Rapid reaction from Oklahoma's 31-30 loss to Kansas State on Saturday.
The Good: Trevor Knight bounced back from a sub-par stretch and was fantastic minus one pass in the first half. Knight was 26-of-32 for 318 yards and three scores. The one interception he threw was brutal and he has to be smarter. More on that below. But Knight, even though he threw to Sterling Shepard 15 times, hit eight different receivers on Saturday. That's a very positive sign for the OU offense. Another terrific sign is the Sooners converting 7-of-11 on third downs. The defense also got pressure several times on Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters and came up with three sacks.
The Bad: Where to begin? The bad was less whole-sale ineffectiveness and more of a bunch of little things adding up. Knight's interception was terrible. On your own 1-yard line, you don't throw an out route to the far side of the field. It was an easy pick-six for Kansas State. Durron Neal threw an interception on a reverse pass where he should have eaten it. Michael Hunnicutt, one of the steadiest and best kickers in the country, missed a 19-yard field goal and a 32-yard field goal and had an extra point blocked. Aaron Ripkowski was ejected for targeting on a block on Ryan Mueller in the first quarter. The defense was gashed once again, but only in bursts as the unit held KSU to 385 total yards. There were just too many little things for the Sooners to overcome.
What It Means: Oklahoma's chances for a playoff berth are over and (likely) so are the chances for a Big 12 title. The Sooners and the OU fan base get to be the guinea pigs for how a big program goes through the remainder of the regular season after being eliminated from the College Football Playoff picture.
MVP: Sterling Shepard
The junior wide receiver tied a school record with 15 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. He fell on a camera on the sideline near the end of the first half, injuring his hip, but came back in the second half to grab seven passes for 102 yards. Shepard has been the biggest star for the Sooners this season and he showed it again on Saturday.
Game-Changing Moment: A 19-yard field goal from Michael Hunnicutt would have given the Sooners a 33-31 lead with 3:53 left. But Hunnicutt, arguably the most reliable player on the Oklahoma roster, duck-hooked the field goal, giving the ball back to Kansas State and costing the Sooners the game.
What's Next: Oklahoma has a bye week next week before traveling to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State. While the Sooners may not be playing for championships anymore, the Sooners could still find their way into one of the Big Six bowls if they win out. That's a lot to ask, given how the Sooners have played and the fact they won't be playing for a title any longer. The biggest thing for the Sooners is to continue to develop the young talent on the roster and not let the season slip into complete disaster.