March 29, 2023

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This Week In Historical past (2003): The Wildcats play the spoiler towards the Sooners

Senior tight finish Thomas Hill holds up the Huge 12 Championship trophy after Ok-State defeated the No. 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners 35-7, Dec. 6. Ok-State rebounded from three straight losses early within the season to make an look on the championship recreation. (Archive picture by Kelly Glasscock | Collegian Media Group)

The 2003 version of the Huge 12 Convention championship was speculated to be a one-sided recreation. With No. 1 ranked Oklahoma getting into the sport at an ideal 12-0 for the season and favored by two touchdowns over a three-loss Kansas State crew, the sport was anticipated to be over shortly. 

Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson didn’t permit that to occur. He had the sport of his life towards the Sooners and delivered Ok-State essentially the most program-defining victory at school historical past.

All through the Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s, Ok-State noticed extra success than prior to now. From 1993 to 2002, the Wildcats gained 9 or extra video games in each single season however one. This additionally included 11 wins in 5 of six seasons from 1997 to 2002. 

In 2003, extra of the identical was anticipated, however no person thought the Wildcats can be close to the highest of the Huge 12 come the tip of the season.

The season was a curler coaster. The Wildcats gained 10 video games but once more however confronted a myriad of challenges all through the season much like their Huge 12 title in 2022. In September, the crew was shocked at dwelling, shedding 27-20 to a Mid-American Convention faculty in Marshall.

They then misplaced back-to-back video games to convention opponents in Texas and Oklahoma State to fall to 4-3 on the season and 0-2 in convention play.

Following a three-week lull, the Wildcats rebounded to win their closing six video games which included a 38-9 victory over the No. 18 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. It was this system’s first win in Lincoln since 1968 and assured them the Huge 12 North Division title for the third time.

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In the meantime in Norman, issues couldn’t have been going any higher for the Sooners. Head coach and former Kansas State defensive coordinator Bob Stoops entered Norman in 1999. He led the Sooners to a nationwide championship in simply his second season in 2000, defeating the Wildcats within the Huge 12 championship alongside the best way.

In 2003, the crew was loaded with expertise, led by quarterback Jason White, huge receiver Mark Clayton, operating again Kejuan Jones, defensive sort out Tommie Harris and linebacker Teddy Lehman. The Sooners entered the 2003 Huge 12 Championship undefeated and thought of by many as one of many best groups in school soccer historical past. 

The Sooners outscored their opponents 601-214 in 2003, averaging six touchdowns per recreation and permitting simply 15 factors per recreation. The crew’s closest victory got here in simply the second week of the season once they defeated Alabama, 20-13. That they had additionally defeated ranked convention opponents in Texas and Oklahoma State by a number of scores.

To say the sport was a David vs. Goliath matchup was a significant understatement, and early on, it regarded like Ok-State had little likelihood of profitable. 

On their opening possession, the Sooners drove proper down the sphere and scored first as Jones eluded a number of Ok-State defenders for a 42 yard landing and a 7-0 Oklahoma lead.

Issues began to vary within the second quarter. After a sluggish begin, Roberson started to get issues going.

Roberson began his historic night by hitting tight finish Brian Casey for a 19-yard landing to tie the rating at seven, then linked with huge receiver James Terry for an extended 63-yard landing giving the Wildcats a 14-7 lead.

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Unbelievably No. 15 Ok-State was beating the Sooners, and stored the momentum by the remainder of the sport.

The Wildcats elevated their lead due to operating again Darren Sproles, who took a Roberson display cross 60 yards to the home for a 21-7 halftime lead.

For Sproles, the 2003 Huge 12 title recreation was arguably his crowning second in an incredible four-year profession at Ok-State. The junior operating again had over 300 yards from scrimmage, which included 235 yards on the bottom and 88 by the air.

Late within the third quarter, Roberson threw his fourth and closing landing of the night, connecting with huge receiver Antoine Well mannered from 10 yards to offer the Wildcats a 28-7 lead getting into the ultimate quarter-hour of motion.

However the Sooners had been by no means down whatever the lead. With their expertise, it nearly appeared like they had been all the time within the recreation even when they couldn’t transfer the ball. 

Nonetheless, with a bit beneath 5 minutes gone within the fourth quarter, Ok-State sophomore linebacker Ted Sims — who had by no means intercepted a cross in his collegiate profession at that time — made a memorable interception off White and returned it 27 yards for a game-sealing landing. The Wildcats gained their first Huge 12 championship, 35-7, over the very best crew within the nation.

For one evening in December 2003, the Ok-State Wildcats performed spoiler over the Sooners of Oklahoma.