A goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter was the spark, and Michael Hunnicutt's second missed field goal of the game jammed a dagger into the back of Oklahoma's playoff hopes as #14 K-State held on to defeat the 11th-ranked Sooners 31-30 for their second straight win in Norman.
The impression coming into the game was that Oklahoma would test K-State's run defense, and that Trevor Knight wouldn't beat the Wildcats through the air. But Knight threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns. The Sooners also racked up 198 yards rushing, leaving K-State with a nasty 533 yards allowed on the day.
Oklahoma struck first, a long drive culminating with a two-yard Samaje Perine run. The Wildcats answered immediately, scoring in under a minute when Jake Waters connected with Glenn Gronkowski on the familiar old POP pass for a 62-yard score.
A trade-off of possessions resulted in K-State pinning Oklahoma at their own one-yard line. Two plays later, Danzel McDaniel jumped a route and picked off Knight, waltzing into the end zone to give the 'Cats the lead, but Oklahoma tied it back up again just 28 seconds later when Knight hit Sterling Shepard from 47 yards out.
Tyler Lockett hauled in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Waters four minutes later. On the ensuing drive, Oklahoma had to settle for a 38-yard field goal from Hunnicutt, who tied the Big 12 record for career field goals in the process. After forcing K-State to punt, Oklahoma drove and tried to add another trey -- but the usually automatic Hunnicutt missed from 32. K-State took the lead into the locker room, and as a result put their 42-game winning streak when leading at the half on the line.
K-State's opening drive of the second half resulted in panic: at the end of a 53-yard run, Waters was brought down hard, and hurt his throwing shoulder. It wasn't a serious injury, however, and he remained in the game. The drive ended with a 27-yard Matt McCrane field goal. Oklahoma responded with a quick drive, Knight hitting Blake Bell from four yards out to tie the game once again. DeMarcus Robinson busted a 39-yard run on the first play of K-State's next possession, and a 21-yard strike to Curry Sexton set up a four-yard Waters run for the go-ahead score.
Oklahoma almost tied it up late in the third, but Morgan Burns picked off Durron Neal in the end zone on a trick play. The Wildcats, offered the opportunity to take a 14-point lead, couldn't. Oklahoma then drove 93 yards on 11 plays, Knight connecting with Neal on a 9-yard score to close to within a point. But Travis Britz blocked the extra point, and K-State held on to a 31-30 lead.
Waters was effective, going 15-of-23 for 225 yards and two scores. Aside from the Gronkowski score, only two 'Cats caught passes: Lockett had six for 86, and Sexton pulled down 8 for 77. On the ground, once again it was yards by committee; Robinson had 66 yards on 8 carries, Waters added 51 on 10, and Charles Jones had 12 carries for 46 yards.
But the heroes today, really, were the stacked defense on Oklahoma's final drive and the vicissitudes of fate. Where K-State's fortunes against Auburn were clouded and doomed, the very same affliction now turned to work in the Wildcats' favor. And as a result, Kansas State is now officially part of the playoff discussion.
We'll have more reactions later. For now? Celebrate!