OU v Kansas State Football

OU’s Marcus Major runs with the ball Saturday during the Sooners’ game against Kansas State at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Oklahoma was essentially a 13-point home favorite against Kansas State Saturday.

Instead, they lost 41-34. A Sooners touchdown with 35 seconds to go helped the score look a little better.

Despite the issues on both sides of the ball, the Sooners did some things well. Other things, like containing Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez, they struggled mightily.

Here’s the final grades for the Sooners’ performance against the Wildcats

Passing offense: B+

Yes, Dillon Gabriel missed some throws, including a crucial fourth-down miss to Drake Stoops late in the third quarter. But Gabriel and the passing offense were not the issue against the Wildcats.

Gabriel finished with 330 yards on 26-of-39 passing with four touchdowns and made some big plays down the field. That included touchdown throws of 56 and 50 yards to Theo Wease and Marvin Mims, respectively. He spread the ball around to different options, with four different players recording at least four receptions.

Eric Gray led the way with seven catches for 45 yards, as the team consistently looked to get him involved.

The passing offense didn’t do enough to save the Sooners. Gabriel missed some plays that he’s got to make moving forward. But Gabriel and the receivers did enough to keep the team in the game.

Rushing offense: A

Eric Gray was the Sooners best player in the second half, recording 11 carries for 100 touches. Five of his carries went for 10 yards or more. If anything, one of the offense’s biggest issues was not giving the ball to Gray as much as they should’ve.

The Sooners ran the ball well as a team, finishing with 220 yards on 34 carries. They averaged nearly seven yards a carry. Gabriel made some big plays on the ground, too, finishing with 61 yards.

The team hasn’t had many issues running the ball this season, and that didn’t change against the Cornhuskers.

Rushing defense: F

This was the source of the Sooners’ biggest issues. Specifically, it was Martinez.

The Kansas State quarterback routinely carved up the Sooners on the ground, finishing with 21 carries for 148 yards and four touchdowns. The biggest play of the game came on Martinez’ 55-yard carry on a third-and-16 late in the fourth quarter. He was essentially untouched before he picked up the first down and still had space down the field.

Deuce Vaughn hurt the Sooners too with 116 rushing yards.

The Sooners had trouble getting into the backfield — just four tackles for loss after averaging nearly 11 per game the first three weeks — and the Wildcats took advantage. Kansas State finished with 275 yards rushing.

The Sooners now rank 86th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game.

Passing defense: D

Martinez could’ve done even more damage than he did, and that’s not a good thing. Martinez, who had just 304 passing yards through Week 3, hurt the Sooners with 234 passing yards and a touchdown while completing 21-of-34 attempts.

It was a disappointing outing for the OU secondary, which played well against Casey Thompson and Nebraska last week. While Martinez played well, the secondary will face more dangerous quarterbacks through the remainder of conference play. To stay competitive, the Sooners will have to be much better against the pass than they were on Saturday.

Simply put, the Sooners didn’t really do anything to limit the Kansas State offense. The Wildcats finished with 509 yards as a team while dominating the time of possession battle, 35:04 to 24:56.

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580

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