Part five of our reaction to K-State’s ability to answer the questions and bottle the goals for OU posed by NewsOK.com.
Goal 2: Force multiple turnovers.
Outcome 2: Nada.
A quick evaluation of my writing makes a couple issues obvious. The first is that although I was clever enough to avoid ever having to take an English class in college (as a liberal arts major, no less!), I probably should have. The second is I expound ad nauseum on Bill Snyder’s hallmark of coaching smart teams that win as many games playing smart football as they do from physical dominance. The victory over Oklahoma was no exception. Beating a top ten team requires something close to perfection and this is exactly what we saw on the field Saturday.
Both teams did an excellent job of avoiding penalties (K-State incurred 3 for 24 yards, Oklahoma 4 for 25). It was not true that both teams did an excellent job of securing the football. Oklahoma didn’t just fail to force multiple turnovers – they failed to force one. This statistic wasn’t close either. There were no forced fumbles K-State was lucky to recover and get back. OU cornerbacks weren’t breaking on underthrown passes only to drop potential pick sixes. The only moment that made me hold my breath was the punt Tyler Lockett couldn’t seem to get out of the way of, but even that play broke the Wildcats way as it was finally ruled the football bounced off a Sooner before grazing Lockett.
While Oklahoma failed to force a turnover, it did manage to give away three possessions the Wildcats happily turned into 17 points. Two turnovers K-State clearly earned: the forced fumble by Justin Tuggle, and the interception by Ty Zimmerman of a pass Landry forced up under tremendous pressure. However, the goal line fumble by quarterback Blake Bell was just embarrassing. I’ve read at least one outlet giving Snyder some credit for the play, as he called a timeout immediately before the first time Bell lined up to make him nervous; effectively ‘icing the quarterback.’ When he lined up again, he failed to secure the snap and it’s Wildcat football at the five. As much as I’d like to give Snyder credit for this play, this diagnosis may be a bit much. Either way, that fumble resulted in one fewer scores for the Sooners, and in a game decided by five points, Saturday’s victory was likely impossible without winning the turnover battle. It’s a hallmark of coach Snyder, and now it’s the Wildcats ranked in the top ten.