After allowing a touchdown on Oklahoma State's opening drive, K-State scored 45 straight points over the next three quarters in a 48-14 victory over the Cowboys on Saturday night in Manhattan. The Wildcats are now 7-1 overall, and 5-0 in Big 12 Conference games.
The game started with a flurry. Oklahoma State's freak athlete Tyreek Hill accounted for 70 or the 84 yards the Pokes' opening touchdown drive required. Garman ran for 36 yards, and beat linebacker Jonathan Truman for a 34-yard catch.
The lead lasted exactly 12 seconds of game time, as Morgan Burns returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. The return makes it 10 straight years K-State has returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
The Cowboys moved the ball into K-State territory on the next drive, but Randall Evans intercepted Garman's fourth-down pass to give K-State the ball back. Four minutes and 16 seconds later, the Wildcats were back in the end zone. Ten plays covered 73 yards and Charles Jones finished the drive with a six-yard run out of the wildcat formation.
After Oklahoma State went nowhere on its third drive, K-State got the ball back at its own 31-yard line. Another steady march over nine plays put the ball on Oklahoma State's 17-yard line. Curry Sexton ran a corner route, may have pushed off just a bit, then turned and found the ball, adjusted to it, bobbled it going down, but gained possession before going out of bounds. Less than three minutes into the second quarter, K-State led, 21-7.
That would be the end of the scoring for the first half. Penalties (4-50 yards), sacks (two) and other negative plays killed the Cowboys. But K-State's offense stalled out, preventing the Wildcats from extending their lead.
The Wildcats washed away the second-quarter failure with a businesslike drive to open the second half. The Wildcats covered 75 yards in nine plays in 4:41 seconds. Waters found Lockett in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive and put K-State ahead, 28-7.
The next two Oklahoma State drives and one K-State drive netted nothing of consequence. K-State got the ball back on its own 38 with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter. Other than the Matthew McCrane field goal to end it, this drive would have been of little note if not for Lockett's somersaulting for 34 yards that put K-State in field goal position.
After that, the third quarter was a snooze, but the fourth quarter started with a bang. Garman appeared to complete a slant to Brandon Sheperd, but Dakorey Johnson ripped the ball out and it popped into Truman's arms. The senior linebacker motored the other way to the Pokes' 38-yard line. Three plays later, Jones bulled into the end zone to put K-State ahead, 38-7.
"I was pleased with Jonathan (Truman)," Snyder said. "I am going to go back and put a stopwatch on that return. He might be a little faster than I have given him credit for. I thought he ran pretty well, he looked like a running back."
Joe Hubener took over at quarterback on the next drive. Any expectation that K-State would simply run out the clock disappeared on the third play of the drive, when Sexton hauled in a 64-yard completion that took the Wildcats to OSU's one-yard line. Hubener pushed it across from there to give K-State a 45-7 lead.
The game had long since entered garbage-time status, but the drama was not over. On K-State's next drive, Hubener threw left into the waiting arms of OSU defensive back Ramon Richards, who took the ball 38 yards for a pick six.
Even that wasn't enough scoring though. K-State took the next drive into Oklahoma State territory before stalling at the Cowboy 36-yard line. Despite leading 45-14, Snyder sent Matthew McCrane onto the field to attempt a 53-yard field goal with the south wind at his back. The freshman from south Texas drilled it through the uprights.
"I hated having one of those decisions to kick a field goal with the score what it was, but we really needed to see where his range was," Snyder said. "We just wanted to see if he can do it and give him the experience of doing it. I apologize for that."
K-State's defense turned in another stellar effort, limiting Oklahoma State to 261 yards on 4.1 yards per play. Travis Britz owned the line of scrimmage, recording 2.0 sacks and and 3.0 tackles for loss. He should be on everyone's radar for first-team all-Big 12 honors by this point. For the game, the Wildcats recorded five sacks and 10 TFL.
Overall, the K-State defense has yielded a mere seven points in its last two games. The Wildcat defenders will need to continue this effort next week against high-octane Texas Christian in a battle for first place in the Big 12. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on FOX. Britz summed up K-State's mindset heading into the trip to Fort Worth.
"We acknowledge it is an important game, but every game is important. Your next game is always the most important game of your life, so that is how we will approach TCU," Britz said.