STILLWATER — With apologies to that supposed game of this century happening down south, it had nothing on what happened in Stillwater on Saturday night.
You want a back-and-forth, nail-biter of a battle? You want a game with national-title implications? You want an instant classic?
Oklahoma State and Kansas State delivered.
Cowboys 52, Wildcats 45.
LSU and Alabama can have its field-goal fest. This was way more entertaining.
“I'm not so sure they shouldn't have been watching our game,” Cowboy coach Mike Gundy told ABC sideline reporter Lisa Salters on the field after the game.
No doubt the folks down south took note of this one. The Cowboys, after all, have their sights set on the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings due out Sunday night. They continue their march toward the national championship game. They are on a collision course with the Bayou Bengals.
LSU vs. OSU. Miles vs. Gundy.
How much fun would that be?
But wait, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's remember that the Cowboys had to survive the Wildcats. This was a closer-than-expected call for the Cowboys, who watched as the Wildcats lost 58-17 at home a week ago.
But unlike that blowout against Oklahoma, K-State came to Stillwater and pounded the ball. The Wildcats and their big-bodied quarterback Collin Klein punished the Cowboys like no running team has this season.
K-State had 231 yards rushing, and even though that didn't match Tulsa's total and it tied Texas's mark, the Wildcats got most of those yards right up the gut. They ran off tackle, ran right at the Cowboys, and there was nothing they could do to stop the Wildcats.
That is demoralizing.
And then, the Cowboys decided to give the Wildcats a few extra possessions. Four to be exact. It was completely out of character for the OSU offense, which had committed only four turnovers in its first five Big 12 games.
Despite all the stats and miscues and problems that pointed toward disaster, the Cowboys won this game because they made plays when it mattered.
After K-State tied the game 45-45, OSU marched down the field. Brandon Weeden connected with Isaiah Anderson for 33 yards, then with Justin Blackmon for 9 yards. Then on a third and 1, the offensive line parted the purple sea and Joseph Randle weaved his way 23 yards into the end zone.
Everyone had a hand in the success of the drive.
Then the OSU defense found a way to get a stop at the end of the game. After a pair of third-down conversions and even a fourth-down conversion, K-State was all the way at the OSU 5-yard line.
But Markelle Martin broke up a pass in the end zone. Then, Brodrick Brown did the same.
And on the last play of the game, Justin Gilbert cut in front of receiver Tramaine Thompson, who looked to be the primary target. Klein saw the Cowboy defensive back and tried to throw over him, but Thompson didn't adjust.
“We've played a lot of crazy games this year, and this certainly fits the bill,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “It may top it.”
It would be hard to imagine a crazier night. A team that never turns the ball over committed four turnovers. A team that can't throw the ball passed for a season-high 231 yards.
The exclamation mark on the madness?
An earthquake that hit shortly after the Wildcats' last-second pass fell incomplete and the Cowboys' sideline-clearing celebration matched the hysterics in the Boone Pickens Stadium stands.
The press box shook for a good minute.
Of course, there might've been a dozen earthquakes in the final minute of this game. No one would've been able to tell the difference between the forces of Mother Nature and the voices of Cowboy Nation.
A national championship dream lives on for the Cowboys because they made the plays that needed to be made.
Shaken, but unstirred.