NORMAN — College football, present and past, collided head-on during Oklahoma’s 38-17 win over Kansas State.
The Sooners got off to a whirlwind start, posting 63 and 73 yard touchdown drives on their first two possessions of the game. It was a showcase for the current Big 12 rage — spread-the-field, up-tempo offense.
Up 14-0 after just nine minutes and looking like it would almost certainly hang half-a-hundred on its Memorial Stadium visitors, OU’s defense was whacked with a dose of Bill Snyder ball.
The venerable one, in his 25th season at the Wildcat helm, doesn’t have a Baker Mayfield, Joe Mixon or Samaje Perine on his roster.
Snyder doesn’t have a quick-draw, fire-at-will offensive arsenal when faced with early adversity.
Since revitalizing the Wildcat program from purgatory and earning the tag as architect of “the greatest turnaround in college football,” Snyder’s offensive trademark has been a fundamentally sound and proficient ball-control offense.
Down two touchdowns and perched at its 11, the Wildcats proceeded to run 8:32 off the clock on a 17-play, 89-yard drive, three times converting third-down situations.
For 8:32 on an incredible, balmy October Saturday, it was a vintage Bill Snyder orchestration.
It was snap-every-half-minute football, not snap-a-second football. A Twilight Zone look into the past.
The look was also short lived. After cutting its disadvantage to 14-7, K-State’s old-school style took an upper cut. Oklahoma needed just five plays and 1:49 to cover 77 yards, including a 26-yard TD pass from running back Mixon to Dede Westbrook.
Author of the dandy touchdown call was offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a 2002 Muleshoe, Texas high school graduate.
Bill Snyder was 63 years young in 2002.
Oklahoma enjoys a 74-19-4 all-time record versus the Wildcats. In the Big 12 era, the Sooners are 11-5 versus Kansas State, the highest winning percentage by a Wildcats’ foe among current Big 12 programs.
Snyder created the Manhattan Miracle, but like almost all of his past Saturdays against the Sooners, he didn’t have nearly as many playmakers.
Still, there was a certain purist appreciation for the 17-play, 89-yard drive in the helter-skelter Big 12 offensive era.
Call it a tribute to virtually bygone days.
• Playing the Sooners right after the Texas game hasn’t been enjoyable for foes during the Stoops’ era. OU is 17-1 with the sole loss a 31-30 decision to K-State in Norman in 2014.
• Westbrook is without doubt the hottest receiver in college football. Over the past three games, he has 17 catches for 574 yards and eight touchdowns. His eight scoring catches have been from 67, 40, 71, 42, 47, 26, 8 and 88 yards. “Dede was again incredible,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “He has great hands with speed and polish in his route running.”
• Kansas State had averaged 188.8 rushing yards but was limited to 110 on 32 carries (3.4 average) Saturday. “Any time you limit them to 116 yards is great,” Stoops said. “That’s a key to their game.”
• Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas led OU with 8 and 7 tackles respectively. The Cats converted 6 of 15 third-down situations.
• Former OU quarterback Trevor Knight, now at Texas A&M, was on the Oklahoma sideline because of the Aggies’ off week. “I was beyond excited to see Trevor,” Westbrook said. “You have no choice but to love him. Whereever Trevor goes, he is going to uplift people.” Knight and undefeated Texas A&M will play unblemished Alabama Saturday.
• OU finished with 510 total yards Saturday. In 11 of its last 13 regular season games, the Sooners have reached 500 yards, winning all 11 games. In losses to Houston (33-23) and Ohio State (45-24), the Sooners compiled 393 and 403 total yards.
• It’s hard to have better red zone success than K-State. Dating back to last year, the Cats are perfect on their last 53 red zone attempts — 36 of which have been touchdowns.
• Mark Andrews, who had caught a combined three passes in the last two games before Saturday, recorded four receptions for 34 yards. “Just making a couple of plays was a great feeling, We didn’t take Kansas State lightly,” Andrews said.
• OU, atop the Big 12 standings with Baylor at 3-0, will travel to Texas Tech Saturday for a 7 p.m. game. OU has won four straight over the Red Raiders — 41-20, 38-30, 42-30 and 63-27. Texas Tech upset OU 41-38 Oct. 22, 2011 in Norman.
• Saturday’s other Big 12 matchups are Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1) at Kansas (1-5, 0-3) at 11 a.m., Texas (3-3, 1-2) at Kansas State (3-3, 1-2) at 11 a.m. and TCU (4-2, 2-1) at West Virginia (5-0, 2-0) at 2:30.