Part two our reaction to K-State’s ability to answer the questions and bottle the goals for OU posed by NewsOK.com.
Question 2: Who starts at running back?
Answer 2: It really doesn’t matter.
Coming into Saturday’s game, the most common question every sports information outlet asked was how well would K-State’s secondary hold up against Landry Jones. Part of the reason for this was that Nigel Malone and the rest of the defensive backs remained suspect given old history (last year’s shellacking at the hands of Jones) and recent history (remember, North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson was 25-of-28 passing last week). Part of the reason was that the Sooners have made a living in recent years destroying teams through the air, and Landry Jones bypassed the NFL to return and destroy more teams en route to a BCS bowl win. Part of the reason was that throwing the ball was the only way Oklahoma could hope to beat the Wildcats, as the ground game had no chance.
To be honest, I don’t remember who started at running back. I think it was Damien Williams, but it really doesn’t matter. Six players ran the ball for Oklahoma, combining for 88 yards on 27 attempts and averaging 3.3 yards/carry. Excluding the -20 yards Landry Jones was responsible for, K-State still averaged more yards per run and rushed for twice as many yards. Arthur Brown remained dominant. Justin Tuggle’s sack and forced fumble was emblematic of his entire game; the kid was all over the field and has established himself as a force. Kansas State fans who remember the stellar linebacker corps of the late 90s and early aughts should get nostalgic with this group.
Oklahoma failed to settle into any rhythm primarily due to the constant harassment of Landry Jones. However, the same K-State defenders that were in the backfield for passing plays also covered their assignments against the run. Similar to the larger team story throughout the game, the run defense wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.