No. 6 Oklahoma suffered its first loss of the Brent Venables era, 41-34, at home to his alma mater, Kansas State. With a third loss to the Wildcats in the past four seasons, the Sooners are 0-1 in Big 12 play for just the third time since 2012.
The Sooners won their first three games of the season by a combined 127-30, but the Wildcats cleared the 30-point mark midway through the fourth quarter thanks to monster game from quarterback Adrian Martinez. The Nebraska transfer threw for 234 yards, rushed for 148 more and scored all five Wildcats touchdowns in a career-best performance against an inconsistent Sooners defense.
Martinez's biggest play came late in the fourth quarter while facing third-and-16. After Oklahoma got pressure, Martinez stepped up and ran 55 yards deep into the red zone. He scored a few plays later to give the Wildcats a two-touchdown lead.
The Oklahoma defense will get the brunt of the blame by allowing 509 yards and 6.1 yards per play, but the offense had consistency issues of its own. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw touchdowns of 56 and 50 yards in the first half, but 11 of his other 24 completions went for five yards or fewer. Oklahoma's offense only reached the red zone three times and scored two touchdowns, though one came with only 35 seconds remaining.
Oklahoma lost its Big 12 opener for the first time since the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020, when it had just one nonconference matchup. Naturally, that loss came to Kansas State. The last time Oklahoma lost a Big 12 opener in a normal year was 2012. The loss? Kansas State. Since 2012, Oklahoma has lost only nine home games, but four of those have been to Kansas State
The Wildcats' performance was a wild swing from a 17-10 loss to Tulane one week ago. Suddenly, they sit at 3-1 and tied for first place in the Big 12 at 1-0.
Redemption for Martinez
Martinez was one of the most maligned quarterbacks in the country during his career at Nebraska, especially as the Cornhuskers went on an improbable run of losing close games. With that in his rearview mirror, the close win over Oklahoma has to feel even sweeter.
When Martinez transferred to Kansas State, the hope was that offensive coordinator Collin Klein could reign in his skillset and put him in good situations. After struggles against Tulane, Martinez made countless throws on the run and found gaps to extend drives.
Simply put, in Klieman's offensive system, Martinez can play winning football. There's no greater validation.
Much was made about Oklahoma's improved defensive unit after the Nebraska game, with recent players even bemoaning that they didn't get to play for this group. However, against its first real test, the Sooners defense crumbled.
Kansas State put together seven drives of at least seven plays, including four drives of 10 plays or more. More concerning, the Sooners allowed 10 third-or fourth-down conversions to extend drives. Teeing off against overmatched offensive lines let Oklahoma's defensive line rack up statistics, but it did not hold up against a Big 12 opponent. The Sooners did not have a single sack against Kansas State.
Big 12 implications
The Sooners and Wildcats were preseason contenders to reach the Big 12 Championship Game. After going on the road and winning, Kansas State suddenly has a wildly important tiebreaker as conference play begins.
Oklahoma was kept out of the Big 12 Championship Game in 2021 thanks to losing a tiebreaker game against Baylor as both teams finished 7-2. There has been a new participant in the Big 12 Championship Game each season since the game returned in 2017. Kansas State is in a great position to become the newest name.