Despite a much-anticipated matchup with No. 7 TCU next week, the Wildcats (7-1, 5-0) handled Oklahoma State with ease Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, moving their unblemished conference record to 5-0 with a 48-14 victory.
“It says a lot,” K-State senior quarterback Jake Waters said after the game. “We don’t get involved in ‘Is it a trap game or not?’ It was a great opportunity to play a great team with a night game on TV. We just took advantage of the opportunity, we didn’t play our best but we did enough to get the win.”
Waters commanded the K-State offense with 223 passing yards and two touchdowns. His two star wide receivers, seniors Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton, combined for 253 yards and two touchdowns on the night. Sexton alone accounted for 159 yards and a touchdown, including a lengthy 64-yard reception.
“They’re (Lockett and Sexton) playing great, that’s just a testament to their hard work and preparation,” Waters said. “Just for them to come out and make the plays they do, I’m not surprised by it because of the work they put in.”
The Wildcats can now look ahead to next Saturday’s road clash with TCU, which will either be broadcasted game on FOX or FOX Sports 1. Meanwhile, the Cowboys (5-4, 3-3) will look to bounce back in two weeks against Texas at home.
Junior defensive tackle Travis Britz led the way defensively with two sacks and a third tackle for a loss. Safeties Dante Barnett and Dylan Schellenberg each tallied an interception as well. Collectively, the K-State defense held their fourth opponent to under 300 yards of total offense.
“I think today we played collectively, not without mistakes in all facets of the game, but I thought we played reasonably well,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said.
Oklahoma State was without senior running back Desmond Roland due to the passing of his mother earlier in the week. Junior running back Tyreek Hill stepped in and rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown. Junior quarterback Daxx Garman finished the evening with 148 yards passing and two interceptions.
“We lost a game to a better football team today,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “We’re not good enough on offense to overcome penalties. Holding penalties, 2nd and 20, 3rd and 20. That’s what happened to us after the first couple of drives. We get sacked too much (as well). A combination of sacks and penalties set us back on offense.”
Oklahoma State entered Saturday’s game having scored just one touchdown in its previous 29 possessions. However, it was the Cowboys who dealt the first blow. The speedy Hill touched the ball six times on Oklahoma State’s first eight plays, including a two-yard rush up the middle to give his team the 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior cornerback Morgan Burns darted up the sideline and back into the middle of the field for an 86-yard touchdown return and a complete momentum shift. The score marked the 10th-straight year that K-State has had at least one kickoff return for a touchdown.
“When they drove down and scored, we knew this was probably going to be a shootout,” Waters said. “Then Morgan (Burns) returns that kick and the defense shuts them down from there on out. Having that kick (returned) was great for momentum for getting us rolling.”
After a Dante Barnett interception of Garman in K-State territory on the Cowboys’ next drive, the Wildcats marched 73 yards on 10 plays to grab a seven-point advantage. Jones capped off the drive for K-State with a six-yard run around the outside out of the wildcat formation.
Sexton extended the lead before halftime with a 17-yard catch in the corner of the end zone. Waters’ back-shoulder throw led Sexton to the sideline, but he was able to control the ball and get a foot in to secure the touchdown and the 21-7 lead going into the break.
Halftime didn’t appear to help Oklahoma State. K-State scored on their first possession in the second half to take a 28-7 lead. That margin jumped to 48-7 after two Matthew McCrane field goals, including a career long from 53 yards and touchdowns from Jones and backup quarterback Joe Hubener.
The Cowboys struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball in the second half, tallying just 48 yards of total offense in the final half hour of play. Their lone score came late in the fourth quarter on a pick-six from freshman cornerback Ramon Richards.
“We don’t have a lot of room for error right now and that’s being as honest as I can,” Gundy said. “You’ve made mistakes in the past and you’re not exposed as we are right now. As I said, we work our tails off and use five minutes off the clock and get a touchdown and get things going and turn around in 10 seconds and we lose all of our momentum and it’s a tied game.”