Sports

Oklahoma’s Hopes Of An Undefeated Season Ended With A Stunning Loss To Kansas State

Oklahoma entered Saturday afternoon’s game against Kansas State as 23.5-point favorites. While the Wildcats are a solid team, the Sooners are a legitimate College Football Playoff contender, boasting an improved defense and a dynamic offense with potential Heisman Trophy frontrunner Jalen Hurts. Having said all of that, exactly none of this happened, because Kansas State thrashed Oklahoma to end their quest to finish the regular season with an unblemished record.

Despite the retirement of longtime head coach Bill Snyder during the offseason, the Wildcats followed an awfully Snyder-esque gameplan en route to defending their home field and taking down the Sooners, 48-41. Kansas State ran the ball well, kept Oklahoma from getting much going on the ground for much of the game, and won both time of possession and the turnover battle.

Things looked like they might have gotten out of hand early. The Sooners, as they’re wont to do, scored early and often, with Jalen Hurts picking up a pair of rushing scores in the first quarter. His second score, in fact, put Oklahoma ahead, 17-7.

But a funny thing happened after that: Their offense, which deservedly has the reputation for being the best in the nation, just stopped scoring. The Sooners scored six total points in the second and third quarters, an unusual offensive lull. But of course, the only way that ends up mattering is if your opponents make you pay for it, and boy, did the Wildcats do that.

Kansas State scored on eight consecutive possessions following Hurts’ second rushing touchdown. They punched it into the end zone six times and settled for field goals twice. It was a ruthlessly efficient gameplan from the Wildcats, which realized the best way to keep Oklahoma from scoring was to keep their offense off the field altogether — they ran the ball well, passed when they had to, and most importantly, made the most of their scoring opportunities.

But the Sooners came to life in the fourth quarter. Behind Hurts, stellar wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, and a made field goal, Oklahoma was able to rip off 18 points to get turn the heat all the way up on Kansas State.

Following the made field goal with 1:43 left, Oklahoma lined up for an onside kick. It was picture-perfect, an end-over-end kick that rolled perfectly and got recovered in Wildcat territory by the Sooners. But after a lengthy review, it was ruled that the ball touched illegally by an Oklahoma player just before it went 10 yards, thereby giving possession to Kansas State to bleed out the clock.

The Sooners actually out-gained the Wildcats, but it wasn’t the blowout we’ve come to expect out of Riley’s squad, as Oklahoma gained 497 yards to 428 for Kansas State. The biggest issue, beyond their inability to get on the field and protect the football, was that the usually potent Sooner rushing attack grinding to a halt — despite three rushing scores, Oklahoma ran it 26 times for 102 yards.

It’s a huge win for the Wildcats, giving them a signature win in year one of the Chris Klieman era. On the other side of the coin, while it’s not necessarily the end of the Sooners hopes of making the College Football Playoff, it’s a tough pill to swallow for a squad that assuredly has to run the table in conference play if it wants a shot at a national title this year.

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