Every play matters but some end up giving you a better idea of the game than others. Either for what they represented in the contest or as a look to what could be coming in the future.
Sooners Illustrated looks at the five plays that told the story of Oklahoma’s victory.
OU 38, Kansas State 17
No. 1: Mayfield finds Andrews
There were two players looking to bounce back after unusually uneven performances in the win against Texas. Running back Joe Mixon and tight end Mark Andrews desperately wanted to make good things happen.
It didn’t take long for either one of them. Andrews has had key drops the last two weeks, but quarterback Baker Mayfield went to Andrews on back-to-back passes in the second drive of the first quarter.
It ultimately ended with a Mayfield touchdown pass to Mixon to give the Sooners a 14-0 lead, and it’s what Andrews needed. Back-to-back catches for first down en route to a game with four receptions for 34 yards.
No. 2: Riley’s bag o’ tricks
The Sooners had a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter, but KSU was coming off a 17-play, 89-yard touchdown drive that took 8:32 off the clock.
It’s not fair to say Owen Field was dead, but it needed a bit of a lift. Enter Joe Mixon and Dede Westbrook on a beautiful call on first down.
Perfect field position to go this route with OU at KSU’s 26 yard line. Perfect call. Not a perfect pass by Mixon, but definitely good enough to get the job done for a wide open Westbrook.
The call is interesting because it didn’t feel like OU would have to do something special against KSU to be successful. But the more wrinkles you bring out, the more the rest of the conference has to prepare for later down the road.
Mixon and Westbrook get used in a variety of ways by offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. This was another example.
No. 3: Westbrook comes up big again
The game had sort of slowed down considerably after injuries to OU running back Samaje Perine and KSU quarterback Jesse Ertz. No flow, no excitement.
The Sooners would take control once again late in the third quarter with a major fourth down conversion to get the juices flowing again.
OU faced a fourth-and-six at the KSU 34 when Mayfield connected with Westbrook for 20 yards and the first down. Three plays later, and Mayfield would find Westbrook again with a wall of blockers leading the way to an 8-yard touchdown reception.
No. 4: Obo comin’
It seems like it’s just something you can count on at least once every game. OU linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is going to make a play in the backfield and get a sack.
After spotty play during non-conference season, Okoronkwo has been exceptional in the three games in the Big 12.
His sack this time around came during the final play of the third quarter, a 12-yard loss. Okoronkwo simply never gives up his pursuit of the ball and has become OU’s leader on defense and most consistent performer.
The redshirt junior finished with five tackles.
No. 5: Riley says let’s go home
A common criticism of OU’s fourth quarter performances against TCU and Texas was the Sooners easing up on the gas pedal.
That’s how 49-24 turned into 52-46 in Fort Worth. How 42-27 turned into 45-40 in Dallas. Riley wasn’t going to make the same mistake this time.
After KSU made the questionable decision to punt with 6:42 left and trailing 31-17, Riley said he wasn’t going to do it again.
Not going conservative this time around, Riley allowed Mayfield to find Westbrook one more time for an 88-yard touchdown connection that put this game away.
Westbrook finished another outstanding game with nine catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns, while Mayfield threw for four touchdowns in the swirling winds.