It's almost impossible to avoid viewing a ranked opponent visiting a Bill Snyder-coached Kansas State as a possible upset trap.
Last week, TCU easily avoided such a problem, beating the Wildcats by 20 to stay unbeaten. This week? No. 9 Oklahoma, after winning a dramatic game vs. Texas, took a much more adventurous rout to escaping Manhattan with a win.
The Sooners won 42-35, thanks to Rodney Anderson's 22-yard touchdown run with seven seconds left. Anderson ran left and was nearly tackled for a loss, but he avoided being dragged down, continued to the outside, got the edge and beat the Wildcats to the end zone. Instead of kicking a field goal, Oklahoma got the touchdown to win by seven.
Game, blouses pic.twitter.com/WGDVqG5gBz- FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 22, 2017
The Sooners, who have no margin for error in the College Football Playoff race after losing at home to Iowa State, struggled throughout the first half and trailed 21-10 going into the locker room. Play-calling decisions were suspect at times, and the Sooners got off to the worst possible start by allowing a 75-yard touchdown run to Alex Barnes on the second play of the game.
Alex Barnes... JETS pic.twitter.com/d3xnowrEor- FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 21, 2017
Although Oklahoma answered quickly, it fell into a hole and had difficulty stopping the Wildcat's grind-it-out running offense behind QB Alex Delton, starting for the injured Jesse Ertz.
This is the best interception you'll see all weekend. pic.twitter.com/0xemOigS8o- Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) October 21, 2017
That all changed in the second half, at least until a wild finish. Baker Mayfield led drives of 80, 69 and 93 yards that ended in two touchdowns and a field goal, giving the Sooners a seven-point lead. From there, the two teams traded scores. After Oklahoma fumbled a punt snap, Delton scored a short touchdown to tie. Mayfield then hit Marquise Brown for a 66-yard gain, setting up a five-yard TD pass to Anderson. Kansas State went 75 yards in six plays, with Delton's five-yard TD pass to Isaiah Zuber tying the game again with 2:25 to play.
That set the stage for Mayfield, the Heisman candidate, to lead the Sooners into field goal range before Anderson finished the job on the ground, allowing Oklahoma to move to 6-1 and avoid a tough road loss the week after winning the Red River Showdown.
Oklahoma has won 14 straight road games, it's longest road winning streak since another 14-game run from 1973-76. pic.twitter.com/JXSRIGNK7G- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 22, 2017
High expectations entering the season have turned into frustration for Kansas State, which has lost three games in a row to fall to 3-4. Three of its four losses were by a touchdown or less. The Wildcats had 268 rushing yards, but Mayfield and the big-play Oklahoma offense were too much to handle for the Wildcats' defense for 60 minutes.
Oklahoma already was on the wrong side of one shocking upset at home against the Cyclones. Saturday, it just barely avoided the type of upset that would have been a lot easier to see coming.