Oklahoma defeated Kansas State 42-35 on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium.
Three lingering thoughts from the game:
1. Fans should stop blaming Dana Dimel for this one.
Following a disappointing loss in which K-State’s defense allowed Oklahoma to pile up 42 points and 619 yards, my Twitter mentions were overrun with fans complaining about … the offensive coordinator?
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I saw many on social media flat-out blaming Dana Dimel for the loss.
This was the best the offense has looked since the Wildcats opened against hapless Central Arkansas and Charlotte. Had they moved the ball this efficiently against Vanderbilt, Texas or TCU they wouldn’t be 3-4.
The Wildcats averaged 7.4 yards per play and nearly kept pace with the high-powered Sooners, who averaged 7.8. They churned out 256 rushing yards … in the first half. They scored touchdowns on five drives and moved the ball 63 yards on another before Dominique Heath lost a fumble. Matthew McCrane came up an inch short on a field goal at the end of the first half.
Trailing 35-28 late in the fourth quarter, they drove 75 yards in six plays to tie the score. They were clutch.
K-State’s offense did its part. The defense simply had no answers for Baker Mayfield (479 total yards, four touchdowns) or Rodney Anderson (177 total yards and two touchdowns). If not for OU coach Lincoln Riley bizarrely taking the ball out of Mayfield’s hands and moving him to receiver on consecutive drives in the second quarter, those numbers would have been even bigger.
Now, I’m not trying to say Dimel called a perfect game. There were obvious flaws. Fans are certainly allowed and justified to ask for more. Coming off clunkers against Vanderbilt and TCU, I totally understand why fans have been displeased with the offense this season.
Things could have been better against OU. K-State ran quarterback Alex Delton too many times (27) and didn’t run Alex Barnes enough times (6), considering he averaged 18 yards per carry. The 256 rushing yards in the first half dwindled all the way down to 12 in the second half. Punter Nick Walsh was needed on three consecutive drives after halftime.
The Wildcats raced to a 21-7 lead, then OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops made adjustments and Dimel was slow to counter. K-State fans and players are right to point out Dimel had a bad third quarter. But the offense had a good game.
2. Alex Delton showed serious fourth-quarter moxie.
It couldn’t have been easy for Delton to watch a 21-7 lead become a 28-21 deficit, but he kept his cool and came through in the clutch with two late touchdowns.
Forget his flashy 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, or his 142 rushing yards, what he did in the fourth quarter showed his true potential.
When K-State was fortunate enough to recover a fumble on an errant snap at the OU 13, Delton took advantage with a touchdown 2 minutes, 32 seconds later and tied the game at 28-28.
Oklahoma responded with an effortless touchdown drive of its own to really put the pressure on Delton, but he had another answer.
The Wildcats started their next drive at their own 25, and Delton promptly found Byron Pringle for gains of 40 and 30 yards. Then he hit Isaiah Zuber for a five-yard touchdown to tie the score at 35-35 with 2:25 remaining.
Delton had a rough start against TCU, but he bounced back nicely against Oklahoma and appears to have a bright future ahead of him.
3. Kendall Adams was missed.
Top K-State safety Kendall Adams surprisingly missed the game with an undisclosed injury. His replacement, Sean Newlan, said the team knew Adams might not be able to play and made contingency plans throughout the week. Newlan saw increased work with the starting defense in practice, and split time with Adams on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, Adams dressed and warmed up but eventually decided he was unfit to play.
Newlan took over, and Oklahoma churned out 619 yards. It was a rough day for K-State’s secondary, which experimented with Eli Walker at nickelback/linebacker. The Wildcats tried to cover the Sooners with a lot of man coverage, which meant easy matchups for Mayfield to pick apart.
Denzel Goolsby had an amazing interception in the first half, but there were few other positives.
The good news: Snyder said he expects Adams to return this week against Kansas. K-State sure missed him against Oklahoma.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett