Tag Archives: Kansas State Oklahoma football

No. 15 Wildcats upset No. 6 Sooners

23 Sep

Quarterback Collin Klein and the Wildcats outran the Sooners on Saturday night, flourishing yet again in their underdog role.

In the last couple seasons, fast-starting Kansas State teams encountered what some would consider harsh reality checks – a 58-17 defeat by Oklahoma in 2011, a 48-13 whooping by Nebraska in 2010.

This year, it looks like no one is stopping the Wildcats. That idea gained significant credence Saturday night in Norman, where Kansas State won, 24-19, for the first time since 1997.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was 14-0 against ranked teams there going into the game against the 15th-ranked Wildcats.

Now he is 14-1.

Kansas State knocked off the Sooners for the first time since 2003, so this win is clearly one that will stick with the program for years to come. Though the current players only get to enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling for the next 24 hours or so, the longer-term effects of such a victory are not going anywhere.

“It gives us confidence and momentum,” Kansas State running back John Hubert said. “We just want to rest and keep getting better. We are one of those teams that can be in the top five easily, but we like to be underdogs. It gives us confidence to go out and play hard.”

On Saturday the Wildcats’ offense continued its trend of finishing strong, scoring 10 points in the second quarter and 14 points in the fourth. The Kansas State defense held the Sooners to one score per quarter – a field goal in each segment of the first half, a touchdown with the extra point in the third quarter, and a touchdown sans two-point conversion in the fourth.

Flashy plays are what make the highlight reels, but the proper execution of fundamentals ended up being what won the game for the Wildcats – and what lost it for the Sooners.

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones fumbled and threw an interception, while backup quarterback Blake Bell also fumbled. Kansas State took advantage of the extra opportunities and offered none to the Sooners in return. By my count, the Wildcats allowed 14 passing plays of 10 yards or more. That number still sounds a bit high, but in fact, that stat is 44 percent lower than what Kansas State gave up to Oklahoma last year – 25 such plays. Also, the Wildcats sacked Jones, forced a fumble by him and intercepted him.

Troubling for the Sooners and confidence-inspiring for the Kansas State is the fact that the Wildcats converted in seven third-down situations. Two of those came during the final drive of the game and were essential in allowing Kansas State to run out the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of the Oklahoma offense.

“It was just one of those things where we were finally able to move the ball in the fourth quarter,” Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein said. “We knew we had to get it; we credit our offensive line for giving us the ability to let us to what we had to do. We were able to execute when we had to execute.”

The Sooners finished with 386 yards of offense, but the Wildcats nearly equally that total with 362. Moreover, Kansas State actually displayed a much more balanced attack than Oklahoma, who relied on passing for over two-thirds of its yardage.

The Wildcats rushed for 213 yards and passed for 149. Hubert went for 130, racking up plenty of those yards after contact that make him so valuable, and Klein added 79. Both found the end zone on the ground. Through the air, Klein completed 13 of 21 passes, spreading the ball around to six different targets.

Kansas State returned to its normal occupation of ball control specialist, retaining possession for 34:37 compared to 25:13 for Oklahoma. The win lifted the Wildcats to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in Big 12 play. Certainly, it was a heck of a way to kick off the conference portion of the schedule.

For their part, the Sooners seemed stunned.

“It’s kind of uncharacteristic stuff for us there,” Oklahoma offensive lineman Gabe Ikard said. “We just put the defense in bad spots. That game, the offense we played, we didn’t play well enough for this team to win the game. You just have to look at it and it’s just kind of some weird stuff that happened. But you just have to move on.”

The Wildcats will have to move on as well, but surely, they will do so a bit reluctantly. Saturday is a night they won’t soon forget.

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Keys to the Game: KSU vs. OU

22 Sep

Let’s cut to the chase today. Oklahoma (2-0) is quite heavily favored over Kansas State (3-0) when the teams meet Saturday night in Norman, where the Sooners are 44-2 against Big 12 competition under coach Bob Stoops. Here is what the Wildcats have to do to have a chance.

1. Get pressure on Landry Jones. Easier said than done, clearly, since this quarterback torched Kansas State last year for 505 yards when Oklahoma defeated the Wildcats 58-17 in Manhattan. The Sooners completed 25 pass plays of 10 yards or more, including seven of 20-plus yards. The Wildcats did not sack Jones once in the 2011 meeting – not particularly surprising since Oklahoma allowed just 11 all season long. However, through two games this year, the Sooners have already given up seven sacks … and the Wildcats have amassed eight over their three non-conference games.

2. Mix it up on offense. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has played his cards close to the vest so far, but you had better believe the playbook will be opening up this week. We’ve seen a significant amount of running back John Hubert already, but the passing game should also get going with a little more of Chris Harper, Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett. Throw in fullback Braden Wilson and tight end Travis Tannahill, and you see the Wildcats have quite a few options should they choose to use them. All in all, it is less predictable than trying to run quarterback Collin Klein every time, which seemed to be the dominant strategy last season.

3. Avoid injuries. With both linebacker Arthur Brown and center B.J. Finney going down in last weekend’s contest against North Texas, keeping everyone healthy is certainly a short-term and a long-term goal. Despite a lack of big-time, four-star or five-star recruits, the Wildcats have solid starters. Their depth leaves something to be desired, however, and the loss of either Brown or Finney could be a fatal blow. Snyder said Tuesday that both should be ready to go this week, but hopefully they are actually as physically well as Snyder would have people believe.