By Erik Stone
Jake Waters threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another score and 14th-ranked Kansas State also got a key defensive score and benefitted from costly mistakes as the Wildcats defeated 11th-ranked Oklahoma 31-30 before 85,019 Saturday afternoon at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman.
After both teams traded punts to begin the game, the Sooners got on the scoreboard first when Samaje Perine scored from two yards out for a 7-0 Oklahoma lead. K-State was able to even the score a short time later thanks to one of their most effective plays. Waters connected with Glenn Gronkowski on a 62-yard jump pass and Gronkowski did the rest with a move on a Sooner defender and a huge block from Curry Sexton to tie the score at 7-7.
One of the key moments of the game was when Cornerback Danzel McDaniel intercepted a Trevor Knight pass at the four-yard line and walked into the end zone to give K-State the lead. However, Knight rebounded and found Sterling Shepard for a 47-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. K-State then responded and regained the lead on a Waters pass to Tyler Lockett from nine yards out to make the score 21-14. The touchdown occurred shortly after an earlier scoring pass from Waters to Lockett was negated by a holding penalty. Oklahoma narrowed the gap to 21-17 on a 38-yard Field Goal by Michael Hunnicutt and the score remained that way when Hunnicutt missed an attempt as time ran out in the first half.
K-State opened the second half with a seven-play 65-yard drive which was keyed by a 53-yard run by Waters who injured his shoulder at the end of the play, culminating in a 27-yard Field Goal by Matthew McCrane. to increase K-State’s lead back to 24-17. Oklahoma evened the score once more on a four-yard touchdown pass from Knight to Blake Bell. The Wildcats answered with what proved to be the winning score on a four-yard run by Waters with 6:57 left in the third quarter to give K-State a 31-24 advantage.
It appeared Oklahoma would tie the game with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter when Knight found Durron Neal from nine yards out but K-State blocked Hunnicutt’s extra point attempt to keep the one-point lead. Later the Sooners drove inside the Wildcat five-yard line but were stopped short of the goal line. It was then Hunnicutt who earlier in the game tied the Big 12 record for most career Field Goals missed one badly wide to the left with 3:53 remaining. K-State from there was able to pick up two first downs and force Oklahoma to call its last timeout and the Wildcats earned back-to-back wins in Norman for the first time since 1994 and 1997.
Waters ended the day going 15-23 for 225 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 51 yards and another score on the ground. DeMarcus Robinson rushed for 67 yards on eight carries while Sexton had eight catches for 77 yards and Lockett six receptions for 86 yards. The Wildcats did not commit a turnover and had just two penalties for 20 yards while Oklahoma committed two turnovers and had the two missed Field Goals and blocked Extra Point.
Kansas State (5-1, 3-0) figures to move up in the rankings and enter the College Football Playoff conversation with Saturday’s win.
Next Saturday, K-State is back in Manhattan for its Homecoming game with Texas. Kickoff at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is set for 11 a.m.
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