After beating out junior college transfer Marc Dunn over the summer, however, Roberson often looked overmatched in Kansas State's season-opening 10-6 win at USC, completing 7 of 16 passes for 26 yards. He played better in a 64-0 rout of New Mexico State—seven completions in 10 attempts for 181 yards—but the Aggies were so dreadful that it was hard to measure his improvement.
Last Saturday things started going badly for Roberson. On Kansas State's second possession he changed a play at the line of scrimmage, checking from an option to the right side to one to the left, but senior running back Josh Scobey didn't hear him and ran right. When Roberson looked left for Scobey, no one was there, and Roberson was stripped of the ball. Sooners strong safety Roy Williams returned the fumble 18 yards for a touchdown.
As the game progressed, Roberson grew accustomed to the crowd noise at Memorial Stadium and the speed of Oklahoma's defense. Mixing runs and passes, and showing an increased mastery of the contents of Snyder's extraordinarily thick playbook, Roberson engineered two 80-yard touchdown drives on successive second-quarter possessions. After Hybl was knocked woozy on that 75-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, Roberson all but took over the game. He answered with a 37-yard touchdown run during which he broke five tackles. "The guys saw the fight in my eyes," Roberson said. "I told 'em, 'Come on. We can get this job done.' "
They nearly did. Roberson's 57-yard scoring pass to Ricky Lloyd with 2:02 left cut the deficit to 38-35. As Snyder told the Wildcats after the game, "We have a chance to be a very, very good team." A celebrated sourpuss, Snyder seemed oddly buoyant in defeat, his mood verging on the upbeat. He knows that if Kansas State wins out, it could get another crack at the Sooners in the Big 12 championship game.
Snyder also knows he has found a quarterback who can rally his team.