It's the reoccurring nightmare of this 2013 season. Late in the game, the Wildcats are fighting. All they need is one well executed drive and they'll walk away with a win. Instead, they turn the ball over in spectacularly horrible fashion and the game ends. We've had this nightmare five times now.
It's never all about the turnovers. In this version of the nightmare, the overachieving K-State defense forgot to overachieve. Brennan Clay averaged 6.5 yards per carry and Trevor Knight completed 70 percent of his passes. The Wildcat offense couldn't establish the run and at times it appeared the play calls were being drawn out of a hat.
While K-State averaged nearly a full yard more than the Sooners per play, Oklahoma's average field position and yards per possession were each over seven yards better than the Wildcats. Thirteen of John Hubert's 17 yards on the day were gained on the first play of the game. Tramaine Thompson matched Hubert's rushing total in just two carries.
With Ty Zimmerman on crutches and Travis Green apparently injured as well, Dylan Schellenberg stepped in at safety to mixed results. He wasn't as much of a liability as some anticipated, but at times he seemed confused and lacked speed. The defensive line lost battle after battle as Clay found gaping holes and Knight was almost completely untouched in the pocket.
The Wildcats finished the game with only one forced turnover, despite having at least four other chances. Two passes hit K-State defenders in the hands before being dropped and the Sooners put the ball on the turf twice, recovering it both times. Another missed opportunity came when the Sooners went for it on fourth down in the third quarter. With only one yard to go, Trevor Knight scrambled to the far side of the field and was chased out of bounds by Ryan Mueller and Tre Walker. The officials called it a first down, but through purple lenses, it looked as though Knight was out of bounds before the marker. The refs deemed it inconclusive and the call stood.
Oklahoma didn't score on the drive but Jed Barnett's punt was downed at the KSU three yard line. A quick three and out brought out Mark Krause, whose punt only traveled thirty yards and netted zero as Jalen Saunders returned it back to the three. The Sooners scored on the next play. Krause finished the day with just over 26 net yards per punt.
It wasn't all bad for the Wildcats. Jake Waters completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and averaged over 11 yards per attempt. Tyler Lockett reset his school record for receiving yards with 278. He finished the day with three scores, all of them for 30 or more yards. He repeatedly clowned members of the Sooner secondary, none worse than Zack Sanchez whom he beat with a quick double move to score from 90 yards out.
And then there was this:
Waters continues to deliver in the deep passing game but still can't seem to put the ball in the end zone once K-State gets inside the opponent's 25 yard line. For some strange reason, the coaches don't see this. Daniel Sams is by far a more effective weapon inside the 20, but Sams only took three snaps on the day, none of which made situational sense.
Waters' two interceptions on the day were both ugly, but Curry Sexton has to shoulder some of the blame for the first one as he had a clear shot to at least play defense and knock the ball down. He didn't, and Sanchez made up for getting burned by Lockett earlier, returning the pick 74 yards for a score.
The most cliché of all nightmares is the one where you find yourself in a high pressure situation when you realize you've somehow lost your clothes. The Wildcat offense has had essentially the same nightmare against North Dakota State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Baylor and now Oklahoma, only instead of losing clothing, they lose the football. Fortunately, Charlie Weis' Jayhawks looked just as inept as ever in Ames. Hopefully K-State can wake up and wipe out their rival as a nice little tune up before bowl season.