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Explosive First Half Was All Oklahoma Needed In Manhattan

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Both Oklahoma and Kansas State were balanced in the first half of Saturday. The Wildcats were scored an even 14 points in each of the first two quarters while Oklahoma was a missed extra point away from an even 28 points in each of the first two quarters. By the time these two teams reached the half a total of 83 points had been scored and the outcome of the game had been settled thanks to some K-State turnovers and an opportunistic Oklahoma offense.

Oklahoma - 15:00
Okla kicked off, A. Quarles returned kickoff for 21 yards. KSSt committed 10 yard penalty
Kansas St. - 14:53
1st-10, KSSt11 14:53 J. Freeman passed to D. Murphy to the left for 15 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt26 14:23 J. Freeman passed to L. Dold to the right for no gain
2nd-10, KSSt26 13:33 J. Freeman rushed up the middle for 13 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt39 13:13 J. Freeman rushed to the right for 4 yard gain
2nd-6, KSSt43 12:53 J. Freeman incomplete pass to the right
3rd-6, KSSt43 12:49 J. Freeman passed to E. Pierce to the left for 8 yard gain
1st-10, Okla49 12:19 T. Lewis intercepted J. Freeman for 30 yards

Travis Lewis was my defensive player of the game. Both of his interceptions were huge and he led the team in tackles. Kansas State was driving and had just entered Sooner territory when Lewis snagged Josh Freeman’s pass out of the air. Auston English should get the assist on this pick because he was literally hanging on Freeman’s arm when the pass was released.

Oklahoma - 12:03
1st-10, KSSt26 12:03 D. Murray rushed to the right for 2 yard gain
2nd-8, KSSt24 11:33 D. Murray rushed to the left for 10 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt14 11:23 D. Murray rushed to the left for 12 yard gain
1st-2, KSSt2 10:53 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 1 yard loss

2nd-3, KSSt3

7-0

10:43 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 3 yard touchdown. J. Stevens made PAT

I couldn’t have been happier with the way this drive went. We all know that Oklahoma has possibly the best passing attack in the country but the running game has been in question on a couple of occasions. Not only was this drive all on the ground with DeMarco Murray but it was smash mouth football at its best.

Oklahoma - 10:34
Okla kicked off, A. Quarles returned kickoff for 20 yards
Kansas St. - 10:27
1st-10, KSSt22 10:27 J. Freeman incomplete pass to the right
2nd-10, KSSt22 10:21 J. Freeman passed to E. Pierce to the left for 4 yard gain
3rd-6, KSSt26 9:51 J. Freeman passed to E. Pierce to the left for no gain
4th-6, KSSt26 9:11 D. Fulhage punt. D. Franks returned punt for 2 yards

For all the grief we’ve given Oklahoma’s defense let’s give them credit for getting the job done on Kansas State’s first two possessions. The back-to-back tackles made on Pierce were the keys to stopping the Wildcats from answering Oklahoma’s touchdown.

Oklahoma - 9:01
1st-10, Okla41 9:01 S. Bradford incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, Okla41 8:55 C. Brown rushed to the left for 1 yard loss
3rd-11, Okla40 8:13 S. Bradford passed to J. Iglesias to the right for 48 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt12 7:33 C. Brown rushed up the middle for 11 yard gain

1st-1, KSSt1

14-0 OU

7:23 S. Bradford rushed up the middle for 1 yard touchdown. J. Stevens made PAT

The third down catch made by Iglesias was the most crucial catch of the day. Not only was he able to haul in the pass but he also shook a tackle and ran for about 35 more yards. That play set up Chris Brown’s 11 yard touchdown run to put the Sooners up by two touchdowns but the same problems that have plagued the Sooners all season are about to rear their ugly heads.

Oklahoma - 7:16
Okla kicked off, D. Murphy returned kickoff for 75 yards
Kansas St. - 7:05
1st-10, Okla20 7:05 J. Freeman incomplete pass to the left
2nd-10, Okla20 7:00 J. Freeman rushed up the middle for no gain
3rd-10, Okla20 6:20 J. Freeman passed to L. Dold to the right for 12 yard gain

1st-8, Okla8

14-7 OU

5:50 L. Dold passed to D. Murphy to the right for 8 yard touchdown. B. Rossman made PAT

I have no idea about what has happened to Oklahoma’s special teams. It is scary to think what Texas Tech and Oklahoma State could do with their return game against Oklahoma. What’s worse is that I don’t know if it is a issue that could even be resolved because we’ve seen this all season long and I believe that it is fundamental and not personnel because changing people out on the unit hasn’t resolved the issue.

 

Josh Freeman is a beast! Again, we need to give credit where it is due and Freeman deserves a ton of it. He made play after play all afternoon and his third down pass to Dold was huge. Kansas State needed a touchdown on this drive and Freeman’s pass was the reason why the Wildcats came away with the score.

Kansas St. - 5:48
KSSt kicked off, no return
Oklahoma - 5:41
1st-10, Okla48 5:41 C. Brown rushed up the middle for 37 yard gain

1st-10, KSSt15

21-7 OU

5:31 S. Bradford passed to D. Murray to the left for 15 yard touchdown. J. Stevens made PAT

Three touchdowns on three offensive possessions had Oklahoma on their way to a rout with the rushing attack, surprisingly, leading the way. It is obvious by this point that the Sooners are emphasizing the importance of their rushing attack and it is clearly clicking on all cylinders.

Oklahoma - 5:24
Okla kicked off, D. Murphy returned kickoff for 15 yards
Kansas St. - 5:19
1st-10, KSSt15 5:19 J. Freeman rushed up the middle for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, KSSt20 4:49 L. Dold rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
3rd-2, KSSt23 4:19 D. Murphy rushed to the right for 1 yard loss
4th-3, KSSt22 3:49 D. Fulhage punt, no return

I don’t know that anyone could walk away from this game doubting the explosiveness of Kansas State’s offense. When you consider that, what the defense has done to this point is impressive. They were painted into a corner earlier in the quarter on Murphy’s long kick return but beyond that it has been turnover or punt for the Wildcats.

 

Oklahoma - 3:39
1st-10, Okla41 3:39 S. Bradford passed to Q. Chaney to the right for 48 yard gain

1st-10, KSSt11

28-7 OU

3:19 C. Brown rushed to the right for 11 yard touchdown. J. Stevens made PAT

It literally is too easy for Oklahoma at this point. Three of the Sooners four touchdowns are on the ground and Kansas State hasn’t shown an ability to stop OU’s scoring machine at all.

Oklahoma - 3:08
Okla kicked off, D. Murphy returned kickoff for 19 yards
Kansas St. - 3:02
1st-10, KSSt16 3:02 J. Freeman passed to E. Pierce down the middle for 7 yard gain

2nd-3, KSSt23

28-14 OU

2:22 J. Freeman passed to B. Banks to the right for 77 yard touchdown. B. Rossman made PAT

The dreaded miss-tackling comes to play here. Blame Oklahoma for being lulled to sleep after gaining complete control of the game in the first twelve minutes. Blame the linebackers for being out of position and not wrapping up. Blame the defensive backs for not bringing the receiver down or even pushing him out of bounds. There are tons of things we can cast blame on for this play but you have to give Banks credit for making a great catch on a low pass and then turning on the jets.

Kansas St. - 2:12
KSSt kicked off, D. Murray returned kickoff for 37 yards
Oklahoma - 2:02
1st-10, Okla39 2:02 D. Murray rushed to the left for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, Okla44 1:52 S. Bradford incomplete pass to the left
3rd-5, Okla44 1:45 S. Bradford passed to R. Broyles to the right for 2 yard gain
4th-3, Okla46 1:05 M. Knall punt, no return

Here’s the first sign of offensive trouble for Oklahoma. After Murray’s 37 yard kickoff return Oklahoma failed to gain a first down on the drive. For the first time during this game the Sooners’s offense wouldn’t put any points on the board.

Kansas St. - 1:02
1st-10, KSSt30 1:02 J. Freeman passed to L. Dold to the right for 9 yard gain
2nd-1, KSSt39 0:42 L. Dold rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt41 0:12 J. Freeman rushed up the middle for 5 yard gain
2nd Quarter
Kansas St. continued
2nd-5, KSSt46 15:00 L. Dold rushed up the middle for 1 yard loss
3rd-6, KSSt45 14:30 J. Freeman passed to D. Murphy to the left for 26 yard gain

1st-10, Okla29

28-21

14:00 J. Freeman passed to J. Mastrud down the middle for 29 yard touchdown. B. Rossman made PAT

The code to cracking Oklahoma’s defense is attacking the middle and until the Sooners prove that they can stop it teams will continue to do so. Austin Box wasn’t out of position on the touchdown pass he just failed to make a play. Choosing to go for the interception he tried to break on the ball and just missed by inches which resulted in Mastrud running free into the end zone.

Kansas St. - 13:55
KSSt kicked off, touchback
Oklahoma - 13:55
1st-10, Okla20 13:55 D. Murray rushed to the left for 15 yard gain
1st-10, Okla35 13:25 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 9 yard gain
2nd-1, Okla44 13:25 S. Bradford incomplete pass to the right
3rd-1, Okla44 13:19 KSSt committed 5 yard penalty
1st-10, Okla49 13:19 C. Brown rushed up the middle for 4 yard gain
2nd-6, KSSt47 12:49 C. Brown rushed up the middle for 8 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt39 12:19 C. Brown rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
2nd-9, KSSt38 11:59 Okla committed 5 yard penalty
2nd-14, KSSt43 11:39 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 6 yard gain
3rd-8, KSSt37 11:09 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 2 yard loss
4th-10, KSSt39 10:39 M. Knall punt, no return

Oklahoma returned to their original game plan by keeping the ball on the ground. They only attempted to pass once on this drive and while they were moving the ball on the ground with success, I question the play call on third and eight. You have to think that with Oklahoma’s offensive firepower they would have had a better chance of picking that up through the air – see the catch by Iglesias on Oklahoma’s second possession.

Kansas St. - 10:20
1st-10, KSSt3 10:20 J. Freeman passed to D. Murphy down the middle for 18 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt21 9:40 L. Dold rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
2nd-7, KSSt24 9:03 J. Freeman passed to E. Pierce to the left for 61 yard gain
1st-10, Okla15 8:43 J. Freeman rushed up the middle for 6 yard gain

2nd-4, Okla9

28-28

8:03 J. Freeman passed to D. Murphy to the right for 9 yard touchdown. B. Rossman made PAT

The first half collapse is now complete and Oklahoma looks to be in shambles at this point. I have to admit at this point I was both disgusted and nervous by what I was seeing on the field. Suddenly Oklahoma has lost the ability to move the ball on offense and stop the Wildcats on defense. After keeping Kansas State in check for most of the first quarter the Wildcats now have three touchdowns that were all sparked by long offensive plays. Kansas State has a combined 251 yards on their last three offensive possessions.

Kansas St. - 8:00
KSSt kicked off, touchback
Oklahoma - 8:00
1st-10, Okla20 8:00 S. Bradford incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, Okla20 7:56 S. Bradford passed to R. Broyles down the middle for 29 yard gain
1st-10, Okla49 7:26 D. Murray rushed to the left for 23 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt28 7:06 C. Brown rushed to the left for 4 yard gain
2nd-6, KSSt24 6:56 S. Bradford incomplete pass to the right
3rd-6, KSSt24 6:56 S. Bradford incomplete pass to the right
4th-6, KSSt24 6:51 S. Bradford passed to J. Iglesias down the middle for 14 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt10 6:41 S. Bradford passed to D. Murray to the left for 10 yard touchdown. J. Stevens made PAT

Going for it on 4th down should me two things. First, it showed how crucial this drive was for Oklahoma. A good analogy would be a heavy weight fight when the contender gets knocked around by the up-and-comer through one of the middle rounds before regaining focus and delivering the knockout blows himself. That’s what we have here in this game.

 

The second thing that it showed was that Bob Stoops has no confidence in his kicker. It would have been a 41 yard field goal attempt and he didn’t trust the field goal unit to regain momentum.

 

The good news is that Bradford would find his go-to receiver and Oklahoma wouldn’t look back from here on.

Oklahoma - 6:26
Okla kicked off, J. Mastrud returned kickoff for 10 yards
Kansas St. - 6:21
1st-10, KSSt42 6:21 J. Freeman incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, KSSt42 6:14 J. Freeman incomplete pass to the left
3rd-10, KSSt42 6:11 J. Freeman passed to B. Banks to the left for 9 yard gain. B. Banks fumbled. N. Harris recovered fumble and returned for 7 yards

When you find yourself up against the ropes while on the road you need a few breaks to go your way before you can regain control. A successful conversion on fourth down is one, a fumble recovery here would be another and then Ryan Broyles would provide the third in just a few minutes.

Oklahoma - 6:11
1st-10, KSSt42 6:00 C. Brown rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain
2nd-8, KSSt40 5:30 S. Bradford incomplete pass down the middle
3rd-8, KSSt40 5:27 S. Bradford passed to J. Gresham to the left for 9 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt31 5:07 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain

2nd-8, KSSt29

41-28 OU

4:37 S. Bradford passed to J. Gresham to the left for 29 yard touchdown. J. Stevens missed PAT

A balanced attack is the best attack and with Oklahoma’s success on the ground earlier in the half the Sooners now have the luxury of being balanced. Gresham didn’t have his greatest game of the season but this was a great play. Jimmy Stevens missing the extra point shows the sad state of OU’s special teams and also shows that Stoops made the right decision when he went for it on fourth down.

Oklahoma - 4:27
Okla kicked off, touchback
Kansas St. - 4:27
1st-10, KSSt20 4:27 J. Freeman incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, KSSt20 4:19 J. Freeman passed to E. Pierce down the middle for 12 yard gain
1st-10, KSSt32 3:49 D. Franks intercepted J. Freeman for 10 yards

Dominique Franks was in perfect position for this interception. So much so that it looked like Freeman’s pass was intended for him. Again, you need some things to go your way when you are being challenged on the road and what we are seeing is Oklahoma wrestle control of the game back from Kansas State.

Oklahoma - 3:42
1st-10, KSSt15 3:42 D. Murray rushed to the left for 11 yard gain

1st-4, KSSt4

48-28 OU

3:22 D. Murray rushed up the middle for 4 yard touchdown. J. Stevens made PAT

Oklahoma ran the ball very well on Saturday. Both Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray had over 100 yards rushing as the Sooners made a statement that they were in fact not a one dimensional team. Like most fans I would like to see them do it against a better defense but I’ll also take points any way I can get them.

Oklahoma - 2:42
Okla kicked off, D. Murphy returned kickoff for 17 yards
Kansas St. - 2:36
1st-10, KSSt25 2:36 J. Freeman incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, KSSt25 2:30 J. Freeman rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
3rd-7, KSSt28 1:50 J. Freeman incomplete pass to the right
4th-7, KSSt28 1:40 KSSt committed 5 yard penalty

1st-15, KSSt15

55-28 OU

1:40 D. Fulhage punt. R. Broyles returned punt for 68 yard touchdown

Oklahoma delivered the knockout punch on this return. We’ve been waiting all season for Broyles to do something like this and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Oklahoma was once again in complete control and they wouldn’t relinquish it this time. Kansas State would score one second half touchdown but the Sooner defense would stiffen and not allow anything else. Kevin Wilson would take his foot off the gas and choose to start running clock instead making the second half a yawner as the Sooners would only tack on another field goal.

 

There is reason to criticize the defense but we your team puts their opponents away by the half like they’ve done on all their road games this year you really can’t complain that much. Can you?