The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Oklahoma’s 37-31 win over Kansas State
The Oklahoma Sooners went into a hostile road environment and took care of business Saturday afternoon against a tough Kansas State team that they hadn’t beaten since 2018.
The Sooners played a really good game and the outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect how well Oklahoma played as Kansas State continued to grind away and keep the Sooners on their heels.
Kansas State needed a kickoff return for a touchdown to bring the game within six and the Sooners were able to salt the game away after recovering an onside kick at the end.
The Good: Give the Quarterback His Props
That was easily the best game of the season for Spencer Rattler. It wasn’t perfect, but it was almost perfect as the Sooners’ signal-caller completed 22 of 25 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
He was controlled and composed while under pressure from a talented Kansas State defensive front. Per Pro Football Focus, Rattler faced pressure on seven of his drop-backs. He took two sacks, but otherwise was 5 of 5 for 101 yards and a touchdown under pressure.
Against the blitz, Rattler was 8 of 8 for 86 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State. He did a much better job navigating the pocket, getting the ball out of his hands quickly, and bailing on the pocket at the right time. When he did get outside the pocket, he and his receivers were much more effective in the scramble drill.
In every game, you’re going to find several throws from a quarterback that just weren’t good and that’s true in this game. If you want to nit-pick, there are a few throws from Rattler you can do that on. However, he played a great game and was a big reason the Sooners got out of their offensive funk.
Up Next: The Bad
The Bad: Keep Your Eye on the Ball Kid
After the Sooners forced a fumble at their own nine-yard line and returned inside the Kansas State 20, they picked up a fresh set of downs inside the Wildcats 10-yard line. A pass from Spencer Rattler to Marvin Mims took the ball down to the one-yard line to set up second and goal and in came true freshman Caleb Williams.
Per Josh Callaway of All Sooners on SI, the Kansas State student section was chanting “We want Caleb.” I for one thought it would be a great idea to insert Williams into the lineup in certain packages.
Lincoln Riley thought it was a good idea too. Williams came in on second and one, presumably to give the Wildcats a read-option look that would allow Williams to use his athleticism to threaten the Kansas State defense. Unfortunately, Williams took his eyes off the ball on a snap that was just barely to the left, and it whizzed past him to set up a long third and goal from the 12-yard line.
A false start penalty on third down made it 3rd and goal from the 17 and with the Wildcats dropping seven into coverage, Spencer Rattler had nowhere to go with the football and wisely took a sack.
At a time when the Sooners could have gone up 7-0, they were forced to kick a field goal and Kansas State marched down the field for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.
Williams will learn from that mistake and get better, but it was a moment in the game that could have been bigger had the Sooners lost.
Up Next: The Ugly
The Ugly: Containing Deuce Vaughn
On a day when the Kansas State Wildcats honored former running back Darren Sproles, Deuce Vaughn had himself a nice day. Though Oklahoma did a pretty good job containing him in the running game, holding Vaughn to just 3.4 yards per carry, they couldn’t stop him in the passing game.
Vaughn caught 10 of 13 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Per Pro Football Focus, his average depth of target (aDot) was just 2.7 yards down the field. He averaged 8.8 yards per reception after the catch and picked up five first downs.
The Sooners didn’t have an answer. A week after focusing in so heavily on West Virginia running back Leddie Brown, the Sooners struggled to contain the elusive Vaughn.
Though they got the win, they’ll have to consider how to take that game against Kansas State and figure something out for how to slow down Bijan Robinson this week in the Red River Shootout.
Sooners updated game-by-game win probabilities per ESPN FPI after week 5 win