No. 9 Oklahoma Uses Late Surge to Top K-State, 42-35

Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson (24) scores a touchdown past Kansas State defensive back Sean Newlan (29) and Kansas State defensive end Tanner Wood (34) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Oklahoma defeated Kansas State 42-35. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Courtesy: K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State Wildcats were defeated 42-35 by the No. 9 ranked Oklahoma Sooners at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday, despite rushing for 268 yards, including three rushing touchdowns from quarterback Alex Delton.

HOW IT HAPPENED 
K-State held a 21-10 advantage at the half but the No. 9 Sooners used 32 second-half points to come-from-behind, including a go-ahead score in the final 10 seconds to seal the victory.

Early in the game it was K-State as the offensive aggressor. On the second play from scrimmage, the Wildcats set the tone and jumped out to an early lead, behind a 75-yard touchdown rush by running back Alex Barnes. After receiving the handoff, Barnes hit the hole created by the K-State offensive line and finished it off to record a new career-long rush and the longest K-State rushing attempt since John Huber went 95 yards against Missouri State in 1995.

Oklahoma would respond with an opening-drive touchdown of their own, headed by quarterback Baker Mayfield, who took a carry for 32 yards on the drive, leading to a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews.

The opening-drive rushing touchdown would create a theme for the Wildcats, behind the strength of rushes from Barnes and quarterback Alex Delton. The Wildcats would add their second rushing touchdown on a one-yard Delton quarterback sneak in the first quarter.

On the opposing drive, the Sooners threatened in K-State territory, but were cut short when Denzel Goolsby stole the ball away from the Oklahoma receiver in the back of the end zone. Goolsby’s interception would lead to an acrobatic 21-yard touchdown scamper from Delton, as he evaded the Oklahoma defenders and leaped over the pylon for a touchdown.

Just prior to halftime, the Wildcats defense proved clutch in the trenches, holding the Sooners to three points on two possessions, including a crucial hold on fourth down at the goal line. The Wildcats held the Sooners to 2-of-4 in the red zone in the first half, and entered the locker room at halftime with a 21-10 lead.

To start the second half, Mayfield led the Sooners down the field for 80 yards in seven plays, that was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown carry by Mayfield. Oklahoma would score 18 unanswered in the second half to take the lead into the fourth quarter, 28-21.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Sooners sent an errant snap over the punter’s head which was recovered by Colby Moore. The recovery set the Wildcats up in scoring position and sparked the offense, as Delton capped a short drive with a one-yard rush to tie the game at 28.

The Sooners responded with a drive propelled through the air, as they marched down the field in three plays to score on a five-yard touchdown.

With nearly five minutes remaining, the Wildcats followed suit, facing a 75-yard trip to the end zone, they went to the air. Delton hit Byron Pringle for strikes of 40 and 30-yards, then hit Isaiah Zuber on a five-yard out route to tie the game up at 35 with nearly two and a half minutes remaining.

Oklahoma reached midfield, then field goal range, then close to the red zone with the clock ticking under 30 seconds remaining. K-State appeared to bottle up Rodney Anderson in the backfield for a loss, but he shook a tackle and escaped around the end for a go-ahead 22-yard touchdown run, leaving just seven seconds left on the clock. Trailing 42-35 and facing another 75-yard trip down the field, K-State attempted a pair of laterals but was stopped in the backfield by the Sooners, ending the game.

The Wildcats totaled 431 offensive yards in the game, including 287 through the ground game. The Wildcats converted on 5-of-9 third downs, tying a season best third-down conversion percentage set against Central Arkansas earlier this year.

OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Sophomore Alex Barnes had a career-day for the Wildcats, rushing for 96 yards in the first half, including a career-long 75-yard rush on the second play from scrimmage. Barnes carried five times in the game for 108 total yards and one touchdown.

Coupled with Barnes, Delton hit the 100-yard mark for the first time of his career, surpassing the mark in the first half. Delton closed the game with 142 rushing yards on 27 attempts and three touchdowns, he also connected on 12-of-14 passing for 144 yards.

Sophomore Isaiah Zuber led the team in receptions, hauling in seven receptions for 25 yards. Byron Pringle added to the receiving game for the Wildcats, hauling in two catches for 70 yards, both on the game-tying drive.

DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Defensive back Denzel Goolsby‘s interception in the first half marked the first takeaway of the game for the Wildcats, and the first of his career, as he stripped the ball away from Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb in the back of the end zone.

Senior Tanner Wood recorded one of two sacks for the Wildcats, bringing down Mayfield for a loss of nine in the second quarter. The sack marked the second of the season for Wood.

The Wildcats defense was anchored by senior Jayd Kirby who made a career-high 13 total tackles in the game. Trent Tanking added 10 total tackles for the Wildcat defense, marking the fourth time Tanking reached double digits in total tackles this season, including a career-high 13 last week against TCU.

SPECIAL TEAMS STARS OF THE GAME
Midway through the fourth quarter, a stray snap by the Sooner’s punt squad was recovered by Colby Moore at the 13-yard line. The Wildcat takeaway served as a momentous shift for the Wildcats, as they were able to capitalize on the field position.

Place-kicker Matthew McCrane connected on all five of his extra points against the Sooners, upping his career-points scored to 255. McCrane’s point total moves him into fifth in points scored in K-State history, and the third among kickers. He nearly connected on a 59-yard try with the wind at his back in the first half.

Punter Nick Walsh punted three times for a net of 136 yards on Saturday, including a 43-yard punt that was fair-caught at the 6 yard-line. Walsh booted a game-long 51-yarder in the fourth quarter.

STATS OF THE GAME
75 – On the second play from scrimmage, Kansas State running back Alex Barnes took a handoff through the Sooner defense for a 75-yard touchdown, the longest of his career and the longest Wildcat rush since 1995, when John Huber took a 95-yard run to the house against Missouri State.

SEASON RECORD UPDATE
K-State 3-4 (1-3 Big 12)
Oklahoma 6-1 (3-1 Big 12)

WHAT’S NEXT
K-State will hit the road to take on in-state rival Kansas Jayhawks on October 28. The game will kickoff at 2 p.m. and will air on Fox Sports 1.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bill Snyder
On Alex Delton
“Alex, other than the interception, I thought played well. He made a couple mental mistakes but so does everyone else. Overall you are great out pretty well, just like to have the interception back and he would to.”

On Alex Barnes not getting the ball much after his long touchdown run…
“It is just that some of the things we were doing, we did not have a running back in the ball game at all. It was just because of the nature of what we were doing. Part of it was the quarterback run game.”

On Alex Barnes‘s long touchdown carry…
“He stayed out ahead of some pretty good speed so he ran well. The major thing it showed me was that we did a nice job blocking up front and he made the right decisions and got in the right place with the ball.”

On the second half defense…
“We obviously did not play well. We gave up big plays throughout the course of the ball game but mostly in the second half and you just can not do it against a team like that. You let them get in the red zone and then Baker (Mayfield) really can do some amazing things and he adds his feet to the game during that period of time and then you have got too many people to have to defend against. But, Baker (Mayfield) is a very tremendous player which he has proven day in, and day out. You did not need me to say that but you know, he throws the ball and just handles the game so very, very well. I admire the way he finds the open receivers, he has got a lot of people running routes and he always gets the one that has got some room to throw the ball to. He is a good player, good leader.”

On the loss…
“You know, I am probably a little different than most cause they are all painful, regardless what the score might have been, and who it happens to be against. For our players I am encouraged that we played well enough at times to be a successful football team. We did that and that is what I was saying a little ago. We played well enough offensively during a segment of the ball game to be a very fine football team. We played well enough defensively in a segment of the ball game to be a very fine defensive football team. But we did not put it all together and that is the nature of it. That is what is disappointing to me, as much as anything.”

Sophomore Quarterback Alex Delton 
On his comfort level on the field…
“I felt extremely comfortable out there. I had some per game nerves but as the game went on I was extremely comfortable. I just felt that I was just out there playing with my boys. It was good last week to get that experience for my future.”

On the biggest difference between the two halves…
“It is tough to tell. Alex Barnes had a great run and we were firing all cylinders. Then it is a part of the game you have to play both halves and we didn’t. We didn’t start the second half too hot, that’s part of it. OU has a smart defense with smart coaches around. It is just part of it, wish we could have out-scored them”

On Alex Delton‘s run…
“Yeah it was a great run. Alex is a great back, I trust him so much and he takes some of the pressure off of me. It was a great run. The offensive linemen gave him a great hole. He is someone that wants the ball, he is a great back.”

Senior Defensive End Tanner Wood
On getting pressure on Baker Mayfield…
“I thought we should have had more but he’s a mobile guy. He knows how to move around the pocket and we were just trying to contain him. We knew he could hurt us on the run game.”

On OU’s tempo being a problem…
“Yeah. We weren’t getting some signals in on time and they were going really fast. It caught us a couple of times. They were the fastest moving team we have seen.”

On feeling good about a chance to win the game…
“Yes, we shouldn’t have given up that many points in the second half. They just sped up.”

On the attitude of the team right now…
“We just have to strap on our boots and keep working.”

Senior Linebacker Jayd Kirby
On the defense wearing down at the end of the game…
“No, it was just a lack of execution.”

On Baker Mayfield…
“He was doing all the right things and put the ball where it needed to go.”

On the agony of coming up just short against a top-10 opponent…
“It hurts. Lots of anger and hurt is how I would describe this one.”

Sophomore Running Back Alex Barnes  
On not getting the ball after a breakout run on the first attempt…
“Having success early is meaningless if you don’t come out with a win.”

On the opening run…
“It finally happened.  We’ve been talking about it for weeks now and the Red Sea parted. Nobody was there. I was kind of getting ready to feel some contact coming but nobody was there. It was really well blocked. I’m proud of our line for that. They blocked well all game.”

On sitting on the sideline after having such success early…
“It’s tough. Got to learn from it and we’ll be better next week. We’ve got nowhere but up. Three game losing streak, it’s always hard but we’ll be able to bounce back and we did bounce back today. We played with the No. 9 team in the nation. We lead most of the game so we showed that we’re still that team that we were at the beginning of the season. It’s there, all the pieces are there. We can do it. It almost happened for use tonight but we weren’t quite able to do it.”

Junior Offensive Lineman Dalton Risner
On Alex Delton‘s performance…
“Just what I expected and what I wanted you all to see. That’s what he’s capable of and that’s what the offense is capable of. The offensive line finally came out with the edge today. I don’t know how many rush yards we had but we have plenty to work on. But there was definitely a big step in moving forward this season with what we did on offense tonight.”

On why he thinks the offense is improved…
“Just play with an edge. We’re realizing that we are the team that we know we are and we got lost amongst the first few games of the season and our confidence was down. We forgot who we really can be and who were last year and we got a grip on that tonight, but not enough. We didn’t make enough plays to win.”

On getting back on track . . .
“It definitely gets us back on track as an offense, I think we got back on track. We were derailed. As a team, we’re not back on track. We’re 3-4, so we’re by no means back on track, but as an offense I think we took a big step forward. But like I said before, I’m not saying the rest of the team didn’t play good, the offense could’ve done more things to win that game tonight. Whether that be playing a lot better in the third quarter. You can say all these different things about the defense and the different aspects of the game but we’re up 21-10 and if we come out and score every possession we get the ball, its game. Even if they score every possession, we’re up 10 points. The offense has more room to improve.”

Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley
Opening statement…
“We got a great team win. It was really a different game for us than we have had all season in that we fell behind early. We did not play our best on either side of the ball, clearly in the first half, but responded. We got some big momentum there with J.T.’s (Jordan Thomas) interception. I thought that was a huge play in the game. He gets the interception and we only end up getting a field goal out of it, which was disappointing, but it was points and some kind of momentum.

“Our guys at halftime had a great look in their eyes. They were determined to come out and play a lot better and the mentality really went to another level there. Got them into the locker room at halftime and they were really ready to play.

“The second half went about as scripted until I made a dumb call on the flea flicker. It was just bad by me. We were moving the ball well and we were stopping them. So a poor decision by me that gave them some momentum back in the game and they took advantage of it. We obviously had the snap on the punt that we did not catch and gave up a few plays there and gave them some momentum. But for the most part in the second half we did a much better job against their run game and made some adjustments. Guys did a much better job simply just getting off blocks in the second half and certainly finished drives a lot better offensively.

“We are really, really thrilled with the win. The fun part about this team is that we have guts and we are still getting better. We are still a work in progress and that is part of it. You see spurts of how good that we can be and we are going to continue to push like hell to get it to the point where we can play our best more often. We knew this was going to be a tough game, a tough environment. I have told them all week that after how their game went last week that we would probably see a little bit different team. That was no surprise. Bill Snyder is on the other sideline so we know that team is going to be ready to roll and they certainly were. It was fun environment and a great comeback win on the road, which are hard to do.”

On the adjustments made at halftime…
“A couple of things on both sides of the ball, but honestly not really anything earth-shattering. Defensively, with all of their quarterback run-game, we had that thing loaded up pretty good. I think the biggest thing for our guys was just the intensity of getting off the blocks. They really attached to us the first half and our guys just did a lot better job of getting off blocks in the second half. Offensively we made a couple of adjustments, especially in some of our short-yardage stuff, that was a little bit better for us. We got the tempo up offensively which I think helped us as well.

On Rodney Anderson’s performance…
“He got some momentum. I said last week that I thought the Texas game could really be a confidence builder for him and I think it was. He was difficult to tackle. It was one of those games where we kind of needed his burst and it was certainly there so he got hot. He was catching the ball well and did a good job in the pass pro. That is just kind of what we are right now.”

Senior Quarterback Baker Mayfield
On the slow start…
“We expected it to be a solid fight when you come in somebody else’s house against a good team. When you get momentum like that, the crowd is going to get into it and that is exactly what we saw. We were moving the ball well on offense but in short yardage situations we have got to be so much better. Third down we were 5-of-11, later in the game we converted, but on fourth down we were 1-of-3 it was terrible and it was all short yardage. We have got to be better on that in the first half and that is what we saw. Later in the half, the defense did a great job of getting two takeaways, brought it within 11 before halftime and got some momentum. From there, at halftime we talked about ‘leave no doubt.’ We have been in this situation before. Keep fighting and keep swinging. We had to be the physical team and take back the momentum and that is just what we did.”

On his feeling after K-State tied it up late…
“I was very confident in our guys. Going into somebody’s house you have to love those types of moments. Being down, backs against the wall, nobody wants you to win, you have to have a bunch of guys that are hungry to go get the job done and prove those people wrong. For us, we had a lot of momentum but those moments you see what you are made of. You see if you are going to cower down or if you are going to rise up to the occasion and we had been doing just that. So I had all the confidence in the world in our guys and I love those types of moments. That is a huge win for us considering that we have not played well in the second half most of the season besides the Ohio State game. We handled our business in the second half today.”

Senior Cornerback Jordan Thomas
On the scrutiny he has endured because of his performances in Baylor and Iowa State games…
“People are always on my back; hassling me. Right or even wrong. It was just huge for me to come out and play a great game. I gave up a little eight-yard hitch. Outside of that I didn’t really give up much, then I got a big pick. It was huge for me just to get those people off my back.”

On his interception, and changing the momentum for the team…
“It was huge. They look to who their better players are to make plays in these kinds of games, and when I did that it was just a domino effect after. Guys just start showing up all over the place. Our linebackers were flying around. Our defensive line was flying around. Our offense started to turn it up, and at the end of the game it was a great result.”

Senior Fullback Dimitri Flowers 
On proving how good the team can be, specifically in the third quarter of the game…
“We haven’t put together a full game on offense, but having those highlight points shows our full potential of what we can do.”

On the struggles with the direct snaps to Flower…
“K-State just did a great job. They had a lot of guys up front, sometimes more than we could block. Some of it’s on me, and I just have to better on that.”

On Rodney Anderson’s performance in the game…
“It was huge. He’s been through a lot in his three years here, and for him to play the way he did and when we really needed it. It was great to see that.”

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