Quick Hits: Kansas State 24, Oklahoma 19
Instant analysis of the Wildcats' upset over Oklahoma.
Kansas State Won. The Wildcats played their game at their pace in the most hostile territory in the Big 12, churning out more than 200 yards rushing and generating three turnovers in a vintage upset at Oklahoma. Kansas State trailed by three at the start of the fourth quarter, 13-10, but rallied for the go-ahead and winning touchdowns in the final frame, making the Sooners the second top-five team to be knocked from its perch in as many weeks.
Why Kansas State Won. Oklahoma gained more yards on offense, but as usual, K-State's fate hinged on controlling the clock, protecting the ball and creating big plays via defense and special teams. The Wildcats' first touchdown of the night came courtesy of the former in the second quarter, when linebacker Justin Tuggle stripped Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones near the OU goal line, setting up teammate Jarell Childs to scoop up the loose ball in the end zone. From that point on, K-State mounted three more sustained, methodical scoring drives on offense and accumulated a nearly 10-minute advantage in time of possession. The Sooners got off 70 snaps, their fewest in a Big 12 game since 2009.
Most importantly, the Wildcats didn't turn the ball over a single time, and converted three Oklahoma giveaways into 17 points.
When Kansas State Won. Leading 24-19 following a crucial, potentially momentum-turning Oklahoma touchdown with 4:09 to play, the Wildcats successfully killed the rest of the clock by picking up two first downs to put the win on ice. Both first downs came on third-down conversions by quarterback Collin Klein, the first on a 12-yard completion to Tramaine Thompson on 3rd-and-11, the second coming on a 5-yard run by Klein on 3rd-and-3. With that, it went to kneeldowns to make it official.
What Kansas State Won. The Wildcats will almost certainly be ranked in the top 10 on Sunday morning, solidifying their bona fides as serious contenders in the Big 12 and intriguing darkhorse threats nationally. (The last time K-State was ranked higher than No. 10 in the AP poll: 2003, the same year it won its last conference title.) With his mistake-free performance in a breakthrough win, Klein will likely ascend out of the "darkhorse" category in the Heisman discussion. In general, Kansas State will occupy a place of respect in the national conversation that it hasn't enjoyed since the heyday of Bill Snyder's first tenure as head coach, which almost no one saw coming when the school decided to bring him back to take over a rebuilding job four years ago.
What Oklahoma Lost. An early loss to a ranked opponent is not necessarily a fatal blow to Big 12 or BCS championship hopes, but it does mean the Sooners will need a lot of help on both fronts, and are no longer considered frontrunners on either. In the bigger picture, it seems the home-field advantage at Memorial Stadium doesn't mean quite as much as it used to: With tonight's loss, Oklahoma has been upended as a double-digit home favorite for the second time in as many years, all but ending the aura of invincibility it built up there over more than a decade.
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