We had our hopes up early with reports that Dede Westbrook wouldn’t start. It only lasted two plays, though. Apparently, a two-play suspension is a thing. Then, as if he was attempting to make a statement or something, Samaje Perine broke tackles on a 12-yard run and a 25-yard catch-and-run to score the days’ first touchdown.
When Jesse Ertz and the offense took the field, things didn’t get much better. Charles Jones run for nothing, pass batted down for nothing, scramble for a paltry three yards, punt.
But there was a positive side, per Kellis:
On the positive side, Jesse Ertz's first pass got batted down instead of getting intercepted, which OU's defense was in position to do.— Kellis Robinett (@KellisRobinett) October 15, 2016
Then the defense came back out, missing more tackles. I was at the presser where Reggie Walker said the backs were “easy to tackle,” and his intention certainly wasn’t to be controversial. But he gave the Sooners bulletin-board material, then failed to back it up. That ain’t great.
Anyway, long story short, Perine left the game with an apparent injury, so Joe Mixon came in and jumped over Dante Barnett on a shovel pass play, and just like that, Oklahoma’s two “easy-to-tackle” backs had a touchdown each on the Sooners first two drives. I’m sure that wasn’t planned.
One the ensuing kickoff, Byron Pringle decided to take the ball out of the end zone, and was stuffed at the 11. But the offense didn’t care, driving 89 yards in 17 plays for its longest drive of the year, scoring a touchdown and burning 8:32 off the clock.
Ertz started the drive with quick, efficient passes to the flat, Justin Silmon ran hard, then K-State overcame a false-start penalty, an illegal formation penalty, a couple of Ertz overthrows, a Zuber drop and near-interception, a 4th and 4 that looked sure to fail, then a failed Dimelcat to find its way into the end zone on a short Ertz run.
The defense had all kinds of time to rest, but still couldn’t tackle, then Mixon threw a touchdown pass. Oklahoma missed the extra point, but Donnie Starks was called for offside (another dumb penalty) and it was 21-7.
Byron Pringle did Byron Pringle things on the ensuing kickoff, returning it to the Oklahoma 41. After a flat pass to Heath and an Ertz run, K-State had first down from the 12. Three plays later, a third-down play broke down and Ertz made a dumb decision throwing off-balance. Pringle saved the day though by batting the ball out of the hands of Oklahoma’s Jordan Thomas, and Ertz left the game with an injury while Matt McCrane made it 21-10.
The defense drug itself to life on the next drive, forcing an Oklahoma punt and giving the Joe Hubener-led offense the ball at its own 8-yard-line. Hubener threw some very Hubener-like passes to start the drive but receivers were able to find them. A sack set up a 3rd and 15 as Ertz made his way back to the sideline, then Hubener threw a good pass to Zuber, but Zuber dropped it and K-State punted.
The Wildcats needed a stop, but instead missed more tackles until they really needed a stop on third down. Jordan Willis and Elijah Lee bottled up Wesbrook for a 1-yard loss on 3rd and 4 to force an Austin Seibert field goal to make it 24-10 with under 30 seconds left in the half.
Jesse came back in the game and threw a silly, lobby hail-mary like mess of a pass, but though it should’ve been picked, it fell innocently to the turf, somehow.
All-in-all, the offense looks OK, and the defense may have warmed up before halftime, but the D will have to keep it up and Ertz will have to lead a better attack in the second half to overcome a 14-point deficit.