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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Sooners Up 24-10 at the Half

The Sooners had their way on offense and take a 24-10 lead to halftime against Kansas State.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners found success against the Big 12’s best defensive unit, and they take a 24-10 lead into halftime in Norman.

The Sooners took the game’s opening kick and proceeded with a clinical drive down the field, handing the ball to Perine and finding Dede Westrbook and Perine through the air. When an Orlando Brown holding penalty negated a big Perine rush at the K-State 25, OU responded with completions to A.D. Miller and a 25-yard Perine touchdown grab.

The Oklahoma defense came ready to play as well, holding Kansas State to a 3-and-out on its first drive and getting the ball quickly back to Oklahoma.

The ensuing Sooners drive started with more solid runs, but Perine limped off the field after a 3-yard rush from the OU 32. Joe Mixon became OU’s only backfield option for the rest of the half, as trainers worked on Perine’s knee.

The Sooners got a suddenly sure-handed Mark Andrews involved on that drive, and Mixon finished it by taking a Mayfield shovel pass from the K-State 8 and hurdling a Wildcats defender before waltzing into the end zone.

Things were looking up for the Sooners after two consecutive scoring drives, but the defense couldn’t slow the Wildcats when they got another opportunity. The Wildcats put on a clinical march down the field, eating over eight minutes of clock and converting a two third down plays and a 4th-and-4 from the OU 13. Jesse Ertz capped the drive with a 2-yard run to cut the Sooners lead in half.

OU responded with a pass-heavy drive that saw Baker Mayfield hit Geno Lewis, Dmitri Flowers and Westbrook. On a first-and-ten from the K-State 26, Lincoln Riley dialed up one of his signature trick plays and had Joe Mixon take the handoff and then toss the ball to a wide-open Westbrook who had run past a distracted Wildcats defense. It was an easy pitch-and-catch touchdown that put OU up 21-7.

Austin Seibert’s struggles continued as he initially missed the extra point wide right after Westbrook’s touchdown, but a K-State offside penalty gave Seibert another chance, which he converted.

The Oklahoma defense struggled yet again on the next drive, allowing K-State to drive most of the field before finally making a third-down stand at their own 8 yard line. Jordan Thomas nearly pulled down an interception when Ertz made a desperate heave to the end zone after nearly getting sacked, but ultimately the ball hit the ground and Kansas State settled for a field goal to cut the Sooners lead to 21-10.

Kansas State was finally able to slow the OU offense on the next drive, forcing the Sooners to punt after they converted one first down on a 15-yard Westbrook completion. The Wildcats’ rush defense stuffed Mixon on first down and Mayfield on third down to force a punt.

Fortunately, the OU defense was able to prevent a deep drive on the next series, and Kansas Sate was forced to punt from deep in its own territory after Isaiah Zuber dropped a potential first-down reception.

With 2:40 left in the first half, the Sooners took over at their own 34. They started with a pop pass to Mixon for a 22 yard gain, then handed off to Mixon for yet another fist down. The Wildcats tackled Westbrook behind the line of scrimmage on a third-down screen pass, however, and the Sooners settled for a 34-yard Seibert field goal for the final score of the half.

OU outgained the Wildcats 287-152 during the half, with 200 of the Sooners’ yards coming through the air. Westbrook led the OU receivers with five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown on the half, while Mixon and Perine also had a receiving touchdown to their credit.

Mayfield went 14-for-16 for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, compared to 8-for-13 for 68 yards for Ertz.

The Wildcats will have an uphill battle on their hands if they want to get back into this one.