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OU slugs KSU behind second-half surge

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- It started with Frank Alexander's sack of Collin Klein. As Alexander got up to celebrate, he stepped on the quarterback's chest. Though unintentional, the message was clear. This was going to be a painful rest of the day for Kansas State.

Saturday in Manhattan, Oklahoma hammered the eighth-ranked Wildcats 58-17 and played like the team many picked before the season to win the national championship.

And as they reeled off 44 unanswered points, the Sooners beat the swagger out of K-State while recapturing some of their own.

"We played better," coach Bob Stoops said. "Whether it has to do with attitude or not, it does not matter much to me. We just need to play like that every week."

If the Sooners continue to play with the nastiness they did in the third quarter, who knows where this team might end up. OU no longer control its own destiny in the BCS after last week's stunning loss to Texas Tech. But the Sooners sure looked like the best one-loss team in college football, capable of sliding back into the title conversation with some help.

"Our goal is not to win the Big 12 -- that's part of the process -- but our main goal is to win the national championship," said linebacker Travis Lewis. "When we put a complete ballgame together, offense and defense, we are one of the best in the nation."

Based on what he saw in the second half, Klein couldn't disagree. "A great team across the board," said K-State's power-rushing quarterback. "At every position, great personnel."

The Sooners were better than great in the second half. They were perfect.

The defense limited K-State to 32 total yards and four first downs the entire half, while sacking Klein six times. Ends Alexander and Ronnell Lewis punished Klein off the edge, and Tom Wort, Corey Nelson and Tony Jefferson stuffed him when he ran up the middle.

"Coach (Stoops) showed us the stats after the game," Nelson said. "That was just outstanding."

On the other side of the ball, the Sooners were just as dominant, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions, including the first in just 1:18.

"It was huge for us to play like that in the second half," said Landry Jones, who broke the school record with 505 passing yards. "Especially the first drive. The defense does a great job of holding those guys and we go down and score. That set the tone."

Ryan Broyles hauled in the first touchdown by tight-roping the sideline for a 29-yard score. After that, it was OU's supporting cast that took over. Jaz Reynolds, who made a pair of one-handed snags, the latter an 8-yard touchdown grab that puts the Sooners in command, 37-17.

"We could not get to the ball," said K-State coach Bill Snyder. "We could not stop them."

And so the Sooners kept scoring. Roy Finch, OU's primary running back now that Dominique Whaley is out for the season with a fractured ankle, bolted through the K-State defense for a 31-yard score. Tight end Trent Ratterree added a 12-yard touchdown catch. Then fullback Trey Millard capped the barrage, rumbling 61 yards into the end zone.

"This was as much of a team win as we've had in a very long time," Stoops said. "I couldn't keep up with all the guys that made plays."

The Wildcats couldn't, either.

Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation. He can be reached at trotterjake@gmail.com. and look for answers every Friday.

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