NORMAN, Okla. — Even though Halloween is still a few weeks away, Saturday night’s game might haunt the Oklahoma quarterbacks for some time.
On a night when offense came at a premium, it was the Kansas State defense that came up with big play after big play to shock the sixth-ranked Sooners 24-19 in front of a home crowd of more than 85,000.
Oklahoma’s Landry Jones fumbled once in the first half and threw a costly interception in the second — both leading to K-State touchdowns. But Jones wasn’t the only Sooners QB that was into the giving spirit on Saturday as backup and Wichita product Blake Bell fumbled the ball deep in the Wildcats’ territory, which resulted in a K-State field goal.
“To me, that’s the whole game,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
The Sooners’ three turnovers led to the 15th-ranked Wildcats’ first win in Norman since 1997 and only the fourth home loss under Stoops in 14 years at Oklahoma.
“It was a little bit of a struggle offensively, but they just kept sawing wood, so to speak, and making plays,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “Defensively, our defense, I think, created the turnovers that took place by-and-large. When you go through the half and the defense has as many points as your offense does, that’s a pretty good deal.”
K-State is now 4-0 and heading into a bye week before hosting rival Kansas on Oct. 6 — its first Sunflower Showdown in Manhattan since 2009.
“They’re pretty excited,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “All wins are important and every coach will tell you and every player will probably tell you the same thing — they’re hard to come by no matter who you have to play.”
While the defense did the job taking the ball away, the offense was paced by running back John Hubert and quarterback Collin Klein, who combined for 209 rushing yards and two scores. It was Hubert’s third game reaching the century mark this season. Klein was efficient in the passing game too, completing 13-of-21 passes for 149 yards — with no turnovers.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, obviously it was exactly that,” Klein said. “Again, credit all facets for hanging together when things were going wrong, when things weren’t going so well, and just being able to execute when we had to execute.
“We were able to do enough in what we needed to do to win.”
K-State took its first lead of the game on a 1-yard fumble recovery by linebacker Jarell Childs early in the second quarter. Justin Tuggle set up K-State for the touchdown when he sacked and stripped Jones on third-and-13 from the Sooners’ 13. Jones finished 28-of-43 with 298 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats, who held OU to 386 total yards, took advantage of another Sooners miscue later in the second quarter when safety Ty Zimmerman recovered another OU fumble at the 6 — this time from Bell as he took a shotgun from the Wildcats’ 1-yard line.
Thirteen plays and 88 yards later, K-State was back on the scoreboard with a 23-yard field goal from Anthony Cantele with 2:28 remaining in the first half — giving K-State a 10-3 lead.
OU did answer, but only with a 34-yard field goal with 35 seconds left in the second quarter, allowing the Wildcats to take a 10-6 lead into halftime.
It didn’t last long though, as the Sooners regained control of the game with 5 minutes to play in the third when Bell finally got into the end zone on a 5-yard rush, making it 13-10.
But when the Wildcats needed the big play, again the defense was there to provide it when Zimmerman picked off Jones at the OU 38 in the closing minutes of the third quarter.
K-State, which had 362 yards of total offense, needed just 3 minutes to punch the ball into the end zone on a 38-yard drive orchestrated by Hubert and Klein, giving the Wildcats a 17-13 lead. Hubert carried the ball three times for 17 yards, including a rush of 11 yards on second down, while Klein completed one pass for 7 yards to Tyler Lockett and rushed twice for 13 yards — including the go-ahead 5-yard touchdown run with 13:16 to play.
Klein was just getting started, though, as he powered the Wildcats ahead 24-13 with 7:27 remaining in the game. The senior competed passes of 21 yards and 13 yards to tight end Travis Tannahill and another to Tramaine Thompson for 26 yards to get set up Hubert for a 9-yard touchdown run, giving the junior running back a TD in four straight games.
The Sooners tried to make things interesting down the stretch when they used 10 plays to charge 65 yards and score on a 10-yard pass from Jones to Sterling Shepard. The two-point conversion try failed and K-State was still ahead 24-19.
And as good as Klein was Saturday night, perhaps the most important plays he made came at the end with 4:09 to play on the ensuing possession when he milked the clock and converted on a pair of key third downs to end the game.
“Coach Snyder says, no self limitations, we’re just going to try and take care of our business to the best of our ability, do everything we can possibly do to get ourselves ready to go battle, and when the time comes, we have a really great battle,” Klein said.
“We believe that together, and we get it done.”