Iowa State (4-2) at Oklahoma State (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 12:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218) -- Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television: FX. Home Record: ISU 2-2, OSU 2-1. Away Record: ISU 2-0, OSU 1-1. Neutral Record: ISU 0-0, OSU 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 1-2, OSU 1-1. Series Record: OSU leads, 25-18-3.
GAME NOTES: Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy takes aim at a piece of history on Saturday, as his Cowboys host the Iowa State Cyclones in a Big 12 battle at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Gundy enters this tilt tied with Pat Jones with 62 career victories at Oklahoma State, and his next victory will make him the winningest coach in school history. This weekend is Homecoming for the Cowboys, who are beginning a five-week stretch that will see them play four home games. Last week, OSU had to grind out a 20-14 win over a 1-5 Kansas squad.
Meanwhile, Iowa State is looking to rebound from a tough, 27-21 setback to fourth-ranked Kansas State, which came a week after a win at then 13th-ranked TCU. The Cyclones debuted at No. 24 in the initial BCS standings released this week. Following this tilt, they'll return home to face Baylor (Homecoming) and Oklahoma over the next two weeks.
OSU leads the all-time series, 25-18-3. The Cyclones won last year's meeting in double-overtime in Ames, although they have not beaten the Cowboys in Stillwater since 2000.
Iowa State has made a trend of following up a dominant offensive performance with a lackluster one the next week. After putting 37 points on the board playing at nationally-ranked TCU two weekends ago, the Cyclones came up short against K-State this past week. Down by six with five minutes to play in regulation, the Cyclones had two chances to take the lead, but they failed to get a first down on either drive. ISU finished with just 12 first downs (compared to 25 for KSU) and 231 yards of total offense. Jared Barnett completed only 16-of-36 passes for 166 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. He also gained 35 of the team's 65 rushing yards.
Defensively, ISU enters this tilt with the nation's No. 24 scoring defense (17.7 ppg) as the team has yet to allow more than 27 points in a game this season. Senior linebacker Jake Knott headlines the unit with a team-high 57 tackles (41 solo), including five for loss. Knott has also picked off two passes and broken up four. Junior defensive back Jacques Washington has notched three interceptions and ranks third on the team with 36 tackles. Last week, the Cyclones struggled to get stops when they needed to, as K-State picked up 25 first downs and converted 8-of-17 third downs and 1-of-1 fourth down. The Wildcats owned a significant 40:54-19:06 edge in time of possession behind quarterback Collin Klein, who threw for 187 yards, ran for another 105 yards and scored three times.
Redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh made his second career start and his first road start for the Cowboys last week. The game was delayed for more than an hour during the first half because of severe weather, and OSU's offense never quite seemed to get in sync when play resumed. Granted, OSU was without complementary running backs Desmond Roland and Jeremy Smith, while veteran receivers Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson both left the game with injuries. Still, the Cowboys were held to a season-low 371 yards of total offense and a season-low 20 points. It was the team's lowest point total since 2009. Running back Joseph Randle was held below 100 rushing yards for the first time this season.
The Cowboys were able to build a 20-0 lead against Kansas, but things got interesting late when the Jayhawks scored on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions to make it a six-point game. However, OSU's defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs on KU's last possession. Nigel Nicholas led the way with seven tackles, including one of the team's three sacks. Considering the Jayhawks entered the game with the nation's 109th-ranked scoring offense, it certainly wasn't an encouraging way to close out what should have been an easy victory. KU finished with a 22-17 edge in first downs and a 398-371 advantage in total yards against an Oklahoma State squad that has been known to score points in bunches.
Each of these teams has some holes on both sides of the ball, but OSU's tight contest against Kansas is particularly concerning. The Cowboys' other two victories have come against the likes of Savannah State and Louisiana. This game against a much tougher Iowa State squad should help clear up whether the Cowboys are contenders or pretenders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 27, Oklahoma State 23
10/17 10:55:50 ET