STILLWATER — Brandon Weeden needed to direct Oklahoma State on a game-winning touchdown drive with less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter with his team trailing for the first time in the second half.
Then he needed to do it again with the score tied.
OSU’s defense ultimately clinched a wild 52-45 victory over No. 14 Kansas State on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium with a stand inside the 10-yard line in the final seconds. But another historic night for the Cowboy quarterback, who set the OSU single-game passing record with 502 yards and four touchdowns, kept OSU in the national title hunt.
The No. 3 Cowboys (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) should move up to No. 2 in the BCS standings after LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 in overtime Saturday night.
“I don’t know anybody in the country I’d rather have than him,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said of Weeden. “He’s so calm and collected. There are other guys out there, but I like our guy.”
And in the fourth quarter, Weeden matched Kansas State (7-2, 4-2) quarterback Collin Klein, who led the Wildcats on two touchdown drives of his own and nearly a third before his pass to Tramaine Thompson fell incomplete as time expired.
Trailing 38-37 after Klein scored on a four-yard run to cap a 14-play drive that ate up almost nine minutes of game clock, Weeden found Justin Blackmon streaking down the middle of the field for a 54-yard touchdown. Weeden then hit Blackmon in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 45-38 lead.
Then when Klein scored again on a 12-yard score to tie the game, Weeden quickly led OSU on a 65-yard drive, which was capped by a 23-yard touchdown run by Joseph Randle, to take a 52-45 lead with 1:02 to play.
“We move so fast,” Weeden said. “Basically, every time we touch it is a two-minute offense. There was no worry on our sideline. We knew we were going to come out and score.”
Much like his Cowboy team, which scored 20 straight points after trailing 24-14 early in the second quarter, Weeden responded after a shaky first half where he tossed two interceptions, including one that was returned by Allen Chapman for a 60-yard touchdown to give K-State a 10-point lead.
Those interceptions didn’t matter much to Weeden after the game.
“The touchdowns,” Weeden said of what he’ll remember. “We won. The interceptions are over. That’s part of playing as a quarterback.”
With Josh Cooper unavailable to play because of a pulled hamstring, Blackmon and Tracy Moore were Weeden’s primary targets. Blackmon finished with 13 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns, while Moore had nine catches for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Blackmon got his own redemption on the 54-yard touchdown catch. He fumbled twice, including once near the goal line that was recovered by David Garrett in the end zone to halt a potential scoring drive.
“The good new is, both of those guys, our quarterback and our wideout, believe in themselves and just bounce right back and play,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said.