Brandon Weeden threw two touchdown passes and No. 20 Oklahoma State's high-powered offense overcame the absence of star wide receiver Justin Blackmon to beat Kansas State 24-14 Saturday afternoon.
Blackmon, suspended for the game after being arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge, left the Cowboys (7-1 overall, 3-1 Big 12) without the nation's leader in receiving yards per game, total receiving yards, scoring and touchdown catches.
As a result, the attack that came into the game No. 3 nationally in total offense and No. 2 in scoring sputtered much of the day, particularly in a 7-7 first half. But aided by Dan Bailey's precise placement punting and Johnny Thomas' touchdown on an interception return, the Cowboys scored 17 straight points in the second half.
Daniel Thomas' 1-yard touchdown run shaved the lead to 24-14 with a little more than 4 minutes left, and Kansas State (5-3, 2-3) recovered the ensuing short kick. But an offsides penalty forced Kansas State to kick it again and Oklahoma State carefully gathered in the ball.
Weeden, No. 2 in the nation in yards passing per game, was 22 for 39 for 298 yards and the two scores. He hit Michael Harrison with a 15-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter and connected with Josh Cooper for 16 yards in the third. Kendall Hunter rushed for 143 yards on 28 carries for the Cowboys, who were coming off a 48-13 loss to Nebraska.
About as valuable as anyone for Oklahoma State was punter Quinn Sharp. With near-perfect trajectory and help from his coverage team, Quinn forced the Wildcats to start drives on their own 4, 8, 7 and 1.
After starting from the 1 midway through the fourth quarter, Kansas State struggled to a first down on the 14. But Thomas stepped up to pick off Carson Coffman's pass and snaked his way 26 yards into the end zone, making it 24-7 with 7:06 to play.
Weeden was 5 for 6 for 56 yards on an 11-play, 80-yard drive to go up 14-7 right after Kansas State squandered a great scoring opportunity. In the span of five plays, Oklahoma State was called for roughing the passer, a personal foul and having 12 men on the field. But given a first down on the 11, the Wildcats wound up missing a 24-yard field goal attempt by Josh Cherry, who had been 6 for 6. The Cowboys responded to take the lead on Weeden's pass to Harrison. Isaiah Anderson had a 40-yard reception during the drive.
Joseph Randle caught a 28-yard pass from Weeden to fuel a 10-play drive on Oklahoma State's next possession, capped by a 34-yard field goal by Dan Bailey, who is 16 for 16 and perfect on 44 extra-point attempts.
Thomas rushed for 101 yards for Kansas State, which took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on William Powell's 8-yard run following Hunter's fumble.
It was the fourth sellout in five games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.