MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield took a page from his young Kansas State counterpart, Alex Delton, running for chunks of yardage on Saturday and a pair of second-half touchdowns to turn momentum in the Wildcats' upset bid.
But when it mattered most, the Sooners' senior Heisman Trophy candidate used his arm to seal the victory.
Mayfield rushed for a season-high 69 yards and threw for 410 yards on 32-of-41 passing as the No. 9 Sooners came from 14 points down to beat K-State 42-35 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. OU won it on Rodney Anderson's 22-yard run with seven seconds left, cashing in on Mayfield's direction of a 76-yard drive after Kansas State tied it 35-35 with 2 minutes, 25 seconds to play in a back-and-forth quarter.
The victory, Oklahoma's sixth in seven games, kept it alive in the conversation for the College Football Playoff -- a little more than a week before the first release of the official rankings and two weeks after the Sooners' stunning home loss to Iowa State.
It didn't look promising early for OU, though.
Delton, a sophomore in his second career start, led the Wildcats on four drives of longer than 60 yards in the first half. One productive possession ended with a fumble by wideout Dominique Heath in the red zone -- caused and recovered by Steven Parker -- and a late drive was squelched by a Jordan Thomas interception.
Otherwise, it might have spun out of control for Oklahoma.
The Sooners had no early response for Delton on the ground. He rushed for 138 yards in the first half and finished with 161 and three touchdowns, conjuring images of Collin Klein and Ell Roberson, past K-State stars at the position.
Delton entered the lineup last week in place of Jesse Ertz, saddled by a knee injury, and struggled in a 26-6 loss to TCU. The struggles on Saturday, after a brief weather delay before kickoff, belonged entirely to the Sooners early.
In a sequence that epitomized their first-half woes, Thomas' interception of Delton with less than three minutes to play in the first half gave Oklahoma a first-and-goal at the 10.
OU inserted backup QB Kyler Murray to hand twice to Anderson for 9 yards. Fullback Dimitri Flowers then lined up to take a snap in the shotgun amid confusion up front, forcing the Sooners to use a timeout. Mayfield returned for the third-down play, on which Flowers was hammered for a loss.
OU settled for a field goal.
It was ugly. It was inefficient.
And then, suddenly, it wasn't. Mayfield took it himself for a 14-yard touchdown to end the first Oklahoma possession of the second half. On the drive that gave Oklahoma its first lead early in the fourth quarter, he used his feet to score from 3 yards out on third down.
The Sooners also stiffened defensively in the second half, forcing punts on three consecutive Kansas State possessions. The Wildcats did not punt in the first half.
And when an Oklahoma punt went awry, leading to a third rushing touchdown by Delton midway through the fourth quarter, Mayfield answered by leading a three-play, 74-yard drive through the air that put Oklahoma back on top.
And due to that, the Sooners live to dream of the playoff for another week.