Oklahoma got back to winning ways with a 58-17 rout of the previously unbeaten Kansas State Wildcats. Coming off a loss to Texas Tech, the Sooners - a 14 point favorite - set out to show that they had put that game behind them.
Let's get to "The Breakdown"
Just like in their previous match, the Sooners scored on their first drive. Unlike last time though, they didn't stop till they got enough; running off 44 unanswered points after the Wildcats had taken a 17-14 lead.
Sooners QB Landry Jones passed for over 500 yards (a school "single game" record) and 5 touchdowns, while completing passes to 9 different receivers, and 2 more to Nigel Malone; except he plays for the Wildcats. Credit goes to Malone for making a play on both interceptions, even though Jones could have, and should have made better decisions in both cases.
It was interesting to notice a rotation going on among the receivers. Other than Ryan Broyles who was on the field for most the game, Dejuan Miller and Jaz Reynolds, as well Tight Ends Trent Ratterree and James Hanna offered more options in the passing game. It was Reynolds though who brought the "jaz" to Manhattan with a pair of acrobatic "one hand" catches, one of them for a 3rd quarter touchdown.
Also introduced for the first time this season was Oklahoma's version of the "wildcat" formation. QB Blake Bell featured a few times in the game from that setup, including a 1yd TD run for the game's opening score. Hopefully, this might be a spark for the Sooners red zone output, which has been subpar for a while now.
Unfortunately, Oklahoma will have to make do without Dominique Whaley, the team's leading rusher who was injured on the game's first play, and is now out for the season. Roy Finch stepped up to the plate with 142 yards on 16 touches, highlighted by a 31 yd TD run in the 3rd quarter.
Kansas State wasn't going to be much of a threat passing the ball, so the focus for Oklahoma's defense was to put them in obvious passing situations. The Wildcats were bottled up in the first quarter, but QB Collin Klein almost flipped the script, rushing for 2 scores (one of them for 42 yards) to give his team the lead, albeit short-lived.
The Sooners turned up the heat, holding the Wildcats in check for the remainder of the game. The defense finished with 10 tackles for lost yardage, 7 quarterback sacks and a recovered fumble; which resulted in a 53 yard field goal by Michael Hunnicutt (yes, the same guy who missed a pair of seemingly easy FG attempts the previous week).
More importantly, this game marked the return of Tom Wort, Casey Walker and Demontre Hurst back into the lineup. The unit played with more anger and hunger, and looked every bit as dominant as they had been during wins against Florida State and Texas.
This was Oklahoma's best performance since their game against Texas, and they'll need to maintain this type of effort for the remainder of the season. Despite the long odds of making it to the national title game, they aren't completely out of the running just yet. Tricky encounters lie ahead though..
Oklahoma welcomes Texas A&M to Norman this weekend. In their last meeting, the Aggies won 33-19 en route to a share of the Big 12 South Division crown. The Aggies are the most balanced team that Oklahoma has yet to play so far, and the challenge could get tougher should this be the weekend that A&M decides to play a "complete" game.