The Sooners initially appeared to have pounced, but officials reversed course and awarded possession to Kansas State (5-2, 2-2) after a lengthy replay review showed the ball had bounced off an Oklahoma player before traveling 10 yards.
“We’ve been through this road,” Sooners Coach Lincoln Riley said during his postgame news conference. “Everybody in the world is going to say we’re done. We know how this works. We know what we’re capable of. We’ve got to all do lot better as coaches, players, everybody.
“There’s everything left out there for us, and we know that, so we can’t listen to the noise.”
The Wildcats recorded their first win against a top-five opponent since Nov. 11, 2006, when they beat No. 4 Texas, 45-42, in one of the more improbable upsets of the season and just one week after Illinois knocked off Wisconsin, then ranked No. 6.
Trailing by 24 points early the fourth quarter Saturday, Oklahoma came storming back with consecutive touchdowns, both thanks to Heisman Trophy hopeful Jalen Hurts. The Sooners quarterback completed a 70-yard scoring pass to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, then scored on a one-yard run before adding a two-point conversion throw.
The Sooners limited Kansas State to three plays and a punt and got the ball back in the closing minutes, marching to the Wildcats 22-yard line, where they faced fourth and three with 2:17 to play. Instead of immediately calling his final timeout to set up a field-goal attempt, Riley let nearly 30 seconds burn off the clock and did so with 1:49 to go.
Place-kicker Gabe Brkic made the 39-yard attempt, but with the Sooners out of timeouts, Kansas State was all but assured of winning by recovering the onside kick attempt.
The ball took an awkward carom on Brkic’s attempt, and Oklahoma’s Brayden Willis fell on it at the Kansas State 37, with officials signaling a Sooners recovery.
Replays, however, indicated the ball bounced off the Sooners’ Trejan Bridges less than a yard short of the 10 yards required before the kicking team is permitted to touch it.
The Wildcats knelt to run off the rest of the time on the game clock, and players from the Kansas State bench, along with fans from the stands, rushed the field to join the celebration in the aftermath of the program’s first home victory over Oklahoma since 1996, a stretch of seven consecutive losses.
It was the longest home losing streak for Kansas State to a single opponent since Nebraska won 17 in a row from 1959 through ‘96.
“This game right here can solidify us and make a statement because the whole world will be watching,” Wildcats running back James Gilbert told reporters this past week.
Oklahoma, which committed two turnovers and forced none, had outscored Kansas State by an average of 46.5 to 24.2 during the previous seven games in Manhattan.
But the Wildcats were able to hold on despite Hurts accounting for 491 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, including three on the ground, and Lamb catching five passes for 135 yards and a score.
Quarterback Skylar Thompson ran for four touchdowns for Kansas State, which also got 105 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries from Gilbert in winning a second straight game in the Big 12 under first-year coach Chris Klieman.