

Neutral: 2-0

BYU’s only games against Oklahoma resulted in memorable wins for the Cougars. The 1994 Copper Bowl was a thrashing against an uninspired OU team with a lame-duck coach in Gary Gibbs, while Howard Schnellenberger watched from the press box in Tucson.

Then in 2009, as a three-touchdown underdog, BYU opened the Jerry Jones’ new Cowboys Stadium with a shocking 14-13 upset over the No. 3 Sooners. BYU’s win and the shoulder injury to QB Sam Bradford sent shockwaves throughout the college football world.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Games played: Two

All-time record: Oklahoma State leads 2-0

Meetings:

  • December 28, 1974: Oklahoma State 16, BYU 6 (Fiesta Bowl)
  • December 18, 1976: Oklahoma State 49, BYU 21 (Tangerine Bowl)

Home: 0-0

Road: 0-0

Neutral: 2-0

The first two bowl appearances in BYU football history were against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The 1974 Fiesta Bowl will forever be remembered by a shoulder injury to QB Gary Sheide in the first quarter. Then in 1976, at the Tangerine Bowl, BYU, after a week of coaching drama surrounding LaVell and the Miami Hurricanes drama, was thumped by the Pokes.

TCU Horned Frogs

Games played: 11

All-time record: TCU leads 6-5

Meetings:

  • September 19, 1987: TCU 33, BYU 12 in Fort Worth
  • October 15, 1988: BYU 31, TCU 18 in Provo
  • October 26, 1996: BYU 45, TCU 21 in Fort Worth
  • October 25, 1997: BYU 31, TCU 10 in Provo
  • September 24, 2005: TCU 51, BYU 50 (OT) in Provo
  • September 28, 2006: BYU 31, TCU 17 in Fort Worth
  • November 8, 2007: BYU 27, TCU 22 in Provo
  • October 16, 2008: TCU 32, BYU 7 in Fort Worth
  • October 24, 2009: TCU 38, BYU 7 in Provo
  • October 16, 2010: TCU 31, BYU 3 in Fort Worth
  • October 28, 2011: TCU 38, BYU 28 (Arlington, Texas)

Home: 3-2

Road: 2-3

Neutral: 1-0

TCU is the Big 12 program BYU football has the most games against due to being league members with the Horned Frogs in both the WAC and Mountain West. The games from 2005-2009 were top-shelf battles with the makings of a rivalry.

After BYU won two games in 2006 and 2007, former Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson put a BYU helmet on tackling dummies inside TCU’s football facility to motivate his players. It worked. TCU then reeled off three straight dominant wins to close out BYU’s time in the Mountain West Conference.

Texas Longhorns

Games played: Five

All-time record: BYU leads 4-1

Meetings:

  • September 12, 1987: BYU 22, Texas 17 in Austin
  • September 8, 1988: BYU 47, Texas 6 in Provo
  • September 10, 2011: Texas 17, BYU 16 in Austin
  • September 7, 2013: BYU 40, Texas 21 in Provo
  • September 6, 2014: BYU 41, Texas 7 in Austin

Home: 2-0

Road: 2-1

Neutral: 0-0

BYU football has dealt Texas some devastating losses in its history. In 1988, led by Sean Covey passing for 323 yards, BYU destroyed the Longhorns 47-6 in Provo.

Fast forward to the Independence era, a three-game series with UT was proof that scheduling as an Independent was going to work out for BYU. The Cougars came up one point short in 2011. But they got revenge in 2013, dishing out a loss that you could argue Texas hasn’t recovered from since that stormy night in Provo.

BYU ran for 550 yards; 259 from Taysom Hill and the Cougs rolled to a 40-21 victory, unofficially bringing the Mack Brown era in Austin to an end.

The following year, Charlie Strong was hired as the next Texas head coach. But the results weren’t any better as Taysom Hill led BYU to a 41-7 blowout win.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Games played: One

All-time record: Texas Tech leads 1-0

Meeting:

  • October 18, 1940: Texas Tech 21, BYU 20 in Lubbock

Home: 0-0

Road: 0-1

Neutral: 0-0

BYU was in the Mountain States Conference and Texas Tech was in the Border Conference when these two future league foes last met.

UCF Knights

Games played: Three

All-time record: BYU leads 2-1

Meetings:

  • September 23, 2011: BYU 24, UCF 17 in Provo
  • October 9, 2014: UCF 31, 24 (OT) in Orlando
  • December 22, 2022: BYU 49, UCF 23 (Boca Raton Bowl)

Home: 1-0

Road: 0-1

Neutral: 1-0

BYU has had some entertaining games against the Knights over the past eleven years. After getting a bailout from Cody Hoffman on a kickoff return for a touchdown, BYU took down the Knights in 2011, 24-17.

In 2014, BYU football entered a Thursday night game with UCF in Orlando one week after losing their star quarterback Taysom Hill to a season-ending injury. Led by Christian Stewart, BYU built up a 24-10 lead but ultimately lost 31-24 to the Knights in overtime.

Then the rubber match went in favor of BYU at the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl, which ended up being the last appearance by Zach Wilson as a BYU quarterback. Wilson shined, passing for 425 yards in a blowout over a Dillon Gabriel-led UCF squad.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Games played: One

All-time record: West Virginia leads 1-0

Meeting:

  • September 24, 2016: West Virginia 35, BYU 32 (FedEx Field in Landover, MD)

Home: 0-0

Road: 0-0

Neutral: 0-1

The lone meeting between BYU and West Virginia occurred in Kalani Sitake’s first year as head coach. It was the fourth consecutive game against a Power Five team, and BYU didn’t have enough in the tank to pull off the upset.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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