NORMAN — Big 12’s best defense, huh?
The Oklahoma Sooners would politely disagree.
OU beat Kansas State on Saturday at Owen Field in a 38-17 victory, and did it with a big-play passing offense and a mostly relentless defense.
Baker Mayfield completed 25-of-31 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns — including n 88-yard clinching touchdown pass to Dede Westbrook — and Joe Mixon caught a touchdown pass and threw a touchdown pass as OU improved to 4-2 at the halfway point of the season and 3-0 in Big 12 Conference play.
KSU (3-3, 1-2) came in with the Big 12’s best defense, yielding just 310 yards and 17.6 points per game.
The Sooners had 24 points and 287 total yards by halftime, and finished with 38 points and 510 total yards.
Kansas State finished with just 17 points and 335 total yards.
For the second year in a row, K-State virtually faced the Sooners without its starting quarterback, and it showed. Jesse Ertz sustained an injury in the first half and tried to return, but played just one play in the second half. Ertz completed 8-of-14 passes for 68 yards and rushed seven times for 42 yards before giving way to backup Joe Hubener, who struggled to complete passes before a brief fourth-quarter rally that included a 54-yard touchdown bomb.
The Sooners, however, also lost an impact starter on offense when running back Samaje Perine left the game after catching a 25-yard touchdown on the Sooners’ first drive. Perine’s day ended with just three rushing attempts for 14 yards.
But Mixon picked up the slack with 88 yards rushing on 19 carries and another 34 yards receiving on three catches.
Mixon’s real highlight, however, was his 26-yard touchdown pass to Westbrook in the second quarter. It was OU’s first touchdown pass by a running back since Joe Washington threw one in 1974.
It was one of three touchdowns for Westbrook, who now has eight TDs and 574 receiving yards (he had 184 against the Wildcats) in his last three games, both three-game school records previously held by Ryan Broyles.
Kansas State had won in its last two visits to Norman, and the visiting team in this series had won five in a row.
The Sooners visit Texas Tech next week in Lubbock.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard on The Franchise Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. every weekday with co-host Lauren Rew and most mornings on The Franchise in Oklahoma City. Listen on fm107.9, am1270 on the 107.7 Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page.