Tramel: Kansas State's Chris Klieman joins exclusive club vs. Oklahoma
Chris Klieman says he knows of no plans for a statue being erected in his honor on the Kansas State campus, after his Wildcats stunned Oklahoma 38-35 last Saturday in Norman.
“I hope not and I’m sure not,” Klieman said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference.
So Klieman will have to settle for inclusion into an exclusive club. K-State’s second-year head coach became just the third Big 12 coach to win his first two games against the Sooners of the Bob Stoops/Lincoln Riley era.
The other two? Eventual national champions Mack Brown (Texas, 1998-99) and Les Miles (OSU, 2001-02), and Brown got the first of those two victories against John Blake’s final OU team.
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“Good win by our guys, excited for how we responded to some adversity,” Klieman said.
The Wildcats trailed 35-14 late in the third quarter but scored the final 24 points in the game. A year ago in Manhattan, K-State led OU 48-23 in the fourth quarter, then held on for a 48-41 victory.
Saturday, playing without six starters sidelined by COVID-19 issues, Klieman said he challenged his team at halftime, when OU held a 21-7 lead.
“We kind of challenged the guys in a positive way about where we were and the fact we hadn’t played our best but we were still in the game,” Klieman said. “If we could make some plays and win some battles … try to get the game to the fourth quarter.
“Took us a long time. But we were able to create turnovers, and that was a real key factor, as well as the blocked punt.”
The Wildcats never consistently moved the ball against OU’s defense. But they hit the Sooners with home run plays: pass plays of 78, 77, 39 and 38 yards, and a 38-yard touchdown run.
Klieman said that’s what football on every level -- NFL, college, high school -- has become. One-on-one. Produce an explosive gain or make an open-field tackle. K-State eventually made more of those plays than did OU, particularly by 5-foot-5 true freshman tailback Deuce Vaughn.
“There’s not easy outs as maybe there is in some other leagues,” Riley said of containing Big 12 offenses. “You gotta bring it every week in this league, or you will get exposed.”
The Sooners brought it in the first half. Didn’t bring it in the second half, and now Klieman is 2-0 vs. OU.