What went wrong: KSU 41-34
Every play matters in a college football play but some do a better job of explaining the outcome than others. Here are the five plays that tell what went wrong for Oklahoma in the 41-34 upset loss to Kansas State.
KSU 41, OU 34
Play No. 1: Martinez with a sign of things to come
Let’s begin with the first drive of the game, and OU’s defense not firing out of the gate for the second game in a row.
Except this time, OU never found its footing.
It’s a third-and-12 at the OU 39 yard line, and it’s the first time KSU quarterback Adrian Martinez is going to make a play with his feet or convert a massive third/fourth down.
The Sooners just did a poor job of tracking and containing him, especially when he broke free of the pocket. Needed 12, got 12.
Five plays later, Martinez was in the end zone for the first of his five touchdowns.
Play No. 2: Wease and the good
We’ll give one OU positive shoutout in this edition, with the touchdown pass from Dillon Gabriel to Theo Wease in the first quarter.
It was 14-0 KSU and a very uneasy feeling in the crowd. The two connected on the previous play for a first down to put OU in some rhythm.
A 56-yard touchdown where Wease was wide open and was able to sprint to the end zone and beat KSU defenders to the spot.
Play No. 3: Stoops would have walked in
But the very next drive showed the off feeling of what happened for OU. It’s still 14-7 and the Sooners are facing a third-and-six at the OU 45 yard line.
Perfect play call and Gabriel actually has his choice of two open receivers down the left side between Drake Stoops and Marvin Mims.
Stoops is wide open and would have walked into the end zone, but it was terribly overthrown.
“When you look at it, Dillon fought his butt off,” offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said. “He played tough, he played incredibly hard. He led. Did he miss some things, does he want some things back? Absolutely. I want some calls back. That’s the reality of stepping in the arena. But I’m proud of him and how he battled and how tough he played.”
Play No. 4: Gotta get that one
The critical misses didn’t stop in the first half, as it plagued OU in the second half. And here again in the first drive of the fourth quarter.
It’s now 27-20 for the Wildcats, and OU has a third-and-nine at the KSU 42 yard line. Gabriel has Marvin Mims open. Mims does all he can to contort his body for an acrobatic catch, but he cannot pull it in.
OU wasn’t going for it anyway, but one more pre-snap penalty on fourth down ended any thought of being aggressive as the Sooners punted away.
“Just trying to find windows but sometimes you point-blank miss it,” Gabriel said. “It ain’t a good feeling but I gotta be better at that and make sure we find a way to move the chains and find ways to be in manageable third downs, not be behind the chains so it’s not as difficult a third down. Just dialing that in and being extra critical in those situations.”
Play No. 5: Martinez puts the game on ice
Well, there ya go.
KSU is up 34-27 with a third-and-16 at its 41 yard line. The stadium is rocking, and Martinez puts them to sleep with one massive run.
Head coach Brent Venables explained there was a bust, and that bust led to Martinez going 55 yards and leading another KSU road win in Norman.
“We did a poor job. They blocked us up front. We did a poor job...we got stuck on blocks,” Venables said. “You got to stay in front of them. You got to counter...you gotta counter ball depth. We did a horrendous job of caging him. You got a certain technique that you do against a quarterback like that.
“We did a really poor job of caging him. And then on pressures, they blocked us. They blocked the heck out of us. Their designed quarterback run game... we got ran through. We misfit things. We weren't physical at the point of attack.”
Add it all up, and OU is 3-1 and facing adversity for the first time this season.