A stunner: Kansas State scores 24 straight to beat No. 3 Oklahoma 38-35

Nick Bromberg
·4 min read

We have our first massive upset of the 2020 college football season.

Kansas State beat No. 3 Oklahoma, 38-35, on Saturday thanks to 24 unanswered points in the second half. It’s the second straight year that Kansas State has beaten Oklahoma and the loss already puts Oklahoma’s College Football Playoff hopes in serious peril.

Oklahoma’s offense was rolling for the first half and the start of the third quarter. But Kansas State got pressure on QB Spencer Rattler and held the Sooners scoreless for the final 17:46 of the game.

The Sooners got one last chance to get a game-tying field goal or a winning touchdown but Rattler threw an interception on an overthrown pass with 34 seconds left.

The pick was Rattler’s third of the game. He threw two in the first half — his only two incompletions in the first 30 minutes — and the final one was by far the worst. As he stepped up in the pocket he tried to find wide receiver Drake Stoops over the middle. But the throw was too high and behind Stoops and was caught by K-State DB Jahron McPherson.

Kansas State wide receiver Joshua Youngblood (23) is upended by Oklahoma defensive back Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki).
Kansas State scored 24 unanswered to beat Oklahoma 38-35. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki).

Kansas State lost to Arkansas State

If you want a great example of how crazy the 2020 season can be, all you have to do is look at who K-State lost to in its first game of the season. The Wildcats lost at home to Arkansas State on Sept. 12. The Red Wolves entered that game missing nine starters because of positive coronavirus tests and contact tracing. ASU had lost to Memphis in Week 1.

Saturday, Kansas State was missing eight first- or second-string players because of positive tests and contact tracing. And yet the Wildcats were able to absolutely overpower Oklahoma in the fourth quarter.

Kansas State scored quickly after Oklahoma went up 35-21. Then McPherson forced a fumble on the second play of Oklahoma’s ensuing drive. Another K-State touchdown cut the deficit to seven with 12:28 to go.

Oklahoma was forced to punt up seven and that punt was blocked by K-State’s AJ Parker. The block put the ball at the Oklahoma 38 and Kansas State scored two plays later to tie the game.

The winning margin came when Blake Lynch hit a 50-yard field goal with 4:32 to go after Kansas State forced a second straight Oklahoma punt.

Why did Oklahoma punt late?

After Kansas State went up by three, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley made a head-scratching decision to punt the football. The Sooners were facing a fourth-and-7 at their own 28 and had just one timeout left. Seven yards is typically not a big deal for the Oklahoma offense. But it apparently was too much for Riley to risk.

Oklahoma did get the ball back, but it was a clear sign that this Oklahoma offense is still figuring things out with Rattler making just his second career start.

Rattler is replacing Jalen Hurts, who became the first Oklahoma QB to not win the Heisman since 2016 when he finished second to Joe Burrow last season. The Sooners are also without RB Trey Sermon (graduate transfer to Ohio State), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (suspension), RB Kennedy Brooks (opt out) and WR CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys). That’s a lot of contributors to replace in a pandemic-impacted offseason.

Who’s the best team in the Big 12?

The Big 12’s 2020 could be a lot better. Yeah, it’s really early, but Oklahoma now has a loss and Oklahoma State looked bad in a win over Tulsa. And Kansas State and Iowa State already have losses.

Is Texas already the conference’s best hope for the College Football Playoff? Maybe. But this also could be a year where the Big 12 misses out on the playoff. There’s still a ton of season left — and the Big Ten doesn’t start for another four weeks — but it’s not too soon to question the quality of the conference.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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