Last week we trotted out the five things to watch against Oklahoma. Here’s how those factors played out:
1. Interceptions: With Trevor Knight starting for the injured Blake Bell, I assumed there was a solid chance at 2-3 interceptions by K-State. Knight threw one, but really didn’t give the Wildcats many opportunities. That’s not because he was throwing spot-on passes all night – he just didn’t throw that much. Knight completed just 14-21 passes, but the Sooners had 52 rushing attempts as Oklahoma opted to win the game on the ground. Conversely, Jake Waters had a great day, but did have two interceptions. The second one ended the game, but came when K-State was down two possessions with just two minutes to go and Waters was forced to push the issue despite strong coverage.
2. Crowd Support: Solid. The fans went soft a couple of times following Oklahoma scores, but overall they braved the cold and helped make life difficult for the Sooner offense.
3. Defensive Leadership: Missed assignments, particularly at the beginning of the game, were an issue. For a program known nationally for its discipline, K-State struggled to defend the option. Defenders were frozen, failing to key on the quarterback or running back. I’m not going to say the team wasn’t playing with passion, but it needed to play smarter.
4. The Weather: Major props to Waters here – he threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in cold, windy conditions. Tyler Lockett helped make a lot of that happen, but Lockett also had a couple of drops on good passes by Waters. The weather probably forced Oklahoma to focus more on the ground attack, which turned out to benefit the Sooners. The K-State passing game was as good as you could hope for in those conditions.
5. The Element Of Surprise: The only thing that came away surprised was the Sooner secondary every time Lockett made a double move downfield. Didn’t see much in the way of trick plays. I expected both sides to play less conventionally than they did. But Tyler Lockett left cornerbacks looking silly for the second straight week, as they didn’t know which way was up trying to keep up with him.