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October 29, 2011

Sooners end Cats' perfect ways

The Kansas State Wildcats entered halftime of Saturday's game against the Oklahoma Sooners trailing by six points, 23-17. The deficit was not ideal, but considering that they had already recovered from a two-touchdown deficit to gain a lead once, the Wildcats felt like they might be in good position for the second half. Then the third quarter happened.

Oklahoma piled up 242 yards and three touchdowns in the third, all while holding Kansas State scoreless. Behind the overpowering second half, the Sooners topped the Wildcats 58-17.

"We couldn't move the ball," Kansas State (7-1, 4-1) coach Bill Snyder said following the game. "We could not stop them. I think that ever one of our victories has been a team victory, and this was a team loss."

Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1), who suffered its first loss of the season last week against Texas Tech, out-gained K-State 378 yards to 32 in the second half, leaving the Wildcats feeling as if they had been woefully ill-prepared.

"We didn't do what we needed to be able to do," Snyder said. "Maybe we're not as good as some might want to think. Oklahoma's a lot better than some people want to think. And I did a really miserable job of getting our team ready to play. That's factual."

The Sooners capitalized on any and all mistakes the Wildcats made, leading to a record-setting day for quarterback Landry Jones. Jones passed for 505 yards, setting the Sooners single-game passing record, as well as the record for most yards passing by an opposing quarterback in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Jones also passed for five touchdowns, eclipsing the OU record for career passing touchdowns along the way.

"We had them in the first half," cornerback Nigel Malone said. "We stuck with them. Usually we come out as a great second-half team, but we kind of let it slip out of our hands a little bit."

Malone and the Wildcat defensive backs entered with the task of containing the Big 12's all-time leading receiver Ryan Broyles. As it has with most opponents, the chore proved exceedingly difficult. Broyles left Manhattan with 14 receptions for 171 yards and one touchdown.

"The offense was really able to score," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "And we were able to get some three-and-outs to let us have good field position most of the time. That helped us take them out of the game a little bit."

Offensively, the Wildcats struggled to matriculate down the field. K-State finished with 240 total yards, including just 58 through the air, despite the need to pass when trailing in the second half. Quarterback Collin Klein completed 8-of-16 passes and was sacked seven times. The junior also led the Wildcats in rushing with 92 yards and two touchdowns.

With another pass-happy foe -- the Oklahoma State Cowboys next Saturday -- on the horizon, the question for the Wildcats now is how will they respond to such a beat down? Linebacker Tre Walker said the team would use the game as another chance to learn.

"I'm thankful for the learning experience right now," Walker said. "I'm ticked off that we lost, like anyone else, but I'm thankful for what we learned.

The Sooners' offensive explosion came without starting running back Dominique Whaley, who was carted off the turf after the game's first play. After the game, Stoops said the injury was thought to be a fractured ankle, meaning the end of Whaley's season.

The Sooners opened the first match-up of two top-10 teams in Manhattan since 2000 by rolling to a 14-0 lead. They scored on their first two drives of the game, exhibiting the speed and efficiency that has been the squad's trademark this season. Oklahoma moved 80 yards in just nine plays on the first drive of the game, scoring on a one-yard carry by Blake Bell. After a Wildcat three-and-out, the Sooners played the role of seemingly unstoppable force again, completing an eight-play, 77-yard drive to push their lead to double-digits. After just 5 minutes and 34 seconds of possession time, Oklahoma seemed poised to knock the Wildcats out early.

The Wildcats, however, made a game of it for a half, gaining its first real spark on a play that involved a shoeless Klein. After totaling minus-3 yards on their first two drives of the game, K-State picked up its first first down on an 11-yard Klein scamper. The Wildcats followed with a 13-yard carry by John Hubert, a flea-flicker that drew a 15-yard pass interference, and an end-around to Tyler Lockett that picked up 10 more. With a bit of momentum on their side and the ball in Sooner territory, Klein -- with shoe included -- waded through the trenches and then outran the entire Sooner defense for a 42-yard touchdown. With kicker [ab]Anthony Cantele[/db] having already knocked down a 54-yard field goal, the score cut the Sooner lead to 4, 14-10.

K-State put a quick end to the next sooner possession when Nigel Malone snatched his fifth interception of the season. The junior cornerback would grab his sixth interception of the season later in the game.

The Wildcats made the most of the opportunity to take the lead after Malone's pick, with Klein and Hubert combining to move the offense 47 yards in just three plays. Klein's sneak from two yards out gave the Wildcats their first, and only lead of the game. They would not score again.

"They came out ready to play," Malone said. "Obviously we didn't play right on both sides of the ball. We didn't play the type of game the we need to come out and play."



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