K-State Falls at No. 19/20 Oklahoma, 38-17

GAME RECAP

17

38

NR/NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
3-3 (1-2 Big 12)

19/20
OKLAHOMA
SOONERS
4-2 (3-0 Big 12)

LEADERS:
J. Hubener (QB): 12-23, 157yds, 1TD
J. Silmon (RB): 6car, 35yds 0TD
D. Heath (WR): 7rec 101yds, 1TD

LEADERS:
B. Mayfield (QB): 25-31, 346yds, 4TD
J. Mixon (RB): 19car, 88yds 0TD
D. Westbrook (WR): 9rec 184yds, 3TD

TEAM 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
K-State 0 10 0 7 17
Oklahoma 14 10 7 7 38

NORMAN, Okla. -- A high-powered Oklahoma offense proved to be too much for Kansas State, as the Wildcats fell 38-17 to the Sooners Saturday afternoon before 86,049 fans at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Oklahoma’s victory marked the first win by a home team in the series since the Sooners did so in 2009.

K-State (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) fell behind early, 14-0, in the first quarter and was never able to dig itself out. The Wildcats allowed Oklahoma (4-2, 3-0 Big 12) to rack up 287 yards in the first half, including 200 through the air, as the Sooners averaged 8.7 yards per play and held a 24-10 lead at the break.

K-State was forced to replace starting quarterback Jesse Ertz just one play into the third quarter and wasn’t able to recover behind back-up Joe Hubener, who led the offense to just one score. The Big 12’s top ranked defense surrendered 500 yards of offense for the second consecutive game, as Baker Mayfield threw for four touchdowns, including two to Dede Westbrook after intermission.

Offensively, it was a game of halves for K-State’s quarterbacks. Ertz, a junior, had an efficient first half, completing 8-of-14 passes for 68 yards. Despite only playing two quarters, Ertz was K-State’s leading rusher, going for 40 yards on seven carries and one touchdown. In the second half, Hubener took command through the air, completing 12-of-23 passes for 157 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Dominique Heath.

The Wildcats’ running back by committee effort was slowed mightily by Oklahoma’s front seven. K-State managed only 110 yards on the ground. Senior Charles Jones ran it a team-leading eight times for 34 yards, while sophomore Justin Silmon rushed six times for 35 yards.

The receiving corps featured seven different Wildcats this week, led by Heath, who had a career day by hauling in seven of his nine targets for 101 yards and a touchdown. Senior Deante Burton caught four passes for 35 yards, while sophomore Byron Pringle grabbed three balls for 43 yards. Jones and redshirt freshman Isaiah Zuber also pitched in a pair of catches for 12 and 14 yards, respectively.

The Wildcats finished with 335 yards of total offense for the second consecutive week, with 225 coming through the passing attack. K-State ran 69 plays compared to OU’s 65 and averaged 4.9 yards per play, while also winning the time of possession battle by nearly two minutes.

Defensively, K-State was spread out trying to corral Oklahoma’s offensive weapons. Mayfield was 25-of-31 for 346 yards and four touchdowns on the day, throwing three alone to Westbrook. The Sooners gashed K-State for 510 yards of total offense, but were held to 138 yards on the ground. Sophomore running back Joe Mixon led the way out of the backfield for OU, carrying it 19 times for 88 yards.

Sophomore safety Kendall Adams paced all K-State defensive players with 11 total tackles, including seven solo. Junior linebacker Elijah Lee and senior safety Dante Barnett both followed Adams with 10 tackles apiece, while senior defensive end Jordan Willis secured nine tackles, including one for loss. Sophomore cornerback Duke Shelley forced the game’s lone turnover, his first career interception, in the third quarter. The takeaway was the K-State defense’s 10th of the season, pushing the team turnover margin to +7, tops in the Big 12.

The special team’s units were called upon often on Saturday, especially junior punter Nick Walsh, who was used six times and averaged 42.3 per punt. Junior place kicker Matthew McCrane knocked through his only field goal attempt of the day from 25-yards in the second quarter. Last week’s Big 12 Special Team’s Player of the Week, Pringle, nearly broke away for another score on Saturday. Pringle had four returns for 102 yards, with a long, left-to-right return of 59 yards that eventually set up a K-State score in the second quarter.

Oklahoma took the opening kickoff and wasted little time making something out of it. The Sooners drove 63 yards in seven plays, elapsing just 2:36 off the clock after Mayfield found Samaje Perine for a 25-yard touchdown pass.

The Sooners’ defense forced a quick three-and-out and the offense went to work again, using 12 plays to go 73 yards for the score. This time, Mayfield found Mixon on the inside shovel pass to put the Sooners up 14-0 with 6:00 left in the first quarter.

K-State responded with a lengthy series that began at their own 11-yard line. The possession featured 14-yard runs from Silmon and Ertz, and included a fourth down conversion via Jones leaking out of the backfield. Ertz punched it in for the score from the 2-yard line, capping off the 8:32 long drive. The Sooners led 14-7 with 12:28 to go in the first half.

Despite the extended rest, Oklahoma’s offense was not slowed. Mayfield completed two passes down the middle of the field to get into K-State territory. The Sooners made it 21-7 with a sneaky, 25-yard touchdown pass from Mixon to Westbrook. The scoring drive was just five plays for 77 yards in 1:49.

On the ensuing kickoff, Pringle’s side-to-side return went for 59 yards back to the Oklahoma 41-yard line. Ertz scampered for 20 yards to put K-State in the red zone, but the drive stalled and the Wildcats settled for a 25-yard field goal from McCrane with 7:41 left in the half.

After punts from each team, Oklahoma again drove into K-State territory, only to add a field goal. Austin Seibert converted from 34-yards out to make it a 24-10 Sooner advantage heading into halftime.  

The Wildcats went three-and-out to begin the second half, as Ertz removed himself from the game after one play with an apparent injury. Hubener stepped in at quarterback, but was unable to move the Wildcats down field in his first two possessions.

Just as it seemed Oklahoma would add the first points of the second half, Shelley intercepted Mayfield at the Wildcat 15-yard line as Barnett perfectly timed his pass breakup. However, nothing amounted from K-State’s drive.

The defense returned to the field and forced what looked to be a long field goal try, but the Sooners instead converted on fourth down and three plays later, Mayfield found Westbrook for another touchdown pass. The 8-yard score pushed the Sooners in front 31-10 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

In response, Hubener and K-State put together an eight play, 81-yard drive to begin the fourth quarter. On third down, Hubener flushed the pocket and found Heath splitting away from coverage for a 54-yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit to 31-17 with 12:40 remaining.

Two series later, Oklahoma delivered the nail in the coffin. Westbrook found pay dirt for the third time, breaking loose from K-State’s safeties for an 88-yard score. Mayfield’s fourth touchdown pass made it 38-17 – a score that the Sooners would see out until the end.

K-State returns to Manhattan to play Texas next Saturday, Oct. 22, with kickoff against the Longhorns set for 11 a.m. on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2.