NORMAN – After five straight wins by the road team in the OU-Kansas State series, it was about time that someone defended home field. The Sooners did just that today, with a workmanlike 38-17 win over the Wildcats, which marked the Sooners’ first win over KSU in Norman since 2009. Dede Westbrook, who didn’t start the game for some reason, continued his torrid pace, with nine catches for 184 yards and three TDs. Baker Mayfield was excellent, going 25 of 31 for 346 yards, four TDs, and one deflected interception, which wasn’t his fault.
Against the conference’s best statistical defense, Joe Mixon recovered from his poor game against Texas with 88 yards rushing, three catches for 34 yards and a spectacular TD where he hurdled a KSU defender on a shovel pass. He also had a 26-yard TD pass to Westbrook on a gadget play. Samaje Perine went out with a pulled muscle in the first quarter and didn’t see further action, although Bob Stoops said after the game that he could have played.
The Sooners jumped on the Cats early. A 63-yard drive on the opening possession was capped by a nifty 25-yard pass from Mayfield to Perine on a little swing play, and the Sooners led 7-0. After holding KSU to a three and out, OU followed up with a 73-yard TD drive, this time finished off by an eight-yard shovel pass to Mixon, who hurdled a KSU defender to get the ball into the end zone for a 14-0 lead. KSU then ate up the rest of the first quarter and part of the second with a prototypical KSU drive – 17 plays, 89 yards, 8:32 off the clock – to score a TD and make it 14-7.
The Sooners answered with a 77-yard TD drive, this time concluded by some trickery. Mixon took a handoff from Mayfield, then pulled up and threw a 26-yard TD pass to Westbrook. The ball was not particularly well-thrown, but Westbrook was wide open, and it all worked out for a 21-7 lead. Each team would add a field goal, and the game went to halftime with the Sooners leading 24-10.
The third quarter was not nearly the scoring festival that the second quarter was. The Sooners had a chance to stretch the lead, but Mayfield was picked off on a deflection at the KSU 15. The Sooner defense forced a three and out, and then OU embarked on the first scoring drive of the second half. The drive was kept alive by the Sooners’ first fourth-down conversion of the season, and when Mayfield hit Westbrook on an underneath crossing pattern for an eight-yard TD, it was 31-10 with 1:08 left in the third quarter. It felt like the game was over, and it turned out that it was.
KSU would score with 12:50 left in the game on a 54-yard bomb off a broken play to make it a little more interesting. After the teams traded punts, the Sooners put it away for good. Starting the drive on their own 12, they went the length of the field in one play, as Mayfield hit Westbrook for 88 yards and the clinching score to set the final score of 38-17.
Next up – the Sand Aggy in Lubbock. The tortillas will be flying, mostly at Mayfield’s head, we’re sure. Personally, we’re headed to Orlando in the morning to treat the kids to a surprise Disney World trip for fall break. But, fear not, we return Friday in plenty of time to make the journey to the Llano Estacado on Saturday morning. See you in Lubbock.