MANHATTAN, Kan. — A series of numbers was scrawled this past week on the dry-erase board in Oklahoma's team meeting room.
Large and circled in black marker: 17-0 and 31-7.
That would be the 17 consecutive points Texas Tech scored to gain a 31-7 lead on the way to the upset win last week in Norman. Those numbers were drilled into the heads of the Sooners during meetings and practices.
Some similar figures emerged here Saturday against eighth-ranked Kansas State — in OU's favor, this time. The No. 9 Sooners responded from their first loss by scoring the final 44 points to defeat the previously undefeated Wildcats 58-17 on Saturday afternoon in front of 51,004 fans at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“We could not stop them,” said Snyder, Kansas State's coach and the stadium's namesake.
Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) actually trailed 17-14 early in the second quarter. It outscored Kansas State 35-0 in a second half in which the intermittently maligned defense held the Wildcats to 31 yards and four first downs in the final two quarters.
“The offense kept scoring and the defense kept getting a lot of three-and-outs,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
That could have been a held-over line from Tech's Tommy Tuberville after last week's stunner. But it was Stoops, whose team experienced the antithesis of what happened against the Red Raiders – and then some.
K-State (7-1, 4-1) punted four times in the third quarter, and OU scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions to break open the game.
What the lousy second quarter was last week for Oklahoma, with the Sooners fumbling once and going three-and-out four consecutive times, the third quarter Saturday proved quite the opposite. Offense and defense, everything seemed to come together at one time. The Sooners suddenly lit up and played ball.
The college football world, down on Oklahoma this past week, might have a different take on OU by today.
“I feel like there was some type of doubt,” said running back Roy Finch, who led the team with 73 rushing yards. “Being a No. 3 team in the country, and losing at home to Texas Tech, that should never happen.
“We wanted to come out and handle business. We did that.”
Here's the thing about the five touchdowns in five possessions: They were scored by five different players. Playmakers were abound.
Ryan Broyles hauled in a 29-yard score, one of his 14 catches that resulted in 171 yards. 30-17.
Jaz Reynolds then had a one-handed 8-yard touchdown, his second score of the game. 37-17.
Finch, carrying the ball more in place of the injured Dominique Whaley (fractured ankle), then had a 31-yard run to the end zone. 44-17.
No. 2 tight end Trent Ratterree then had a 12-yard scoring reception, the fifth touchdown pass of the day for Landry Jones. Jones, the junior, rallied from two early interceptions to throw for an OU-record 505 yards. He also set the school's career touchdowns mark, passing Sam Bradford. 51-17.
Trey Millard was the next – and last – to score, running for a 61-yard touchdown while getting a carry at tailback. His previous long run this season was 14 yards. 58-17.
That's how a game shifts, dramatically. In a span of 18 minutes, 57 seconds, a six-point lead became 41. And the Sooners couldn't get enough, not after what happened to them a week ago.
Oklahoma outgained Kansas State, 690-240.
“We know what we're capable of when we're executing,” co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “A lot of that is just throwing, catching and making plays.”
This figured to be a good matchup for Oklahoma, its speed against the plodding style of Kansas State. And it was a good matchup, eventually.
The victory did nothing to change what the Sooners were already saying: They still believe the national title hopes are not shot.
“We've got to win out,” senior linebacker Travis Lewis said. “There's no secret that we've got to win.
“When we put a complete ballgame together, we're very tough to stop. The goals haven't changed.”