No. 3 Oklahoma 38, No. 11 Kansas St. 37

Saturday, September 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Once again, nothing came easily for Oklahoma against Kansas State. But once again, the third-ranked Sooners came away winners.

Antwone Savage caught two long touchdown passes and threw for another on a razzle-dazzle fake punt, and Oklahoma returned from two weeks off to beat the 11th-ranked Wildcats 38-37 on Saturday.

It was Oklahoma's third straight over Kansas State in less than a year. The Sooners won 41-31 in Manhattan, Kan., last October, and 27-24 in the Big 12 title game in December.

Savage caught TD passes of 63 and 75 yards from Nate Hybl, and threw a 33-yarder off a fake punt in the second quarter. The Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) needed those and more to win their nation-best 17th straight and 16th in a row at home.

Kansas State (2-1, 0-1) trailed 35-14 in the third quarter, but rallied behind quarterback Ell Roberson. His 57-yard TD pass to Ricky Lloyd, followed by a 2-point conversion pass to Aaron Lockett, made it 38-35 with 2:02 left.

Oklahoma punter Jeff Ferguson ran out of the end zone for a safety with seven seconds left, making it 38-37. Kansas State took over at the 50 after that, and Roberson's final pass was batted down well short of the end zone.

Kansas State, hampered by 17 penalties, had won 32 in a row in September, dating to 1991.

It appeared midway through the third quarter as though Oklahoma might win easily.

After catching a lofted pass from Hybl, Savage shook free from cornerback DeMarcus Faggins and went down the sideline on the 75-yard play that made the score 35-14.

But Roberson led the Wildcats back with two straight scoring drives. On the first, he ran for 16 yards, Rock Cartwright ran for 27, and two plays later Roberson scored on a 37-yard run, breaking several tackles along the way.

An interception and return by Jon McGraw gave the Wildcats the ball at the Oklahoma 17, and Roberson scored on a sneak five plays later. The point-after kick was blocked, making the score 35-27.

Oklahoma, which made only one first down on its first five possessions of the second half, put together a 16-play, 71-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended with Tim Duncan's 33-yard field goal. Kansas State was hit with two pass interference calls on the drive.

Roberson then hit the long pass to Lloyd to make the final few minutes tense for both sides.

Oklahoma took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on an 18-yard fumble return by safety Roy Williams and the 63-yard completion from Hybl to Savage.

Kansas State scored on a 7-yard run by Josh Scobey early in the second quarter. The drive included completions of 33 and 23 yards to Brandon Clark.

A 47-yard pass from Hybl to Quentin Griffin was the big play in Oklahoma's next drive, which Griffin ended with a 6-yard run to give the Sooners a 21-7 lead.

Kansas State needed just four plays to go 80 yards and get within 21-14. On third-and-10 from the 20, Roberson hit Clark for a 58-yard gain. Roberson then scored on a 22-yard run.

Each team slowed down after that, before the Sooners came up with the fake punt in the final two minutes of the half.

Third-string quarterback Hunter Wall lined up as the up back in punt formation. He took the snap, then threw a long lateral pass to Savage. Savage threw it back to Wall, who had a line of blockers to lead him to the end zone.

The Sooners hadn't played since beating North Texas 37-10 on Sept. 8. Their Sept. 15 game against Tulsa was postponed due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and they had an open date last week.