Martinez leads Wildcats to upset over No. 6 Oklahoma

Quarterback Adrian Martinez runs towards the end zone, securing a touchdown. Kansas State beat Oklahoma 41-34 on Sept. 24 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. (Julia Smith | Collegian Media Group)

Falling to Tulane and receiving heavy criticism, quarterback Adrian Martinez had his best performance with Kansas State to defeat the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners. Martinez established himself through the air and with his legs, throwing for 234 yards with one touchdown and running for 148 yards and four touchdowns. He ended the night with a combined 382 yards and five touchdowns.

It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to get ahead of the Sooners. Within nine minutes, K-State had taken a 14-0 lead with a rushing touchdown from Martinez and a 6-yard throw to wide receiver Malik Knowles. Tight end Ben Sinnott provided a new threat in the passing game on the first two drives, catching three passes for 59 yards, more than doubling his season total in two drives.

Oklahoma responded quickly to the early deficit. With 12:49 left in the second quarter, Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw two touchdowns over 50 yards to tie the game up at 14-14. Each quarterback had collected two touchdowns in the beginning of a high scoring affair.

The half featured another Martinez rushing touchdown and saw running back Deuce Vaughn start to collect efficient runs after being shut down early. The Wildcats and the Sooners also each kicked a field goal before the quarter ended. Going into the locker room, K-State held a 24-17 lead over Oklahoma in Norman.

The third quarter provided a different game flow than either quarter in the first half. Six points were scored between the two teams, combined with each team settling for a field goal and not finding the end zone.

Entering the fourth quarter, Oklahoma had their second straight drive with a chance to tie the score. K-State had a 27-20 lead but punted the ball on the first play of the quarter. The Wildcats defense was again put to the task of stopping the Sooners.

The first fourth-quarter drive for Oklahoma went similarly to how their last drive of the third quarter went. Missed throws and penalties held the Sooners back from tying the game up 27-27. A group effort from the K-State defense gave the offense the ball back with a chance to give themselves a two score lead.

Quickly, Vaughn and Sinnott each collected a first down as the Wildcats moved down the field. Going all the way to the Oklahoma 15-yard line, K-State found themselves on third-and-5 with a chance to go up by 10 or more. Running a run-pass option, Martinez kept the ball and ran in for a 15-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 34-20 with 8:00 remaining.

Needing a score, the Oklahoma offense went down the field in nine plays to put the game back within one touchdown. The Wildcats were given the ball back with just over four-and-a-half minutes left to seal the victory.

After converting a first down via a defensive facemask penalty from Oklahoma, K-State had a third-and-16 play on their own 41-yard line with 2:39 left. A first down would nearly ice the game.

Martinez and the Wildcat offense lined up in a five-wide formation with no one with Martinez all by himself in the backfield. On the snap, the Sooners front line closed in on the pocket, leaving little room for Martinez. In possibly his most important play in purple and white yet, he ran through a gap in the middle and ran for a 55-yard play, converting the first down and sliding at the Oklahoma 4-yard line.

Martinez ran the ball two more times and scored his fifth touchdown on the day. K-State took a 41-27 lead with under two minutes remaining. In the last two minutes, the Sooners were able to score another touchdown but were unable to recover an onside kick attempt, ending the game 41-34 for the K-State victory.

Winning 41-34, K-State has now defeated Oklahoma in three of the last four seasons. Starting Big 12 play with a 1-0 record, the Wildcats come back home to Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1, to play the Texas Tech Raiders at 11 a.m. in their first Big 12 home game of the season.