Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sure, you’re here to read about football, one of the lasting images of the game went down before the match was under way. Before the game all of K-State’s seniors were introduced – the first group of seniors to go to a bowl game every year since the class of 2003. The final player to be introduced was Ty Zimmerman, on crutches and leg in a boot.
Starting the game, John Hubert took a handoff 13 yards for the first play of the day. After a lackluster performance last week against TCU, it looked like he was set to get back on track. However, he was then inexplicably placed in the Wildcat formation. That decision went delay of game, rush for -6 yards. Not sure why the coaching staff thought that was a good idea – Oklahoma put nine in the box, knowing K-State wouldn’t throw. If you want your quarterback to run, you’ve already got a couple on the sidelines perfectly capable of doing it.
Oklahoma didn’t squander its opportunity following a K-State punt. Aside from a solid tackle for four yard loss by Ryan Mueller on first and goal, the defense struggled to slow Trevor Knight, who started in place of the injured Ryan Mueller. The Sooners put on an eight play, 64 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
Things didn’t get any better on K-State’s second possession. Two shorts running gains by Daniel Sams and an incompletion by Jake Waters, and Mark Krause had another punt go off the side of his foot, traveling just 28 yards before heading out of bounds. Yet Randall Evans came up with a big interception of Knight to get the first turnover of the game.
K-State had trouble moving the ball its first two drives, but Jake Water and Tyler Lockett used a couple big plays to get into Oklahoma territory. Yet a couple drops and a sack on a very crafty blitz halted the third Wildcat drive. Krause made up for his prior punt by kicking a ball downed at the two yard line, but the lack of offensive production was frustrating.
Oklahoma’s responding drive was the type of thing that breaks a defense. On third down Trevor Knight couldn’t find a receiver and pressure looked like he would be sacked and possibly even have a safety. Yet a pump fake bought him a hole, and ran for a first down to start what turned into a 98-yard touchdown drive in which Oklahoma ran 16 plays and dominated the line of scrimmage to take a 14-0 lead. Ryan Mueller missed two assignments on the drive during option plays.
Tyler Lockett, the team’s lone bright spot to that point, had a kick return to the 41-yard line while spinning more times than a political operative on Meet The Press. He was on the ground briefly following the return, but eventually ran back to the sidelines on his own. He came back two plays later to break free and nab a 48 yard touchdown reception. Last year I was constantly amazed at how open Lockett would get sometimes. Nothing has changed, as he could have strolled into the end zone.
K-State followed up the drive by finally forcing a Sooner punt, which helped set up the play of the game to this point. Jake Waters fumbled a snap, picked it up, and chucked it 43 yards to Tramaine Thompson. Two plays later, Tyler Lockett starts into a slant route, reverses on a double move, and finds himself wide open for a 30 yards and his second touchdown on the day.
At that point, it became the Clay Brennan/Tyler Lockett show. In response to K-State’s touchdown, Brennan reeled off a 64 yard touchdown run to put him at 139 yards already. Lockett responded with a 90 yard touchdown reception in which he actually had to work for the catch, but once the ball touched his hands he was gone. Oklahoma was the rushing team, while K-State the superior passer. Not something we’re used to experiencing.
Oklahoma held the ball for the final drive, and an epic red zone face-off ensued. With time running out, Clay was brought down for -4 yards on first and goal, forcing Oklahoma to burn its last time out with 21 seconds left. Blake Slaughter came up with a sack of Knight, forcing OU to spike the ball and kick the field goal. It was good, and we stand at 24-21, Sooner lead. Anyone’s ball game headed into the second half.
Brennan Clay has 20 rushes, 160 yards, and a touchdown for K-State. Averaging eight yards per carry. Tyler Lockett has 203 yards receiving on six catches, for a 34.3 average and three touchdowns to go along with 48 yards on two kick returns.