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Oklahoma Sooners Football: OU falls short of comeback at Kansas State, loses 48-41

The month of October strikes Lincoln Riley again.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners were unable to overcome a 25-point deficit and ultimately fell in defeat to the Kansas State Wildcats, 48-41. With the loss, OU drops to 7-1 on the season, 4-1 in Big 12 play, and its 22-game road winning streak dating back to 2014 comes to an end.

On a brisk Saturday morning in Manhattan, the Sooners jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead behind a Gabe Brkic field goal and rushing touchdown from Jalen Hurts, but the Wildcats had no plans of going away that quietly. Kansas State eventually found its groove on offense and settled in on defense.

In the early stages of the second quarter, senior CB Parnell Motley was disqualified from the game for kicking a Kansas State player after the Wildcats scored a touchdown. Freshman Jaden Davis, who had already made an appearance in the game, was pressed into P-Mot’s vacated spot for the remainder of the day.

The game turned on its head towards the end of the first half when Lincoln Riley drew up a trick play intended for a double pass with senior WR Nick Basquine. The play was designed relatively well, but Charleston Rambo was unable to secure the catch, allowing a K-State DB to nab the INT off the ricochet. The Wildcats’ offense paid off their defense’s takeaway with a Skylar Thompson rushing TD for the lead. Fortunately there was enough time on the clock for OU’s Brkic to cap off the half with a 50-yard field goal.

The second half was a lot more of the same from the latter portion of the first. K-State continued to march down the field all over Alex Grinch’s defense, and the Sooners’ offense struggled with stringing together winning plays. An OU turnover on a kickoff gave the Wildcats a short field that led to another score. At its largest, Oklahoma’s deficit swelled to 25 points at 48-23.

Speaking of turnovers, it’s now been four games in a row in which Oklahoma’s defense has gone without a takeaway. Throughout the offseason, Grinch preached turnovers, and his defense looked to be improved in that department during the first four games. Today, the Sooners lost that battle in the Little Apple, 2-0.

In the fourth quarter, OU rallied with a couple stops and a couple scores, shrinking KSU’s lead to a mere seven points. During the on-side kick attempt, Brayden Willis appeared to recover the loose possession for the Sooners without any obvious issues, but upon a lengthy review, replay showed that true freshman Trejan Bridges touched the ball just before it traveled the required 10 yards, although it looked like he might have been blocked into the bouncing ball by a K-State defender. Here’s the official rule on such a situation.

Here’s the play. It looks like Bridges was blocked into the path of the ball, thus making contact with it before it reached the 45 yard line.

The officials missed one here, but either way, there were too many moments that contributed to the game’s result to focus on any singular play.

Although it wasn’t Jalen Hurts’ most efficient day as a Sooner, the Heisman hopeful managed to rack up 395 yards on 19-26 passing, 96 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. On the outside, CeeDee Lamb had another monster outing, hauling in five catches for 135 yards.

Make no mistake, OU very much still controls its own destiny in regards to the Big 12 Championship. Also, a berth in the College Football Playoff is still within the realm of possibility, especially considering the Sooners’ recent history of dropping a game in October (UT in ‘15, ISU in ‘17, UT in ‘18) only to win out and reach the coveted final four.

Oklahoma will have the next weekend off before hosting Iowa State on Nov. 9. Two years ago, Lincoln Riley’s first career loss as the Sooners’ head coach came against Matt Campbell’s Cyclones in Norman, and while that game resulted in one of the bigger upsets in recent college football history, this season’s version could very well feature a matchup between top 25 teams.

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