By John Shinn
CNHI News Service
MANHATTAN, Kan. —
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Oklahoma wore the same helmets it’s worn all season. Perhaps the same pants, socks, shoes and equipment were on display Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. It was everything else that was different, and it showed with the 11th-ranked Sooners’ 58-17 rout of No. 10 Kansas State.
OU coach Bob Stoops didn’t want to talk about his team’s mindset after one of the most impressive performances during his 13 seasons as head coach.
“It’s about winning. Guys came out and won,” he said. “That’s all that matters to me.”
His players admitted there was a difference — an enormous difference — between the team that lost to unranked Texas Tech at home seven days earlier and the one that bullied a top-10 team on the road Saturday.
“The mindset of going out there and dominating our opponent was there,” OU linebacker Corey Nelson said.
Outside of about an eight-minute period midway through the first quarter and early in the second quarter, when the Wildcats rallied from a two-touchdown deficit and actually took a three-point lead, the Sooners dominated every aspect of Saturday’s game.
Landry Jones threw for a school record 505 yards and five touchdown passes. When he left the game early in the fourth quarter, he looked like he’d hardly broken a sweat.
No reason he should have. Kansas State never came close to pressuring him. OU’s offensive line had one of its best games of the season. The Sooners also rushed for 181 yards on a day when No. 1 tailback Dominique Whaley was knocked out on the first play.
“Where the difference was before the game,” Jones said, “that’s where we were more focused, more ready to play and more ready to go out and compete.”
If that wasn’t obvious in the first half, it was hard to ignore in the second.
Jones hit Jaz Reynolds for an 18-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to give OU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) the lead. A nip-and-tuck game took hold for the rest of the first half. The only reason the Sooners were able to take a 23-17 lead into the locker room was a gift. Kansas State (7-1, 4-1) running back John Hubert fumbled at the Wildcat 36 with 19 seconds left in the first half.
Sooner kicker Michael Hunnicutt knocked in a wind-aided 52-yard field at the end of the half.
The second half was an absolute mismatch.
The Sooners scored touchdowns on five-straight possessions. Every drive was at least 62 yards and none of them took longer than six plays.
Over the same span, the Wildcats punted six times.
“Total team effort,” said OU receiver Ryan Broyles, who had 14 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Kansas State was bewildered. After all, it was undefeated and entered its own stadium with plans of making a statement that it belonged in the national championship discussion.
That discussion was firing back up by the third quarter, but Kansas State was no longer involved in the debate.
While Jones looked like he’d played an easy afternoon of catch, Klein also left the game early in the fourth quarter. He looked like he could barely move under his own power. Klein rushed for 92 yards on 26 carries, threw for 58 yards and was sacked seven times.
“They are a great team across the board. At every position, they have great personnel,” Klein said of the Sooners.