Soon­ers stunned

No. 5 Ok­la­homa’s play­off hopes take hit with 1st loss at Kansas State since 1996

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Dave Skretta

MAN­HAT­TAN, Kan. — There was never a mo­ment of un­cer­tainty on Kansas State’s side­line when fifth-ranked Ok­la­homa raced to an early lead, or when the wounded Soon­ers be­gan to mount a fran­tic fourthquar­ter come­back.

There might have been just a bit when they re­cov­ered an on­side kick.

“It was a lit­tle anx­ious,” Wild­cats de­fen­sive end Wy­att Hu­bert said.

Anx­ious­ness that soon gave way to ela­tion.

Of­fi­cials re­viewed the re­cov­ery with 1:45 left in the game and de­ter­mined the ball hit an Ok­la­homa player a yard early, giv­ing it to the Wild­cats. They ran out the rest of the clock to fin­ish off a 48-41 vic­tory that dealt the Soon­ers’ na­tional ti­tle hopes a ma­jor blow.

“Ok­la­homa isn’t a team that is used to fac­ing ad­ver­sity very well,” said Hu­bert, who along with the rest of the Kansas State de­fense did just enough to hold Heis­man

Tro­phy con­tender Jalen Hurts in check.

“If you can put their backs against the wall,” he said, “things are go­ing to go more smoothly.”

Ok­la­homa (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) tried to make the case that its player was blocked into the ball on the on­side kick. But by the time the Soon­ers headed for the bus, the score­boards in­side Bill Sny­der Fam­ily Sta­dium still read the same.

“We had a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion at Bay­lor my first year. They en­gaged our player and it def­i­nitely hit him be­fore the 10-yard,” Soon­ers coach Lin­coln Ri­ley said, “but I was un­der the im­pres­sion if they en­gage our player into it that there’s no il­le­gal touch­ing. It was a 50-50 call that didn’t go our way.”

It was the first home win for the Wild­cats (5-2, 2-2) over Ok­la­homa since 1996, and just their fourth win ever over a top-five team. It also snapped the Soon­ers’ na­tion­lead­ing 22-game road win streak — a span of five years and 22 days since their loss at TCU.

Sky­lar Thomp­son had 213 yards pass­ing while run­ning for four touch­downs, and James Gil­bert added 105 yards rush­ing and a score.

“I don’t have any idea on the lines and spreads, thank God,” said Wild­cats coach Chris Klie­man, whose team was a 21-1⁄2-point un­der­dog. “I mean, yeah, it was a state­ment win for our guys. I told the se­niors, ‘How many more op­por­tu­ni­ties are you go­ing to have to play in front of your home crowd?’ ”

It was the third con­sec­u­tive week a top-10 team lost to an un­ranked foe, with Ok­la­homa join­ing Ge­or­gia and Wis­con­sin.

“We’ve got to be more ap­pre­cia­tive, cher­ish ev­ery mo­ment and at­tack ev­ery mo­ment with the right in­tent,” Hurts said. “We’ve got to learn from this and ap­pre­ci­ate this les­son.”

Hurts threw for 395 yards and a touch­down while run­ning for 95 yards and three more.

But de­spite his big game, the Soon­ers couldn’t overcome a mul­ti­tude of mis­takes: two turnovers, costly penal­ties and the ejec­tion of one of their de­fen­sive lead­ers.

Last week, it was the Sooner Schooner that crashed.

This week, it may have been Ok­la­homa’s chances of reach­ing the Col­lege Football Play­off.

It didn’t look that way early, though. The Soon­ers breezed down­field for a field goal, forced a quick punt, then scored again in a mat­ter of min­utes to take a 10-0 lead. And af­ter Kansas State scored, Hurts an­swered with an­other touch­down to give the Soon­ers a 17-7 lead.

That’s when the un­rav­el­ing be­gan.


Kansas State QB Sky­lar Thomp­son cel­e­brates af­ter Thomp­son’s score dur­ing Satur­day’s up­set of Ok­la­homa.

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