The Oklahoma Sooners improved to 5-0 on the season after a 37-31 win in Manhattan over the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday night. The loss dropped Kansas State to 3-2 on the season. It’s also Chris Klieman’s first loss to the Sooners in his three seasons with the Cats.
Here are three thoughts on the game.
1. Spencer Rattler’s Best Performance Yet
We’ve talked plenty about Rattler’s regression this season, but he put together his most complete performance of the season on Saturday afternoon, finishing 22/25 for 243 yards, with two touchdowns to one interception. Rattler also rushed for eight carries and 24 hours. There were moment where Rattler was on the move in the pocket and took sacks, but considering how shaky and inconsistent the early season has been for him and this offense, this is definitely a step in the right direction. He’s not likely to win the Heisman Trophy this season, but if he can build on this performance against Kansas State, the Sooners can start to look like the team that can make the College Football Playoff and possibly then win a game as well.
2. The Cats Need Skylar Thompson
If Skylar Thompson had not played in this one, it would have been ugly for the Wildcats. There is such a huge drop off for Kansas State from Thompson to Howard/Lewis. Granted that is true for most programs, but still, the gap feels that much wider for K-State. Thompson came back after suffering a knee injury in Week 2 against Nevada and finished 29/41 for 320 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He didn’t use his legs much, likely to protect his knee, but the offense was still so much smoother and capable of moving the ball downfield in a way that his back ups have yet to show.
Had Thompson not played, it would’ve been more three-and-outs for the Cats and then the OU offense would’ve worn the K-State defense down in a way that would’ve made this one a blowout. Kansas State will now be able to compete in every Big 12 game the rest of the way as long as Thompson is healthy and running the offense.
3. The Big 12 Refs Got it Right
The Big 12 refs had themselves another interesting afternoon. And yes, we all like to rip them, but when they get it right, we should give them credit. The first came when Kansas State recovered an onside kick in the third quarter, and referee Kevin Hassell went to confirm the ball traveled 10 yards. It did, but the Sooners challenged the play again, contending kicker Ty Zentner had accidentally kicked the ball twice — which he also did. The illegal touching gave Oklahoma the ball.
“By case-book ruling,” Big 12 officiating coordinator Greg Burks said, “we corrected the obvious error.”
The second review came after the Wildcats got the ball back trailing 27-17 in the fourth. Landry Weber was ruled to have caught a pass converting fourth down, but the ball had clearly hit the ground and another play was overturned.
Sure, it’s trending to blast the