Another week, another massive upset. This week it was the mighty Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma, 7-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country entering Saturday, was resoundingly beaten by unranked Kansas State in Manhattan, 48-41, putting a major dent in the Sooners’ College Football Playoff hopes. The vaunted OU offense that had been torching every team it faced was shut out for a large chunk of the second half while the supposedly improved OU defense was gashed by QB Skylar Thompson and the K-State attack.
Thompson rushed for four touchdowns while also completing 18-of-28 passes for 213 yards. And while it was Thompson that often found the end zone for the Wildcats, the combination of James Gilbert and Jordon Brown did the brunt of the work, combining for 168 yards on 25 carries.
The Wildcats led by just a point, 24-23, at halftime before pouring it on in the third quarter. K-State began the third quarter with a field goal and Thompson’s third TD run, opening up a 34-23 lead. And that lead grew to 41-23 right after Oklahoma fumbled the ensuing kickoff, creating a short field for the Wildcats. Four plays later, Thompson’s fourth score made it 41-23.
That lead would grow to 48-23 at the 12:54 mark of the fourth. From there, all the Wildcats had to do was hang on.
And they did. Barely.
The Sooners would score on their next two drives, including a 70-yard catch-and-run from star wideout CeeDee Lamb. But it ended up being too little, too late.
Oklahoma added a field goal to make it 48-41 and nearly got the ball back on an onside kick. However, the onside kick touched an Oklahoma player before it went 10 yards, resulting in a penalty for illegal touching and giving the ball back to the Wildcats. That ultimately sealed KSU’s first victory over a top-five team since 2006.
What does this mean for Oklahoma?
This loss is a big hit to Oklahoma’s hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff for a third straight season. But the one-loss Sooners aren’t completely doomed. OU is off next week but then will face back-to-back ranked opponents: No. 23 Iowa State and No. 14 Baylor.
Simply put, Oklahoma needs to win out and then win the Big 12 title game. And with the way the top of the conference is shaping up, that potential Big 12 title game opponent will be a quality team.
Additionally, if Kansas State keeps improving and winning games, this won’t look like a bad loss — something that matters to the CFP committee.
Chaos in the Big 12
The upset in Manhattan means the Big 12 is in for a chaotic finish to the season.
No. 14 Baylor is now the conference’s lone unbeaten team. The Bears (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) have a bye this week. Baylor still has Oklahoma and No. 15 Texas remaining on its schedule. Both Oklahoma and Iowa State lost on Saturday.
Baylor is in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Big 12 title game, but the Sooners, Cyclones and Longhorns all are very much in the mix. Like Baylor, Iowa State also has both Oklahoma and Texas remaining on its schedule.
With so many pivotal games left, the potential exists for a scenario where the Big 12 could essentially cannibalize itself Pac-12 style and put itself on the outside of the College Football Playoff.
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