No. 4 Sooners survive rally to beat K-State 58-35

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)—Ryan Broyles took the ball, wiggled his way past a few defenders and greeted a corner of crimson-clad Oklahoma fans with a little touchdown skip.

After the offensive showing that had taken place to that point, it was only appropriate that Broyles punctuated the Sooners’ highest-scoring first half in school history by taking a punt back 68 yards for a score.

By the time Broyles did his touchdown jig, the fourth-ranked Sooners had already blown a 21-point lead and replaced it with an even bigger advantage— and it wasn’t even halftime yet in their 58-35 win Saturday against Kansas State.

“It was like a video game,” said Broyles, whose first career punt return TD made it 55-28 at halftime. “That’s really what it was like.”

DeMarco Murray racked up 167 total yards and four first-half touchdowns, and Sam Bradford added three touchdown passes in a wild first half in which the Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) gave up a 28-7 lead before taking control with 27 consecutive points of their own.

Oklahoma’s 55 points were its most ever in the first half of a game and matched the school record for points in a half, set in the second half of a 76-0 shutout of the Wildcats in 1942.

Josh Freeman threw for a career-high 478 yards for K-State (4-4, 1-3), with all three of his touchdown passes coming as the Wildcats charged back to tie it at 28.

But with 8 minutes left in the half, the Sooners found time to score four touchdowns.

“There wasn’t nothing said. We just knew what we had to do,” said tailback Chris Brown, who led the Sooners with a season-high 142 yards on 20 carries.

Murray caught a tiebreaking 10-yard pass from Bradford, one play after Juaquin Iglesias extended the drive with a 14-yard reception on fourth-and-6, and Bradford tacked on another TD when tight end Jermaine Gresham caught one of his passes along the left sideline and bullied his way through a couple defenders for a 29-yard score.

Murray cashed in on Freeman’s second interception for a 4-yard TD run, and Broyles washed any sense of adversity away with his return.

“We have a good offensive core. We can score. We can put up points any time,” Broyles said. “I don’t really stress about it.”

Murray ended up running for 104 yards on 17 carries and making four catches for 63 yards, with two touchdowns each way.

Bradford, who came in completing 71 percent of his passes, went only 13-for-32 for 255 yards. The 40 percent completion rate was the lowest of his career and only the second time more than half of his passes were incomplete.

In the second half, he was 1-for-9 with only a 33-yard completion to Murray.

“Obviously I thought we played really well in the first half. It’s frustrating to come out and play the way we did in the second half, but any time you go on the road and get a win the way we did today, you’ve got to be happy,” Bradford said.

Oklahoma looked as if it might cruise after snuffing out K-State’s deceptive onside kick attempt after its first touchdown. After tailback Logan Dold threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Deon Murphy on a trick play, kicker Brooks Rossman took a designed fall on his approach to the tee and backup Jared Parker kicked the ball instead.

The ball squirted loose momentarily before Gresham pounced on it for the Sooners. Murray caught a 15-yard touchdown pass two plays later to make it 21-7, and Brown’s 11-yard run stretched the lead to 21.

Freeman rallied K-State back with touchdown passes on three straight drives — a 77-yarder to Brandon Banks, a 29-yarder to Jeron Mastrud and a 9-yarder to Murphy—to tie it up.

“I believe that national championship-caliber teams like they are answer the way they do. When you do something positive, they come right back out and they played some of the most physical football at 28-28,” said K-State coach Ron Prince, who was on the sidelines a day after his father, Ernest, died at age 90.

“There was no doubt left as to who was the most physical football team, and that’s where we must improve.”

Freeman’s second touchdown pass pushed him past Ell Roberson’s school record for TDs in a career. Freeman now has 38 career touchdown passes.

Kansas State’s Ernie Pierce set career-highs with 11 catches and 176 yards, and Freeman’s passing total ranked only behind Chad May’s 489 yards against Nebraska in 1993.

He also had two interceptions and nearly had a third on a fourth-and-goal pass from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter that instead fell out of Oklahoma linebacker Keenan Clayton’s hands.

“Certain things that normally go right went pretty wrong,” Freeman said. “When you play against a good team like Oklahoma, there’s not a lot of breathing room.”

Oklahoma played without receiver Manuel Johnson, who dislocated his left elbow last week and wore a sling on the sidelines against Kansas State.