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Dr. Saturday

Oklahoma hands Kansas State a harsh reality check

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Oklahoma 58, Kansas State 17
Was Kansas State overrated or was Oklahoma just motivated after last week's upset at the hands of Texas Tech?

Perhaps it was a little bit of both as Kansas State got its first taste since 2003 of life as a top-10 team, and it wasn't very pretty. The Wildcats, who lived a charmed existence through the first seven games of the year, didn't have another upset up their sleeve and were finally exposed for the offensively inconsistent product they've been all year.

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We should have all seen this coming. Oklahoma has now won its last 17 games after a loss and had outscored its opponents by more than 30 points in those games. And although Kansas State is off to its best start since going 5-1 in 2002 and still headed for its best overall season since playing in the Fiesta Bowl in 2003, it hasn't exactly been the type of offensive juggernaut to stay with a team that comes in with a chip on its shoulder.

K-State came into the weekend ranked last in the Big 12 in total offense, last in passing offense and seventh in scoring, up from next-to-last a week ago. But somehow, it found ways to upset Miami, Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech, in four of the past five weeks. Not today: Some people will say the Wildcats ran into a buzzsaw against Oklahoma, but what they really ran into was a more physical and skilled team that many thought would be playing for the national championship before last week's cruel twist of fate.

Let's give the Wildcats credit for hanging tough early: They rallied from a 14-0 deficit and scored 17 consecutive points to make things interesting in the second quarter. The opportunistic defense picked off Landry Jones twice and turned one of those interceptions into a touchdown. But scoring those 17 points against a vaunted Oklahoma defense took a lot of creativity, including a reverse and a flea flicker that resulted in a pass interference call on Oklahoma. At one point, quarterback Collin Klein ran for a first down with just one shoe. Eventually, the bad of tricks was empty and the reality of the gap between wily upstart and wounded powerhouse set in.{YSP:MORE}

In a way, this wake-up call was probably good for Kansas State because its schedule doesn't get any easier. The Wildcats play ranked foes Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas each of the next three weeks ahead of a bye week, then on to lowly Iowa State to close out the regular season.

The Wildcats have proven they don't necessarily need the gaudy offensive stats to stay in games and have taken advantage of getting touchdowns, not field goals, in the red zone, time of possession and bend-but-don't-break defense. It's a good thing college football games aren't won or lost based on stats because Kansas State's record would probably be the opposite of what it is now.

As easily as Kansas State became the toast of the Top 25 with a 7-0 start, it could easily find itself out of the rankings altogether if the next three weeks go like this one did. However, if the Wildcats learned something from Saturday's loss and next week show they do belong among the nation's elite with an inspired effort against Oklahoma State, then this might be the finest example of smoke and mirrors college football has seen in quite some time.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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