Kansas State entered its road game against Oklahoma as a heavy favorite. Even though both teams were ranked, most expected the Sooners to make short work of the Wildcats. Oklahoma hadn’t lost to a ranked team at home since the Renaissance (not really, but it had quite a streak going) and it humiliated K-State a year earlier in Manhattan.
But all that went out the window when Justin Tuggle hit OU quarterback Landry Jones from behind, causing a fumble that resulted in a K-State touchdown.
As soon as Jarell Childs scooped up the loose ball and fell into the end zone to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead in the second quarter, it was obvious they had a chance. They went on to win the game, the Big 12 and the conference’s automatic berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
How important was that play? Well, you could say it sparked K-State’s run up the national polls. The Wildcats weren’t in many close games this year, but that was one of them. It was also the most important, because it gave them a tie-breaker over the Sooners in the conference championship hunt. In my mind, that made it an obvious choice for K-State’s Play of the Year.
I asked Tuggle about that play for a story that ran in today’s paper, and though he didn’t think it alone sparked K-State’s winning streak he was glad he was able to make it.
“There are a lot of things that ignited this run. I’m glad people can look back and see that as maybe one of the reasons,” Tuggle said. “But there was a lot that went on this year. We had a lot of guys step up and make big plays. It’s big to be on a defense like that. We all swarm to the ball and go out there to make big plays. It’s really fun.”
So what happened on Tuggle’s big play. Let’s relive it with this poor-quality video:
Two other plays I considered for this blog:
1. Collin Klein’s 34-yard touchdown run against TCU. It broke open a defensive struggle and assured K-State of victory. Fast forward to about the 40-second mark to view.
2. Collin Klein’s long touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett against Texas. The touchdown gave K-State separation for the first time all night, and in many ways clinched the Big 12 championship.
Next up on the countdown: Kansas State and Oregon will both be in Phoenix, preparing for the Fiesta Bowl. And so will I.
Last time on the countdown: Lookout Ducks, Cats have been dominant vs. bird mascots.
Editor’s Note: On Jan. 3, the Kansas State football team will face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. With that in mind, I am counting down to the big game at University of Phoenix Stadium by attempting to write 21 blog posts in 21 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas. I’m confident that I can go 21 for 21, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @KellisRobinett.