Sept 29, 2001
Game Shows Something About Both Teams
Postgame Interviews/Highlights Video
By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops wanted more big plays from his receivers. He got them from Antwone Savage, and the third-ranked Sooners are still unbeaten.
Savage caught two long scoring passes and threw a touchdown pass of his own on a razzle-dazzle fake punt, helping Oklahoma build a three-touchdown lead before holding on to beat No. 11 Kansas State 38-37 on Saturday.
On an afternoon of big plays by both offenses, the Sooners Oklahoma beat the Wildcats for the third straight time. OU won 41-31 in Manhattan, Kan., last October, and 27-24 in the Big 12 title game in December.
"We found a way to make enough plays to win the football game, and that's special," coach Bob Stoops said. "We're not concerned around here whether we win 13-2 or 50-49 or 38-37. Whatever it takes, find a way to win."
The Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) have now won 17 in a row, the longest streak in the nation, and have won 16 straight at home.
Kansas State (2-1) hurt itself with 17 penalties for 139 yards, and ended a 32-game September winning streak that dated to 1991. But the Wildcats went down fighting.
After falling behind 35-14 midway through the third quarter, they rallied behind the play of quarterback Ell Roberson, eventually pulling within the final margin with seven seconds remaining. But Roberson's final pass, from midfield, was knocked down at about the 5-yard line as time ran out.
"It's college football," coach Bill Snyder said. "There isn't a surprise left in college football."
Kansas State succeeded in shutting down Oklahoma's running game, holding the Sooners to 9 yards rushing. But Nate Hybl, despite being intercepted three times, threw for 283 yards to Savage and other receivers who got open against the Wildcats' man-to-man coverage.
Oklahoma didn't let tailback Josh Scobey get going, but Roberson made up for that by running for 115 yards and three scores, and throwing for 257 yards and another TD.
Savage caught TD passes of 63 and 75 yards, and threw a 33-yarder off a fake punt in the second quarter. The 75-yard play, on which Savage shook free from cornerback DeMarcus Faggins after making the catch, gave the Sooners the three-touchdown cushion with 7:15 left in the third.
Then Roberson led the Wildcats back with two straight scoring drives. On the first, he ran for 16 yards, Rock Cartwright ran for 27, and two plays later Roberson scored on a 37-yard run, breaking several tackles along the way.
An interception and return by Jon McGraw gave the Wildcats the ball at the Oklahoma 17, and Roberson scored on a sneak five plays later. The point-after kick was blocked, making the score 35-27.
"We told our defense if you get us the ball, we're going to do the best we can to get it in the end zone," Roberson said. "They kept giving us the ball and we just drove down and tried to do the best we could."
Oklahoma, which made only one first down on its first five possessions of the second half, put together a 16-play, 71-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended with Tim Duncan's 33-yard field goal. Kansas State was hit with two pass interference calls on the drive.
Roberson wasn't finished. He found Ricky Lloyd behind the coverage and hit him with a 57-yard TD pass. A 2-point conversion pass to Aaron Lockett made it 38-35 with 2:02 to play.
Oklahoma punter Jeff Ferguson ran out of the end zone for a safety with seven seconds left, making it 38-37. Kansas State took over at the 50 after that, but didn't score on its final play.
"They switched some things up and tried some new things," Oklahoma linebacker Rocky Calmus said. "We underestimated Ell Roberson's arm a little bit. We just gave up a lot of big plays and had too many mental breakdowns on defense."
Oklahoma had taken a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on an 18-yard fumble return by safety Roy Williams and the 63-yard completion from Hybl to Savage.
Kansas State got a 7-yard TD run by Scobey and a 22-yard scoring run by Roberson in the second quarter, but Oklahoma also scored twice. The second came on the fake punt in the final two minutes of the half.
Third-string quarterback Hunter Wall lined up as the up back in punt formation. He took the snap, then threw a long lateral pass to Savage. Savage, who played some quarterback in high school, threw it back to Wall, who had a line of blockers to lead him to the end zone.
"We've got a lot of quarterbacks at receiver, we really do," Stoops said. "About three or four of those guys can really throw the football."
The Sooners hadn't played since beating North Texas 37-10 on Sept. 8. Their Sept. 15 game against Tulsa was postponed due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and they had an open date last week.