ANALYSIS: Wildcats dominate third quarter, hold on to beat No. 5 Oklahoma

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K-State defense lines up against the Sooners during an Oklahoma punt attempt. The Wildcats beat the the Sooners 48-41 on Oct. 26 for a homecoming victory. (Dalton Wainscott | Collegian Media Group)

Late in the first half of Kansas State’s 48-41 home win over No.5 Oklahoma, it looked like the Wildcats would head into the locker room trailing by a 20-17 margin.

Then Oklahoma ran a trick play with just under a minute and a half to play. Sooner wide receiver Nick Basquine had a wide open receiver over the middle of the field. His throw was a little off and was tipped into the waiting arms of junior defensive back AJ Parker.

“It was just a routine play — I was where I was supposed to be,” Parker said. “I caught the ball and changed the game, so credit my teammates getting over the top and being where they were supposed to be to force a bad ball.”

Parker ran the interception back to the 14. Three plays later junior quarterback Skylar Thompson scampered in to the end zone.

Oklahoma would manage a field goal before the half, but that interception gave K-State the momentum shift it needed to take control of the game and put it out of reach over the next quarter.

“It was a monster,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said. “You look at those seven points now, it was huge.”

K-State got a field goal on their first drive of the decisive third quarter. Then, the defense came out and forced Oklahoma into a three and out where they only gained three yards.

The Oklahoma punt took a generous K-State bounce and wasn’t downed until it returned to the K-State 46.

After four more plays, K-State’s lead stretched to a 41-23 with a three-yard touchdown run by Thompson.

“He just cares so much, you’ve got guys like that who will just throw their body around,” senior offensive lineman Scott Frantz said. “He’s not like a lot of quarterbacks that are afraid of contact. I can’t say enough about the guy.”

K-State got the ball back immediately after Oklahoma fumbled the kickoff and promptly drove down and got another three-yard touchdown for Thompson.

Thompson finished the day with 39 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He added another 213 yards through the air on 18-28 passing.

“When you have a guy like Skylar Thompson — where he can run the ball too — I feel like it keeps the defense off-balance because they have to worry about the ball-carriers, but at the same time they’ve got to worry about number ten, too,” senior running back James Gilbert said.

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(Dalton Wainscott | Collegian Media Group)

Another three and out set K-State up for a 10-play, 73-yard touchdown drive capped off by a two-yard run from Gilbert early in the fourth quarter, they ate up over five minutes on that drive.

In all, Oklahoma only gained seven yards in the third quarter, and was kept completely off the scoreboard thanks to K-State’s offense holding the ball and its defense making stops. K-State outscored Oklahoma 17-0 as part of a 24-0 run to seal the game.

“I give it up to the coaches, they made the calls, we just executed the plays,” junior linebacker Elijah Sullivan said.

Oklahoma’s furious fourth quarter-comeback would prove to be not quite enough. After illegal touching was called on the Sooners’ onside kick, Thompson kneeled out the clock.

“I’m going into my fifth year, I’ve started a lot of games here,” Frantz said. “I can’t think of any game that was bigger than that. … Beating No. 5 Oklahoma—a team that I’ve never beaten in my career here—at home, in front of our fan base was a feeling I’ll never forget.”

K-State will head to Lawrence next week to take on in-state rival Kansas at 2:30.

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Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.