Manhattan KS– Mark the day, September 22, 2012. This was a day K-State fans will remember for a long time. K-State marched into Norman, Ok. as 14 point underdogs, and walked out with a victory over the 6th ranked team in the country. Heres five things we learned from the K-States biggest regular season win since arguably the 1998 victory over Nebraska.
1. K-State Doesn’t Have To Return A Kick To Dominate Special Teams: The unsung hero of this game was a punter wearing number 9. Ryan Doerr of K-State was only on the field 5. But every single time Doerr punted the ball, it landed inside the Oklahoma 20 yard line. The Sooners were forced to start half of there possessions inside their own 20, 3 of those inside there own 15. While the only time K-State started inside there own 10 was after Blake Bells fumble at the K-State one. Field position had a huge impact on this game, and a lot of it came courtesy of Ryan Doerr.
2. The Pass Defense is not as bad as we thought: There were many questions about the K-State defense going into the game. All those questions were answered today. In last years match up, Jones threw for a school record 505 yards and 5 touchdowns. Today, Jones 28 for 43 with a touchdown and a pick a piece, not to mention a fumble that was recovered for K-States . It was clear throughout the game, Kansas State was in his head. Jones was only sacked twice, but was under pressure constantly and was never really allowed to get into a rhythm.
3. The rush defense is even better: K-State walked into the Norman allowing opponents to run for just 93 yards a game. The Cats one upped themselves today, holding the much talked about Sooner rushing attack to just 88 yards. Oklahoma’s only real success on the ground came on draw plays when K-State expected pass. But the longest run K-State gave up was only 11 yards. The Wildcat defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage all game long.
4. The 1-2 Punch: K-State pounded the Sooners on the ground for 213 total yards. 2 men accounted for 205 of them. Collin Klein and John Hubert. Everyone knows about the honey badger and what he can do, but today was the day John Hubert announced himself to the college football world. Hubert went over the century mark, taking 23 carries for 130 yards, including a 36 yard run in the 2nd quarter. But it was how he got his yards that was so impressive. Time after time after time, the Sooner defensive line had him bottled up between the tackles. But Hubert continued to bust his way for gains of 4, 5, and 6 yards and plays that should have been losses or stopped for no gain. The most impressive of which was his 9 yard touchdown run where Hubert was smacked by 3 Sooners but kept his feet moving and eventually burst through the pile to give K-State a 24-13 lead with 7 minutes left in the game.
5. Kansas State is for real: Its not easy to walk into Norman Ok. and come out with a win. Just ask the 14 ranked teams before K-State, that tried and failed. It wasn’t pretty but K-State got it done. Despite being 14 point underdogs, it was Kansas State that looked like the better team all night. With the toughest game of K-States entire schedule already out of the way, its hard to imagine if there is a ceiling for this K-State team.
Next up for K-State is a home date with in-state rival Kansas on October 6. There is little chance for an upset as KU is 1-3 on the season, including losses to Rice at home and Northern Illinois on the road. After that, the fun begins with 2 back to back conference road games at Iowa State and West Virginia. The West Virginia game could be a match up of two top 5 teams, and might go a long ways in deciding who win the big 12.