Starting the second half of the game down 17-14 and missing its top two wide receivers while struggling to move the ball consistently, Kansas State came out of the locker room determined to show it can gain yards in chunks despite everything going against the team. Here’s how the first drive started:
- Daniel Sams rush for 12 yards
- Sams pass to Torell Miller for four
- Sams rush for eight
- Sams rush for five (designed pass though)
- John Hubert rush for eight
- False start penalty (of course)
- Sams rush for six
- Sams pass to Miller for two
- Sams pass to Miller for 12
- Hubert rush for five
- Hubert rush for six (inside the red zone at this point)
- Sams pass to Miller for 17 yards, touchdown.
Aside from the false start, that was probably the best drive of the year for K-State. There were no huge plays. But every play went forward for positive yardage. Miller seemed to get open every time except for the play Sams took off to rush. Solid pass protection each time (something we certainly haven’t seen recently). Just a great drive. That’s how you attack a team playing contain defense, and K-State used up almost seven minutes on that grinding drive. 11 plays, 79 yards.
The subsequent Oklahoma State was the best defensive drive by the Wildcats this year. Quarterback J.W. Walsh had a one-yard pass, and then rushed past unknowing defensive linemen for seven yards when Jon Truman spotted Walsh and ripped the ball loose. Alauna Finau recovered the ball at the Oklahoma State 31, and the Wildcats were ready to set up shop again after getting the first fumble recovery of the year (and first turnover of the game).
Daniel Sams began the drive continuing to take a pounding, taking off and rushing seven yards to the Oklahoma State 24 despite Kyle Klein being wide open. On the second play of the drive, Sams fumbled the ball after hitting the ground and it appeared OSU may get the ball back, but the announcers assured viewers that Sams clearly had the ball secure when he hit the ground. So then we just had to wait for the review to proclaim it. However, the officials ruled the evidence was not indisputable (it was), the announcers straight up said it was a bad call, but the Cowboys got the ball back.
Fortunately, the defense forced a three and out and Oklahoma State was forced to punt. Ty Zimmerman, still returning punts, initially opted let the ball bounce, grabbed it after one hop and was nailed by two defenders, but held on to the ball to prevent it from bouncing close to the end zone and backing the offense too deep. However, Sams underthrew Zach Trujillo on the first play and was intercepted at the 19.
K-State’s defense came up huge the third straight possession, holding Oklahoma State without a field goal again. Jon Truman went down with an injury on third down, but the defense held Oklahoma State to a field goal and had its lead cut to 21-20.
The next drive was the epitome of why I hate switching quarterbacks. Jake Waters was brought into the game after Sams “committed” turnovers on two straight possessions (he clearly threw the interception, he clearly did not fumble the ball until after being down). Facing third-and-seven, Waters was stripped while moving forward to pass, and Oklahoma State recovered at the six-yard-line. However, the defense came up huge again, did not allow a yard, and forced a field goal as Oklahoma State went up 23-21.
Missing Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett has been more evident in the return game than on offense. Not only did Zimmerman struggle, but K-State had two bad returns that would have been much better served just letting the ball bounce into the end zone, starting at the 12 and the 17.
Heading into the fourth quarter, this is where we stand: Oklahoma State has a two point lead, 23-21. K-State has possession and is driving, ball at the K-State 41 facing third-and-seven. They’re also up to 12 penalties. Stick around, because this one is far from over.