STILLWATER, Okla. -- On a night with serious national championship implications, No. 3 Oklahoma State showed what the Big 12's thrilling offenses bring to the table.
Brandon Weeden threw for a school-record 502 yards and four touchdowns, and Joseph Randle scored the final, tiebreaking 23-yard touchdown with 2:16 remaining to lift No. 3 Oklahoma State to a 52-45 victory against No. 17 Kansas State on Saturday night.
While top-ranked LSU was edging out No. 2 Alabama 9-6 to get a leg up in the SEC's part of the BCS picture, Weeden and the Cowboys (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) won their own version of a wild one that came right down to the end.
"I'm sure that one was pretty fun as well," Weeden said. "To come out on top in this one feels really, really good."
The Cowboys matched the best start in school history -- accomplished only during the 1945 team's perfect Sugar Bowl season -- and survived quite a scare from K-State (7-2, 4-2), which had three shots at the end zone from the OSU 5 in the final 12 seconds.
Collin Klein missed on passes intended for Tyler Lockett and Chris Harper and then overshot Tramaine Thompson in the end zone as time expired. Oklahoma State's players rushed on to the field to celebrate, their national championship hopes still intact.
"You know the season's on the line, so we're definitely not going to back down," defensive end Jamie Blatnick said. "There's no way that we're going to just break and just let the game go out of our hands.
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"We've got a great team and we fight hard and I'm proud of them."
All-America receiver Justin Blackmon caught 13 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, atoning for his two-fumble game with a 54-yard touchdown catch with 4:47 remaining that pulled the Cowboys out of a 38-37 deficit.
He also caught the 2-point conversion for a 45-38 lead.
Kansas State responded right back with Lockett's 80-yard kickoff return and three straight runs by Klein, who barged in from 12 yards out to tie it up with 3:18 remaining.
It took Oklahoma State's quick-strike offense just four plays and 62 seconds to respond again. Weeden found Isaiah Anderson for a 33-yard gain, and Randle ran through a big hole on third-and-1 before dodging safety Jordan Zimmerman to waltz in for the game-winner.
Klein drove the Wildcats down for a chance to tie -- or perhaps go for the win with a 2-point conversion -- by converting a fourth-and-4 with a quarterback keeper and then connecting with Harper for 22 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 5-yard line.
With no time to rely on his potent running game, coach Bill Snyder called three straight passing plays but none got the job done.
"We play for games like this. This is an exciting game and when it comes down to it, you've got to dig down deep and you've got to make a play," Blatnick said. "We did that today and I'm really proud of everybody, how hard they played."
Klein finished with 231 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 144 yards and three scores.
"I did some good things and I made some mistakes we can't afford to have. We hung tough and fought the entire game but unfortunately we came up short," Klein said.
Minutes after the game ended, the stadium shook from a 5.6 magnitude earthquake.
The thrilling finish came after a wild back-and-forth game filled with turnovers and plenty of offense -- nothing like what was on display in LSU-Alabama clash.
While LSU will likely remain first when the BCS standings come out on Sunday, Oklahoma State will probably be the new No. 2. So, Weeden refused to call the victory a defining moment for the Cowboys.
"We've got to win the last one," he said. "The last one will be the most defining."
Oklahoma State opened a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but then got socked by 24 straight K-State points -- aided by a series of turnovers by stars Weeden and Blackmon -- to face its largest home deficit of the season.
Blackmon fumbled on a punt return to set up Anthony Cantele's 37-yard field goal, then Weeden gave the ball right back by throwing a pick to Tysyn Hartman on a deep ball. Angelo Pease and Klein had short TD runs on Kansas State's next two possessions before another Weeden interception was returned 60 yards for a score by Allen Chapman to make it 24-14.
Then Klein and the Wildcats took their turn piling up errors.
James Thomas intercepted a pass that Klein threw into coverage and Brodrick Brown tipped. His 47-yard return set up Weeden's 5-yard TD pass to Tracy Moore on the next play. Then, instead of pinning Oklahoma State deep, Ryan Doerr's punt went out of bounds after only 19 yards and gave OSU good field position to drive for Quinn Sharp's 29-yard field goal and a 27-24 halftime lead.
"The one thing that I like about our team is they really don't flinch very much," OSU coach Mike Gundy said. "They just keep fighting. So as long as they do that, so be it."
The Cowboys were 1 yard away from claiming a 41-31 lead late in the third quarter when Blackmon fumbled for the second time in the game and Lyndell Johnson recovered in the end zone for Kansas State.
That opened the door for K-State to come back again and take a 38-37 lead on Klein's 4-yard option keeper, three plays after he converted a fourth-and-6 with a 13-yard scramble.
Oklahoma State needed just two plays to save its season, with Blackmon streaking down the middle of the field for his 54-yard TD.
"In a perfect world, they're all going to be double-digit wins but it's not like that," Weeden said. "College football is just not like that.
"In order to achieve a goal and win every game, there's going to be some close ones and there's going to be some games that show a lot of character."
|Brandon Weeden completes 36 of 46 passes for 502 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. (Getty Images)|
|OKST||Joseph Randle 4 yd run (Quinn Sharp kick)|
|OKST||Justin Blackmon 11 yd pass from Brandon Weeden (Quinn Sharp kick)|
|KSST||Anthony Cantele 37 yd FG|
|KSST||Angelo Pease 5 yd run (Anthony Cantele kick)|
|KSST||Collin Klein 4 yd run (Anthony Cantele kick)|
|KSST||Allen Chapman 60 yd interception return (Anthony Cantele kick)|
|OKST||Quinn Sharp 19 yd FG|
|OKST||Tracy Moore 5 yd pass from Brandon Weeden (Quinn Sharp kick)|
|OKST||Quinn Sharp 29 yd FG|
|OKST||Joseph Randle 15 yd pass from Brandon Weeden (Quinn Sharp kick)|
|KSST||Tyler Lockett 14 yd pass from Collin Klein (Anthony Cantele kick)|
|OKST||Quinn Sharp 40 yd FG|
|KSST||Collin Klein 4 yd run (Anthony Cantele kick)|
|OKST||Justin Blackmon 54 yd pass from Brandon Weeden (Justin Blackmon 2pt pass from Brandon Weeden)|
|KSST||Collin Klein 12 yd run (Anthony Cantele kick)|
|OKST||Joseph Randle 23 yd run (Quinn Sharp kick)|
|Third Down Efficiency||9-18||4-9|
|Fourth Down Efficiency||2-2||0-0|
|Kick Return Yds||203||129|
|Punt Return Yds||6||2|
|Time of Poss.||40:49||19:11|
|KSST: Collin Klein 29-144, Tyler Lockett 3-84, John Hubert 14-40, Angelo Pease 4-12, Chris Harper 1--4|
|OKST: Joseph Randle 16-73, Justin Blackmon 1-0|
|KSST: Collin Klein 22-38-231-1, Team 0-1-0-0|
|OKST: Brandon Weeden 36-46-502-2|
|KSST: Tramaine Thompson 6-71, Chris Harper 5-55, Tyler Lockett 3-32, John Hubert 3-29, Sheldon Smith 2-15, Andre McDonald 1-15, Travis Tannahill 1-8, Curry Sexton 1-6|
|OKST: Justin Blackmon 13-205, Tracy Moore 9-146, Joseph Randle 5-31, Isaiah Anderson 3-46, Josh Stewart 3-41, Michael Harrison 2-21, Colton Chelf 1-12|