Here are a few quick observations from OU’s 41-31 win over Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.
1. Brennan Clay and the OU run game: Brennan Clay got as many touches in the run game than he did in the previous four games combined. With OU’s offensive line providing massive holes in front of him, the senior had a 64-yard touchdown and 160 yards rushing by halftime, and finished with career highs in yards (200) and carries (30). In the second quarter, it was Clay vs. K-State’s Tyler Lockett in a battle of big plays.
2. Tyler Lockett: For one half, Lockett was uncoverable. The Tulsa native did work against the Sooners, catching three long touchdowns in the second quarter against an OU secondary that was in constant confusion. The Booker T. Washington product broke his own K-State receiving record with 278 yards on 12 receptions and fellow Okie Tremaine Thompson (Jenks) had three catches for 54 yards – the two accounting for all but 16 of K-State’s receiving yards.
3. Trevor Knight: With Trevor Knight at the helm, OU was firing right out of the gate. The Sooners got a 12-yard touchdown pass from Knight to Sterling Shepard on the opening drive. On third-and-5 in the first quarter, Knight made one of his best runs of the day to extend what turned into a 14-play, 98-yard scoring drive — the longest of the season for the Sooners. Aside from a miscommunication between Knight and Jalen Saunders on a first-quarter interception, Knight was solid all day in his first career road start, giving OU a nice mix of pass (171 yards) and run (82).
4. Second-half adjustments: It took a half, but OU finally made some adjustments in the secondary to slow down K-State. The Sooners didn’t completely stop Lockett in the second half, but keeping him in front of them was enough (thanks in large part to Aaron Colvin). … It took a half, but Kansas State also made adjustments to stop OU from running downhill. But OU ended up tilting the game in its favor with better coverage on Lockett. Zack Sanchez made up for a shaky first half with a 74-yard interception return touchdown in the fourth quarter to put OU ahead 41-24, providing a little redemption for the secondary and locking up Bob Stoops’ school record 158th win. Lockett didn’t score after his ridiculous second quarter.
5. OU execution: The blocking in the running game was superb, Knight was efficient in the passing game (14-of-20, also throwing the ball away when necessary) and OU converted a high percentage of third downs (9-of-15). As for special teams, Michael Hunicutt had two field goals and Saunders provided a nice 30-yard punt return to the K-State 3-yard line in the fourth quarter to set up Clay’s second touchdown of the game.